By Catey Hill, MarketWatch
I am 43 years old and plan to retire at 62. As a member of Gen X, I already know that Social Security will most likely not be around for me. I plan to retire on $1.2 million in retirement savings. I’ve already decided it won’t be in the U.S. Where can I live to stretch my retirement dollars? It must have a low cost of living, low health-care costs, low crime and be near a beach. Thank you for your help.
I’m getting more interest from readers these days about retiring abroad — mostly because they feel they can get more bang for their buck outside of the U.S. They often can, but going abroad can have big downsides, sometimes including higher crime, being far from your family and not-so-great health care.
That said, your $1.2 million future nest egg could stretch a lot further in many spots abroad than it would in the U.S. Plus, though you doubt Social Security will be around for you, many experts say that you can, in fact, count on it — even if benefits are curtailed somewhat. As MarketWatch’s Alessandra Malito recently reported: “Many Americans believe Social Security won’t exist when they retire — they’re wrong. Social Security does face serious challenges, and the payout may decline — but the program itself is not going anywhere.”
Here are some places that meet most of your criteria, with one caveat: While this is all true today, a lot could change over the next 19 years. Still, I love that you’re planning so far ahead. Bravo!
Panama is known as a safe country and ranks in the top 100 ( 82nd, to be exact ) in the world for health-care quality and access, with residents saying Panamanian health care is generally affordable. And Coronado in particular — it’s around 40 miles west of Panama City on the Pacific Ocean — is considered a very safe community with “a top-notch medical facility,” says Suzan Haskins, a senior editor at International Living.
Once a resort town for affluent Panamanians, in recent decades Coronado — whose beaches feature black-and-white speckled sand — has become popular with expats, who enjoy the golf,
shopping and restaurants in the area.
It’s also pretty affordable: If you don’t live right by the beach, you can get by on under $2,000 a month, with the added bonus of a pensionado visa program that offers a ton of discounts for seniors. One downside is that, because Coronado is a resort town, it can feel hectic at times because of tourism.