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Best South American Countries to Spend Your Retirement

Updated on June 18, 2013

Many people will be retiring over the next few years and with the social security system in the United States the way it is a more economical way to live may be required if you are to truly enjoy your retirement. There may be a few questions you will need to answer before deciding where you want to retire to such as money: how much you have and how much you want to spend, climate: do you want hot but not melting your deodorant hot, medical care: how much is health insurance and how does the health care rate and last but not least, accessibility for friends and family. What is the use of having this great retirement spot if you cannot enjoy it with family and friends?



One of the best known spots is Panama. Panama has become a Mecca for retirees due to the lowering living expenses. Panama City has grown increasingly more expensive over the years but there are still great discounts offered to retirees. Panama’s currency is the U.S. dollar so there is no risk of losing money on the exchange rate and retirees also enjoy a tax exemption on imports from household goods to cars. There are also no taxes charged on income made outside of the country. A retiree in Panama can get a discount on just about anything; discounts on prescription drugs and doctor visits, discounts on entertainment and transportation, even utility bills and mortgages are allotted a retiree discount in Panama.



Ecuador is fast becoming a place for retirees to enjoy the good life. The good life can be had for as little as $600 U.S. dollars per month, including rent, utilities, health care, transportation and food. With the growing expat communities in Ecuador socializing with others having the same interests is now common place. The weather is some of the best anywhere with spring-like conditions year round which make heating and air conditioning costs nil. The only drawbacks that may be found living in Ecuador is that clothing sizes are smaller and everyday small appliances and some furniture items are more costly than in the United States.



Belize is a surprising choice but has become popular with North Americans and other English speaking retirees as English is the official language of Belize. A program to increase retirees to the country has also been established, “Retired Person Incentive Program” which offers an amazing array of discounts to retirees and their families. One benefit that is popular is no taxes paid on income generated outside of Belize, whether from investment or work. Another benefit for a qualified retiree is that no taxes or duties will be assessed on importing your personal effects including approved vehicles.



Mexico has been a top destination for retirees for years and this has caused the prices to climb over the years but retirement on a shoestring can still be had. Puerto Vallarta is a magnet for retirees as the crime rate is almost nil and the entertainment and living conditions are supreme. Unfortunately Puerto Vallarta is also one of the more pricey retirement locations coming in at about $2500 American dollars a month for the “good life.” Luckily there are expat communities popping up all over Mexico where the good life can be had for about half the price of Puerto Vallarta without giving up anything. With a little searching you can find a community suited to your needs and within your budget.


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    • JesadaB profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Home!

      Oh how exciting it would be to be able to move to another country and experience all it has to offer. Unfortunately you are not the only one who is losing a good chunk of their retirement in this economy, sorry to hear it. If I had to choose today I would probably go with Ecuador, its so beautiful but then again so is is such a hard choice and will require a great amount of thought, you should also check out the Dominican Republic they have some nice things to offer. That may be in a hub later :) Thanks for stopping by!

    • TravelAbout profile image


      6 years ago from United States


      What an interesting article. It's funny but my husband and I have been looking a Panama and Ecuador (Cuenca) as a retirement spot. We have lost a lot of our retirement in this economy and feel we will have a better life later on in one of the countries you wrote about. You are right about Panama and the escalation of living costs there. Although rich in many ways, it may end up too expensive for us. Nice hub.


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