cost of living http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8175/all en-US 7 Smart Reasons to Retire Abroad http://www.wisebread.com/7-smart-reasons-to-retire-abroad <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-smart-reasons-to-retire-abroad" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/senior_couple_walking_along_coastal_path.jpg" alt="Senior Couple Walking Along Coastal Path" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For some people retirement is a time to slow down, take stock, and simply enjoy not having to suffer the nine-to-five grind every day. For others it's an opportunity to fulfill long held ambitions and head overseas on a great adventure. If you're caught in two minds about what sort of life you want when you wave goodbye to your work commitments, here are seven reasons to retire abroad. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-to-know-before-retiring-abroad?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Things to Know Before Retiring Abroad</a>)</p> <h2>1. Reduced cost of living</h2> <p>The U.S. is ranked by Numbeo.com as one of the top 25 most expensive countries in the world in terms of cost of living. That means there is a huge number of alternative countries where you could potentially reduce your living costs, and in many instances quite drastically. A 2015 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office says that &quot;most households approaching retirement have low savings,&quot; meaning that many Americans could struggle in retirement.</p> <p>Perhaps you're among those concerned about the level of your savings as you head into retirement. But even if you're not, moving abroad to a country with a lower cost of living could be a good way to make your savings stretch. For as little as $1,000 a month you could afford a comfortable retirement in a number of exciting countries. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-countries-where-you-can-retire-for-1000-a-month?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Countries Where You Can Retire for $1,000 a Month</a>)</p> <h2>2. Higher standard of living</h2> <p>Along with a decrease in expenses, moving abroad could also bring you a higher standard of living than you'd achieve by staying in the U.S. Perhaps you dream of living by the beach, having help around the house, pursuing a pricey hobby, or being able to afford private nursing as you grow older. These may not necessarily be things you'd be able to afford at home, but could well be within your reach by moving abroad.</p> <p>Getting more for less is one of the main reasons many retirees decide to take the plunge and emigrate. Depending on the country you choose, things you might otherwise consider to be luxuries could become part of your everyday life. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Retire for Half the Cost in These 5 Countries</a>)</p> <p>As an example, I'm currently living in Koh Samui, Thailand. Just the other day I spent $10 on a wonderful one-hour massage on the beach and I had a delicious organic meal at a beautiful yoga retreat for just $11. These types of experiences would have cost me a lot more in the U.S.</p> <h2>3. Better weather</h2> <p>A driving factor for a lot of retirees who decide to settle abroad is the promise of better weather in other countries. For many, people a cold climate and dreary weather are harder to cope with as they get older. There are plenty of places with tropical climates where you can expect blue skies and consistent heat, regardless of the month.</p> <p>Being able to say goodbye to long, hard winters and swap heavy overcoats for shorts and T-shirts is a fantasy that appeals to many of us. More sunshine doesn't just mean a permanent tan; it can also have a positive effect on your quality of life by allowing you to do more outdoor activities throughout the year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-choose-the-perfect-country-to-retire-in?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Choose the Perfect Country to Retire In</a>)</p> <h2>4. Cheaper health care</h2> <p>As we get older, the price and quality of medical services available to us naturally becomes a bigger concern. The cost of health care in the U.S. can be so expensive, it can drive you into medical debt. Many overseas retirement hot spots have excellent, affordable health care systems that are easily accessible. There are various options for how to pay for health care when you're abroad, and, depending on your circumstances, each has benefits and drawbacks.</p> <p>An international medical insurance policy is often the safest bet, as it provides comprehensive international coverage. This is ideal if you plan to travel. However, be aware that these policies often don't include treatments back in the U.S. so it's unlikely you'll be covered during visits home. Single country medical policies are available for if you're planning on staying solely in your chosen country and not traveling abroad.</p> <h2>5. To avoid regrets</h2> <p>Nobody wants to look back on their life and have regrets over the things they wish they had done, but never managed to. As a retiree you've most likely worked hard over the course of your career and potentially even sacrificed some of the aspirations that you had when you were younger.</p> <p>It's never too late to build the life of your dreams, and rest assured you won't be alone in heading overseas to do just that. Don't let fear of the unknown stop you from fulfilling those objectives in your golden years. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-travel-in-retirement-keeps-you-young?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways Travel in Retirement Keeps You Young</a>)</p> <h2>6. To slow down the aging process</h2> <p>Retirement abroad is the perfect time to welcome new challenges and take advantage of the exciting opportunities that come your way. The Alzheimer's Association suggests that mental stimulation can help stave off mental decline associated with aging and help build new brain cells in the process. Learning about a new culture, exposing yourself to different experiences, and taking up a new language are all great ways to exercise the brain. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-science-says-travel-is-good-for-your-health?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways Science Says Travel is Good For Your Health</a>)</p> <h2>7. For the adventure</h2> <p>No one knows exactly how retiring abroad will turn out, but one thing is for sure: It will be a great adventure. It will give you the opportunity to start afresh and live the life that you've always dreamed of. With all of the free time you'll have, the opportunities to travel, explore, and meet new people from a new culture are endless.</p> <p>Experience the different cuisine, take in unfamiliar scenery, and welcome the chances that arise with open arms. You might find your entire outlook on life changed, your opinions challenged, and preconceptions dashed. Retiring abroad could be the best thing you ever do. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-countries-that-welcome-american-retirees?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Countries That Welcome American Retirees</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-smart-reasons-to-retire-abroad&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Smart%2520Reasons%2520to%2520Retire%2520Abroad.jpg&amp;description=7%20Smart%20Reasons%20to%20Retire%20Abroad"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Smart%20Reasons%20to%20Retire%20Abroad.jpg" alt="7 Smart Reasons to Retire Abroad" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-smart-reasons-to-retire-abroad">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-countries-where-you-can-retire-for-1000-a-month">5 Countries Where You Can Retire for $1,000 a Month</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries">Retire for Half the Cost in These 5 Countries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-incredible-places-to-retire-abroad-that-anyone-can-afford">5 Incredible Places to Retire Abroad That Anyone Can Afford</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-retirement-hotspots-that-are-cheaper-now-than-ever-before">9 Retirement Hotspots That Are Cheaper Now Than Ever Before</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-make-a-snowbird-retirement-affordable">6 Ways to Make a Snowbird Retirement Affordable</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement Travel affordable retirement cost of living expat longevity retire abroad where to retire Tue, 05 Dec 2017 09:30:10 +0000 Nick Wharton 2066566 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's How Far $1 Million Will Actually Go in Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-far-1-million-will-actually-go-in-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-how-far-1-million-will-actually-go-in-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/nest_made_of_american_currency_horizontal_0.jpg" alt="Nest Made of American Currency Horizontal" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For years, saving $1 million for retirement has been on my nest egg to-do list. Using the 4 percent rule, where you withdraw 4 percent of your savings each year during retirement, a million dollars would produce a hypothetical income lasting up to 33 years. That seems like a nice round number and reasonable goal, especially with the traditional retirement age holding steady at 65 and the average American living for 20 years after retiring.</p> <p>However, depending on where you live, $1 million may not last very long at all. So before you dive into your golden years, you should make sure you know exactly how far your savings will take you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-can-you-afford-to-spend-in-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Much Can You Afford to Spend in Retirement?</a>)</p> <h2>Where you live matters most</h2> <p>GoBankingRates compared the cost of basic living expenses in each state and found the length of time a million dollars lasts varies significantly across the country. In Hawaii, a state with the highest cost of living index, you could run out of cash in under 12 years. Unless camping out on the beach while subsisting on pineapples is your thing, Hawaii may not be the best option.</p> <p>On the other hand, there's Mississippi. That same nest egg would last 26 years in the Magnolia State. Mississippi has the lowest cost of living index in the country. A retiree could live comfortably paying just $11,000 a year for housing. You may not be able to visit the white sandy beaches of Oahu, but the Gold Coast is nothing to sneeze at.</p> <h2>Other expenses to plan for in retirement</h2> <p>In addition to housing, the cost of living index accounts for basic necessities like food, taxes, and health care. Some states, like Vermont, tax Social Security benefits. Florida residents have the lowest Social Security payout, but they don't pay state taxes on those benefits.</p> <p>Access and affordable health care options, senior transportation, and job opportunities for people over 65 are other financial aspects to keep in mind according to the Best Cities for Successful Aging index. Durham-Chapel Hill clocks in at one of the top spots in their list of best retirement cities. Retirees are attracted to the mild climate, low state and property taxes, and ample access to world-class medical facilities. Your $1 million nest egg would last nearly 24 years in this area. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-unexpected-expenses-for-retirees-and-how-to-manage-them?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Unexpected Expenses for Retirees &mdash; And How to Manage Them</a>)</p> <h2>Calculating your retirement goal</h2> <p>I like my hometown. Chicago may not top the charts on any best-place-to-retire mega list, but access to my extended family, proximity to my future grandchildren, and a vibrant walkable city with great public transportation options may still be quality of life factors I value in my golden years. Staying put may be desirable even if your hometown doesn't make a &quot;where to retire&quot; hot list on the internet. Determining your retirement savings goal should start with where you plan to live and how much it will cost to live there.</p> <p>Roger Wohlner, a financial adviser with The Chicago Financial Planner, advises would-be retirees to consider a number of options. Calculating a retirement savings goal is different for everyone.</p> <p>&quot;Are you going to have a mortgage? Are you going to move somewhere else and downsize? What are you going to spend your money on? It's really no different from how you live pre-retirement,&quot; he says.</p> <p>Most of all, he suggests we factor in health care costs into any post-employment savings projections. &quot;As you get older, [medical expenses] are more pronounced in retirement,&quot; Wohlner says.</p> <p>Fidelity's annual study on health care costs found that a retired couple can expect to spend $275,000 on medical expenses during retirement, not including long-term care. And health care costs are rising well beyond the rate of inflation: The increase in medical spending from 2016 to 2017 alone was $15,000.</p> <p>With your basic living expenses in mind, estimated health care projections, and a few dollars thrown in for hobbies &mdash; like traveling or spoiling the <em>grands</em> &mdash; head to your nearest online retirement calculator.</p> <p>Experts suggest that a comfortable retirement lifestyle will require 70 to 80 percent of your current annual salary. Using a simple <a href="https://www.calcxml.com/calculators/retirement-calculator" target="_blank">retirement calculator</a>, you can figure out what your savings goal should be based on your savings starting point and estimated withdrawal needs. With a custom retirement savings goal in hand, you can start to determine if $1 million is still a workable goal, relocation is in your retirement future, or you need to revise your current savings strategy. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-you-have-saved-for-retirement-by-30-40-50?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Much Should You Have Saved for Retirement by 30? 40? 50?</a>)</p> <p>In either case, determining your retirement goal should be an annual exercise, according to financial experts like Roger Wohlner. &quot;This is not something you just do once. Circumstances change. People should really be updating this calculation every year,&quot; he says.</p> <p>If entering your golden years with $1 million in savings doesn't work out in a desirable U.S. location, consider retiring abroad to one of many affordable countries where your savings will stretch even further. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-countries-where-you-can-retire-for-1000-a-month?