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Where are the best countries to live on a Social Security check?

The cost of retiring in the US can be prohibitive for many but there is an alternative, moving abroad where your Social Security benefits will go further.

Where you can live abroad on Social Security benefits
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People spend their lives working and saving with the idea that one day they will retire and then kick back to truly just enjoy life. However, retirement can be extremely expensive depending on where you live in the United States.

Those that want their savings to go a little, or a lot, further in their golden years there is the option to move abroad. The average Social Security beneficiary had their monthly check boosted to $1,658 at the start of 2022. For that amount, or less, a couple could live comfortably according to International Living.

The magazine is dedicated to providing information on “living a happier, more fulfilling, more prosperous life overseas,” and for over thirty years has been publishing its Global Retirement Index of the best countries to live “an exotic life in an overseas, tropical paradise” that isn’t just for the rich and famous.

Also see:

What you need to know before moving abroad

The first question that most would have is whether you can receive your Social Security benefits if you live in a foreign country, yes you can. That is as long as you’re not living in Cuba or North Korea, and there are eight other countries where you can receive Social Security payments only under certain strict conditions.

Fortunately, none of those countries are on International Living’s top destinations for those that want to spread their wings and consider living abroad on Social Security benefits.

1. Panama

Just a three-hour flight from Miami, Panama is a modern country that uses the US dollar as its currency. Its outside the hurricane belt so you don’t need to worry about truly foul weather. A couple can live in Panama for between roughly $1,200 to a little less than $3,000 per month.

2. Costa Rica

The Switzerland of Central America, Costa Rica is famous for its ecotourism with a good standard of living. With an income of between $2,000 and $2,500 a month a couple can live comfortably. Costa Rica has a universal healthcare system which retirees can access once residency is established. Residents pay between 7 percent and 11 percent of reported income that covers all healthcare services.

3. Mexico

Closer to home, Mexico offers a range of climates, geographic diversity and choice of lifestyles. The cost of living is one of the main attractions, where your savings can go further if you shop like the locals. Depending on the location a couple can live there for $1,500 to $3,000 per month.

4. Portugal

One of the safest countries according to the Global Peace Index, Portugal has become an ever more tantalizing destination for American expats with its warm California-like climate. According to International Living it is the second most affordable country in Europe where a couple can live just outside Lisbon for around $2,200 and less in smaller interior towns.

5. Colombia

The second-most biodiverse country in the world, Colombia, provides retirees with the four types of regions, dry and arid, hot and humid, warm and tropical or mild. The country provides the level of amenities and infrastructure of a First World nation. A couple can live on a little more than $1,000 to less than $3,000 per month depending on location and lifestyle.