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Places abroad to retire, claimed to be affordable.
Old 04-07-2019, 07:34 AM   #1
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Places abroad to retire, claimed to be affordable.

I found this link on City Data, I have been to many of these places, but am a little out of touch. I noticed Malta was on the list. I thought the young folks who wrote it covered the places quite well, although I would debate what they define as a Senior, maybe a 40 something .

I found it interesting, although the healthcare aspects in some places seemed to easy.

https://thebrainypenny.com/native/to...eally-lasts/2/
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Old 04-07-2019, 07:48 AM   #2
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Yeah read that too. I think in general these international cost estimate articles tend to be understated.
If one is truly willing to live like a local then perhaps so, but if one shops at Walmart in Mexico for example, and wishes for American style comfort, then the prices would be closer to USA style prices.
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Old 04-07-2019, 07:51 AM   #3
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Not on their list, but (circa 2017), there appear to be expat 'communities', (we noticed the Brits), appearing in Bulgaria.
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Old 04-07-2019, 08:05 AM   #4
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That's a fun list to browse through. Interesting Italy is on there. I guess if you stay away from the tourist areas, there are many gorgeous little towns and villas scattered all over. When we travel with DBI and DSI (they live there) we typically go on the back roads through Tuscany. The agriturismo restaurants off the beaten path offer fresh meat, pasta, veggies and are very reasonable. The taxes are high but the health services and other covered benefits might be worth it.
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Old 04-07-2019, 09:10 AM   #5
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My spouse ended up in a hospital in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia a few years ago. Cracked vertebrae.

We had two surprises. The first was the quality of care. It was excellent. The second was the cost. Extremely low by our standards.

$850 CAD ($650USD) was the bill for a 1/2 day hospital stay. That included Xrays, MRI, two consults, radiologist call in, prescription drugs, written report for insurance and her home physician, the xrays, and a CD of the MRI scan. Wait time for the MRI was 90 minutes.

It was large private hospital that specialized in medical tourism. We were shocked at the cost. I had been prepared for a much larger bill.
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Old 04-07-2019, 09:29 AM   #6
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$850 CAD ($650USD) was the bill for a 1/2 day hospital stay. That included Xrays, MRI, two consults, radiologist call in, prescription drugs, written report for insurance and her home physician, the xrays, and a CD of the MRI scan. Wait time for the MRI was 90 minutes.

It was large private hospital that specialized in medical tourism. We were shocked at the cost. I had been prepared for a much larger bill.
Similarly with my (perhaps) TIA in Malaga....three hospital overnights in a room with a private shower, ante room with sofa, coffee maker, etc, etc. Almost every test known to mankind, brain MRI, cartoid ultrasound, EKG, X-rays...yadda, yadda, yadda. A lot less cost than we had anticipated.

And efficient.....between the ultrasound and the MRI, for example, I sat in the hallway for maybe 15 minutes and had the opportunity to observe the techs....go, go, go.....no sitting around gabbing amongst themselves.
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Old 04-07-2019, 09:35 AM   #7
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We have also purchased prescription and OTC medicines in Malaysia and in Thailand. The low prescription prices shocked us.

The challenge, we believe, in urgent health care, in countries like Malaysia and Thailand is your location. We have spent a good part of the last five winters there-often in back of beyond, but beautiful, places that seem like ideal retirement spots (to us).

The locals and the expats tell us the same. You could be in trouble if you had serious health issues and needed to be transported off an island and a few hundred kilometres to a good medical facility. Access to excellent healthcare is no doubt very good in cities like Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur. But these are not places that we would select for retirement in those countries given our lifestyle preference.
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Old 04-07-2019, 10:05 AM   #8
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Poland is beautiful and cheap if you don’t live in Kraków. Of the people I know that have moved to other countries all came back but 1 . Some of these places are hot and humid and/or have bad air quality. People get tired of living on a island no matter how beautiful. One couple got tired of having to fly out of the country when they needed serious medical care.
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Old 04-07-2019, 11:07 AM   #9
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In our travels we have met some expats who did so for two reasons. Climate and lifestyle COL.

Some simply did not want to live in borderline poverty in their home country. Pensions may have been small or nonexistent, savings low and medical expenses comparatively high. So they exchanged life at home for an expat life in order to continue living a moderately comfortable lifestyle. We sensed the successful ones were those who adapted to their expat country lifestyle and did not expect the same as in their country of origin.