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Countries Where You Can Retire for $1,000 a Month</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fheres-how-far-1-million-will-actually-go-in-retirement&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHeres%2520How%2520Far%2520%25241%2520Million%2520Will%2520Actually%2520Go%2520in%2520Retirement.jpg&amp;description=Heres%20How%20Far%201%20Million%20Dollars%20Will%20Actually%20Go%20in%20Retirement"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Heres%20How%20Far%20%241%20Million%20Will%20Actually%20Go%20in%20Retirement.jpg" alt="Here's How Far $1 Million Will Actually Go in Retirement" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/toni-husbands">Toni Husbands</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-far-1-million-will-actually-go-in-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-saving-money-is-harder-today">Why Saving Money Is Harder Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-to-invest-in-stocks-past-age-50">7 Reasons to Invest in Stocks Past Age 50</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-you-should-budget-your-social-security-checks">Here&#039;s How You Should Budget Your Social Security Checks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-almost-anyone-can-afford-to-retire-in-mexico">How Almost Anyone Can Afford to Retire in Mexico</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-couples-are-shortchanging-their-retirement-savings">4 Ways Couples Are Shortchanging Their Retirement Savings</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement cities cost of living expenses health care income life span old age relocation saving money withdrawal rate Tue, 28 Nov 2017 10:00:06 +0000 Toni Husbands 2059323 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Countries Where You Can Retire for $1,000 a Month http://www.wisebread.com/5-countries-where-you-can-retire-for-1000-a-month <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-countries-where-you-can-retire-for-1000-a-month" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy_senior_couple_talking_a_walk_in_park.jpg" alt="Happy senior couple talking a walk in park" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most of us have dreams of retiring to a life of leisure, with a nest egg that will enable us to live comfortably. But according to the Government Accountability Office, up to <a href="http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-419" target="_blank">two-thirds of workers</a> are potentially at risk of not maintaining the same standard of living they enjoyed pre-retirement.</p> <p>Moving to a new country to live out your retirement could provide the perfect solution. <a href="https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/rankings_by_country.jsp" target="_blank">Numbeo's Cost of Living Index</a> has the U.S. listed as the 18th most expensive country to live in, meaning retirees have a huge number of cheaper countries to select from. Here are five countries where you can retire on $1,000 per month. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-countries-that-welcome-american-retirees?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Countries That Welcome American Retirees</a>)</p> <h2>1. Thailand</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5197/sukhothai_temple_lake_panorama.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Thailand is best known for its tropical islands and exciting big cities, but it's also a destination where an increasing number of overseas retirees are settling down. It's got the magic combination of being well-developed while maintaining very low living costs.</p> <p>Grocery costs are well-priced and good quality, and fresh produce is widely available. According to Numbeo, the average price of a loaf of bread is $1, a dozen eggs is $1.80, and a pound of rice costs just 60 cents. A three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant costs $20.60, so you'll also be able to enjoy regular evenings out.</p> <p>The transport infrastructure in Thailand is also good, with tuk tuks, taxis, and public transport providing easy ways to get around. Costs are also low, with Numbeo suggesting the flag fare for an average one-way taxi ride is about $1 plus 28 cents per mile after that.</p> <p><strong>Typical fixed costs per month:</strong></p> <ul> <li> <p>Rent for one-bed apartment city center: $615</p> </li> <li> <p>Utilities: $84</p> </li> <li> <p>Internet: $18</p> </li> </ul> <h2>2. Bolivia</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5197/copacabana.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Although not the most fashionable country in South America, Bolivia is a great retirement option for outdoor lovers. From the Amazon rain forest to the Andes Mountains, there's an abundance of beautiful landscapes to explore. It's also one of the most affordable countries in South America.</p> <p>The cheapest place to buy fresh produce is from the local markets throughout the country, but there are also many supermarkets with wider selections of international goods. Numbeo lists the average price of a loaf of bread as 92 cents, a dozen eggs for $1.40, and a pound of rice at 60 cents. Splashing out on a three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant will cost $25.</p> <p>Transport systems in Bolivia are not the most advanced, but there are good public bus networks and inexpensive taxi services in most areas. According to Numbeo, the average cost of a one way bus fare is 32 cents, and the starting fare for a taxi is $1.45 with $2.33 added for each mile.</p> <p><strong>Typical fixed costs per month:</strong></p> <ul> <li> <p>Rent for one-bed apartment city center: $290</p> </li> <li> <p>Utilities: $43</p> </li> <li> <p>Internet: $70</p> </li> </ul> <h2>3. Nicaragua</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5197/cathedral_of_granada_nicaragua.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Central America's largest country has become a popular destination for retirees in recent years. The scenery is dramatic and lush, with numerous volcanoes peppering the countryside, verdant rain forest covering large portions, and coastal areas lined with white sand beaches.</p> <p>Between the markets and the major supermarkets, one of which is owned by Walmart, it's possible to get virtually everything you're used to in the U.S. The average price, according to Numbeo, for a loaf of bread is $1.50, a dozen eggs runs $1.63, and a pound of rice 43 cents. A three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant will run you $30.</p> <p>Buses, taxis, and mototaxis are the most popular and inexpensive forms of transportation, with many of the buses being the familiar old yellow school buses imported from the U.S. Numbeo lists the average fare as just 35 cents, while the starting tariff for taxis is $1 and an extra $1.64 per mile after that.</p> <p><strong>Typical fixed costs per month:</strong></p> <ul> <li> <p>Rent for one-bed apartment city center: $273</p> </li> <li> <p>Utilities: $119</p> </li> <li> <p>Internet: $70</p> </li> </ul> <h2>4. Malaysia</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5197/sunset_over_tea_plantation_in_malaysia.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Year-round warm temperatures, stunning beaches, and diverse, bustling cities make this a great choice for people on the lookout for top spots to retire. Thanks to English being spoken by virtually everyone, it's an easy place to get by without learning a new language.</p> <p>Though it's easy to get your hands on international branded goods, local produce is far cheaper and of good quality. The average price for a loaf of bread is 70 cents, a dozen eggs will cost you $1.24, and a pound of rice is available for 56 cents, according to Numbeo. Eating out is a particular pleasure is Malaysia, thanks to the unique fusion of cuisines found here. It's also cheap at just $16 for a three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant.</p> <p>Kuala Lumpur, the capital, is well connected by trains and buses, while the rest of the country is serviced by good bus networks. The average price of a one way train fare is 70 cents, and taxis are also a price-effective option, with starting tariffs of 70 cents and a per-mile cost of just 56 cents.</p> <p><strong>Typical fixed costs per month:</strong></p> <ul> <li> <p>Rent for one-bed apartment city center: $557</p> </li> <li> <p>Utilities: $50</p> </li> <li> <p>Internet: $38</p> </li> </ul> <h2>5. Georgia</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5197/view_over_the_city_of_tbilisi_georgia.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>No, we're not talking about the state tucked down in the southeast of the U.S., but a tiny nation that lies on the edges of both Europe and Asia. Though it's little known, it's growing in popularity, especially among retirees, thanks to its beautiful countryside and extremely low cost of living.</p> <p>Georgia is known for its abundance of fresh produce, as well as reputedly being the birthplace of wine. Both are extremely cheap in this country, as are most groceries on offer. A loaf of bread is just 31 cents, a dozen eggs come in at $1.47, and a pound of rice at 36 cents. Eating out is also reasonable at $21 for a three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant.</p> <p>Transport in the capital Tbilisi is excellent, with a metro system as well as good bus links and cost-effective taxis. Elsewhere in the country buses and trains are easy to use. The average fare is just 20 cents, and taxis start at $1.25 with 33 cents per mile after that.</p> <p><strong>Typical fixed costs per month:</strong></p> <ul> <li> <p>Rent for one-bed apartment city center: $310</p> </li> <li> <p>Utilities: $60</p> </li> <li> <p>Internet: $11.20</p> </li> </ul> <p>(See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Retire for Half the Cost in These 5 Countries</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-countries-where-you-can-retire-for-1000-a-month&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Countries%2520Where%2520You%2520Can%2520Retire%2520for%25201%252C000%2520dollars%2520a%2520Month.jpg&amp;description=5%20Countries%20Where%20You%20Can%20Retire%20for%201%2C000%20Dollars%20a%20Month"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Countries%20Where%20You%20Can%20Retire%20for%201%2C000%20dollars%20a%20Month.jpg" alt="5 Countries Where You Can Retire for $1,000 a Month" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-countries-where-you-can-retire-for-1000-a-month">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-almost-anyone-can-afford-to-retire-in-mexico">How Almost Anyone Can Afford to Retire in Mexico</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries">Retire for Half the Cost in These 5 Countries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-to-know-before-retiring-abroad">9 Things to Know Before Retiring Abroad</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-countries-where-you-can-travel-on-30-a-day-or-less">7 Countries Where You Can Travel on $30 a Day or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-these-expenses-spoil-your-retirement-abroad">Don&#039;t Let These Expenses Spoil Your Retirement Abroad</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement Travel abroad affordable Asia cost of living countries Europe expats expenses food costs international transportation Tue, 11 Jul 2017 08:30:11 +0000 Nick Wharton 1978059 at http://www.wisebread.com How Almost Anyone Can Afford to Retire in Mexico http://www.wisebread.com/how-almost-anyone-can-afford-to-retire-in-mexico <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-almost-anyone-can-afford-to-retire-in-mexico" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_chairs_beach_154894068.jpg" alt="Couple learning how to retire in Mexico for less" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're thinking about retirement, you're not alone. However, out of 100 Americans who start working at age 25, only 4% are <a href="http://www.statisticbrain.com/retirement-statistics/" target="_blank">expected to have saved enough</a> for retirement at age 65.</p> <p>While this number may seem surprisingly low, retiring doesn't have to be as expensive as you may think. If you can lower your monthly income requirement, you can also greatly reduce the total capital that you need to save to retire.</p> <p>One easy way to do this: retire abroad. For many Americans, Mexico is a top choice. It's not only geographically close, it's also very affordable. Adventure seekers love its bustling cities full of colonial architecture and rich culture, as well as the natural beauty found along its coastlines and highlands. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Retire for Half the Cost in These 5 Countries</a>)</p> <p>If you're worried you might be among the 96% of people who haven't saved enough for retirement, moving to Mexico may be an effective way to make your nest egg go further.</p> <h2>Cost of Living in Mexico</h2> <p>The cost of living is drastically lower than in the U.S. or in Canada. According to Numbeo, the cost of living in Mexico is <a href="https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/country_result.jsp?country=Mexico" target="_blank">nearly 60% lower</a> than the United States, with rent costing 79% less.</p> <p>However, keep in mind that those are costs averaged over the entire country. Expenses are higher in bigger cities such as the capital, and in places that attract a lot of foreigners, such as Playa del Carmen.</p> <h2>Rental Costs</h2> <p>Based on my experience living in Mexico City and traveling extensively through the country during 2015 and 2016, I have found rents to be far lower than the U.S. You can find a place for as low as $100 a month in off-the-beaten-track destinations, such as the small beach town of Mazunte. However, a great deal like this often means sacrificing on some of the comforts of home such as air conditioning and hot water.</p> <p>On the upper end of the budget, if you're willing to spend $600&ndash;$1,000, you can rent a luxury apartment, even in the more expensive and cosmopolitan destinations.</p> <h2>Health Insurance Costs</h2> <p>Private health insurance is significantly cheaper in Mexico than in the states. It can cost you <a href="http://rollybrook.com/health.htm" target="_blank">as little as 20%</a> of what it would cost in the U.S.</p> <p>Because the cost of routine visits and minor incidents is so small, you may also choose to self-insure, which means simply paying for these costs out-of-pocket as opposed to purchasing an insurance plan.</p> <h2>Doctor Costs</h2> <p>As with rental prices, the cost of going to the doctor also varies to some extent, so these numbers should only serve as a rough guideline.</p> <p>From my experience, a routine teeth cleaning from a dentist costs $15&ndash;$20. A regular doctor's visit costs as little as $25 to $50, while a specialist normally costs $35&ndash;$50 and up per visit.</p> <h2>Food Costs: Restaurants and Grocery Shopping</h2> <p>Groceries in Mexico are about a third of the price of food in the U.S., depending on the season and availability. You can even sometimes find American chains like Wal-Mart, where you can buy cheap groceries.</p> <p>Restaurant prices vary, too, based on type. On the lower end, you can visit food stands to get snacks, which Mexicans call antojitos for as little as 50 cents to a dollar. These include tacos, quesadillas, and burritos. Freshly pressed juice and prepared fruit is also in this price range.