When retirement time comes, you may find that your savings are not enough to live the quality of life you want. Rather than delaying retirement, why not stretch your purchasing power by retiring abroad? Here are 3 popular countries for American expats.

Ecuador: Where Your Dollar Goes Ridiculously Far

Equador shopping
by Rinaldo Wurglitsch via Flickr

A four-course meal for less than $2? A brand new condo for less than $50,000? That is all possible in Cuenca, Ecuador, which is the most affordable city to retire to; where you can easily live on $600 to $800 a month, according to the Yahoo News. If you are looking for affordability and year round Spring-like weather, you can join the expat community in Quito.

However, moving to a country like Ecuador is not like living in the US with rock bottom prices. Ecuador still has an underdeveloped infrastructure, meaning restaurants, hospitals, and banks are not going to be as high quality as they are in the US.

Panama: Affordable, US-Like Living

Panama’s retiree residency program gives you discounts that include 50% off entertainment and 25% off eating out. Outside of Panama City you can live on $1,200 a month and have access to U.S. trained doctors in hospitals such as Hospital Punta Pacifica, which is affiliated with John Hopkins Medicine International. Unlike Ecuador, Panama has a modern infrastructure and you’ll be able to buy U.S. goods because of the American presence that was established during the building of the Panama Canal. The one glaring downside to living in Panama is the humid climate and six month long rainy season.

Mexico: Close to Home

In Mexico you can live comfortably for less than $1,000 a month and stay relatively close to home. Retirees in Lake Chapala say that you can get access to “the world’s best medical facilities” in Guadalajara, which is 30 minutes away. You can get good health care near the cities and make friends with some of the thousands of American expats, who stay away from the violence of border towns. Aside from spotty healthcare, retirees don’t have access to brand name products and stores such as Walmart.

Ecuador is extremely affordable, Panama has a modern infrastructure, and Mexico is close to home. There are many other countries, each with their own pros and cons, to choose from, according to AARP, Forbes, and U.S. News.

When browsing the aforementioned lists, don’t look at each place as some sort of perfect tropical paradise. You’re going to be far away from friends and family back home, have limited selection at stores, and have to adjust to a new language, culture, and weather pattern. For a lot of expats, however, the quality of life, that can be lived on a limited budget, more than makes up for the cons. Furthermore, if you’re wary of being away from your loved ones, you can always take advantage of Skype and talk for as long as you want. Furthermore, foreign countries have tight-knit expat communities which you can be a part of.

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