Ditch the Retirement Home for These Affordable Countries

Travel Channel – All rights reserved.
From the website www.travelchannel.com.
Written by: Meredith Rosenberg.

We were excited to be featured collaborators with the Travel Channel on an article showcasing the best countries to retire. Below is a partial reprint of the story:

Portugal, Ecuador and Malaysia are among the countries that offer expats a comfortable retirement on a modest budget.


Ecuador is a popular pick among experts. Edd and Cynthia Staton are expats who live in the country and who have written “Escape to Ecuador,” along with a series of retirement books. They attribute its expat boom to a vastly improved infrastructure, low crime rate and affordable real estate, stating that it’s possible for homeowners to live comfortably on less than $1,500 a month. Comprehensive, high-quality healthcare is another plus. Edd explains that for less than $100 a month, residents are fully covered with no deductible. There are no healthcare restrictions on age or pre-existing conditions either. Ecuador also enjoys a moderate year-round climate, with expats preferring the towns of Quito and Cuenca (pictured) in the Andes and Salinas along the coast.

Firework over Merdeka Square in downtown Kuala Lumpur at night in Malaysia


The Statons also favor Malaysia, noting it’s a popular expat choice for overall quality of life. “It’s a fascinating mixture of major cities with towering skyscrapers, stunning beaches and lush rainforests,” says Edd. It also maintains an international blend of Malay, Indian and Chinese cultures, while English is widely spoken. But the Statons note Malaysia’s excellent healthcare system as one of the major draws. It provides high quality — with doctors who trained abroad in the U.S., U.K. or Australia — at costs so low that many people pay out of pocket instead of using health insurance. The Statons say a couple could live well for less than $1,800 a month, and though Malaysia doesn’t provide the best proximity to the U.S., it does make travel to Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia a cinch. Kuala Lumpur (pictured), George Town on the island of Penang, Johor Bahru, and Ipoh are current popular expat communities.

Pena palace of sintra,portugal


Many experts agree that Portugal is one of the most affordable countries in Western Europe to retire in, with expats settling in Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve and Silver Coast areas. The Statons estimate that living costs range from $2,000 to $3,000 a month, with tourist areas costing more. Peddicord adds that Portugal is currently trying to attract new residents by not requiring taxes for ten years. Meanwhile, new direct flights on Delta now make the Azores more accessible than ever. The Azores are an island chain that is about a two-hour flight from Lisbon and less than five hours from the Northeast. “They are distinctly Portuguese with beautiful villages, towns and gorgeous scenery,” says Berklich, adding that the Azores are “for the nature lover [who’s] into wine, cheese and fantastic food.” In addition to their easy access to other European countries, retirees will also find a strong infrastructure, mild climate and affordable housing. Berklich estimates monthly living expenses average around $1,000 a month. Of its nine islands, expats tend to favor Pico, Faial and Sao Miguel.


  1. Barbara Milgrim

    Another informative blog. Thanks Cynthia and Edd for continuing to educate us intelligently on our options.

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