Friday, January 21, 2011

Cheap Places to Live Abroad

As I read through the International Living Quality of Life Index for the best places to live in 2011 I can't help but be drawn to that one very important category - Cost of Living. It's such an important topic since the economic melt down. Retirees were sitting pretty and thinking they could settle down just about anywhere they wanted on the planet but then overnight it seemed their nest eggs disappeared or at the very least have been diminished to a great extent. It's really quite sad and when I hear people who should be retiring saying things like, "I don't know if I will ever be able to retire". It breaks my heart.

Now savvy and global thinking retirees aren't about to give up on their dream. In fact they were probably planning alternative scenarios for retirement many years before the collapse. And that's where this index can really come into play. Restricted budgets and income losses don't mean retirement has to be put on the back burner. It does mean finding the cheapest places to live has become a greater concern and a higher priority.

This is the fun, interesting and helpful part of having Quality of Life for each country broken down by nine different ranking categories. Let's revisit our list of the Best Places to Live based on average quality of life and determine the potential Best Places to Retire based and rank ordered by Cost of Living -

Cheap Places to Live Abroad

#1 - Hungary
#2 - The United States
#3 - Argentina
#5 - Portugal
#6 - New Zealand
#7 - Malta
#8 - Uruguay

#9 - Slovenia
#10 - Belgium

Of course we are talking about entire countries here so the data and the index once again can be a bit suspect and perhaps even misleading. The United States is the best place to live and has the second lowest Cost of Living according to the index. Now we know the U.S. does have a very low cost of living in some places. And, it has very cheap housing BUT it also has some of the most expensive real estate on the planet! It's a huge country so the averages can be quite misleading and will skew the results. Sure, you can live very cheaply in some very rough neighbourhoods in the U.S. You can live cheaply in some very cold and snowy places in the U.S. On the other end of the spectrum we have very small countries like Malta with a high quality of life score. But, in Malta the climate and cost of living is pretty consistent throughout the country. This is why quality of life really needs to be considered as a basket of items including such very important things like climate.

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