</p> <p>One step up from the food stands are restaurants called fondas. These are small, family-owned establishments that serve two- or three-course meals, including soup or salad, a full entree, and a drink. Sometimes they also come with dessert. Expect to pay $3&ndash;$10 dollars.</p> <p>A truly gourmet, upscale dining experience should set you back $10&ndash;$30.</p> <h3>Alcohol Costs</h3> <p>Alcohol in Mexico is widely available, and enjoying tequila or mezcal is a common cultural practice. There are no taboos on drinking, and alcohol is accessible at the local corner store for very affordable prices.</p> <p>For a bottle of tequila or mezcal you can expect to pay $10 for a low-quality bottle and up to $40 for an artisanally produced bottle of very good quality alcohol.</p> <p>A six-pack of beer starts at $4&ndash;$6. There are not as many microbrew options available as in the U.S., but some bars do offer local, small-batch beer, usually priced around $4 a bottle.</p> <p>Mexico is an attractive place to retire, not only because it is an affordable option, but because of all that it has to offer, from interesting cultural experiences to the hospitable locals who often go out of their way to make you feel at home.</p> <h2>Transport Costs</h2> <p>If you're traveling by plane, prices start around $250 for round-trip tickets to or from the U.S., and $40&ndash;$100 for trips within country. Long-distance coaches are an even cheaper alternative to internal flights. An eight-hour basic bus trip costs about $25, varying a bit depending on your destination. You also have the option of paying more for a first-class bus that includes drinks, snacks, entertainment (TV and music), and seats that are designed to be comfortable to sleep in.</p> <p>Local transportation options include the bus (on average 50 cents) and, in Mexico City, the Metro (25 cents).</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this post? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-almost-anyone-can-afford-to-retire-in-mexico&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%20Almost%20Anyone%20Can%20Afford%20to%20Retire%20in%20Mexico.jpg&amp;description=How%20Almost%20Anyone%20Can%20Afford%20to%20Retire%20in%20Mexico" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20Almost%20Anyone%20Can%20Afford%20to%20Retire%20in%20Mexico.jpg" alt="How Almost Anyone Can Afford to Retire in Mexico" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-gokee">Amanda Gokee</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-almost-anyone-can-afford-to-retire-in-mexico">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-countries-where-you-can-retire-for-1000-a-month">5 Countries Where You Can Retire for $1,000 a Month</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries">Retire for Half the Cost in These 5 Countries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-financial-steps-to-take-before-retiring-abroad">13 Financial Steps to Take Before Retiring Abroad</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-far-1-million-will-actually-go-in-retirement">Here&#039;s How Far $1 Million Will Actually Go in Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-you-should-budget-your-social-security-checks">Here&#039;s How You Should Budget Your Social Security Checks</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement Travel cost of living expats expenses food costs foreign countries health care mexico Fri, 10 Feb 2017 10:30:38 +0000 Amanda Gokee 1871128 at http://www.wisebread.com Would You Move to One of These States to Avoid Taxes? http://www.wisebread.com/would-you-move-to-one-of-these-states-to-avoid-taxes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/would-you-move-to-one-of-these-states-to-avoid-taxes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/tax_forms_505405952.jpg" alt="Woman moving to a new state to avoid taxes" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Some states have no state income tax &mdash; but at what expense?</p> <p>If you're thinking of moving to one of the seven states with no income tax, consider that you may not actually be saving much money in the end, due to higher sales taxes, higher property taxes, and other additional costs. After all, these states can't just forego taxes altogether as a source of revenue; they simply make up the money somewhere else.</p> <p>So how do you assess how much you're really saving, if anything at all?</p> <h2>The States With No Income Taxes</h2> <p>Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming have no state income tax. Residents of New Hampshire and Tennessee are also spared from state income tax, but have to pay taxes on dividends and income from investments. Other states (such as Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, and Wisconsin) have considered forgoing state income tax, as well, because it tends to result in economic and population growth throughout the state.</p> <p>These states argue that cutting the state income tax can help to create jobs and prevent workers from leaving the state.</p> <h2>How Much Are You Really Saving?</h2> <p>For this example, let's compare living and working in California to Washington. Let's say your personal income is $60,000 per year. <a href="https://www.tax-brackets.org/californiataxtable" target="_blank">California's marginal income tax rate</a> at this income is 9.3%, while Washington&rsquo;s is 0%. The <a href="https://smartasset.com/taxes/california-tax-calculator#IuHiRFQfs9" target="_blank">effective rate</a> at this income is 4.47%, which will result in $2,680 in state taxes.</p> <p>California and Washington have similar costs of living, depending on where you live. For instance, Los Angeles and Seattle have very similar costs of living, while San Francisco&rsquo;s cost of living is 24% higher than Seattle&rsquo;s. On the other hand, <a href="http://www.taxrates.com/california-c/" target="_blank">California's sales tax rate</a> is 7.5%&ndash;10%, while <a href="http://www.sale-tax.com/Washington" target="_blank">Washington&rsquo;s sales tax</a>&nbsp;ranges from 7%&ndash;9.9%, depending on where you live.</p> <p>Consider how much you&rsquo;d be saving after you factor in your moving costs. According to the American Moving &amp; Storage Association, the average move costs $3,868&ndash;$5,415 for the average two or three bedroom home from California to Washington. However, this depends on your personal move and how much you are able to save. In fact, Worldwide ERC estimates the average moving cost from one state to another to be closer to $12,935.</p> <h2>No Income Tax Usually Means Higher Sales Taxes</h2> <p>By forgoing a state income tax, the state needs to make up for their budget in other ways. For instance, the sales tax on your clothing, food, gasoline, and other purchases may be higher in the new state. There are also other fees to consider, such as property taxes, tuition costs, and cost of living expenses, which should be factored into your state-by-state comparisons.</p> <p>For example, Tennessee has the highest average state and local sales tax rate in the country, which the Tax Foundation estimates at around 9.45%. Nevada also has above-average sales taxes. Texas and Florida also have above-average sales tax and effective property tax rates. Meanwhile, Washington has the highest gasoline prices due to a high gasoline tax of around $0.37 per gallon.</p> <h2>And Higher Property Taxes</h2> <p>It&rsquo;s also important to consider the property tax rate in the state-by-state comparison, which is <a href="http://www.evolve-ca.org/prop-13-facts/" target="_blank">1% of assessed property value</a> in California and <a href="https://smartasset.com/taxes/washington-property-tax-calculator" target="_blank">1.025% in Washington</a>, as well as the vehicle tax rate, which is <a href="https://www.salestaxhandbook.com/california/sales-tax-vehicles" target="_blank">7.5% in California </a>and 6.8% in Washington.</p> <p>Property tax can make a big difference, depending on where you live and how much your home is worth &mdash; and how long you've owned it. For instance, <a href="http://www.nber.org/digest/apr05/w11108.html" target="_blank">Warren Buffett pays</a> property taxes of $14,410 (at a 2.9% tax rate) on his $500,000 home in Nebraska and only $2,264 (at a 0.056% tax rate) on his $4M home in California. (California's Proposition 13 essentially &quot;locked in&quot; Buffett's property tax rate at 1970s levels.)</p> <h2>And a Bunch of Other Fees and Taxes</h2> <p>Along with potentially higher sales taxes and property taxes, each state can also employ its own unique fees and taxes. New Hampshire has some of the highest effective property taxes in the country, as well as the highest average in-state tuition. By contrast, Wyoming and Alaska derive high tax revenues from coal mining and oil drilling operations. In fact, nearly 70% of Alaska's income comes from nontax revenue. Nevada receives taxes and fees on gambling, which totals nearly $1B each year, as well as a modified business tax rate of 1.17%.</p> <p>While South Dakota has a below average sales tax rate, the state charges a range of other fees and taxes to make up for it, including a cigarette excise tax, bank franchise and alcoholic beverage taxes, high motor fuel tax, and licensing fees on coin-operated laundries. Texas charges <a href="https://www.comptroller.texas.gov/taxes/#TexasTaxes" target="_blank">more than 60 separate taxes</a>, fees, and assessmentsto make up for the lack of income taxes.</p> <h2>Before You Go, Compare All Expenses</h2> <p>According to the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness, Alaska, Florida, New Hampshire, South Dakota, and Washington all have above average cost of living. Each state is unique in its taxation systems, so it&rsquo;s important to research your <a href="http://tax.findlaw.com/tax-laws-forms/state-tax-codes.html" target="_blank">new state&rsquo;s tax code</a> and alternative revenue streams before factoring in what you would save in state income taxes. Make sure to also use a <a href="http://swz.salary.com/CostOfLivingWizard/LayoutScripts/Coll_Start.aspx" target="_blank">cost of living comparison tool</a> for a better idea of how much you will save overall (if anything at all) by making the big move.</p> <h2>How to Reduce Your Income Tax Without Moving</h2> <p>Before you decide to move to a state with no income taxes, consider the alternatives. You can contribute more to your 401K, donate more, and take advantage of tax deductions. There are various ways to save money on your taxes each year, so speak with your tax pro to ensure you are taking advantage of every possible deduction.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/would-you-move-to-one-of-these-states-to-avoid-taxes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-worst-states-for-retirees">The 10 Worst States for Retirees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-much-life-in-the-big-city-will-cost-you">Here&#039;s How Much Life in the Big City Will Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security">5 American Cities Where You Can Retire On Just Social Security</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-signs-you-probably-need-an-accountant">5 Signs You Probably Need an Accountant</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-incredible-world-cities-you-can-afford">5 Incredible World Cities You Can Afford</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes cost of living income taxes low tax rates moving relocating sales taxes states Fri, 06 Jan 2017 10:00:16 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1869198 at http://www.wisebread.com Rent Your Home or Buy? Here's How to Decide http://www.wisebread.com/rent-your-home-or-buy-heres-how-to-decide <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/rent-your-home-or-buy-heres-how-to-decide" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/hands_small_house_71818037.jpg" alt="Deciding if you should rent or buy your home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are plenty of advantages to renting an apartment, and just as many to buying a home, instead. But what about financially? Is renting or buying the smarter money move?</p> <p>Not surprisingly, the answer is complicated, and depends on where you live, what kind of home you want to buy or apartment you want to rent, and how long you plan on staying in one place. Here's a look at the numbers that might help you solve the rent-vs.-buy puzzle.</p> <h2>Prices Are Rising for Buyers and Renters</h2> <p>Renting an apartment is more expensive today than it was even a year ago. But the same is true of buying a home.</p> <p>Consider the cost of buying a home. The National Association of Realtors reported that in September of this year, the median price of existing homes stood at $234,200.</p> <p>You won't necessarily have to pay $234,200 or more, depending on where you buy. But the median sales price continues to increase, meaning that home prices overall are on the rise. The median price in September was up 5.6% from the same month one year earlier, when it was $221,700. And don't expect median prices to fall anytime soon. The association says that September's price increase represents the 55th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.</p> <p>And what about renting? Apartment rents continue to rise, too. ApartmentList reported that in November of this year, the median national rent for one-bedroom apartments was $1,110 a month. For two-bedroom apartments that figure was $1,270. The good news is that median rents actually fell in 55 out of the country's 100 biggest cities from October to November, according to ApartmentList.</p> <p>The bad news? Rents are still higher today than they were one, two, or three years ago. According to ApartmentList, the median national rent was 2% higher in November of this year compared with the same month one year earlier.</p> <p>So no matter if you rent or buy, know that prices are generally rising.</p> <h2>Which Is More Affordable?</h2> <p>That leads to the big question: Given that both buying a home and renting an apartment are getting more expensive, which option is most affordable?</p> <p>The answer to this question includes plenty of variables. For instance, owning a home provides a tax benefit: You can deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage loan each year up to $1 million, resulting in a lower tax bill. But even this isn't a crystal-clear financial plus for all owners. You can only claim your mortgage interest deduction if you itemize your taxes. And if that interest deduction isn't higher than the IRS' standard deduction &mdash; which stood at $12,600 for married couples filing jointly and $6,300 for singles in 2016 &mdash; there is no real reason for you to itemize your taxes and claim the deduction.</p> <p>Then consider the variables of going the apartment route: You might be able to find an apartment with low rent. But that apartment might not be located where you actually want to live, especially if you want to live in the center of a large city. Apartments in urban areas tend to come with higher rents today.