A modest retirement nest egg doesn’t necessarily mean one has to retire modestly.
A new list published by Live and Invest Overseas looks at where retirees can get the most bang for their buck.
And the stats show that more and more retirees will have less to begin with.
According to Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis, many people ages 50 to 64 will likely not have enough retirement assets to maintain their standard of living when they reach their mid-sixties.
The same SCEPA research shows that 75% of Americans nearing retirement age in 2010 had less than $30,000 in their retirement accounts.
“Take your retirement global and you can maximize your quality-of-life return for every dollar spent,” writes Kathleen Peddicord, editor and publisher of Live and Invest Overseas.
Here are the magazine’s 12 best foreign cities for retirement:
12. City Beaches, Panama
According to Live and Invest Overseas, Panama has held the position of world’s best country for retirement for more than a dozen years.
“This former weekend retreat is evolving into a full-fledged retirement community with an established population of full-time foreign residents supported by a developed infrastructure, including good medical facilities,” Peddicord says.
One big advantage of Panama for retirees: Its currency is the U.S. dollar.
“[R]etirees with retirement incomes in U.S. dollars have no currency-exchange risk or worry,” Peddicord says.
In addition, medical care in Panama City is international-standard and affordable, and the country offers a gold-standard retiree residency visa program.
Coronado, which is about an hour outside Panama City, may offer the most developed, established, and fully appointed beach community in Panama, according to Peddicord.
While Coronado is an affordable place to live, it’s not as cheap as other top beach choices in this country.
“The trade-off is access,” Peddicord says. “The more affordable choices are also more distant from Panama City.”
11. Granada, Nicaragua
Granada is a Spanish-colonial city on the shores of Lake Nicaragua.
“At the heart of this city, radiating from the central square, is a great variety of classic and charming Spanish-colonial homes with high ceilings, painted tiles, and private center courtyards,” writes Peddicord. “The best part is that you can own one for as little as $40,000.”
The city also has connections to the United States from the nearby international airport at Managua, which is a little less than an hour to the north. Miami is two hours away from the airport.
Granada qualifies as one of the world’s most affordable retirement locations, according to Live and Invest Overseas.
“A retired couple could live here comfortably on a budget of as little as $1,200 per month,” Peddicord writes. “And Nicaragua offers the world’s most affordable retiree residency visa program; you qualify with as little as $600 per month of retirement income.”
10. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Puerto Vallarta, a resort town on Mexico’s Pacific coast, is known for its beaches, water sports and nightlife scene, as well as an historic, cobblestoned city center.
While Mexico is “no longer a super-cheap option,” it is Live and Invest Overseas’ top pick for enjoying a luxury coastal lifestyle on a budget.
“Puerto Vallarta is more expensive than other places where you might consider living or retiring overseas, but in Puerto Vallarta that’s not the point,” Peddicord writes. “This isn’t developing-world living. This stretch of Mexico’s Pacific coastline has already been developed to a high level.”
Puerto Vallarta is home to more than 40,000 expats and foreign retirees, according to Live and Invest Overseas.
“You probably won’t be able to live well here on Social Security income alone; however, if your retirement budget is a bit bigger and you dream of retirement on the Pacific Ocean, Puerto Vallarta deserves your attention,” Peddicord says.
9. Chiang Mai, Thailand
Chiang Mai, a city in mountainous northern Thailand that dates back to the 1200s, still retains its history in its Old City area, where remnants of walls, moats and hundreds of elaborate temples remain.
Thailand has one of the world’s lowest costs of living, according to Live and Invest Overseas. Chiang Mai’s modern infrastructure and abundance of Western amenities are also big pluses for foreign retirees.
The city also offers high-quality health care and health-related services – as well as job opportunities.
“Chiang Mai is a place where it can be possible for foreign retirees to find work if they’re interested in supplementing their retirement nest eggs or simply looking to become involved in their new community; many Westerners are employed in Chiang Mai in language schools, universities, medical facilities, and tourist-related industries,” Peddicord writes.
While it used to be possible to stay indefinitely in Thailand with a tourist visa – making visa runs to a neighboring country every month or so – a foreigner who wants to live in Thailand long term now needs a residency visa.
“No problem, as Thailand now offers several attractive residency visa options,” Peddicord writes.
8. Cuenca, Ecuador
Cuenca, a historic city, is known for its charming cobblestone streets, old-world cathedrals, colonial parks, urban rivers – and its low cost of living.
“Perhaps the biggest appeal of Cuenca is its cost of living, which is among the lowest in the Americas,” Peddicord writes. “Real estate prices, too, are rock bottom, if you’re interested in owning a home of your own in retirement. The health care is high quality, honest, and, like everything else here, inexpensive.”
However, Cuenca does not rank among Live and Invest Overseas’ top 5 picks for 2016.
“A soaring U.S. dollar makes other more fully appointed lifestyle options more affordable than they’ve been in many years and more affordable than Cuenca is today,” Peddicord writes.
She also says the infrastructure of Ecuador can’t compete with that in Portugal, Colombia, France or Italy, all of which make Live and Invest Overseas’ top 5 this year.
7. Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic
Las Terrenas, a town on the northeast coast of the Dominican Republic, is known for its scenic landscapes, white sand beaches and clear waters.
According to Live and Invest Overseas, the Dominican Republic makes establishing residency easy, and even rewards foreign investors through incentives.