The Rising Cost Of Living In Cuenca, Ecuador

“Kathleen, I just retired from 40 years of OB/GYN, which I loved. I remember you from a Belize conference +/-20 years ago. Impressed with you then, and I know Nashville will be great. Looking forward to the conference. Lots of questions, few answers at this point, though I read everything from you.”

–Swen D., United States


“Kathleen, I would love to attend your conference in Ecuador, and I want to retire before the end of year. The process seems pretty straightforward, but here is my concern. I have read where Cuenca has gone up since I discovered it in 2007. With all of the Americans going there to retire, is this a case where it will eventually become too expensive to live there? My pension will be US$1,050 per month until I start drawing Social Security in a few years. I will then have more. Any advice will be helpful.”

–David S., United States

It is true that costs in Cuenca have gone up since the influx of expats began a few years ago. Today, I think a comfortable figure for retirement in Cuenca would start at around US$1,150 per month to be able to take advantage of what this city has to offer. That said, you could probably get by on as little as US$800 if you really had to and still be able to enjoy yourself with fixed-price meals and free cultural activities.

I think your US$1,050 would be OK as an interim income, as long as you didn’t own a car (it’s not necessary anyway), limited your travel, and shopped for local brands instead of imported ones. Once your Social Security kicks in, though, you’d be quite comfortable.

Continue reading: Property Purchase Process In Ecuador

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