I have to say that if we were given the choice of living retirement on the edge vs. living large as an expat in some country like Costa Rica we would probably select the latter. I suspect that the poverty rate or the average income of seniors, adjusted for currency is only going one way in the future given the changes in employment, pensions, income, and health care costs.
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Old 04-07-2019, 11:11 AM   #10
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My reasons, if I were to leave the USA, would be as follows:

1) Climate
2) General attitude of folks is not like it used to be, becoming more divided, and the "I'm all right Jack" attitude
3) America's attitude towards healthcare is not the way I think it should be
4) The attitude of only the rich get choices and the less fortunate do not count, is also getting tedious.
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Old 04-07-2019, 11:17 AM   #11
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Poland is beautiful and cheap if you don’t live in Kraków.
+1 Likewise Romania & Bulgaria.
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Old 04-07-2019, 11:30 AM   #12
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I would think you could move to a LCOL area in the states if you don’t have much money. I wouldn’t mind spending summer and fall in Poland but to difficult with our dogs and if you aren’t in a large town not many speak English. I wouldn’t want to be there in winter as days are short and often dreary. Also they still heat with coal so Air is bad. They are being forced to switch from coal in a few years.
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Old 04-07-2019, 11:32 AM   #13
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In January we were in Bangalore, India and I was evaluated for back pain:
1. Lumbar MRI Rupees 7000 equal to USD 100
2. Flex ion-Extension xrays Rs 1500 USD 21
3. Neurosurgeon consult Rs 700 USD 10
All done within three days and anti inflammatory and PT recommended. In the US it would have cost 50 times more and have taken several weeks to get done!
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Old 04-07-2019, 11:32 AM   #14
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The Philippines has much to offer but outside of Manila quality healthcare services are limited.
On the other hand housing in beautiful places is cheap
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Old 04-07-2019, 11:40 AM   #15
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The Philippines has much to offer but outside of Manila quality healthcare services are limited.
On the other hand housing in beautiful places is cheap
Seems all/most countries with a universal healthcare system do. Still not good enough for the USA though as it is a lot less profitable.
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Old 04-08-2019, 07:27 AM   #16
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We have been spending a number of winters in SE Asia. Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia. They are very low cost compared to other warm destinations. The only challenge is the long flight but we find it tolerable since we stay for several months.

Our principal reason is that we love Thailand. The low cost of travel is simply a bonus. Same for Vietnam and Malaysia. Would we consider moving there? No.
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Old 04-08-2019, 08:45 AM   #17
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We're heading to Budapest in May. I've heard great things about the food, people, culture. My grandparents (paternal) were immigrants from there. I'm going to check out living conditions, health care.
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Old 04-08-2019, 09:12 AM   #18
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While the article is pure click bait the topic is a good one.

Having lived for a cumulative ~5 years in one of the most popular expat enclaves (Lake Chapala in Mexico) I have a few comments to offer.

Mexico is a special case in a lot of ways. For one thing, one can drive there, making it possible to move house and home in a way that isn't really feasible for more distant destinations. Easy travel to and from the U.S. and Canada as well.

There's an old James Thurber quote that really applies: "All men should strive to learn before they die, what they are running from, and to, and why." Successful full-time expats in my experience are those who truly love the country they've moved to - are engrossed in its culture, know (or are committed to knowing) its language, actively involved in being of service in their new home. Those who are merely fleeing home in search of a lower COL, better weather or adventure don't tend to last.

A big driver for us in living down there was access to affordable health care and insurance pre-ACA and we know many, many others who've relocated for similar reasons. We're back up in the U.S. now (Tucson) largely because Lake Chapala (and from what I hear and read pretty much every other known expat haven) has become so over-run with Americans fleeing the U.S. in the past 2 years that rents are through the roof and congestion (and resentment from locals) have reached the boiling point. Without veering into politics, let's just say there's more than one type of "immigration" crisis occurring.

We still get our dental work done on summer visits to Mexico and miss the easy access to and affordability of health care there greatly, even with our heavily subsidized ACA plan. Being able to call one's doctor on his or her cell and see them the same or next day for $20-25 with no paperwork, no nurses and no rush is something one doesn't forget. The U.S. system is broken. We also know that if either of us ever does need assisted living or other long-term care we'll be back down there in a heartbeat, where excellent places vie for one's business at rates that average $1200-1400 a month for food, rent, utilities and 24/7 care.

If we had it to do over we'd probably have spent more time in Spain and Portugal but those places too are over-run with expats now and tightening their residency requirements. And we share brett's love of SE Asia but yeah the jet lag is brutal and no way we'd want to live in any of those lovely countries year-round.
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Old 04-08-2019, 09:14 PM   #19
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We're heading to Budapest in May. I've heard great things about the food, people, culture. My grandparents (paternal) were immigrants from there. I'm going to check out living conditions, health care.
Please share your experiences after you travel from Hungary. I've also heard great things but I'd be interested in the expat community as well as things to do there. I know they've become more conservative with the new government president in the last few years, but not sure how that applies to Americans or Canadians looking to move there.
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Old 04-09-2019, 08:49 AM   #20
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"We also know that if either of us ever does need assisted living or other long-term care we'll be back down there in a heartbeat, where excellent places vie for one's business at rates that average $1200-1400 a month for food, rent, utilities and 24/7 care."


With long-term care so expensive in the USA, this idea has crossed my mind, but I didn't know if it was a real possibility. Reading what you wrote, apparently it isn't just an idea - Americans actually do this? I'll have to do some google searches to learn more.
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