</p> <p>And if you do find a cheaper apartment, it will almost certainly not be a newer one. RENTCafe found that in 2015, 75% of all large new apartment properties built across the country were high-end luxury properties, buildings that charge far higher monthly rents. Most of these new apartments are being built in the center of big cities, too, according to RENTCafe.</p> <p>So if you want to rent an apartment in San Francisco? ApartmentList says that a two-bedroom apartment here had a median price of $4,700 a month in November, while a one-bedroom had a median monthly rent of $3,440. In Boston, two-bedrooms rented for a median price of $2,350 a month, while in Seattle it cost a median of $1,720 for a one-bedroom unit and $2,300 for two bedrooms.</p> <p>Given this jumble of numbers, is it cheaper to rent or buy? According to real estate website Trulia, buying a home is cheaper on a national basis. Though, not surprisingly, there are some caveats.</p> <h2>Nationally, Buying Is Cheaper</h2> <p>Trulia reported in October that buying a home was 37.7% cheaper than renting on a national basis. But that 37.7% figure only holds true for those who live in their homes for at least seven years and can afford to come up with a down payment of 20% on their homes.</p> <p>Given that standard, Trulia reports that buying is cheaper than renting in each of the 100 largest metropolitan areas of the country. According to Trulia, for example, it is 50% cheaper to buy in Miami and just under 20% cheaper to buy in San Francisco and Honolulu.</p> <p>Part of the reason that buying is more affordable comes down to mortgage interest rates. Rates are still at historically low levels, with the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey reporting that as of Nov. 10, the average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage loan stood at 3.57%. This makes borrowing money for a mortgage loan more affordable.</p> <p>Want to see what Trulia thinks of the rent-vs.-buy decision in your community? Visit the site&rsquo;s <a href="https://www.trulia.com/rent_vs_buy/">rent-vs.-buy calculator</a>, punch in your metropolitan area and wait for the results.</p> <h2>What Should You Do?</h2> <p>These numbers, and Trulia&rsquo;s rent-vs.-buy calculator, should serve as a general guide. But they alone can't tell you whether you should rent or buy. That's because everyone's situation is unique.</p> <p>Say you only plan to live in an area for three or four years before moving. Renting is almost always the better financial move. Say you hate the thought of mowing a lawn for 15 years. Again, renting might be the better choice, even if it is more expensive than owning a home. If you dream of gardening in your own backyard? Then buying might make you happier.</p> <p>Your best bet is to carefully analyze what you want out of a home, whether it's the stability of owning and building equity or the freedom that comes with renting. Then make your decision based on what type of home will best meet your needs.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rent-your-home-or-buy-heres-how-to-decide">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-home-buying-habits-we-can-learn-from-millennials">4 Home-Buying Habits We Can Learn From Millennials</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-your-house-is-not-an-investment">Stop Thinking of Your House as an Investment</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-best-cities-with-rent-control">The 3 Best Cities With Rent Control</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/weak-credit-you-can-still-get-a-mortgage-despite-tough-lending-standards">Weak Credit? You Can Still Get a Mortgage Despite Tough Lending Standards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-rent-an-apartment-with-bad-credit">7 Ways to Rent An Apartment With Bad Credit</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing apartments cost of living homeownership mortgages rent vs buy renting Tue, 22 Nov 2016 11:00:15 +0000 Dan Rafter 1835351 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's How Much Life in the Big City Will Cost You http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-much-life-in-the-big-city-will-cost-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-how-much-life-in-the-big-city-will-cost-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_walking_city_77672035.jpg" alt="Woman finding out how much life in the big city will cost her" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So, you got a new higher-paying job in the big city. Now you have to decide whether it's worth making the big move. Fortunately, there's an easy cost analysis that can help you determine if the move is worthwhile.</p> <h2>Cost of Living Calculators</h2> <p>For a better estimate of how much you'll need to earn to maintain the same standard of living, use a cost of living calculator. Once you enter your current income, where you currently live, and where you would like to move, you can see a side-by-side comparison of what it will cost to live in both cities.</p> <p>Some <a href="http://money.cnn.com/calculator/pf/cost-of-living/">basic calculators</a> will show how far your salary will go in another city by comparing the price differences of major categories, like housing, utilities, and groceries. There are also more advanced cost of living calculators that will break down everything from what gas costs in the two areas, to how much you pay for coffee and ibuprofen.</p> <p>For example, say you're living somewhere like Bakersfield, California with an income of $50,000, and you're deciding whether to move to a big metro like San Francisco. So, how much will you need to earn in order to maintain your same standard of living? Using a cost of living calculator, you can see that you would need to be making $81,636. Otherwise, you'll have to get used to a lower standard of living and cut costs wherever possible.</p> <h2>Housing</h2> <p>Generally speaking, the closer you live to downtown, the more expensive the rent, food, and entertainment costs. When you live in a bigger city, it also generally means that you will have a smaller living space. Worst of all, rent just keeps getting more expensive over time. According to StreetEasy's annual New York City Rent Affordability Report, the median rent-to-income ratio in NYC rose from 59.7% in 2015 to <a href="http://cdn1.blog-media.zillowstatic.com/streeteasy/2/StreetEasy-2016-Rent-AffordabilityReport-7e91e8.pdf">65.2% in 2016</a>. This means that nearly two-thirds of New Yorkers' income is devoted to rent. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-decide-how-much-rent-you-can-really-afford?ref=seealso">The Simple Way to Decide How Much Rent You Can Really Afford</a>)</p> <h2>Higher Income</h2> <p>In most cases, a higher cost of living also means that the area has a higher than average median household income. While you can usually get a more robust <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/protect-future-earnings-by-negotiating-the-right-starting-salary">starting salary</a> in a large city, you might not want to count on hefty raises. Income growth is lagging behind things like rent increases and cost of living growth, so your expenses may increase in the years to come, but your income might not keep up.</p> <h2>Transportation</h2> <p>In most cases, the closer you can live to work, the better. This will allow you to bike to work, take part in a carpool, use Uber, or even take public transportation.</p> <p>If you will be taking advantage of public transportation, consider storing or selling your car, so you don't have to worry about parking. Driving can also be a lot more overwhelming for someone moving from a smaller town to a big metro (think Los Angeles gridlock). Look into public transportation options in your new city to determine if you can reasonably live there without a car, and how much you would save by making the change to public transportation. Keep in mind that places that are more walkable, or have better transportation options, are typically more expensive to rent.</p> <h2>Parking</h2> <p>In cities like Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle (to name a few), free parking is basically a pipe dream. With parking meters and paid parking lots as far as the eye can see, it's very unlikely that you'll find free parking. Even if you did find street parking, the posted rules can be very confusing and, in large cities, parking tickets are very common.</p> <h2>Convenience</h2> <p>Living in a large city means most things will be at your fingertips. For instance, there isn't much that you won't have access to in New York City. However, getting what you want and need is a different story. Living in a small town means quicker trips to the grocery store and general merchandise stores like Target.</p> <p>In a big city, on the other hand, you have to worry about fighting traffic and finding parking before you even get to the store. Then, there are hordes of people to deal with and long lines at the checkout counter, so small day trips can become much longer and more stressful. Try completing your errands at odd times, like early in the morning or during your lunch break, to beat the crowds.</p> <h2>Entertainment</h2> <p>Living in a big city means there are generally boundless things to occupy your time, such as endless places to eat, shows to watch, people to meet, and free activities to take part in. In a city like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-visit-san-francisco-without-going-broke-0">San Francisco</a> or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-visit-new-york-without-going-broke">New York</a>, you will be exposed to more culture more easily, and can find more fun, free events for the kids.</p> <p>To better deal with the culture shock, try seeking out social groups and other resources for newcomers to the area. Make a valiant effort after moving to make friends with locals and other transplants so you can quickly become acclimated with the city and what is available to you.</p> <h2>Is It Worth It?</h2> <p>Moving to a large city can be very expensive. The move itself can be a frustrating, expensive undertaking, and once you're there, things like rent, groceries, utilities, health care, and transportation can be much more expensive than what you're used to. Take this into account when you're deciding whether to make the move or not.</p> <p>The decision on whether it is worth it to make the big move is an entirely personal one. After living in New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, I can attest to the fact that there is nothing comparable to living in a big metro. What you can (and will) experience in a shorter amount of time there is well worth the higher cost of living. However, if you are trying to save more money or contribute more towards your debt, savings, or retirement accounts, you'll need to use a cost of living calculator (at minimum) to determine whether it's worth it for you.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-much-life-in-the-big-city-will-cost-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-forget-to-budget-for-these-unexpected-moving-expenses">Don&#039;t Forget to Budget for These Unexpected Moving Expenses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/moving-dont-skimp-on-these-critical-expenses">Moving? Don&#039;t Skimp on These Critical Expenses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-100s-on-your-next-move">How to Save $100s on Your Next Move</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rent-your-home-or-buy-heres-how-to-decide">Rent Your Home or Buy? Here&#039;s How to Decide</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-decide-how-much-rent-you-can-really-afford">The Simple Way to Decide How Much Rent You Can Really Afford</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Real Estate and Housing big cities cost of living expenses housing moving relocating renting transportation Tue, 01 Nov 2016 10:00:15 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1824619 at http://www.wisebread.com The Real Cost of Moving to Canada (If That's Your Post-Election Plan) http://www.wisebread.com/the-real-cost-of-moving-to-canada-if-thats-your-post-election-plan <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-real-cost-of-moving-to-canada-if-thats-your-post-election-plan" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_suitcase_bench_3139059.jpg" alt="Woman moving to Canada after 2016 election" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The odds are high that you don't like either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. According to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released in late August, 56% of U.S. adults viewed Hillary Clinton unfavorably. The same poll found that 63% said the same about Donald Trump.</p> <p>No matter who wins the presidential election this November, a lot of people are going to be upset. You might even have heard people claiming that they'd flee to Canada if Trump &mdash; or Clinton &mdash; wins. Maybe you've even made this boast yourself.</p> <p>But you might be surprised to learn that life can get costly over the border. Here is a quick look at what you'll pay when you flee to our neighbors to the north after Nov. 8.</p> <h2>Conversion Rate</h2> <p>First, a bit of good news. One U.S. dollar as of Oct. 6 was equal to $1.32 in Canada. So if you head north with $30,000, you'll have a bit more than $39,640 once you cross the U.S./Canadian border.</p> <h2>Taxes</h2> <p>Hate paying taxes in the United States? Well, you won't like it in Canada, either. The Fraser Institute think tank reported that the average Canadian family spent $34,154 in taxes in 2015. By comparison, NerdWallet in 2015 reported that the average American family paid about $14,000 in taxes. That figure, like the Canadian one, includes real estate, income, and sales taxes.</p> <p>That difference looks less imposing when you factor in the U.S.-Canada currency conversion rate. In Canadian dollars, the average U.S. family in 2015 paid nearly $26,000 in taxes. That is still quite a bit lower than in Canada.</p> <p>According to the Fraser Institute, the average Canadian bill for income taxes collected by governments in 2015 was $10,616, while payroll and health taxes came out to an average of $17,160.</p> <h2>Housing</h2> <p>Homes are expensive in Canada. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said that the average price of a single-family detached home in Vancouver rose to $1.58 million in September. That comes out to about $1.19 million in U.S. currency.</p> <p>And Vancouver isn't the only expensive place to buy a home in Canada. The Toronto Real Estate Board said that the average selling price for all home types in Toronto came out to $710,410 in August (about $537,000 in U.S. dollars).</p> <p>The average selling price for all Canadian homes sold in August of 2016 was $456,722, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. That comes out to about $345,000 in U.S. currency. In comparison, the National Association of Realtors said that the average sales price for all homes sold in the United States in August was $240,200.</p> <h2>Renting an Apartment</h2> <p>So maybe you'll rent an apartment instead. That's pretty costly, too.