The retirement years, often fondly referred to as the golden years, are not exempted from struggles or worry. When you begin to plan your retirement, staying in the house you’ve settled in may seem like the easiest, most feasible option. Whether or not that’s the best option for you, though, depends on you.
Perhaps your career has always kept you rooted in one place, and retirement is an opportunity to start fresh or fulfill your lifelong dream of living near a beach or in the countryside. Perhaps you’ve been longing for a slow-paced life far, far away from the hustle and bustle of the corporate world. Great news! There are plenty of fantastic options, both inside and outside of the United States, where relocation can be just as sensible as staying put.
1. Bocas del Toro, Panama
This stunning archipelago has become a haven for expat retirees who crave a slow-paced lifestyle. Accessible only by plane or boat, Bocas del Toro is a small, charming community with just 8,000 residents.
A person can live quite luxuriously in Panama for about $3,000 per month, including rent. The country’s impressive Pensionado offers big discounts for seniors, including non-citizens. These discounts include 25% off airline tickets and energy bills. Quality healthcare is available, and medications often cost less than they do in the U.S.
2. Algarve, Portugal
Algarve is Portugal’s southernmost region. Home to multi-national expats, Algarve is a perfect destination if English is the only language you know. With rolling hills, a temperate climate, and beautiful beaches, there’s no shortage of things to do.
A person can live comfortably in Portugal for about $2,500 per month. Portugal’s health care system is internationally renowned for its high quality and affordability.
3. The Central Valley, Costa Rica
Pura Vida is a common phrase in Costa Rica that translates to pure life. That’s exactly what Costa Rica embodies. However you envision your golden years - whether you see yourself catching waves, hiking through lush forests, or refining your yoga technique, Costa Rica will suit you just fine.
A couple can live comfortably in Costa Rica for about $2,000 per month. Once you’re a resident, you pay between 7% and 11% or your monthly income, and you’re eligible for Costa Rica’s socialized health care program.
4. Galicia, Spain
Galicia boasts a comfortable Mediterranean climate, affordable fine dining, and plenty of opportunities to socialize with like-minded folks.
The cost of living in Spain is about $2,500 per month, on average. The World Health Organization ranks Spain’s health care system as one of the best in the world, and medical and dental care are relatively affordable, even without insurance.
5. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
If long, sandy beaches and crystal clear waters are at the top of your priority list, then Mexico might be the perfect place to retire. Overflowing with culture, Mexico life can be as exciting or as laid back as you want it to be.
The cost of living in Mexico is exceptionally low. A couple can live comfortably for about $2,000 per month, including health care. Seniors are entitled to a special discount card that offers a 10-20% discount on many goods and services.
6. Charlotte, North Carolina
If you’re worried about upkeep and property maintenance, consider relocating to Charlotte. With dozens of retirement communities, you can enjoy all the benefits of having your own space without dealing with inconveniences like lawn care and tree trimming.
In terms of affordability, Charlotte ranks well on a list of cities assessed for cost of living.
7. Boise, Idaho
Boise presents a rare opportunity to reap all the benefits associated with living in an urban environment while maintaining a deep-rooted connection with nature and wellness.
Social Security benefits aren’t taxed in Boise, and housing prices are fair at about $200,000 to $250,000 on average.
8. Fargo, North Dakota
Fargo offers a low-key, slow-paced lifestyle. With a population of just over 122,000 spread across about 80 square miles, Fargo is a relaxed, modest city. The town center is easily walkable, and bicycles are a common mode of transportation.
You can purchase a home in Fargo for about $200,000.
9. Clearwater, Florida
No “best places to retire” article is complete without some mention of Florida. If you’re tired of down-filled coats and you’re ready to lay down the snow shovel, Florida is a great option. There’s always something to do in Clearwater, and the city is very walkable.
A large apartment in the bustling area of Clearwater will cost about $1,700 a month. If you’d like to be a bit further from the action, you can expect to pay even less.
Retirement marks the beginning of a new life - a life lived for you. You’ve earned a peaceful, satisfying retirement. Don’t let the fear of the unknown stop you from achieving your dreams. Retirement is your chance to have the life you’ve always longed for.