BY: TED BARNABY
In a tough economy, retirement has become a major issue among the aging population, many facing the question of whether they’ll even be able to settle down at all. However, a long forgotten solution to the North American rat race is a retirement plan overseas.
Forget Florida: some of these places allow you to retire for as little as $7,800 a year. Not looking to retire quite yet? Try splitting up your year between a few months of work, and the rest of the year on vacation. Even at (Canadian) minimum wage, you would only need about 3 months of savings to afford the rest of the year off in some of these awesome locations:
Nha Trang, Vietnam:
Although many think of Vietnam in terms of its war-ridden past, the country actually has an incredible amount to offer. Warm aquamarine ocean water, palm trees and white sand beaches—the coast of Vietnam looks like a cross between Miami beach and Thailand.
The city is extremely welcoming to foreigners, with friendly locals and a broad English-speaking population.
The widely varying landscape—from venturesome mountains to laid-back beachfronts—offers a diversity of activities to keep you busy with sunshine all-year around.
Medical expenses are even extremely cheap, a regular visit costing one only about $10. Dental work also only costs about $5. Although the cheap prices may seem to imply rusty tools, the city boasts a very modern hospital that continues to get great reviews from foreigners.
Chiang Rai, Thailand:
Monthly cost: $750
Still, the city offers an array of large shopping centres, and claims a number of internationally renowned hospitals.
Although Chiang Rai isn’t on the coast, the city is full of stunning architecture and is surrounded by lush jungle. For those looking to do some traveling, it is also close to the boarders of Laos and Myanmar (Burma). The city fosters a number of beautiful waterfalls and jungle hiking spots, as well as elephant sittings and hot springs.
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Another plus side of Chiang Rai, is that it’s not a tourist town. If you’re looking for bold culture with modest housing costs, this city might be perfect for you.
Monthly cost: $1,000
Dumaguete is also home to a university, which means that many local restaurants cater to the limited budget of students—this is good news for retirees and vacationers. For this reason, Dumaguete also offers a number of cultural entertainment facets including art shows, as well as theatre and dance.
Healthcare is also a major asset of Dumaguete, living up to international standards.
Monthly cost: $1,100
The weather is typically sunny, mirroring the friendly attitude of locals. This location offers a tight-knit community, although it is important to note that English speaking is minimal. Health care is another benefit of Loja.
For those looking to pack up and start over with a new way of life, Loja is the perfect location.
Monthly cost: $1,300
If you’re out for a diversity of landscapes, Granada has it all: beautiful coastal beaches, stunning architecture, volcanoes, rivers and massive lakes that reside at the foot of lush green mountains. A huge asset of Granada is that it remains unscathed by the camera-flashing, Hawaiian shirt-wearing parasites of Western tourism. (However if you are interested in tourism, Costa Rica hugs Nicaragua’s southern border.)
This location is home to a retirement community that welcomes any newcomers, still adapting to the cultural shifts. As well, Nicaragua’s capital city, Managua, is a short drive from Granada, allowing the benefits of an internationally accredited hospital, known as the best in Central America.
Monthly cost: $1,500
Tralee is a slice of Ireland that kept its culture rich and heritage intact. This tiny town is the poster-child of modest Ireland charm, providing a cultural experience you likely won’t find in Dublin. The town is also nestled up to the southwestern coast of Ireland, allowing access to the coast. If you’re after an authentic cultural experience, Tralee offers this, plus a low cost of living and real estate due to a recent recession.
Monthly cost: $1,750
I bet you never expected living in the South of France to be this cheap. This beautiful city looks like something out of a Disney film, or the renaissance era. The town is framed by majestic castles, winding rivers and long brick walls. A quick browse through Google images is enough to convince even the stingiest of expats. With a wealth of French culture at your fingertips, a quick drive to the ocean and Barcelona neighbouring the city to the south, Carcassonne is the height of affordable European living.