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9 Affordable Places to Retire Overseas

Kathleen Peddicord
7. Granada, Nicaragua
Monthly budget: $1,300
Monthly rent: $500
Geographically, Nicaragua is blessed, with two long coastlines and two big lakes, plus volcanoes, highlands, rain forest and rivers. In this regard, it's got everything Costa Rica and Panama have got, all less discovered and developed and available for the adventurer and eco-traveler at bargain rates.
Architecturally, too, Nicaragua is notable. Its two sister colonial cities, Granada and Leon, vie for the title of Oldest City in the Americas. Whichever story you believe (that the Spanish conquistadores settled first on the shores of Lake Nicaragua at Granada or, perhaps, a few months earlier in Old Leon), Nicaragua is the big winner, with impressive colonial-era churches, public buildings and parks to her credit.
Property values have fallen significantly in this country over the past several years, thanks to the re-election of Sandinista President Daniel Ortega and the global recession, which has hit this country hard. As a result, you can buy a house on Nicaragua's Pacific coast for less than $100,000.

Lower costs abroad

Retiring overseas can dramatically reduce your cost of living. In many cases, you can enjoy a better retirement lifestyle with significantly more disposable income abroad than you could with a modest nest egg in the U.S. Here are nine overseas retirement spots worth a close look.

Carcassonne, France

In general, France is not a place to choose if you are hoping to dramatically cut your cost of living. But this area, "the other South of France," is far more affordable than its flashier counterpart and still offers the best of French country living. Monthly budget: $1,750.

Cayo, Belize

Despite the growing numbers of expats in this district, the real estate market in Cayo is still priced for Belizeans, which helps keep the cost of living very low. Belize is a retirement, tax and offshore haven. It's also a place of stunning landscapes and abundant natural resources. Still, this is a small country where the infrastructure is most kindly described as "developing." Monthly budget: $1,100.

Chiang Rai, Thailand

With a population of less than 100,000, Chiang Rai offers intimacy that cannot be found in a large city. The natural setting offers thick forests, majestic waterfalls, elephant camps and hot springs. Rental prices are extremely low, and you get a lot of house for your money. Monthly budget: $750.

Dumaguete, Philippines

Dumaguete boasts a warm, tropical climate and lots of opportunities for outdoor adventures, including world-class diving and snorkeling and whale and dolphin watching. This university city also offers an opportunity to interact with professors and students, take classes and enjoy cultural opportunities not typically found elsewhere in the Philippines, including theater, ballet, art shows and libraries. Monthly budget: $1,000.

Granada, Nicaragua

With two long coastlines, two big lakes, volcanoes, highlands, rain forests and rivers, Nicaragua has it all. Granada has an established expat retiree community that makes it an easy place to settle in. The capital, Managua, is less than 45 minutes away and has the international-class Hospital Metropolitano Vivian Pellas. Monthly budget: $1,300.

Ipoh, Malaysia

Despite having a population of more than half a million, Ipoh feels like a small town. You can expect fresh air, clean water and a relaxing lifestyle as well as first-world health care, modern infrastructure and friendly locals who speak English. Monthly budget: $897.

Loja, Ecuador

Ecuador has acquired a reputation as one of the best options in the world for retirees on a budget, but little Loja is still off the beaten path. Loja has a pleasant climate, great health care, and it offers an opportunity to become a part of the local community. But you'll likely need to speak Spanish and be comfortable interacting with the locals. Monthly budget: $1,100.

Nha Trang, Vietnam

Nha Trang, Vietnam, has one of the lowest costs of living of any city in Southeast Asia or the world. English is widely spoken, the food is delicious and the weather is comfortable year-round. The ocean, mountains and rural landscapes invite both adventurous and laid-back exploration. Monthly budget: $650.

Tralee, Ireland

Tralee offers an authentic Emerald Isle experience. The majority of people who work in its shops, restaurants, bars and tourist sites are locals, which helps the town's heritage and character shine through. And thanks to the recession, the cost of living and of real estate is temptingly low. Monthly budget: $1,500.

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