Table of Contents
Where Can I Retire With $100,000?
Trying to stick to a budget can be challenging for many of us. Raising kids, saving for vacations and college, and trying to stick to a reasonable amount when we go to the grocery store…these are all issues that most of us wrestle with throughout our adult lives.
But when saving for retirement also begins to factor in, it can sometimes feel near impossible to find those extra dollars to do so.
The current suggestion by most financial experts is that we should have 7 to 10 times the amount of our income saved by the time we turn 65, or choose to retire. Having this much money in our retirement fund, it will allow us to use those dollars throughout our golden years and not run out before the end of our life.
But having this large of a nest egg isn’t always possible, given each person’s individual circumstances. And, some people just don’t want to spend that much in retirement.
For some, learning to live on less in the latter part of their lives is also appealing. Finding a spot where one can retire to where the cost of living is low may bring many of us a higher quality of life.
So, let’s look at some popular destinations where living frugally is easy and your $100,000 can last much longer than you might think.
If the idea of desert sand, lots of sun, and a mild climate sound like an appealing way to spend your retirement days, Morocco may be the perfect place for you to consider.
Nestled in the uppermost northwestern corner of Africa is the small country of Morocco. Most of the landscape is the Sahara Desert, which covers over 3 million square miles and spans eleven African countries.
But when not exploring the sand dunes of the Sahara, you will find the architecture in the cities to be breathtaking as well. From larger cities like Casablanca, or Rabat (the capital), to smaller ones such as Meknes and Agadir, there is a wide range of living options for everyone.
The average rent price in a Moroccan city is around $450 per month, which usually includes utilities. Food is delicious and inexpensive, and entertainment is plentiful, from festivals in the streets to inexpensive bars and coffee shops.
To live in Morocco, you will need to budget approximately $1,000 a month, or $12,000 a year.
Traversing across the top of Africa to the other side of the continent, one will find the breathtaking country of Egypt, an ideal locale for a person to spend their retirement years and dollars.
Egypt has the pyramids, yes, but so much more as well. With the northern border of the country touching the Mediterranean Sea, and the eastern border sitting on the Red Sea, there is more than just history to take in if you decide to make this country your retirement home.
If large city life is your idea of fun, Egypt offers you places like Cairo and Giza to consider settling down. But if your speed tends more toward the smaller communities, then Egypt has lots to offer there as well, in towns like Hurghada and Minya where the feel is more of a tiny town in the West.
No matter where you decide to stay, though, Egyptian food throughout the country will not only fill your stomach but keep your wallet full as well. Foods like falafel and shawarma are mouth-wateringly good, and Egyptians are proud to show off their cuisine.
A reasonable-sized apartment in most Egyptian cities will cost you around $300 a month, including your basic utilities.
Plan to spend approximately $750 for a month of living in this beautiful place, which translates to around $9000 a year.
Just above Egypt, on the other side of the Mediterranean Sea is the terrific country of Turkey, a traveler’s and budgeter’s paradise.
Turkey is one of the most unique places on this list, in my opinion. The people are kind and generous, the food and weather is amazing and it’s relatively easy to travel to other places, given its location is smack dab between Africa, Asia, and Europe.
A country that has endured much controversy and various leadership throughout its history, today’s Turkey has an “east meets west” feel to it and warmly welcomes various cultures from all over the world.
Istanbul and Ankara are both large cities that offer any amenity you can imagine. Restaurants, clubs, recreational activities, and the arts are all available and at prices that would shock us in the United States.
Smaller towns like Marmaros and Assos have more of a village feel to them, and you are bound to be noticed and welcomed quickly into the community, even if you are a foreigner.
Food is an important part of Turkish culture, and you will find everything from grilled lamb to fish stews readily available and well within your budget.
In most cities, a small apartment in Turkey will rent for $500 a month (slightly more in the larger cities.)