</p> <p>According to RentGorilla, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Vancouver in September of 2016 came in at $2,445 a month, equal to about $1,850 in the United States. In Toronto, the average two-bedroom rent was $1,502 the same month, equal to $1,136 in the United States.</p> <p>In Ottawa, the average two-bedroom rent was $1,235, while in Montreal it stood at $852. Those last two, by the way, are quite affordable, coming out to $934 and about $644 respectively in the United States.</p> <h2>Goods and Services</h2> <p>What about basic necessities, everything from a gallon of gas to a gallon of milk? You'll find that with the conversion factor, prices in Canada are similar to what you'd pay for the same items in the United States.</p> <p>Consider a gallon of gasoline. According to the Expatistan Cost of Living Index, a liter of gas &mdash; which is equal to one quarter of a gallon &mdash; came out to $1.20 in Vancouver. That means a gallon of gas would cost an average of $4.80 in the city. That comes out to $3.63 in U.S. currency, a bit higher than what you'd pay at the pump in most U.S. cities today.</p> <p>Two liters of Coca-Cola, though, come out to an average of $2.48 in Toronto, according to Expatistan. That comes out to $1.88 in U.S. money. A pair of jeans here costs an average of $68, or $51.46 in U.S. currency.</p> <p>In Montreal, a 40-inch flat screen TV costs an average of $509, according to Expatistan. That comes out to about $385 in U.S. money, while a pair of athletic shoes sell for an average of $110 in Montreal, equal to about $83 in the United States.</p> <h2>Cost-of-Living Comparisons</h2> <p>Expatistan compiled its own cost-of-living comparisons between Canadian cities and several in the United States. As you'll see, if you live in higher-priced areas of the United States, you might actually find it cheaper to live in Canada.</p> <p>For instance, the cost of living in Toronto is 9% cheaper than it is in Chicago, according to Expatistan. And it's 32% cheaper to live there than it is in New York City. On the other hand, Toronto's cost of living is 24% more expensive than it is in Omaha and 30% more than in Iowa City.</p> <p>Expatistan estimates that it is 35% cheaper to live in Vancouver than it is San Francisco and 15% cheaper than Seattle. However, it is 15% more expensive to live in Vancouver than it is Wichita and 7% more expensive than living in Columbus. So much like the election, it's really up to you.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-real-cost-of-moving-to-canada-if-thats-your-post-election-plan">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rent-your-home-or-buy-heres-how-to-decide">Rent Your Home or Buy? Here&#039;s How to Decide</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-much-life-in-the-big-city-will-cost-you">Here&#039;s How Much Life in the Big City Will Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-best-cities-with-rent-control">The 3 Best Cities With Rent Control</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-expats-can-maintain-their-credit-scores">9 Ways Expats Can Maintain Their Credit Scores</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-being-a-nomad-saves-you-money">4 Ways Being a Nomad Saves You Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Real Estate and Housing Canada Clinton conversion rates cost of living election 2016 expats politics renting running away taxes trump Fri, 14 Oct 2016 09:01:03 +0000 Dan Rafter 1812615 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 American Cities Where You Can Retire On Just Social Security http://www.wisebread.com/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/retired_old_couple_90300353.jpg" alt="Retired couple finding cities to retire in on social security" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The statistics on how unprepared Americans are for retirement can be terrifying. The <a href="http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/pdf/2015/RetirementSavingsCrisis.pdf">median retirement account balance</a> is $2,500 for all working-age households and $14,500 for near-retirement households, according to a 2015 study by the National Institute on Retirement Security.</p> <p>Two-thirds of working families fall short of conservative retirement savings targets for their age and income based on working until age 67, the report finds.</p> <p>With virtually no retirement savings for the average working household and 45% (nearly 40 million) of working households not having any retirement assets, their best hope for surviving after age 67 may be income from Social Security.</p> <h2>What Social Security Pays</h2> <p>The average monthly Social Security check as of June 2016 was $1,234, according to the Social Security Administration, or SSA. Where could you afford to live on such an income?</p> <p>There are some good options, but before we get to those, let's be a little more generous with the SSA income, based on the government's statistics.</p> <p>While the average monthly benefit was $1,234, 82% of beneficiaries receive a little more &mdash; $1,280 from &quot;Old-Age and Survivors Insurance&quot; SSA beneficiaries. The largest average monthly SSA benefit was $1,348 for retired workers, who made up 67% of the pool.</p> <p>Assuming you're a retired worker receiving the average $1,348 each month from SSA, that's still a low amount of money to live on each month, considering that a retirement planning rule of thumb is to plan on having 70%&ndash;80% percent of your pre-retirement income replaced with SSA, a retirement account, or other form of income in your old age.</p> <p>At 80%, that $1,348 would equate to a pre-retirement monthly income of $1,685, or $20,220 per year. If you were comfortable living on $20,220 per year before retirement, then living on 80% of it during retirement should be just as comfortable, the theory goes.</p> <p>For a couple who are both retired, their SSA income would double to $40,440 per year. But for our purposes, let's assume one retiree is living by themselves.</p> <p>So, where to live on the average SSA check of $1,348 per month for retired workers? In no particular order, here are five cities where it's affordable.</p> <h2>1. Buffalo, New York</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/buffalo_new_york_82224935.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Buffalo may come as a surprise for being a cheap place to live because it's in New York state. But the <a href="https://smartasset.com/mortgage/top-ten-cheapest-places-to-live">median monthly rent</a> in Buffalo is $512, making it the cheapest city in the U.S. to live in, according to a SmartAsset analysis. Buffalo also has the lowest cost of living at 79.34, meaning that the U.S. average is 100 and that $100 in groceries, for example, would cost $79.34 in Buffalo.</p> <h2>2. Johnstown, Pennsylvania</h2> <p>If you're looking for the cheapest rent in the country, this city of 20,576 residents has it with a gross median rent of $466 per month, according to data from the U.S. Census. Since housing is one of the biggest expenses in life, such low rent can make other expenses a lot more affordable.</p> <p>The <a href="http://places.findthehome.com/stories/10260/city-every-state-cheapest-affordable-rent#50-Pennsylvania-Johnstown">average per capita income</a> in Johnstown is $16,153, according to FindTheHome, putting the average SSA income in retirement above the average there. In this city, you'd be rich.</p> <h2>3. Memphis, Tennessee</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/graceland_memphis_91136155.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>If you're looking for a large U.S. city that's affordable in retirement, Memphis is it. This city of 653,450 has low housing costs. The average apartment rent of $709 per month is 21% below the U.S. average, and the median home value of $98,300 is 46% below the U.S. average, according to Kiplinger.</p> <h2>4. Akron, Ohio</h2> <p>Living in the center of the country is usually cheaper than it is elsewhere, and Akron, Ohio proves that point by being one of the <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/media/the-15-most-affordable-places-to-live-in-america/16/">most affordable places to live</a> in the country. Its median home price listing in August 2015 was $120,450, and the median household income was $45,628 &mdash; putting the average SSA income at just below the median. The amount of monthly income spent on housing, utilities, and commuting in Akron was 28.9%, allowing retirees to spend about 70% of their income on other things.</p> <h2>5. Indianapolis, Indiana</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/indianapolis_indiana_62568936_0.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Listed by Trulia as one of the best cities to move to for a high-paying job, Indianapolis has low home prices for <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/business/consumer/millennials-meet-indianapolis-your-new-dream-city-n623021">Millennials looking for work</a> and for retirees, too. The median home price of $130,000 is $58,900 below the median home price in America. That allows about two of every five renters to be able to afford a typically priced home there. For retirees who sell their homes and have enough money to buy a home outright or put down a large down payment, then living with little or almost no housing costs can leave a lot of room in their budget for other things.</p> <p>The good news is that there are plenty more U.S. cities that are affordable for retirees who only have an income from Social Security. These are only five of them, and are a good start to investigate more when deciding on the cheapest places to retire.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%20American%20Cities%20Where%20You%20Can%20Retire%20On%20Just%20Social%20Security.jpg&amp;description=5%20American%20Cities%20Where%20You%20Can%20Retire%20On%20Just%20Social%20Security" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20American%20Cities%20Where%20You%20Can%20Retire%20On%20Just%20Social%20Security.jpg" alt="5 American Cities Where You Can Retire On Just Social Security" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/aaron-crowe">Aaron Crowe</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-to-claim-social-security-before-your-retirement-age">3 Reasons to Claim Social Security Before Your Retirement Age</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-start-claiming-your-social-security-benefits">5 Questions to Ask Before You Start Claiming Your Social Security Benefits</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-you-should-budget-your-social-security-checks">Here&#039;s How You Should Budget Your Social Security Checks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-crucial-social-security-terms-everyone-needs-to-know">13 Crucial Social Security Terms Everyone Needs to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-moves-you-should-make-five-years-before-retirement">5 Financial Moves You Should Make Five Years Before Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing Retirement America benefits cost of living income relocating social security u.s. cities Tue, 20 Sep 2016 10:30:05 +0000 Aaron Crowe 1795982 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways That Better Paying Job Out of State May Cost You http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-that-better-paying-job-out-of-state-may-cost-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-that-better-paying-job-out-of-state-may-cost-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_85520231_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="taking a higher-paying job out of state may cost you" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>On the market for a new, higher paying job? Have you expanded your job search across state lines? When contemplating a job that would require you to move to a new state, part of the decision process should be determining how the local costs, public infrastructure, and local school system will affect your financial bottom line.</p> <p>In some areas of the United States, the increase in salary the job offers might not be enough to offset the added potential living expense. Here are some things to consider.</p> <h2>1. Cost of Living</h2> <p>Before accepting a job in another state, it's essential you don't assume that a higher salary offer in another state will lead to a larger disposable income. Each state has a slightly different cost of living. When you move from one state to another, you can expect slightly different housing, food, utility, healthcare, transportation, and healthcare costs.</p> <p>If the new job offer is from a state with a significantly higher cost of living, the &quot;raise&quot; might:</p> <ul> <li>Not be as extensive as you expect</li> <li>Be an equivalent wage</li> <li>Be a pay decrease.</li> </ul> <p>For example, a $25,000 salary in Boise, Idaho is comparable to a $47,274 salary in Brooklyn, New York. In order to really be considered a raise, individuals that move from Idaho to New York should expect at a little more than a salary of $47,274 a year.</p> <p>Before accepting any jobs out of state, check this<a href="http://money.cnn.com/calculator/pf/cost-of-living/"> cost of living calculator</a> to ensure that you are actually receiving a raise.</p> <h2>2. Housing</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/whats-a-fair-relationship-between-salary-and-rent">Housing costs, rent</a>, and home ownership can differ significantly from state-to-state. You will want to evaluate how the expected rent or mortgage rates (lower, higher, the same) will affect your potential disposable income.</p> <p>Moving from Idaho to New York, for example, can lead to a steep increase in potential rent or mortgage costs. Average rent cost increases from $995 (Idaho) to $3,295 (New York).</p> <h2>3. Transportation</h2> <p>Moving from an area with a good public transit system could significantly increase your expenses. According to the<a href="http://mbaonline.pepperdine.edu/evolution-of-the-daily-commute/"> <em>Evolution of the Daily Commute</em></a>, car bound commuters will spend $1,129 dollars in gas annually to travel to and from work. A good subway, bus, or train system can be significantly cheaper due to the fact you're potentially trading gas and parking expenses for a reasonably priced ticket.</p> <p>If you are unavoidably car bound, you might consider how the<a href="http://money.cnn.com/news/storysupplement/economy/gas_prices_by_state/"> difference in gas prices between states</a>&nbsp;will affect your finances. Moving from Oklahoma to California for example, would increase the amount you pay for gas from $1.39 a gallon to $2.47 a gallon. That can lead to a large extra expense.</p> <p>In addition, each state has different average insurance rates due to state regulations, and the percentage of uninsured drivers on the road. Moving from a state with low insurance rates to a state with high insurance rates might mean that you won't have as much extra money from that raise as you expect.