The average Social Security benefit is only $1,467 a month for a retired worker and $766 for a retired worker’s spouse — a total of $2,233 a month for such a couple — as of March.
But that’s no problem for folks who opt to spend their golden years in the Algarve region of Portugal.
There, a couple can live comfortably on as little as $1,700 per month, according to Live and Invest Overseas. But the Algarve offers a lot more than just an affordable cost of living.
Based on an array of factors, this coastal region of Europe ranked as the No. 1 place to retire abroad in Live and Invest Overseas’ 2019 Overseas Retirement Index. It also has taken the top honor several times in the past, including in the 2018 index.
The best places to retire overseas in 2019
The Algarve is one of 21 destinations that ranked in the latest index. Kathleen Peddicord, publisher of Live and Invest Overseas and author of the book “How to Retire Overseas,” describes these locales as “covering the spectrum of every lifestyle option.”
In fact, Peddicord notes that the annual Overseas Retirement Index is designed to help you make an informed decision as to which overseas retirement destination would suit you best.
The latest index ranks locales based on 15 factors. A few factors are financial, including taxes and real estate prices. Others address everything from the quality of health care and infrastructure to how commonly English is spoken and how easy it is to establish residency.
The top 10 destinations for 2019 are:
- Algarve, Portugal
- Annecy, France
- Bled, Slovenia
- Canggu, Bali
- Cascais, Portugal
- Città Sant’Angelo, Italy
- Cuenca, Ecuador
- Da Lat, Vietnam
- Da Nang, Vietnam
- Fortaleza, Brazil
Why the Algarve?
Portugal in general earned especially high marks in the categories of residency options and health care.
The nation’s Golden Visa program makes it easier to establish residency in Portugal than in other countries in the 2019 index, according to Live and Invest Overseas. And legal foreign residents who register with their local medical center can get public health care.
The Algarve in particular earned high marks in the category of crime and safety and for recreation opportunities — at least for those who enjoy golf courses and beaches. The region is also home to areas where you can get by on English alone.
Other advantages to this region off the Atlantic Ocean include short and mild winters and an undervalued real estate market. You could buy a place for $150,000 or less. If you’d rather rent, a two-bedroom apartment runs as little as $720 per month.
That would leave a retired couple plenty of Social Security money for other spending each month.