Affordable Retirement in Ecuador
Americans moving to another country want to be certain that they can afford to live there comfortably, especially if their primary source of income is their Social Security. In the colonial city of Cuenca, a furnished two-bedroom apartment rents for about $300 a month, and you can buy a condo for approximately $75,000. A three-bedroom waterfront condo can be rented for $900 a month, if you take out a multi-year lease which will also keep your expenses steady. Long term leases are a good alternative to buying. According to International Living, you can live very well in Ecuador for less than $2500 a month, sometimes much less.
The official currency in Ecuador is the U.S. dollar, which makes it very easy to know exactly what you are spending for everything. A number of banks will accept direct deposits of your Social Security check and there are ATMs almost everywhere.
Another community that is appealing to relocating Americans is Bahia de Carquez on the coast of Ecuador. Like Cuenca, it has medical facilities, restaurants and groups of other expatriots who get together regularly.
Some things, such as furniture and American style clothing, can be more expensive in Ecuador. However, if you buy your clothing during visits back to the United States, and you rent a furnished apartment, these expenses should not be too serious a problem.
You will also find that the grocery stores are well-stocked and carry nearly everything you are accustomed to buying in the United States, although not all brand names will be available.
Medical Care in Ecuador
One concern many Americans have when they move to another country is the medical care. This past January, a couple I know was traveling in Ecuador, when the wife suddenly collapsed in her hotel room as the result of a brain aneurysm. This could have been fatal, even if it had happened in her home in the United States. However, she was taken to a hospital in Ecuador where she had a world-class brain surgeon repair the aneurysm, using the latest techniques. She is back home in the United States, and her neurologist here has expressed his amazement at the quality of the repair. If you met her today, you would have no idea that this happened to her only six months ago.
In addition to the modern medical facilities in Ecuador, healthcare is quite affordable. You can buy inexpensive health insurance there, even if you are over age 65. A retired couple can get health insurance for less than $100 a month from Nova Ecuador, the national insurer. In addition, a trip to a doctor only costs about $25 - $35 without insurance.
Beauty and Climate
Of course, no matter how cheap a place is, or how wonderful the medical care is, you would not want to move there if it wasn't a lovely, pleasant place to live. Ecuador has a diverse terrain, ranging from charming beach towns to spectacular mountain villages. The weather is very temperate. In Cuenca, the average daily high temperature is in the 70's, with cool evenings. Some people consider the Ecuadorian climate to be the best in the world.
According to the U.S. State Department, approximately 1.5 million American retirees are living in other countries. In addition to the opportunity for fun and adventure in another country, many people enjoy the tight-knit groups of friends they find in many foreign countries. There are currently approximately 5,000 to 10,000 American expatriots living in Ecuador, with the numbers growing every year.
Use Caution When Moving to a New Country
Just because you are living in another country, you should not drop your natural sense of caution. Even in Ecuador there are thieves, as well as white collar criminals. Don't be too trusting until you have had time to get to know what you are doing there. Learning Spanish will help you speak with the local people, although many do speak English. Contact a local attorney before you move to Ecuador, in order to begin the process of establishing residency once you are there.
If you are interested in learning more about where to retire in the United States or abroad, financial planning, medical issues and changing family values, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles.
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Photo of Ecuadorian Market courtesy of morguefile.com