</p> <h2>4. Quality of K-12 Schools</h2> <p>The quality, success, and financial stability of the local K-12 public schools are not uniform across state or county lines. Depending on where you move, your children could be facing a potential downgrade in the quality of their education and an unexpected extra financial expense that could counteract the positive effect of your raise.</p> <p>Parents can check out the quality of local schools:</p> <ul> <li>By searching for news of any potential school and school district in Google.</li> <li>By evaluating the statistic, reviews, and polls of any potential school with&nbsp;<a href="https://k12.niche.com/">Niche's 2016 K-12 School and District Rankings</a>.</li> </ul> <p>Moving to an area where the public schools are failing could inevitably lead families to make the hard decision to either gamble on the poor educational institution or invest time and potentially money to enroll students in a more favorable environment.</p> <h2>5. Quality of Local Colleges</h2> <p>College is expensive. In-state college tuition can be a real money saver. How much college costs&nbsp;<a href="https://trends.collegeboard.org/college-pricing/figures-tables/2015-16-state-tuition-and-fees-public-four-year-institutions-state-and-five-year-percentage">depends on the state that you live in</a>. Moving from Wyoming to New Hampshire, for example, could mean that in-state college tuition is suddenly around $10,000 more expensive. Even with a raise, that might be too big of a price hike to reasonably handle.</p> <p>As an added concern, you should evaluate whether or not you're moving into an area with too many colleges on rocky financial standing. These colleges and universities tend to hike tuition rates, cut back on other amenities, and possibly declare bankruptcy.</p> <p>Bankruptcy, in particular, can be costly for current students. It can lead to red marks on their official transcripts (if the school closes mid-semester), forcing students to go through another college application process, and face the reality that many of the classes and credits earned won't be recognized by the new college.</p> <h2>6. State Regulatory Guidelines (For Your Industry)</h2> <p>Professional standards are often set not on a federal level, but on a state level. Moving to a new state can either create new opportunities, or limit the opportunities available to you and your significant other. The most far reaching differences can be found in the medical field.</p> <ul> <li>Twenty-two states&nbsp;<a href="http://onlinenursingdegrees.maryville.edu/the-states-that-allow-nurse-practitioner-autonomy/">grant Nurse Practitioners full autonomy</a> to diagnose and treat patients without supervision from physicians. This can allow NPs to open private clinics or grants the ability to apply for a broader range of jobs.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Twenty-five states have entered into a&nbsp;<a href="https://www.ncsbn.org/nurse-licensure-compact.htm">Nurse Licensure Compact</a> (NLC) that allows nurses to practice in any other state that has agreed to join the compact. This can allow individuals to engage in travel nursing or telemedicine. Moving out of or into an NLC state could either shrink or increase professional opportunities.</li> </ul> <p>There are a lot of financial factors that should be evaluated when changing jobs within the same state. When moving out of state, there are even more factors that could affect how the new higher paying jobs will negatively or positively affect your net worth.</p> <p><em>Have you taken a job in another state? What was your experience?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/samantha-stauf">Samantha Stauf</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-that-better-paying-job-out-of-state-may-cost-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-websites-that-will-pay-you-to-write-for-them">22 Websites That Will Pay You to Write for Them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-part-time-jobs-to-do-while-your-kids-are-at-school">17 Part-Time Jobs to Do While Your Kids Are at School</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-cool-jobs-for-fashion-lovers">18 Cool Jobs for Fashion Lovers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-free-accommodations-and-paid-jobs-on-boats">How to Get Free Accommodations (and Paid Jobs) on Boats</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-questions-to-ask-before-you-take-a-job-offer">12 Questions to Ask Before You Take a Job Offer</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income Job Hunting cost of living gas prices housing new job public transportation states tickets tuition Thu, 08 Sep 2016 09:30:33 +0000 Samantha Stauf 1788318 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Financial Moves You Should Make Five Years Before Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-moves-you-should-make-five-years-before-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-financial-moves-you-should-make-five-years-before-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/older_woman_tablet_91678151.jpg" alt="Woman making financial moves five years before retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Here you are, five years from retirement. The reality of the end of your career is finally hitting home, but you may not feel completely ready to quit work yet.</p> <p>But with adequate planning and preparation, it <em>is</em> possible to feel confident about your life and finances as you approach retirement. Here are five goals that most workers should plan on reaching when they are five years from retirement.</p> <h2>1. Calculate Your Post-Retirement Budget</h2> <p>It may seem too soon, but now is an excellent time to re-evaluate how much money you will need to live on comfortably in retirement. Many workers assume that their expenses will go down in retirement, since they will no longer need to pay for professional clothing, commuting, business travel, and the like. However, depending on how you intend to spend your time in retirement, your expenses could go down by less than you anticipate, or even go up if you plan to travel more or enjoy expensive hobbies.</p> <p>In order to calculate your post-retirement budget, start by listing all of your monthly expenses that will stay the same, including rent or mortgage, car payment, utilities, groceries, personal care, taxes, and insurance.</p> <p>Then tease out what expenses you incur from working. These might include car maintenance, professional clothing, dry cleaning, dining out, tolls/parking, and professional subscriptions. Don't forget to include the kinds of purchases that are not necessarily work-related, like convenience foods or getting a stress-relieving massage, but that you will have less of a need for in retirement.</p> <p>Finally, calculate how much you expect to spend on retirement-related expenses, such as hobbies, memberships, or travel.</p> <p>These three numbers can give you a sense of how much you are currently spending, what not working will save you, and how much you need to have set aside for activities in retirement. Now is the perfect time to start scaling back on the monthly expenses that will stay the same if you are worried about affording your retirement activities.</p> <h2>2. Take Advantage of Catch-Up Provisions</h2> <p>Calculating a post-retirement budget is often a good motivator to start putting more money aside for retirement. Don't assume that five years before you retire is too late to do any good. You still have time to grow your nest egg, particularly if you can take advantage of the catch-up provisions in your tax-advantaged retirement accounts.</p> <p>Tax-advantaged accounts like 401Ks and IRAs have contribution limits that put a cap on the amount of money you can place in them each year. For the majority of taxpayers, the 401K contribution limit is $18,000 per year, and the IRA contribution limit is $5,500 per year. However, taxpayers over the age of 50 may contribute a total of $23,000 per year to their 401Ks and $6,500 per year to their IRAs (as of 2016).</p> <p>Coming up with that kind of scratch to send to your retirement account might be a tall order, but don't forget that both 401K plans and traditional IRAs are tax-deferred. That means you can deduct your contributions from your annual taxes, thereby lowering your current tax burden.</p> <h2>3. Pay Down Your Debt</h2> <p>Entering into retirement while carrying debt can seriously weigh you down, so the five years before retirement is a great time to tackle it.</p> <p>Start with your consumer debt, such as credit cards or a car loan. These are probably charging higher interest than you could earn through any investments, so <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">eliminating all of your consumer debt</a> will help your money go further and save you a great deal over time.</p> <p>It's also a good idea retire your mortgage before you stop working (although you should prioritize paying off consumer debt before your mortgage). Owning your house free and clear in retirement offers you more options to handle whatever happens next.</p> <h2>4. Calculate Your Social Security Benefits</h2> <p>All of the arcane details of claiming Social Security <a href="http://amzn.to/2bKOeVe">could fill a book</a> (ahem), but it is a good idea for workers nearing retirement to get a basic understanding of what benefits will be available to them based on various retirement timelines and spousal coordination.</p> <p>In order to determine your benefit, the Social Security Administration uses a complex formula to adjust your earnings to account for average wage changes (this is known as indexing), and then calculate your specific benefits. The Social Security website offers several user-friendly calculators and applications to help you figure your potential benefits. Specifically, the <a href="http://www.ssa.gov/planners/benefitcalculators.htm">SSA benefits calculators</a> allow you to enter your information to learn what you can expect from your benefits.</p> <p>In addition, signing up for a &quot;<a href="http://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/">My Social Security</a>&quot; account can provide you with a great deal of specific information about your particular earnings record and projected benefits. It's an important planning tool for anyone within five years of retirement.</p> <h2>5. Start Planning Your Income Withdrawal Strategy</h2> <p>Many retirees don't really think about how they'll draw down their assets in retirement, assuming that they can just take a small 3% to 4% of their nest egg each year.</p> <p>There are two problems with this scenario. First, if you have a less than robust nest egg, the small percentage you have to live on might not be enough. Second, if you have to withdraw money during a major market downturn, your nest egg may not recover.</p> <p>Instead, you can plan ahead with the bucket method for retirement income, which starts with the assumption that retirees will have to ride out some market volatility during their retirement. With this method, you split your portfolio into separate income &quot;buckets,&quot; each of which will be intended to handle a different time period in retirement. A common allocation would look like this:</p> <h3>Bucket 1: Years 1&mdash;5</h3> <p>This will be the money you live on in your first years post retirement, while the majority of your nest egg remains invested in longer-term assets. Since you want both stability and liquidity in this time period, the money in this bucket will be placed in cash equivalent assets, such as CDs, U.S. Treasury bills, and money market funds.</p> <h3>Bucket 2: Years 6&mdash;15</h3> <p>You won't be tapping this money until you have gotten a few years into your retirement, so you can afford to be a little more aggressive with your investments. This means your second bucket will generally consist of a mix of bonds and stock, leaning more toward the safety of bonds. You want to reasonably protect your principal here, but still allow your money some room for growth.</p> <h3>Bucket 3: Years 16+</h3> <p>You can afford to be aggressive in this bucket of your portfolio, since you have time to let your money grow. This bucket will consist of higher-risk/higher-return assets, such as stocks and other types of equities, since you have at least 15 years to both ride out market volatility and reap potential benefits.</p> <p>Five years before retirement is the perfect time to start planning your retirement income withdrawal strategy, so you can make decisions without feeling the time-crunch of a looming retirement date.</p> <h2>This Is Your Victory Lap</h2> <p>The five years before you retire can be a challenging and emotional time. Feeling prepared for the financial aspect of retirement can give you the freedom to enjoy the last few years of your career.</p> <p><em>Will you be ready to make these key retirement moves when you're five years away?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-financial-moves-you-should-make-five-years-before-retirement&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Financial%2520Moves%2520You%2520Should%2520Make%2520Five%2520Years%2520Before%2520Retirement.jpg&amp;description=5%20Financial%20Moves%20You%20Should%20Make%20Five%20Years%20Before%20Retirement"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Financial%20Moves%20You%20Should%20Make%20Five%20Years%20Before%20Retirement.jpg" alt="5 Financial Moves You Should Make Five Years Before Retirement" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-moves-you-should-make-five-years-before-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security">5 American Cities Where You Can Retire On Just Social Security</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-far-1-million-will-actually-go-in-retirement">Here&#039;s How Far $1 Million Will Actually Go in Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-retire">12 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Retire</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-start-claiming-your-social-security-benefits">5 Questions to Ask Before You Start Claiming Your Social Security Benefits</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-more-money-in-retirement-might-cost-you">3 Ways More Money in Retirement Might Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement approaching retirement budgets catch up contributions cost of living debt end of career goals income social security Fri, 26 Aug 2016 09:00:15 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1779929 at http://www.wisebread.com How I Saved Enough for a Down Payment While Working in China http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-saved-enough-for-a-down-payment-while-working-in-china <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-i-saved-enough-for-a-down-payment-while-working-in-china" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_hand_globe_43186582.jpg" alt="How to save for a down payment while working in China" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I was first considering teaching abroad after graduating from college, I had many friends and family who were concerned that I'd be setting myself back financially. With the best of intentions, these loved ones told me that I would be making a mistake by moving to Asia and accepting a lower paycheck. How would I ever afford a car or a house if I didn't find a high-paying job in Canada or the U.S. and start saving right away?