Photo Credit: Emily Barbe
I'm not joining Mr. Money Mustache in Ecuador, but I found someone interesting in the forums today who lives in Cuenca, a popular retirement destination. He goes by CuencaSolo and he's a real retiree from Dallas, Texas who thoughtfully provided his budget. It's much lower than, say, $1800. Ecuador uses US dollars and the cost of living is much cheaper, as is often the case abroad:
As of March 2013 the average Social Security benefit being paid out was $1,155, according to the Social Security Administration. That may not go far in Miami or Manhattan, but in some popular expat locales it could cover monthly expenses very nicely indeed. In Nicaragua and Malaysia, for example, a couple can live comfortably for around $1,000 a month, according to International Living. Food, clothing, transportation and everything else may be cheaper abroad, depending on where you look.
"If you can move somewhere where suddenly everything is 75 percent off, it means your retirement savings will last that much longer."Right. So you become a frugal not by minimizing your consumption, but going to a place where dollars stretch a lot farther. I remember that in Ecuador we would see people pay for bus rides with 25 pennies - pennies are almost an anachronism and I remember that in Ecuador they had actual worth. It was crazy.
Anyways, his budget:
$280 rent $63 condo charge (includes central hot water and propane for the stove, both luxuries here) $39 cleaning ($9 a week for about 90 minutes) $22 internet (pretty slow, down for hours at least once a week) $15 purified drinking water (in 20-liter bottles, $2 including a tip when the guard brings it up) $10 electricity (with a charge for street lighting!) $4 water, sewer (and maintain public parks!) $3 landline phone (plus a bit every 3 months to buy minutes for a cell phone)That sounds like pretty much everything that I would want, besides the Internet. I've been to Cuenca and I think that it's beautiful. I would not mind the entire early retirement community packing up and moving to Cuenca. I actually think that Jacob Lund Fisker would spend a lot less in a place like Cuenca than Chicago.
$436 monthly total.