Even if you retire to an affordable spot, it’s easy to spend too much. One mistake that many new expats make is acting – and spending – like they are on vacation. If you live like that every day, spending lavishly on restaurants, attractions and luxuries, you can quickly burn through your budget.

One way to prevent over-spending is to find out where the locals dine and shop for groceries, nightlife, entertainment and attractions. Get to know the local vendors and farmers, and find out where you can buy things at the “local” rate instead of the “tourist” rate. This is a hugely important step in maintaining a low cost of living abroad. You probably already do this at home (without even thinking about it), and know where to find the best deals, and which places to avoid because they are overpriced. Do the same thing abroad and your money will last much longer.

Likewise many expats fall into the trap of tipping too generously. Whereas locals will leave a ‘modest’ tip, foreigners commonly think they will be liked or appreciated more if they tip more – this is not true. Restaurant staff (particularly in Asia) will just think you have more money than sense!

The Bottom Line

In many cases, retiring abroad costs significantly less than retiring in place or even moving to a smaller house in the U.K. or U.S. It won’t be the right choice for everything, but it provides an alternative for retirees looking for a change of scenery, new cultural experiences, access to affordable healthcare and a lower cost of living.

It goes without saying that before retiring abroad, you need to do your homework. Rules and regulations vary by country, including visa and residency requirements. In addition, taxes for those retiring abroad can be quite complicated. Work with a qualified tax specialist when making plans and consider talking to a local attorney in your proposed new location as well.

Above all, invest in several trips to your new home before making the final move. Try to visit in different seasons and spend time in a variety of settings to see what would suit you best.

Do Your Research

This is a great reference book for future expats

Tim Leffel is an award winning travel writer, editor and author who has published four previous books on traveling well for less. He is editor of Perceptive Travel, established in 2006, and the Cheapest Destinations Blog, established in 2003. He is frequently quoted in the media as an expert on value travel and living abroad and has appeared in Travel + Leisure, National Geographic Traveler, Outside, Men’s Health, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Global Traveler, and more. He has lived in three countries and five U.S. states.

While there are literally hundreds of books about living abroad for less, this one stands out as the best. I've read about 25 other books on the subject, and none come even close to providing the objectivity that this one does.

Expressed ReviewsAmazon

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