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The Cheapest Places to Retire by Far

Updated on November 9, 2011

The Cheapest Places to Retire

In your retirement planning cost of living needs to be a high priority concern. Retirement planning for both early retirement and later retirement must pay attention to how much it costs to live somewhere. Whether your retirement nest egg was cut down by a third in recent stock market swings or you are simply looking to retire on the cheap so you can retire young, here are some ways to places to make retirement happen cheaper.

The Clear Blue Sea

That's right. One of the cheapest places you can imagine for retirement may very well be the open seas. You can live in the Caribbean or some other highly sought after real estate by simply making your home base a boat. Called cruisers, people who choose this retirement pay much less for their boats than the typical retirement home. They certainly pay less for their boats than they would on beach front property. They go to sleep each night to the sound of the waves. They own two or three outfits (a swimsuit, a casual outfit, and an eating out on the town outfit). They avoid harbor and docking fees by anchoring out in free floating communities in common waters off shore. They simply dry dock in hurricane season and make the rounds to family before hitting the open seas again. Utility bills are nil since a small turbine and a solar panel set gives them the lights they need and hot water for showers. No mortgage, no property tax on a home, and no worrying about leaving behind a home while you are traveling.

The Midwest: A Cheap Place to Retire

The median list price for a home in Peoria, Ill is $120,000. In Palo Alto, CA it is 1.2 million. Is it worth the difference in cost? Maybe. But think of it this way: you could buy a dream mansion in Peoria and regularly hop on a plane for a week in California and still save money over living in California for your retirement. Planning to retire in the midwest is a great way to stretch a thin budget, and make it feel thick. One smaller town (35,000 residents in limits) in central Indiana has a median list price of homes of $69,000 with many 2000 square foot homes available at that price. Think about that and you will realize a hot tub and a bi-yearly trip to warm places during cold months might make the weather a non-issue. Pay someone to shovel your drive and take care of your dog while you are often away and it will still be huge savings for your retirement planning.

Alabama and Louisiana

Sporting some of the lowest property tax rates in the country, Alabama and Louisiana also have access to the ocean and a wide variety of cultural attractions. The warmer climate draws all kinds of snow bird retirees for good reasons. Do not overlooking the coastal south in your retirement planning considerations. It may give you some of the best of both worlds. One of the cheapest places to retire and one of the best places to retire.

International Retirement

Some of the cheapest places to retire without a doubt are not in the United States. Costa Rica, Ecuador, Malaysia, Mexico, or Thailand all offer incredibly cheap places to retire for those in retirement planning mode. Be careful to understand all property ownership laws (especially in Mexico), get a good local lawyer, and have all your plans drawn up carefully. But if you are the adventurous type, but do not want to retire at sea, this is likely the cheapest option for you in terms of life quality per buck that you can find in retirement.


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