Over the years, the rising cost of living in the United States has led Americans to seek affordable retirement destinations abroad. Important tips to consider for retirees seeking international destinations include factors such as the exchange rate of a country in comparison with the U.S. dollar, health care access and the political stability of a retirement destination. The CIA FactBook and the U.S. Department of State provide up-to-date information and warnings about most countries around the world.
Thailand is a frequent destination for retirees. The country’s low cost of living, stable economy and favorable climate makes it an ideal retirement spot. Thailand also offers inexpensive and quality medical care. In Bangkok, Thailand’s capital, numerous hospitals cater to international patients. Overall the country is safe and has a low crime rate. Chang Mai province, which is located in northern Thailand, is the country’s second largest city and a less expensive alternative to Bangkok. Rental apartments range from $100 to $150 per month, as of November 2010. Retirees wishing to live in Thailand are required to obtain a non-immigrant visa and must be at least 50 years of age.
Costa Rica is located in Central America and has been rated one of the top retirement destinations in the world by CBS MoneyWatch. The country borders the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean and is set between Nicaragua and Panama. In addition to its subtropical climate and favorable quality of life, Costa Rica’s stable government, low taxes and modern infrastructure makes it an ideal destination for retirement. Similar to Thailand, Costa Rica also provides medical tourism services to international patients at competitive prices. Retirees can benefit from the country’s new $40 million hospital center that includes amenities like a golf course and luxury resort hotels.
Belize is another popular Central American retirement destination that is situated between Guatemala and Mexico and borders the Caribbean Sea. Belize is an English-speaking nation that has a tropical climate. In addition its natural beauty, Belize offers quality health care facilities and an affordable lifestyle for retirees. Belize also offers a special incentive program for international retirees wishing to settle in the country. Under the Retired Persons Incentive Program, retirees are eligible to import all of their personal possessions free of import duties and taxes. The program also stipulates that retirees earn at least $2,000 through a pension or annuity fund that has been generated outside of Belize, as of November 2010. Retirees with a simple budget can live comfortably on $1,500 or less per month in Belize, as of November 2010.