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10 Places to Live on $2,000 a Month

A list from MSN Money shows you 10 places where you can live on $2000 a month.

“These retirement destinations will allow you to stretch your limited income, but there are drawbacks, including crime and varying quality of health care.

10. Ecuador


This South American country is a favorite of Americans, offering the dramatic landscapes of the Andes Mountains, a mild climate and relaxed pace. “Balancing cost of living and quality of life, I think you get the biggest bang for the buck,” says Peddicord.

Cuenca, known for cultural attractions including its symphony and lively cafés, is a popular retirement destination. “Lots of Americans have retired here, and there’s an established community,” she says.

Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in an Ecuadorian city ranges from $250 to $550 a month, with utilities adding $30 and an Internet plan an additional $50 or so, according to Numbeo, a cost-of-living database. Groceries cost about 45% of what you would pay in New York City. International Living magazine reports that relatively inexpensive, high-quality health insurance is available.

The downside of living here? You may struggle if you don’t speak Spanish, and in some urban areas, crime can be a problem.

9. Panama
From lush rainforests to beautiful beaches, there’s a lot to like in this Central American country, which International Living ranked as the second-best retirement haven of 2013. It’s not as cheap as Ecuador — a one-bedroom city apartment runs about $460 to $1,300, according to Numbeo. However, the country’s “pensionado” program for foreign retirees with verifiable income above certain thresholds gives them access to discounts on everything from hospital bills to hotel stays.

Groceries cost 56 percent of what they do in New York, the median tab for utilities for a small apartment is about $69 a month and Internet adds about $40 a month. International Living reports that retirees tend to be happy with the quality of health care. Alas, expat bloggers complain of chaotic driving conditions on the country’s crowded roads, and crime is higher than in many parts of the United States, according to Numbeo.

8. MexicoF0AADBE9FAC45850968E91DA983F79_h218_w423_m6_ofalse_lfalse_bwhite
Thanks to its proximity to the United States, Mexico can be a great place to enjoy a lower cost of living without being cut off from loved ones. And if you’re not quite ready to quit working, high-speed Internet and excellent cellphone coverage make it easy to telecommute, according to International Living.

Popular retirement destinations include Mazatlán, Loreto, Cuernavaca and Acapulco, but inexpensive alternatives such as Campeche, on the Yucatan Peninsula, are catching on. Median price for a one-bedroom city apartment is about $263 a month; a three-bedroom can be had for $565.

Groceries cost a little less than half of what they go for in the United States, utilities add about $70 a month, and a median-priced Internet plan goes for about $30. Keep in mind that crime is a serious problem in some parts of Mexico.

7. Nicaragua


Destinations such as Granada, known for its colonial architecture, the university town of León and the surfer’s paradise San Juan del Sur are increasingly attracting “adventuresome” expats to this Central American country, according to International Living.

Nicaragua provides generous tax benefits to foreign retirees, and the cost of living in this sunny, tropical climate is lower than in most parts of the United States. The median price for a one-bedroom city apartment is $250 a month, utilities go for about $45, and Internet plan costs about $37.50.

Considered to be one of the safest countries in Central America, Nicaragua fared well on Numbeo’s crime index. Health insurance is readily available, and expat bloggers report buying coverage from major hospitals for less than $30 a month.

On the downside, the World Bank reports that Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in Latin America, a situation that some expat bloggers say can be painful to witness.

6. Philippines


Given that learning English is mandatory in schools, this can be a relatively easy place for Americans to retire. On top of that, the tropical nation lets Americans with a monthly retirement income of at least $800 obtain residency easily, notes International Living.

Cebu, a large coastal city, is one of the most affordable places to retire well, allowing some expats to live comfortably for $1,250 a month or less, according to Live and Invest Overseas. The median price for a one-bedroom city apartment is about $270 a month, according to Numbeo, with heat, electricity, hot water and garbage collection totaling about $79, and Internet service going for about $34. Expats also report that health care is good in major cities.

