How to Retire in Paradise on $55 a Day

Imagine lounging on your deck, a cocktail in hand, the quiet turquoise waters of the Caribbean spread out before you. Or picture yourself relaxing in a flower-filled courtyard where lavender bougainvillea tumbles over stucco walls, while the sweet perfume of frangipani fills the air at dusk.

Maybe you dream, instead, of a mountain retreat where the air is crisp and you live amidst expansive, snow-capped peaks. Or perhaps it’s an elegant pied-à-terre you envision, an apartment with 20-foot ceilings and crown molding, where geraniums fill your window boxes, and your days and evenings are busy with the cosmopolitan pleasures of big-city living.

Whatever you imagine, here’s a guarantee: In the world’s best havens, the dream can be yours…and for less than you can possibly imagine.

Whether your retirement is fast approaching or just something you often find yourself dreaming about, you’ve probably imagined spending it in some far-flung tropical haven. But moving to a country that you know very little about is a lot of hassle, right? It’s probably not worth the time and effort to leave home, you think. Besides, all your family and friends are here.

Take it from us: it’s worth it.

If you look beyond your own shores you’ll find that many countries around the world offer far greater benefits and advantages for retirees than those offered at home.

Indeed, your quality of life in your new home will exceed all of your dreams, the cost of living will be much lower…allowing you to do more of the passion-pursuing and less of the penny-pinching you’re used to. And chances are you’ll see your family and friends more often than ever, since you’ll be living somewhere they’ll want to visit, as a matter of fact, they’ll probably come to be almost as passionate about your new home as you are!

A question of your priorities

According to the 2009 Mercer Human Resource Cost of Living Study, it costs, on average, $3,056.65 per month to rent a two-bedroom apartment in New York. That means you’ll pay $98 a day on rent alone! Want to retire in London? You’ll pay even more.

But, think about this: you can retire in beautiful Merida, Mexico or Vilcabamba, Ecuador for only $55 or less per day-and that includes not only rent but food, utilities, health care, dining out regularly and even maid service.

People often miscalculate what they will spend day-to-day when they hit retirement. Granted, you won’t have to pay for dry cleaning your work suits, cars will be cheaper to run when you’re not sitting in traffic for hours on end, and you may save on parking. But in other areas of your life you’ll find you’ll be spending a lot more. What will you do with all your extra time? Golf? Skydive? Take art classes? Go to language school? All good ideas, but it will cost you…if you stay home. Why not live on a golf course, learn a language first-hand, live near Mayan ruins, for a lot less money?

One of the simplest ways to improve your retirement lifestyle is to choose the retirement destination offering you more of what you want, at the best price. It’s a question of priorities. What’s important to you? Is cost of living number one on your priority list? If so, you can rent a nice, modest two-bedroom house in Ecuador for $250 a month. Here, a full-time maid costs $125 a month, and you can eat out for as little as $15 for two people.

Is health care what you care about most? In Mexico, where many physicians are U.S.-trained, a visit to the doctor (including specialists) costs between $35 and $45, with a private hospital room costing around $35 to $50 a day. Complex surgery can be performed for as little as $1,000 and minor surgeries for much less. Plus pharmaceutical drugs cost about half what they do in the U.S.

Maybe weather is the key consideration for you. They don’t call Ecuador “The Land of Eternal Sunshine” for nothing. Lying directly on the equator, the entire country enjoys 12 hours of direct equatorial sunlight 365 days a year. But because of its varied topography, just about any type of weather, except arctic tundra, can be found here. So whether you want sun, sun, sun, or cool afternoons stretching into cooler evenings, you will be comfortable in this climate.

Are your must-haves telecommunications and infrastructure? In Panama, you can get to the airport quickly and efficiently. Thanks to a long-time U.S. presence dating back to its interests in the canal, Panama’s infrastructure is First-World. Not only are the roads free of potholes, high-speed Internet is the norm, rather than the exception. Your international phone calls go through the first time, every time. If efficiency and reliability are important to you, give Panama a closer look.

Or is it safety what you care about most? Believe it or not, Panama is the safest place in Central or South America. Panamanians are extremely friendly and welcome foreign tourists and residents with open arms. There isn’t the envy or racial tension you might find in other economically deprived areas where Westerners have swept in. Moreover, the family circle is important here-much more so than in the States or much of Europe-as is religion. This all makes for a very safe and comfortable environment.

How about having accessibility to the U.S.? At no other time have the benefits of living in Mexico been more apparent and easier to take advantage of. Not just for U.S. citizens, but for Canadians, Europeans, South Americans…anyone looking for great weather, low prices, and rich culture.

Maybe you aren’t anywhere close to retirement. Nevertheless, it’s important to think about and plan for your future. Like every phase in your life, you’ll be surprised how fast retirement creeps up on you.

Secure your dream location for when you do retire. The most desirable places in the world are being snapped up as people like you begin to realize the potential they offer. Find what you are looking for, do your research. The time to stake a claim to your dream retirement home—your own beachfront, lakeside, or mountaintop retreat-might very well be right now, while it’s still priced within your reach.

Our special report How to Retire in Paradise on $55 a Day outlines the 6 best places in the world to live or retire…on less than you ever thought possible.

But How to Retire in Paradise on $55 a Day is not available for sale. You can only get it FREE when you sign up for a 1 year subscription to International Living.