5 Overseas Cities Where You Can Retire on Less Than $37,000 a Year

outdoor exercise
Photo by pikselstock / Shutterstock.com

If you want to live a full retirement despite modest savings, look overseas.

The publication International Living recently compiled a list of five overseas capitals where a couple can retire comfortably for between $10,000 and $37,000 per year.

Such a modest cost of living can make a real difference for many retirees. In the U.S., households led by someone age 65 or older spent an average of $49,542 in 2017, according to federal data. But cross over the right international border and you can slash that figure by thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars — even in a major city.

Affordable overseas capitals

Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, offers by far the cheapest comfortable retirement of the five cities, at less than $11,000 per year for a couple. Yes, that’s the total annual cost for two people.

Wendy Justice, a Vietnam correspondent for International Living, reports that her water bill runs around $2 and her fiber-optic internet service costs $11 per month.

Even European capitals are within reach for retirees on a budget. Lisbon, Portugal, is the most expensive capital of the five on the International Living list. Still, a retired couple can live well there for just under $37,000 per year.

The five capitals — and the budget required for a couple to retire comfortably there — are:

  • Hanoi, Vietnam: $905 per month, or $10,860 per year — or less
  • Quito, Ecuador: $1,650 to $1,825 per month, or $19,800 to $21,900 per year
  • Panama City, Panama: $1,765 per month, or $21,180 per year — and even a “more luxurious retirement” would require only $2,890 per month, or $34,680 per year
  • Phnom Penh, Cambodia: $1,837 per month, or $22,044 per year
  • Lisbon, Portugal: $3,065 per month, or $36,780 per year

It’s generally ill-advised to up and move over a single ranking, but it’s worth noting that International Living’s list keeps with certain patterns.

For example, Latin American countries, which include Ecuador and Panama, are oft-recommended overseas retirement destinations due to factors like low costs of living and mild climates. Relocating to this region is also relatively easy for Americans, as the publication Live and Invest Overseas detailed earlier this year.

Even Portugal is part of a recent overseas retirement trend.

International Living’s 2018 Global Retirement Index ranked Portugal the No. 7 nation in the world as a place to retire. Live and Invest Overseas’ 2017 Overseas Retirement Index named Lisbon among only 12 destinations that earned a rating of “A” or better for retirees.

Is retiring abroad right for you?

Moving during retirement — whether to another country or another U.S. state — is among the few ways to drastically lower your expenses without sacrificing quality of life in your golden years. But it’s not for everyone.

So, before you fall for an exotic destination from the latest list, do a little homework. This is initially as easy as checking out articles such as:

What’s your take on spending your golden years abroad to afford a more comfortable retirement? Sound off by commenting below or over on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
How to Fix 6 Common Retirement Mistakes
How to Fix 6 Common Retirement Mistakes

Here’s how to strengthen your nest egg before or even during your golden years so these missteps don’t ruin your retirement.

2-Minute Money Strategy: How Should I Invest My Retirement Savings?
2-Minute Money Strategy: How Should I Invest My Retirement Savings?

If retirement is on the horizon, you can’t afford to take too much risk, but you also need to make as much as possible. Here are your options.

How Much of My Social Security Benefit Can My Ex Take From Me?
How Much of My Social Security Benefit Can My Ex Take From Me?

A man wonders if his ex-wife will siphon away his Social Security benefit.

Drivers Give These 5 Car Insurers the Highest Marks
Drivers Give These 5 Car Insurers the Highest Marks

One company claimed the top ranking in several categories.

10 Ways to Nail Savings on Your Remodeling Project
10 Ways to Nail Savings on Your Remodeling Project

Here’s how to save on your next remodeling project with discounted materials and more tips and tricks.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines
Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines

Fall is the time to schedule vaccines that can keep you healthy — and even save your life.

11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older
11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older

There is no need to wait until you’re 65 to take advantage of so-called “senior” discounts.

11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous
11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous

When you get the impulse to stockpile these everyday items, pay close attention to their expiration dates.

8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies
8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies

In this age of higher-priced drugs and complex health care systems, a trip to the pharmacy can spark worry. Freebies sure do help.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America
The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America

A new model parks atop the list of vehicles that thieves love to pilfer.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020
The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020

Based on dozens of metrics tied to affordability, quality of life and health care, these are not ideal places to spend retirement.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62
10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62

If you can, here are several good reasons to retire earlier than we’re told to.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income
26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income

These states won’t tax any of your Social Security income — and in some cases, other types of retirement income.

5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles
5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles

Pushing your car to 200,000 miles — and beyond — can save you piles of cash. Here’s how to get there.

14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare
14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare

These services could save you money and help prevent costly health problems.

5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees
5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees

Retirees agree: These are the things that give them purpose and fulfillment in their golden years.

15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.