</p> <p>Ten years later, I look back and realize that teaching abroad was one of the best financial decisions of my life. During our four years <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/follow-these-5-credit-card-rules-when-traveling-abroad" target="_blank">teaching in China</a>, my husband and I saved enough between us for a down payment on our house in Southern California.</p> <p>Not every job abroad will be a an ideal situation for saving, so if you're considering teaching or working abroad, and want to prioritize saving, here are a few tips for how to save as much as you can.</p> <h2>1. Find Free or Subsidized Housing</h2> <p>Many schools and companies abroad realize that it's hard for foreign employees to pick up and leave their home countries without having a living situation set up in the new country. Therefore, many employment contracts abroad include either a housing allowance, or a free or subsidized apartment that belongs to the company. In our case, the school we worked for owned an apartment block which provided heavily subsidized living quarters for teachers and employees.</p> <p>Living rent-free or on subsidized rent saves a <em>huge </em>chunk of your income that you can put entirely toward savings. It also saves a tremendous amount of time and stress when your overseas employer helps arrange your living quarters.</p> <p>It also helps greatly if the living quarters provided by the employer come furnished, which will cut down on the initial costs of moving. Having to purchase furniture and appliances can make it harder for you to start saving right away.</p> <h2>2. Take Advantage of the Lower Cost of Living</h2> <p>Another huge factor that enabled us to save was the lower cost of living in our host country. By choosing to eat at local restaurants and shop at local grocery stores, we saved hundreds of dollars every month on food in a city where the local cost of living was quite a bit lower than at home in the U.S. Of course, it would have been easy to blow our paychecks eating at expat-oriented bars and restaurants (Starbucks was pretty much everywhere in our city), but we saved the pricier international food for weekends and special occasions. A nice side effect of our frugal mentality is that we discovered a whole new world of delicious local dishes that we would never have tried otherwise.</p> <p>Not all countries will have a lower cost of living than your home country, of course, so it's worth looking into what it typically costs for food, clothing, rent (if you are renting a place yourself), health care, and other necessities before going.</p> <h2>3. Use Public Transportation</h2> <p>We saved the cost of having to maintain a car because our apartment was walking distance to the school where we worked. On weekends, a cheap and efficient subway system was our transportation of choice whenever we wanted to leave the school campus. When looking for a job overseas, be sure to ask questions about how you will get to and from work, and what transportation options exist to take you to the fun part of town. Some jobs (generally not teaching jobs, though) will even provide a company car and driver to make things easier for you.</p> <h2>4. Live Simply</h2> <p>Curbing excess spending is a good financial strategy no matter where you live, but I think it's easier to live simply when you anticipate moving in a year or a few. Because we didn't plan on staying more than a few years, I was less motivated to buy unnecessary stuff, with the mentality that everything needed to fit in a couple suitcases for the trip home. While we did spend money on leisure activities such as traveling during our holidays, for the most part, we just enjoyed meeting new friends and exploring our city, activities that didn't cost much.</p> <p>We did end up shipping a few souvenirs back home, but because we had to pay to ship them, we were more mindful about purchasing only what we loved.</p> <h2>5. Research Your Tax Exemptions</h2> <p>Although U.S. citizens and residents are required to pay taxes on foreign-earned income, a large chunk of that income (or even all of it depending on how much you make) could be <a href="https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/foreign-earned-income-exclusion">exempt from income taxes</a>. When filing your yearly taxes, be sure to file your foreign-earned income correctly. Of course, you may be taxed in your country of employment, but in our experience the local tax was very low. You will want to research the tax rate in the country you're thinking of working in before you accept a job.</p> <p>Before accepting a job overseas, be sure also to ask about health benefits and support in case you run into a medical emergency. If your employer does not provide adequate health benefits, you may have to purchase it privately, which you should factor into your savings plan. It also goes without saying that you should do research into typical salaries for the job you will be doing, as they can vary widely depending on the employer.</p> <p>If you play your cards right, you can certainly turn a few years of adventure working overseas into an opportunity to save and to meet your financial goals.</p> <p><em>Have you considered working overseas? What's holding you back?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this post? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-i-saved-enough-for-a-down-payment-while-working-in-china&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%20I%20Saved%20Enough%20for%20a%20Down%20Payment%20While%20Working%20in%20China.jpg&amp;description=How%20I%20Saved%20Enough%20for%20a%20Down%20Payment%20While%20Working%20in%20China" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20I%20Saved%20Enough%20for%20a%20Down%20Payment%20While%20Working%20in%20China.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-saved-enough-for-a-down-payment-while-working-in-china">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-countries-where-you-can-retire-for-1000-a-month">5 Countries Where You Can Retire for $1,000 a Month</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries">Retire for Half the Cost in These 5 Countries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-save-up-a-big-travel-budget">The Easy Way to Save Up a Big Travel Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-to-know-before-retiring-abroad">9 Things to Know Before Retiring Abroad</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-travel-in-retirement-keeps-you-young">6 Ways Travel in Retirement Keeps You Young</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building Travel cost of living expats living abroad overseas saving money taxes teaching abroad transportation working Thu, 25 Aug 2016 10:00:15 +0000 Camilla Cheung 1778730 at http://www.wisebread.com The 10 Worst States for Retirees http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-worst-states-for-retirees <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-10-worst-states-for-retirees" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/vermont_foliage_72139589.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you close to retirement? If so, you may want to take some time to see how your state of residence may impact your financial situation. After all, you need your money to last now that you're done working, and you don't want to find yourself strapped because of a high cost of living or taxes. Moreover, older residents should be cognizant of the quality of health care in their state.</p> <p>Here's some advice on where <em>not </em>to move once you retire.</p> <h2>1. Louisiana</h2> <p>Don't get sick as you get older if you live in Louisiana. This state ranks last in the nation in the quality of health care, according to the United Health Foundation. On the plus side, the cost of living is relatively low and taxes are better than many states.</p> <h2>2. Maryland</h2> <p>By most measures, Maryland's cost of living is among the highest in the nation. The state's economy is buoyed by a heavy Federal government presence and many highly paid workers, but it can be hard on retirees looking to save. Maryland has among the highest taxes in the nation, with home prices above the national average, as well.</p> <h2>3. Vermont</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/vermont_foliage_72139589.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>The crime rate is ultralow, the leaves are awesome in the fall, and there's the headquarters of Ben &amp; Jerry's. But it has an effective tax rate of 10.76%, which is above the national average. This is one contributing factor to Vermont ranking as one of the worst states when it comes to cost of living, according to several surveys.</p> <h2>4. Connecticut</h2> <p>The Nutmeg State can boast good proximity to jobs in New York City, and its residents are generally wealthier and more educated than most. But it's less than ideal as a place for retirees. Connecticut is one of the most expensive states in the nation, and its effective state and local tax rate of 13.48% &mdash; one of the country's highest &mdash; doesn't help anyone who's trying to get by on a fixed income.</p> <h2>5. New York</h2> <p>All you need to do is look at the cost of an apartment in New York City to know why retiring there isn't the best move, financially. The rest of the state isn't so bad, but the overall cost of living in New York is considered one of the highest in the country. State income tax of nearly 9% places it in the top tier, as well. It's worth noting that health care in the state is above average in quality, according to the United Health Foundation.</p> <h2>6. California</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/california_golden_gate_88208659.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>On one hand, California has a lot of beautiful places to live, with nice weather and a variety of options to keep retirees active and healthy. But financially, it's a tough place to be for those looking to make their retirement money last. Cost of living? In the top five, according to data compiled by CNBC. Its state income tax is 13.3%, the highest in the country, and most retirement income is taxed. Health care costs are also above average in California.</p> <h2>7. New Jersey</h2> <p>It's not cheap to live in New Jersey, and that's partly due to higher-than-average income taxes and taxes on real estate. While not all retirement income is taxed like some states, residents could be subjected to estate and inheritance taxes of up to 15%. Property is taxed at 2.29%, the highest rate in the nation, and that really stings when you consider that the state has the fourth-highest median home value. On the flip side, New Jersey does rate among the top third in most major health care quality rankings.</p> <h2>8. Nebraska</h2> <p>The Cornhusker State has a relatively low cost of living, until you consider that there are high taxes on retirees and real estate. Nebraska taxes most retirement income, such as pensions and retirement account withdrawals, and some residents pay Social Security taxes. And its effective property tax of 1.88% is one of the highest in the nation.</p> <h2>9. Montana</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/montana_nature_73035269.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>It might be beautiful to retire in Big Sky Country, but don't assume that it will be cheap. Montana has a higher-than-average property tax rate, and taxes all pension and retirement income, as well as most Social Security income, according to the Retirement Living Information Center. Montana is also in the bottom half when it comes to the health care offered to seniors.</p> <h2>10. Rhode Island</h2> <p>The good news about Rhode Island is that most clothing, food, and prescription drugs are exempt from state sales tax. But the state has the 10th highest property tax rate, with the added blow of median home prices being the 12th highest in the country. Retirement income is also taxed at the state level.</p> <p><em>If you're thinking about downsizing for retirement, where are you thinking of living?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-worst-states-for-retirees">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/would-you-move-to-one-of-these-states-to-avoid-taxes">Would You Move to One of These States to Avoid Taxes?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-states-with-the-lowest-taxes-for-retirees">7 States With the Lowest Taxes for Retirees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security">5 American Cities Where You Can Retire On Just Social Security</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-much-life-in-the-big-city-will-cost-you">Here&#039;s How Much Life in the Big City Will Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-live-a-retired-life-before-retirement">How to Live a Retired Life Before Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement cost of living home values moving relocating states taxes worst places Tue, 23 Aug 2016 09:00:10 +0000 Tim Lemke 1777830 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Alternative Housing Options You Can Afford http://www.wisebread.com/5-alternative-housing-options-you-can-afford <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-alternative-housing-options-you-can-afford" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends_using_laptop_94437549.jpg" alt="Friends finding alternative housing options they can afford" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Keeping your housing costs low is key to achieving financial freedom. Minimizing your expenses frees up more money for investments, savings, and pursuing your passions. While renting an apartment or a house is still the mainstream approach, there are other alternatives available that are more cost effective. By pursuing one of these nontraditional housing options, you can cut your expenses and break the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle.</p> <h2>1. Co-Living Spaces</h2> <p>Co-living spaces, which often resemble college dorms, are increasingly popular in places with a high cost of living, such as San Francisco. The tech capital is booming, and as a result, it is unaffordable for many; a one-bedroom can cost <a href="https://www.rentjungle.com/average-rent-in-san-francisco-rent-trends/">nearly $3500 a month.</a></p> <p>More and more people are turning to co-living spaces as a cost-effective way to get living situations they can afford. In Silicon Valley, co-living spaces can be <a href="http://www.coliving.club/">had for $1,000</a>, less than half what a regular apartment would cost. In these dorm-style spaces, renters usually have a small bedroom of their own, but share the kitchen and common areas with up to a dozen other residents. Besides cost savings, these arrangements also provide people new to the area with great social opportunities and allows them to meet others in their industries.