Costa Rica is Among the Most Affordable Countries for a Good Retirement Plan

    The Dream of Living Comfortably during the “Golden Years”

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    Abelardo Canelo
    I am not only a fluent Spanish-English reader/speaker but also a bi-cultural person who has a broad solid background. I also have a passionate interest in different expressions of music, especially many American styles and their combinations (Folk-Country, Jazz, Pop, Rhythm and Blues, Rock, Soul, and so on), dance, stage and screen, and some other forms of artistic expression.

    In most modern countries, workers often start saving money in order to guarantee a good retirement plan. This is commonly known as the “Golden Years”. But, depending on the country, it may vary according to some factors, especially the cost of living (i.e. inflation rate), the social security benefits, and the worker’s income level.

    That is why that, in this issue, we will show you a small list of some of the most favorable countries to be considered for a retirement plan, including their respective costs of living:

     Belize – With lots of paradisiac landscapes, blue skies, palm trees, and sandy beaches, this Central American country has a very budget-friendly housing system. For example, renting a 900-square-foot house can be as low as 436 US$ a month. One of the most attractive facts about Belize, especially for retirees aged 45, consists of declaring any income earned from sources outside the country as 100% tax-free. Nevertheless, monthly expenses could start from 1,619 US$. In consequence, foreigners must receive a minimum income of 2,000 US$ and a regular payment from a pension or another business source outside Belize to be eligible for what is known as the “Qualified Retired Persons Incentive Program”. [Data according to International Living]

    Costa Rica – Not to mention the status of world’s touristic destination that it has, Costa Rica also offers certain areas such as the Central Valley region and the Southern coast, which are ideally suited for retirees who think of establishing their permanent residence in the “ticos” homeland. In this sense, they will find that monthly expenses for a single person often add up to 666 US$ while for a 4-person family could pay 2,459 US$ (excluding rent). In San Jose –the capital city of Costa Rica– rent fares may range between 621 US$ and 1,317 US$ per month. Of course, it will depend on the city’s neighborhood area in question. [Data according to Numbeo]

    Malaysia – Since foreigners are often welcomed by an exotic tropical environment, apart from its friendly local people, Malaysia’s cost of living is 58% cheaper than in the United States (US) and the rent fares are 80% lower than anywhere else. Generally speaking, a single person would need to earn 452 US$ to cover his/her monthly expenses, but a 4-person family might spend 1,628 US$ per month (excluding rent). This makes housing pretty attractive for those retirees looking for an affordable option, and they can even apply for a long-term visa through a program called “Malaysia: My Second Home”. If retirees are aged 50 or older, then they will need at least 350,000 Malaysian ringgits (78,687 US$) in liquid assets and approximately 10,000 Malaysian ringgits (2,248 US$) in monthly income. [Data according to Numbeo]

    Panama – This country is surprisingly welcoming for retirees from different places of the world. Rent fares in Panama City tend to be around 36% –and even 40%– lower than rent prices in the US, although sooner they will realize that many neighboring smaller towns and villages are much more affordable for them. The “Pensionado Program” also helps foreign retirees save some extra money by offering discounts on flights, medical services, utilities, recreational activities, and more. With regard to monthly expenses, a single person usually pays 720 US$, while a 4-person family pays 2,630 US$ (excluding rent). [Data according to Numbeo]

    Spain – By having contrasting landscapes and being a culturally rich country, Spain offers an alternative option for retirees in Europe. Although it is not as cheap as the other countries in this list if compared to the US the cost of living is approximately 26% lower and rent fares are slashed almost to the 50% discount. For example, a single person could live in Madrid for paying 694 US$ a month, while a 4-person family would have to pay 2,455 US$ (excluding rent). And with regard to obtaining a permanent visa, qualifying for it is not a complicated process at all.  In this sense, the retiree must be able to show a proof of residency, a certified proof of income, and be illness-free so that he/she cannot become a threat to public health. [Data according to Numbeo]

    Thailand – Although Bangkok is one of the most expensive cities in South-East Asia, it is still cheaper (50% or 60% less) than US cities such as Chicago, New York or Boston. It is estimated that a monthly expense for a person is about 554 US$, while for a 4-person family is approximately 2,010 US$ (excluding rent). A typical worker will need an average monthly income of 65,000 bahts (about 1,863 US$) or 800,000 bahts (about 23,000 US$) in a savings account to live comfortably. [Data according to Numbeo]

    As you can see there are several options according to your income. Of course, the list above does not pretend to be exhaustive nor limitative. Instead, it just provides some kind of a practical guide to keep in mind. We are sure you may find it useful, especially when start looking for an affordable country to enjoy a good retirement plan.

    In sum, for many retirees, any of these countries might have the key to achieve the dream of living comfortably the “Golden Years”.

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