Islands Where You Can Retire on as Little as $1,500 a Month
Sun, sand, great health care and low costs -- what's not to love?EpicStockMedia / Shutterstock
Retired American couples will receive an average $2,448 a month from Social Security in 2019. When combined with some savings, that can get you a modest living in some states.
But retiring abroad might allow you to stretch your income much, much further -- and even provide the kind of island lifestyle you've always dreamed of.
Take a look at these 10 islands around the world where couples can live comfortably on a monthly budget as low as $1,400, according to International Living magazine. We go in descending order, to the least expensive.
Welcome to your future.
10. Ambergris Caye, Belize
Monthly cost: As little as $2,800
When only pristine beaches and the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean will do, look no further than budget-friendly Ambergris Caye, the largest island in Belize.
It has a laid-back vibe that makes it the ultimate spot for enjoying a slower pace of life and relaxing in the sun. More adventurous retirees will enjoy sailing and scuba diving.
The island has several 24-hour clinics and internationally trained doctors. Other pluses for American retirees: English is the primary language in Belize, and U.S. dollars are widely accepted.
Monthly cost: As little as $2,800
Ireland is one of the most spectacular islands in the world and can offer an affordable retirement in Europe. Home to beautiful mountains, sparkling lakes and lush river valleys, Ireland has natural beauty that's unmatched.
You’ll find a quiet pace of life in Ireland’s many pretty villages. Whether you dream of spending your days in a quaint cottage or exploring the countryside’s ancient castles, the Emerald Isle can be a truly awesome place to retire.
Ireland has a comprehensive health care system with private and some public options available for expat residents and visitors.
8. Isla Mujeres, Mexico
Monthly cost: As little as $2,750
If you're a fan of warm, sparkling beaches, colorful coral reefs and a lush climate, then Isla Mujeres may just be the place for you. Located just 8 miles off the coast of Cancún, Isla Mujeres is far more laid-back and private than its touristy neighbor.
Here, you'll find white sand, a turtle sanctuary and ancient Mayan ruins. You'll also enjoy plenty of snorkeling opportunities and a mind-boggling underwater sculpture museum.
The island has several English-speaking doctors and a hospital. A fast ferry ride to Cancun provides access to five advanced medical facilities, for complete care.
Monthly cost: As little as $2,600
The island nation of Malta offers discerning retirees a taste of the European lifestyle, a diverse local culture and more than 150 miles of breathtaking coastlines to enjoy.
It's also home to UNESCO World Heritage Sites left behind by the Romans, Moors, French and British, and English is one of the island’s official languages.
Given its unique mix of history and modern amenities and architecture, Malta’s capital city of Valletta was dubbed the European Capital of Culture in 2018. The affordable cost of living and high quality of health care will take your retirement savings a long way.
6. Mallorca, Spain
Monthly cost: As little as $2,500
Once a vacation destination for writers and artists, Mallorca is sure to fill your days with inspiration and adventure. The largest of the Balearic Islands is still the preferred vacation destination of the Spanish royal family today.
Thanks to its mild climate, you can enjoy Mallorca’s beautiful beaches, outdoor cafes, castle-lined hilltops and charming old towns all year round. And, retirees will take comfort knowing that Mallorca offers excellent private and public hospitals and medical centers.
Find out how much you need to put away each month to reach your retirement savings goal.
5. Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic
Monthly cost: As little as $2,500
Blossoming from its beginnings as a rustic fishing village, the island of Las Terrenas is now a hotbed of French, Italian and Dominican culture — and has an incredible food scene to back that up.
Las Terrenas also is blessed with perfect weather, with an average temperature of 77 degrees. Retirees living here can enjoy the island’s white sand beaches and spectacular sunsets throughout the year.
The island has its own international medical center that’s equipped to handle most medical issues. For more complex situations, you’ll find excellent and affordable care in Santo Domingo, just a two-hour drive or quick airlift away.
4. Koh Samui, Thailand
Monthly cost: As little as $2,250
Koh Samui is Thailand's second-largest island. It’s home to pristine beaches, hidden waterfalls, great diving, stunning Buddhist temples, and the spectacular mountains and coconut groves of Ang Thong National Marine Park.
Koh Samui lends itself perfectly to a retirement full of exploration and relaxation — just don’t forget the sunscreen! After a long day of taking in the island’s sights, you can enjoy excellent local foods, cheap drinks and delicious rum.
Health care will cost you only about $50 a month, and there are two international Bangkok-based hospitals on the island.
3. Penang, Malaysia
Monthly cost: As little as $2,000
Nicknamed the "Pearl of the Orient," the island of Penang is famous for its exquisite cuisine and flawless tropical beaches. This Malaysian island is in the center of Southeast Asia, which makes it a great home base for avid travelers.
Adding to its vibrant art and cultural scene, in 2008 the island became a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site because of its host of historic architectural wonders.
Retirees from the U.S. will find it easy to fit in among the large English-speaking population, and will enjoy easy access to affordable, gold-standard medical care.
2. Bali, Indonesia
Monthly cost: As little as $1,900
It's one of the most popular destinations in Indonesia, and you can live in luxury on the island of Bali on a staggeringly low monthly budget.
Affordable shopping centers, restaurants and first-class spas are just a few minutes away at all times on this island.
With its outstanding beaches, breathtaking mountain ranges and beautiful aquamarine waters, Bali is a nature-lover’s fantasy. There are many private clinics and intensive care units, and the best hospitals are in the island's capital, Denpasar.
1. Bocas del Toro, Panama
Monthly cost: As little as $1,400
Bocas del Toro is a chain of islands that's been called one of the best-kept secrets of the Caribbean. Launch your next sailing or diving adventure from one of the pristine beaches, or stay in shape by hiking one of the many pretty trails.
These gorgeous islands are home to a welcoming multicultural community and a slower pace of life that's extremely affordable, International Living says.
Although the island has local clinics and doctors who make house calls by boat, retirees living here should carry international health insurance with airlift coverage, in case of emergency.