But even in the bustling parts of this country, you can reasonably expect to spend less than $1200 a month, which will mean you can live for a year in Turkey for less than $15,000 if you are savvy.
Venturing back to this side of the world, one of my favorite spots for a low-cost and high-quality retirement is in the sweet country of Ecuador.
On the far western coast of South America sits this small gem of a country. Though Ecuador has become a more popular place for retirees to live, it is still somewhat undeveloped and the cost of living has remained low.
Ecuador is known for the Galapagos Islands, but believe me, it’s so much more.
Yes, the views are spectacular and worth seeing, even if you just travel there for a vacation. But be ready to fall in love with this country and want to return for longer, maybe even years.
In total, there are less than 17 million people that live in Ecuador – which makes its total population the same size as two New York Cities put together. Ecuador has two significantly-sized cities, Quito and Guayaquil, both having well over a million residents and all the fun things that big cities offer.
But most of Ecuador is more remote, and it's quite common to live in a town that has less than 50,000 people, like Loja and Cuenca.
Cities this size will still offer the majority of amenities you need, but they will be more limited (and even less expensive to live in!)
Most retirees in Ecuador pay around $500 a month, and that’s if you want all utilities paid and a maid. Ecuador has an excellent health care system as well that you can buy into, which will keep your costs low.
A year in Ecuador will run you about $18,000, but it’s possible to do it for even less if you live somewhere even further off the beaten path and away from other foreigners, or expats as they are called.
Directly south of Ecuador is its larger and equally pristine neighbor, Peru.
As with Ecuador, Peru has become increasingly popular for retirees to consider for their golden years. The reasons will soon be obvious to you, but you can still keep it on your list of places where your retirement dollars will stretch farther than many places in the world.
And that’s a good thing, because Peru should definitely be on everyone’s list as a place to visit, if not live.
Peruvians are some of the kindest and happiest people you will ever meet. They love family, culture, and showing off their beautiful country. If you get asked into a Peruvian’s home, don’t hesitate to go! These people are all about hospitality.
In Peru, a large city like Lima will provide you with everything you can think of. Not only are there shopping centers, movie theaters, and coffee shops, but Peruvians are also big fans of outdoor events, like festivals and street concerts, which tend to be a blast, and free.
Smaller towns will give you the charm that most small towns are known for. Costs will be even lower in places like the colonial town of Ayacucho, though some amenities will be more scarce.
The food in Peru is amazing, assuming you like South American cuisine. Fresh fruits and vegetables are in abundance and can be bought for pennies, unlike farmer’s markets here in the United States.
6. Costa Rica
To round out my favorite spots for retirees on a budget in South America, I have to add my favorite – Costa Rica.
Costa Rica is definitely the most expensive place on my list for a person to retire to, especially if you are on a tight budget.
In the past few decades, it has been a hotspot travel destination as well as one to live long term for foreigners all over the world, thanks to its renowned health care system, political stability, and affordable cost of living.
Unfortunately for someone on a tight budget, that cost of living is increasing. But, so are the amenities and opportunities in the country as more expats flock to it.
You can still live in Costa Rica if your retirement savings is not large. In fact, with a little creativity and thoughtfulness, life in Costa Rica will still be less expensive than most places in the United States.
And the scenery, people, food, and recreational opportunities will make it all worth it.
San Jose is the capital of Costa Rica and the largest city in the country. The cost to live there may be too high, so consider a town just outside of San Jose like Santa Ana, where you can still benefit from all the big city has to offer but your dollars will go much farther.
Remember that, even though Costa Rica is a popular place for retirees to move to, this also means that you will have an easier time adjusting to a foreign lifestyle, since you’ll have a much larger community of other retired Westerners around you to show you the ways to make your retirement dollars stretch further. (Many of them are in the same boat as you!)
A modest apartment in a smaller city in Costa Rica will most likely cost you around $500 a month, and your overall yearly expenses will be less than $15,00 if you take advantage of the many free concerts, fresh food markets, and local restaurants.