Where’s the frugalist place in the world to be an expat?

expatWhether you think of bright sandy beaches, lush jungles, or quiet cafes, the idea of an expatriate retirement is a retirement dream for many. However, frugality is as individual as the place you want to call home. How can you find the most frugal place to be an expat?

Examine Cost of Living

The primary reason most people move to a foreign country is for a lower cost of living. In Panama, living in the capital city isn’t going to get you any bargains, but moving four hours out of the city to Las Tablas would allow you to live on $1200 a month. You may find that how you get groceries, go to the doctor, and even what your house looks like is different, but these expenses may be much smaller compared to your home country.

Keep in Mind Banking & Finance

You will have to engage in international banking. Utilizing an international banking institution can help you to navigate currency exchanges, minimize transfer and investment fees, and make wise decisions based on your country of residence. There can also be many tax advantages to living abroad. Several countries south of the American border offer something called Pensionado status. This can give retirees discounts on general living expenses and tax exemptions.

Consider Your General Happiness

If you are so homesick that you are spending significant money calling home and travelling back to your country of birth, you are probably no longer saving money by being an expat. The most frugal way to ensure your happiness is by developing new relationships. Building friendships is a free solution that helps to create stability so that you’ll enjoy staying in your low cost of living locale.

So where to be an expat?

According to U.S. News, the most affordable place to retire is Chang Mai, Thailand with rents going from $100-400 a month, but states that frugal people can live on much less if need be. All of the least expensive places are in Southeast Asia and Central and South America. Way your total costs against your tax exempt status and you have your most frugal place to live. Whether you head to Thailand, the South of France, Panama, or the other locale of your retirement dreams, it’s important to remember that frugality is about your choices and your consumption. “…if you'd be happy with a modest life, sticking close to home, passing your days fishing and swimming” then expat living could be your frugal retirement solution.

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