These Are the Best Cities Around the World to Retire for $1,500 or Less a Month

These Caribbean islands, European towns, and Southeast Asian cities offer an affordable cost of life without sacrificing quality.

<p>Marco Bottigelli/Getty Images</p>

Marco Bottigelli/Getty Images

For some seniors, retirement can be an anxiety-inducing experience due to insufficient savings and the rising costs associated with housing and healthcare. The average social security check in December 2023 was $1,767, while, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average monthly expenses in 2021 were $4,345.

It's no wonder some retirees are looking for an affordable place to spend their golden years outside the country. Now, a new survey by International Living listed 13 global destinations where entertainment, housing, healthcare, and food come with a much lower price tag than in the U.S., so retirees can live comfortably on $1,500 per month.

Mexico is the undisputed winner, with three cities on the list — the most of any country. Querétaro, a historic city in Central Mexico, and Isla Mujeres and Cozumel, islands off the coast of Cancun and Riviera Maya, all offer housing for as low as $500 a month, access to excellent healthcare, and an abundance of recreational activities.

However, five of the destinations on the list are in Southeast Asia. In Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh, for example, retirees will find "a stunningly low-cost, high-quality life," Jennifer Stevens, the executive editor of International Living, told Travel + Leisure.

"Bang for buck, Phnom Penh shines. Rent in the capital city is reasonable: you can lease a one-bedroom apartment in the heart of downtown, within walking distance of restaurants, bars, and the best shopping, for less than $500 per month," Stevens said, noting that a single person can live comfortably on $1,000.

Another spot where the cost of living is times lower than that in the U.S. is the island state of Penang in Malaysia, which stands out as an incredibly diverse destination where most people speak English.

"Penang offers up a wonderfully vibrant mix of old and new — restored colonial buildings anchor the island's tall glass high-rises. It's a culturally rich melting pot. It offers up lush jungle-covered hills bursting with wildlife and pristine beaches along with all the comforts of modern living," Stevens added.

International Living states that retirees here can rent a three-bedroom condo with sea views for as low as $380 per month and that, other than the cost of housing, a single person needs just $500 a month to pay for additional living expenses.

And for those looking to move across the pond should consider Alicante and Granada in Spain, as well as the charming town of Bergerac in southwest France, which is about two hours from Bordeaux. It is known for its viticulture, vibrant year-round arts event program, and picture-perfect setting comprising narrow streets, stone houses, and scenic riverfront.

You can read the complete list of destinations and how much it costs to retire in each at

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