Don’t worry about how much money is enough to buy you the retirement life you want in a new country. Instead, figure how much money you have for retirement.
Calculate the sum of your Social Security and pension income (if you have any), your 401(k) or other retirement accounts, your investment portfolio, the equity in your home, your car, and your collectibles. Tally up the value of every asset you hold and project the income that lump sum could generate for you on a monthly basis through your projected timeline for retirement.
That monthly budget in mind, consider the world map. Realistically speaking, a bottom-line budget for retiring overseas is about $700 a month. With a retirement income between $700 and $1,000 per month your options are limited, but you have good ones including particular regions in Ecuador, Nicaragua, Thailand, Panama, and Malaysia.
With a budget of $1,000 to $1,500 per month, your options expand. On this budget you could retire comfortably in the five countries I’ve named already plus Uruguay, Argentina, Mexico, Belize, or France. (The French countryside offers a top-notch quality of life that can be much more affordable than you might imagine.)
A monthly budget of more than $1,500 could buy you retirement almost anywhere. Your lifestyle would be more restrained in some places than others. In more expensive locales you’d have less available each month for things like entertainment and dining out. But if you’re willing to be flexible and to learn to live, shop, and dine like the locals, a retirement nest egg of $1,500 per month and certainly income worth $2,000 per month or more puts the whole world at your feet.
Kathleen Peddicord is the founder of the Live and Invest Overseas publishing group. With more than 25 years experience covering this beat, Kathleen reports daily on current opportunities for living, retiring, and investing overseas in her free e-letter. Her book, How To Retire Overseas—Everything You Need To Know To Live Well Abroad For Less, was recently released by Penguin Books.