The downside of living here is that the country’s infrastructure is lacking in some places, meaning roads can be poor and Internet connections spotty.

5. Thailand


Cities such as Chiang Mai are perennial favorites with expats, thanks to the very low cost of living and great urban lifestyle. Residents and visitors can enjoy pastimes including restaurants, shopping and local festivals. Further, Thailand has a tropical climate, but Chiang Mai residents get a break during the cooler season. Peddicord also likes Hua Hin, which offers beachfront living near Bangkok.

A one-bedroom apartment in a Thai city can be had for $250 to $620 a month, according to Numbeo; the median utility cost is $62 a month, while Internet service runs about $20 a month. Thailand has become a medical tourism mecca, and Patients without Borders, a provider of consumer information on medical travel, says costs for care are 50% to 70% lower than in the United States.

Thailand isn’t for everyone, though. Some expat bloggers don’t like the intense heat, traffic, pollution and chaos of Bangkok and other big cities.

4. Colombia


Medellin is an increasingly popular destination for retirees, according to International Living. Many love the city’s rich cultural life, trendy shops and restaurants, nightlife and near-perfect climate, with warm days and cool nights.

The country offers a very low cost of living, as well as clean water and modern conveniences such as high-speed Internet. Numbeo says you can rent an urban, one-bedroom apartment for as little as $257 a month. Utilities cost about $90, while Internet access runs about $32. Excellent health care is available in many cities including Medellin.

Colombia has some downsides, though, including crime levels that are unacceptably high, according to Numbeo. “Violent and petty crime remains a significant concern in Colombia,” according to a U.S. State Department notice. “Robbery and other violent crimes, as well as scams against unsuspecting tourists, are common in urban areas.”

3. Malaysia


While quite a distance from the United States, Malaysia attracts many expats to cities such as Kuala Lumpur and Penang. They enjoy living in a multicultural population in a country in which many people speak English.

Malaysia also offers excellent roads, dependable telecommunications systems, clean water and access to immaculate beaches and lush jungles in a tropical climate. Thanks to attributes like these, the former British colony earned third place in International Living’s annual ranking of best places to retire.

The country is a top medical tourism destination, with lower-cost health care than in the United States. And it’s cheap, too. You can rent a one-bedroom urban apartment for $456 a month; utilities run about $50 and Internet service is about $45. Be aware, though, that some expats complain that imports, including alcohol, are very expensive because of high taxes, and many say traffic is bad.

2. Costa Rica


This heavily promoted hot spot for retirees boasts scenic beaches, tropical jungles, modern cities and a large expat community. It’s alluringly cheap to live here, too.

A one-bedroom apartment runs $400 to $650 a month, with utilities costing about $52 a month and Internet access an additional $50. The nation is actively trying to build its reputation as a medical tourism hub, but the U.S. State Department cautions that it is important to check out facilities carefully. While medical care is “generally adequate” in San Jose, it is more limited outside the capital city, the agency notes.

Crime can also be a problem. It’s higher than in many parts of the United States, with pickpocketing and theft the most common crimes against tourists, the State Department says. While Costa Rica’s beaches are spectacular, they don’t usually have lifeguards, and currents can be dangerous. Around five dozen people drowned in 2012, the agency reported.

1. Guatemala


Located near the southern tip of Mexico, between the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean, this Central American nation is gaining in popularity among retirees looking for bargain living. The spectacular Lake Atitlán is a popular spot for expats looking for waterfront living.

One advantage of Guatemala is that foreigners can own homes. One recent offering: A nearly 6,500-square-foot, four-bedroom home for $575,000. The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in a Guatemalan city is about $350, according to Numbeo, with utilities running about $111 and Internet service available for $43.

Guatemala is not for everyone, though. Poverty is a widespread problem. And the U.S. State Department rates the threat of violent crime as “critical.” While tourists are often shielded, longer-term residents who don’t live in the safest areas are more at risk, the State Department says.”


Source & images: MSN Money

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