</p> <h2>2. Housing Co-Ops</h2> <p>While housing co-ops are fairly common overseas, they are just starting to gain traction in the United States. In a co-op, residents pool resources to own and manage housing together. The property can be a cluster of homes or an apartment-style building. Dwellers use their joint contributions to purchase the facilities and pay for community amenities like utilities, Wi-Fi, and lawn maintenance. The community approach cuts down costs dramatically, allowing you to save a significant amount of money compared to traditional housing.</p> <p>The <a href="http://coophousing.org/resources/living-in-a-cooperative/how-to-find-a-housing-cooperative/">National Association of Housing Cooperatives</a> has comprehensive information on how to locate a co-op, how to start one yourself, and questions to ask before handing over your hard earned money.</p> <h2>3. Work-Trade</h2> <p>Many people find success with work-trade agreements. Most common in rural areas, people can get free or cheap housing in return for a set number of labor hours, such as weeding, yard maintenance, or gardening. However, this approach is also getting more common in suburban and city areas, as even regular apartment complexes are willing to offer rent subsidies for men and women with repair or maintenance skills. You can find work-trade arrangements by searching for &quot;work trade housing&quot; or &quot;rent-free exchange&quot; on community job boards.</p> <h2>4. Tiny Homes</h2> <p>While <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-tiny-house-living-actually-save-you-money">tiny homes</a> are increasingly popular for those looking for a cheap alternative to homeownership, these micro living spaces can also be a great avenue for renters. Many tiny home communities offer select units for rent. This approach can be a great option to cut down your costs while you save up a down payment for a home of your own, or to test out if small living is for you. Housing can cost as little as $300 a month.</p> <h2>5. House-Sitting</h2> <p>Another option is to act as a serial housesitter. When people are selling their homes, the structures often go vacant for months, leaving them vulnerable to thieves and squatters. Many sellers hire housesitters to live in the home rent-free to keep the home occupied and safe while it's on the market. This idea is a great strategy to get free housing without requiring a lot of work or time. You can often find housesitting opportunities on Craigslist, <a href="https://www.trustedhousesitters.com/us/">Trusted Housesitters</a>, community classifieds, or by connecting with local realtors.</p> <p>With the national rent average increasing for yet another year, many people are feeling pressure regarding their budgets. Housing eats up a huge part of their income, making it difficult to meet their other obligations or pursue their goals. Alternative housing solutions offer cost effective ways to keep a roof over your head while minimizing your expenses.</p> <p><em>Have you considered these &mdash; or other &mdash; alternative housing arrangements?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kat-tretina">Kat Tretina</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-alternative-housing-options-you-can-afford">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-a-mobile-home-may-be-your-best-option-for-affordable-housing">Why a Mobile Home May Be Your Best Option for Affordable Housing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rent-your-home-or-buy-heres-how-to-decide">Rent Your Home or Buy? Here&#039;s How to Decide</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-7-things-when-living-with-roommates">Avoid These 7 Things When Living With Roommates</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-move-to-a-new-city-to-reduce-lifestyle-costs">Should You Move to a New City to Reduce Lifestyle Costs?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security">5 American Cities Where You Can Retire On Just Social Security</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Real Estate and Housing alternative housing co-living co-ops cost of living house sitting mortgages rent tiny homes work-trade agreements Fri, 12 Aug 2016 10:30:14 +0000 Kat Tretina 1770724 at http://www.wisebread.com Retire for Half the Cost in These 5 Countries http://www.wisebread.com/retire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/retire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/tropical_destination_travel_54008208.jpg" alt="Finding countries where you can retire for half the price" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're getting close to retirement, but you're planning on working an extra couple of years because you just &quot;don't have the money,&quot; think again. Retiring in North America is expensive! Why not live somewhere tropical and exotic for at least half the year and cut your expenses down considerably? In this article I'm going to list five destinations where you can do just that. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-incredible-places-to-retire-abroad-that-anyone-can-afford?ref=seealso">5 Incredible Places to Retire Abroad</a>)</p> <p>Note: Costs of food, housing, transportation, and entertainment are compared to New York City using <a href="https://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living/">Expatistan's</a> cost of living index.</p> <h2>1. Mexico</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/mexico_travel_8998281.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <ul> <li>Food = 64% cheaper</li> <li>Housing = 83% cheaper</li> <li>Transportation = 72% cheaper</li> <li>Entertainment = 64% cheaper</li> <li>One-bedroom apartment = $300-$500 per month</li> <li>Total cost of living = $1,200+ per month</li> </ul> <p>If you hear &quot;Mexico&quot; and your mind automatically wanders to an American-owned resort in Cancun with a bartender on the beach and jet skis on rent, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Mexico isn't half the price of home.</p> <p>But this isn't Mexico! The real Mexico's not only extremely affordable, but it's rich in culture, history, and natural beauty. You can rent beautiful apartments in retirement havens like San Pancho, Sayulita, and Oaxaca for under $500 a month.</p> <p>A dinner out at a nice restaurant with a bottle of wine won't likely cost you more than $10 per person and your grocery bills will be cut in half. Mexico is the perfect place to retire, which is why so many snowbirds head there for half of the year.</p> <h2>2. Thailand</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/thailand_beach_travel_87109807.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <ul> <li>Food = 48% cheaper</li> <li>Housing = 68% cheaper</li> <li>Transportation = 54% cheaper</li> <li>Entertainment = 55% cheaper</li> <li>One-bedroom apartment = $300-$500 per month</li> <li>Total cost of living = $1,000+ per month</li> </ul> <p>Who doesn't want to spend their golden years in the land of smiles? Thailand is the ultimate budget friendly destination for people looking for a change of scenery in retirement. The above cost of living indexes are compared to Bangkok, Thailand's capital and most expensive city.</p> <p>If you choose to live on one of the country's beautiful islands, you could cut these costs down considerably. A nice one or two-bedroom bungalow with a kitchenette, a few blocks from the sea, won't cost you more than $500 and you'd have a hard time paying more than $7 for a local meal.</p> <p>Big beers at 7-11 only cost a couple of dollars and you can rent a motorbike here for around $3 a day (less if you rent monthly).</p> <p>Thailand is wonderfully exotic, but it still has a lot of the amenities that you'd hope for from home. Good grocery stores, 7-11s, great restaurants, gyms, malls, and excellent accommodation options. Pair this with some of the best beaches in the world, friendly people, and incredibly low prices, and you've got one of the world's top retirement hot spots.</p> <p>One downside of Thailand may be that there are a lot of young people and on some of the islands, monthly parties can get out of hand. But aside from the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan and the water festival in Bangkok, most of Thailand still has a slow-paced tropical charm. Who knows, maybe you're looking for a party during retirement?</p> <h2>3. Albania</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/tropical_destination_travel_54008208.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <ul> <li>Food = 66% cheaper</li> <li>Housing = 84% cheaper</li> <li>Transportation = 67% cheaper</li> <li>Entertainment = 64% cheaper</li> <li>One-bedroom apartment = $300-$500 per month</li> <li>Total cost of living = $1,250+ per month</li> </ul> <p>Maybe one of the last places you thought you'd visit, let alone live in, Albania has had a turbulent history. Cut off from the world by a brutal communist dictator for nearly a half-century, the country lost much of its reputation as a vacation spot during that time. But today, Albania is moving forward and the people are extremely welcoming.</p> <p>Again, the cost of living indexes are comparing New York City to Tirana, Albania's capital, but Tirana is the country's most expensive place to live. Instead, head down to the Albanian Riviera along the Adriatic coast and check out towns like Himara, Vlora, and Saranda. You won't find anywhere else in Europe where you can rent an apartment for $400 per month with a stunning view over the Adriatic sea.</p> <p>In Saranda, there's a huge selection of accommodations in skyscraper-style apartment blocks all along the water's edge, while in quieter Vlora and Himara, you won't find as much variety but you can still find well-priced places to stay.</p> <p>The Albanian Riviera is known for beautiful beaches, sunny weather, and delicious seafood. You can get a fish dinner at a restaurant overlooking the water for around $10-$15. Albania is definitely affordable and it has a lot of amenities as well.</p> <p>Note: Driving in Albania can be frustrating and dangerous. If you do decide to buy or rent a car, however, don't miss the drive between Vlora and Saranda along the coast. It is one of Europe's most scenic road trips.</p> <h2>4. Malta</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/malta_beach_city_60448332.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <ul> <li>Food = 32% cheaper</li> <li>Housing = 66% cheaper</li> <li>Transportation = 47% cheaper</li> <li>Entertainment = 43% cheaper</li> <li>One-bedroom apartment = $685-$1,000 per month</li> <li>Total cost of living = $1,750+ per month</li> </ul> <p>The Brits already know that Malta is the perfect place to retire, but few Americans can even place this tiny Mediterranean island on the map. Located just below Sicily and about 62 miles north of Africa, Malta is the most fascinating country you've never heard of.</p> <p>Steeped in a rich history, blessed with azure waters and natural beauty, and inhabited by some of the friendliest people in Europe, Malta might just be the most charming place on this list. It's a bit of a stretch to say that it's half the price of most U.S. cities, but you can get a nice one-bedroom apartment here for around &euro;600 ($685). Food in restaurants is considerably cheaper than in the U.S., as is the local produce and alcohol in grocery stores.</p> <p>There are three islands in Malta that are inhabited, but you'll likely choose between Gozo and the main island of Malta. The main island has many more amenities and more areas to explore, but is a lot more built up than the quieter, more natural island of Gozo.</p> <p>Whichever island you choose, all are connected by an excellent network of buses and ferries, so you're never more than a couple of hours from anywhere. There are also ferries to nearby Sicily and Malta is well connected to Europe via flights with Air Malta.</p> <p>Did I mention that Malta is considered to have the best year-round climate in the world?</p> <h2>5. Croatia</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/croatia_beach_scene_59256040.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <ul> <li>Food = 46% cheaper</li> <li>Housing = 75% cheaper</li> <li>Transportation = 41% cheaper</li> <li>Entertainment = 52% cheaper</li> <li>One-bedroom Apartment = $500-$700 per month</li> <li>Total cost of living = $1,550+ per month</li> </ul> <p>Another Mediterranean hot spot, Croatia has a few cities that are great for retirement, but in my opinion, Split is the best. The old town has history, a beautiful setting along the Adriatic Sea and great dining options.</p> <p>The temperature here never gets below 45&deg;F and in the summer, you have your choice of some of the region's best beaches.</p> <p>For history buffs, Diocletian's Palace is one of the best examples of Roman architecture anywhere in Europe and there are numerous old churches, cathedrals, and basilicas to explore.</p> <p>Split also has an excellent expat community and there seems to be something going on every week. Whether it's hiking, a music festival, concerts, plays, or beach parties, you'll never get bored in Split. This seaside town pretty much has it all, and you can get it for less than half the price of most cities in the U.S.</p> <h2>Visit First and Check With the Tax Authorities</h2> <p>There's a lot more to consider than just the cost of living when choosing the best place for retirement. You want to make sure that your chosen destination has enough amenities and activities to keep you satisfied.</p> <p>You'll also want to look into the tax situation to ensure that you don't get into any trouble with the IRS. But this stuff is easier than it sounds. Once you choose the perfect place, head down there for a month or two and see if you enjoy it while staying longer-term.</p> <p>There are so many places around the world to choose from and luckily for Americans, many of them are much cheaper than home.</p> <p><em>What's your favorite vacation spot? Could you retire there? Tell us why in the comments below.</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fretire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FRetire%20for%20Half%20the%20Cost%20in%20These%205%20Countries%20(1).jpg&amp;description=Retire%20for%20Half%20the%20Cost%20in%20These%205%20Countries" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Retire%20for%20Half%20the%20Cost%20in%20These%205%20Countries%20%281%29.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-almost-anyone-can-afford-to-retire-in-mexico">How Almost Anyone Can Afford to Retire in Mexico</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-countries-where-you-can-retire-for-1000-a-month">5 Countries Where You Can Retire for $1,000 a Month</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-financial-steps-to-take-before-retiring-abroad">13 Financial Steps to Take Before Retiring Abroad</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-saved-enough-for-a-down-payment-while-working-in-china">How I Saved Enough for a Down Payment While Working in China</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-your-financial-planner-isnt-telling-you-about-retirement">5 Things Your Financial Planner Isn&#039;t Telling You About Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement Travel cities cost of living expats foreign countries living abroad things to do Wed, 13 Jul 2016 09:00:19 +0000 Nick Wharton 1740461 at http://www.wisebread.com