Where A Couple Can Retire For US$735 A Month

“To settle down in Goa for part of the year,” writes intrepid Correspondent Paul Terhorst, who recently spent weeks exploring the options for expat living in India, “will cost you US$735 per month, for a couple, for basic expenses.

“We say part of the year, because no one sticks around during the summer monsoon season. Take advantage of those months to visit relatives abroad or to travel around Asia.  Besides, you’ll need to leave to renew your visa every six months, via a quick trip to Sri Lanka, Nepal, Thailand, Oman, Bahrain, Pakistan, wherever. Naturally, those travel costs are extra.

“We estimate US$300 rent for a serviced apartment off the beach; a bit less if you live in a guest house.

“We advise that you refrain from buying real property in Goa, at least for now, because of political and legal problems in getting and keeping clean title. That’s why I’ve figured one budget only, based on renting.

“All figures here are based on my experience in Colva Beach in Goa, but you’ll find most other Goan beaches cost more or less the same.

“Here’s how your monthly cost of living in Goa breaks down:

  • Rent: US$250 for a place three or four blocks from the beach
  • Transportation: US$20 (including the cost of an occasional trip to the big city)
  • Electricity: US$50 (more if you use a lot of air conditioning)
  • Telephone: US$15 for a cell phone (can be more or less depending on use)
  • Food: US$100
  • Entertainment: US$300, including meals away from home

“Note that this budget includes nothing for HOA fees or property taxes…because you won’t have them. And nothing for Internet, because I’m assuming you make use of public Internet cafes, as I did during my travels in the country.

“Now…some further clarifications.

“Our country budgets, including this one for Goa, reflect basic living costs for a retired couple, essentially housing and utilities, food, entertainment, and a few additional items.  We recommend you use these budgets as a start–but only a start–in your retirement planning.

“So many costs depend on you–on your lifestyle, your medical concerns, your eating and drinking habits, your charitable contributions… You’ll need to take those things into account.

“You may want to include maid service, for example. Or perhaps something for laundry costs, personal items (haircuts, manicures), and what might be considered capital expenditures (computer equipment, cameras, and other gadgets, for example).

“If you like to drink fine wine, you’ll want to include that as a separate and additional cost in your budget, considering that wine in Thailand, for example, costs perhaps three times as wine in Argentina.

“You get the idea.

“In addition, you’ll want to budget for medical costs. You may want to keep your same medical insurance when you move abroad, in which case your basic medical cost could remain the same. A BUPA international policy, for example, can follow you anywhere. The price is unaffected by your country of residence.

“However, you’ll need to budget for prescription drugs (can be expensive in Panama), doctor visits (inexpensive in Panama), and surprise costs your insurance may not cover.

“I’m recommending that you not think about buying a home in India; however, as a general budgeting comment, if you do buy a house, you’ll need to include that capital outlay, plus furniture and any improvements necessary to get the place the way you want it, in a separate budget altogether.

“Similarly, you’ll need to consider your capital outlay to buy or import a car. In some country budgets, where it makes sense to own a car, we show basic operating expenses for a car, but you’ll have to include amounts for parking, parking and speeding tickets, maybe even payments to local constables so they won’t give you parking and speeding tickets…

“You’ll want to consider initial setup costs: moving, shipping, rental deposits, visa fees, and so on.

“And you’ll want to consider ongoing travel costs, both in-country and back to the U.S., Canada, the UK, or wherever you’re coming from, depending on how much you miss the grandkids.

“With all this in mind, we believe you’ll find you’ll save money moving abroad. Maybe a lot…maybe not so much. It depends in part on how you live…and as well on where you’re living now. This cost of living thing is very relative.”

Plus, of course, reducing your cost of living isn’t the only benefit to moving overseas. More on this tomorrow…

Kathleen Peddicord

Retire Overseas Conference Banner