Over the 20th century, many retirees moved from New England, California and the Midwest to the sunny and sparsely populated Sun Belt, where low taxes and warm weather beckoned. Today, many Americans are moving much farther afield to enjoy a new life at a low cost. Thousands are migrating to Asia, South America, Europe and beyond to stretch their retirement dollars. And foreign countries, eager for the boost to their economies, have taken notice.
With so many nations interested in attracting retirees from abroad, Americans are spoiled for choice. Bankrate uncovers six up-and-coming destinations where retirees can easily live on an income of $2,000 a month. In some cases, retirees are already living there for far less. Read on to discover the affordability of housing, food and medical care at these retirement destinations.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Thanks to its weather and low cost of living, Thailand has been on retirees' radars for years, and Chiang Mai is cheap, even by Thai standards.
"For under $2,000, I live like a king," says Barry, a Canadian who relocated to Chiang Mai in early 2009. Since then, he has rented a 1,200-square-foot condo for a little more than $400 per month. Groceries are no big concern, usually running him about $50 per month. Restaurants cost about twice that at $100 per month -- and he goes out to eat almost every day.
Barry says that Chiang Mai has just about everything he needs. "There are Western-style restaurants, entertainment venues and social events," he says. The city has several modern hospitals. "I had an emergency spinal fusion two years ago at a cost of 280,000 baht (about $9,300 at the time). In Canada, medical coverage is free, but the waiting time is long. Here, the service is almost instantaneous and very professional."
More routine medical issues are so inexpensive, Barry says, that he doesn't need insurance to cover them. "Going to a dentist for a checkup and cleaning is 500 baht," or about $16.