Think You Can’t Afford To Retire Yet? The Key May Be Where, Not When.

by TFB Editors on April 4, 2012

According to International Living Magazine, the top retirement destinations are (ready for this?)…

Ecuador, Panama, and Mexico.

A condo complex in Ecuadoranama, and Mexico.

You were expecting maybe Boca Raton? That was so our parents’ generation.

Here’s the thing: Retirement savings ain’t what they used to be, especially if you are like a lot of Baby Boomers whose retirement plans took a beating in the economic downturn we’ve weathered for the past few years. Many of us are wondering if we’ll even be able to retire as we’ve planning, or if the money we’ve saved – if we’ve saved any at all — will be enough. (The 2009 Employee Benefits Research Institute found more than one-third, or 36 percent, of Americans ages 45 to 55-years-old had saved $10,000 or less!)

Your retirement savings may be enough, however, if you’re willing to retire abroad.

Back in October of 2011, contributor Christine Krzyszton wrote about “Life Outside the U.S.”  She discussed the high cost of living in the U.S.:

A neighborhood in Panama City.

“We all know America is one of the best places in the world to live. But if you’re a Baby Boomer who is tired of high taxes and rising medical and insurance costs – in general, the expense of everyday life here – there are alternatives. It may sound drastic, but more and more Americans are finding a less expensive and better quality of life in other countries.”

These concerns are especially poignant when it comes to retirement. Consequently, many Baby Boomers will have to keep working long past traditional retirement age just to make ends meet.

But if you’re willing to consider retirement abroad… maybe not.

It’s quite possible that you can still retire as planned, and maybe even retire earlier than you expected, by retiring to places like Ecuador, Panama, or Mexico, where the cost of living is much lower, the quality of living is still high, and you can still find work if you don’t really want to stop working altogether.

High cost of living, health care costs, and weather are among the reasons why a growing number of American

Beach houses in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

and Canadian retirees are choosing to retire abroad. For retirees, leaving the United States or Canada often means a more affordable way of life, including low-cost healthcare, real estate, and even gasoline prices.

The US State Department estimates that some 6.3 million Americans are living abroad. The warm weather, cheap housing, and inexpensive healthcare are a draw, especially for Baby Boomers with eroded nest eggs and a sense of adventure.

  1. Ecuador seen as new retirement hot spot. (Reuters)
  2. First-class urban amenities and charming palm-fringed villages draw retirees to the Puerto Vallarta region.
  3. Retire In Panama


Tight-knit communities of expatriates and friendly cultures are among the other appealing aspects of life in the Ecuador, Mexico, and Panama, three leading locations for bargain-hunting retirees. Read the article at the first link above to understand the significant pros and a few cons for retiring in Ecuador. Cick on the second link to read AARP Magazine’s praise reasons for retiring in Mexico, specially Puerto Vallarta. Click on the last link to see why Modern Maturity magazine ranked Panama as the number one place in the Americas for retirement.

A foreign retirement isn’t for everyone, of course. Family obligations may be an issue for some people. Others might not be comfortable in a place where they don’t speak the language. But if you’re the adventuresome type, or if you’ve dreamed of living in an exotic location – maybe on a sultry tropical beach, in a pristine mountain hideaway, or in a sophisticated, culturally rich city – with better weather and a lower cost of living, retirement overseas may be for you.

Would you consider it? Let us know in the Comments section.

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