Navigating the uncharted territory of retirement is an exciting but still daunting venture. Everyone seems to flock to Florida and sun-laden cities in the U.S. – but why not go the expat route and take full advantage of your budget and beauty outside North America? Here are our top choices for cities that have a low cost of living, but won’t cheap out on the scenic experience.
While many European capitals are quite pricey to live in, Lisbon is the opposite. Filled with loads of picturesque beaches and multi-cultural masses, this is one of the most scenic pictures to get the most bang for your bug. It has an ideal, mild climate with sunny skies for most of the year and a very leisurely social energy that’s great for kicking back and enjoying your new chapter.
Being in Granada is like taking a time machine to a previous century. This Andalusian beauty sits at the bottom of the Sierra Nevada mountains and houses multiple UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the breathtaking Alhambra. Granada is synonymous with tiny, small plates or “tapas” which usually comes free with a drink. The rent and cost of living are both quite minimal, making living decadent retired lifestyle a breeze.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Filled with golden temples and miniature paradises everywhere you look, its harder to find reasons not to spend the rest of your days in the gem that is Chiang Mai. Whether you prefer adventurous bike riding and kayaking, munching on mouthwatering street food or just soaking in the stunning countryside, there’s something for everybody here. Plus, buying a condo costs less than $50k, meaning you can invest in a luxe home base for close to nothing.
Monteverde, Costa Rica
Monteverde, Costa Rica is a thing of dreams – its lush, misty cloud forests high up in the sky feel seriously otherworldly. It’s incredibly easy for retired expats to take up residence in Costa Rica – the most popular visa known as “pensionado” lets you gain permanent residence just by showing that you make $1,000 a month on some type of retirement account, social security, or pension. With the allure of the natural landscape, exotic flora and fauna on every doorstep, retirees will truly understand why this is one of the happiest places on earth.
San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize
Some might be hesitant about living in the fast-paced and sometimes dangerous city of Belize, but this laid-back island located off Belize’s shore is very peaceful and non-violent. It’s also arguably home to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Get ready to live life in slow motion on island time and appreciate all of life’s little moments.
The stereotype of the French being rude couldn’t be further off. When it comes to Saint-Chinian, you won’t have to face any snobbery, and you can enjoy the best of the French country life without being a multi-millionaire. Tap into a chic new friend circle and try cheap wine of a quality that you’ve never experienced before. It’s well connected and central enough that you can take the train into Spain for dinner.