So many people picture their retirement lying on a beach. However, finding somewhere to live on a budget can be difficult, let alone on the beach. According to Market Watch, the average retired American lives on just over $45,000 per year.
Considering that most married couples over the age of 65 receive $2,340 per month in social security, this is $28,080 per year in social security checks. So, unless they have a hefty IRA stashed away in addition to their social security benefits, finding an affordable beach town may seem like a pipe dream. Thankfully, these places truly do exist, however. Here are 20 beach towns where it’s actually possible to retire for under $40,000 a year.
20. Bay St. Louis, Mississippi
Bay St. Louis Mississippi is located along the Gulf Coast. It’s a great town for retirees because it has golf courses, hiking trails, fishing, museums, and more. You can visit the Alice Moseley Folk Art & Antique Museum, the Hollywood Casino, the Buccaneer State Park, or the Bay St. Louis Beach.
According to Area Vibes, renters make a median salary of $28,739 while homeowners make $51,080. So with $40,000 a year, you would land somewhere in between the two. For a married couple, they should expect to budget $1,192 per month on living expenses if they live in Bay St. Louis. This leaves plenty left over to enjoy life.
19. Pensacola, Florida
According to the U.S. News & World Report, Pensacola, Florida, is one of the best places to live in the country. It has beautiful beaches, a walkable downtown area, and a low cost of living. Besides enjoying the beach in the summertime, they have the Pensacola Saenger Theater and the Pensacola Museum of Art, which features pieces by world-famous artists like Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso. They also have a summer seafood festival, concerts in the park, and plenty of places to go shopping.
In case you didn’t know, Florida does not have a state income tax. So anything you receive from social security, a part-time retirement job, or withdrawing investments can be done totally tax-free. On average, houses cost just $140,000. Browsing through apartment listings, the average rent hovers somewhere between $800 to $1,500 depending on the number of bedrooms and location.
18. Akumal, Mexico
The small town of Akumal, Mexico, enjoys gorgeous tropical water on the Caribbean Sea. In the Mayan language, Akumal means “The Land of the Turtles,” and it truly lives up to its namesake. Through the clear waters of the bay, you can spot plenty of sea turtles. For years, not many people have bothered to visit Akumal, but more recently, tourists who vacation in Cancun and Playa del Carmen have decided to make the trip. Because of this new influx of foreigners, the town has acquired more restaurants, snorkeling expeditions, and bars.
Compared to the United States, all of Mexico has a significantly lower cost of living. For couples who move to Akumel, two people can live a luxurious lifestyle in the Caribbean for $2,240 a month, or just $26,880 a year.
17. Atlantic City, New Jersey
You’ll find no shortage of retirees strolling the boardwalk of Atlantic City. Famous for its casinos, the city is a vacation destination for people from around the world. This is great for anyone who wants to continue to have fun during their retirement. Atlantic City has comedy clubs, restaurants, shopping, and even an airport. And if you plan to have your grandkids over to visit, you could take them to the famous amusement park on the pier.
According to Livability, people in Atlantic City have a median household income of $25,737.Rent on apartments can be very cheap in Atlantic City, but you need to be careful because the city does have a high crime rate. Many people opt to pay for a condo that overlooks the ocean instead.
16. Corpus Christi, Texas
The city of Corpus Christi faces the bay of its namesake, which leads out to the Gulf of Mexico. They have a busy downtown area complete with restaurants and bars. There is also the Art Museum of South Texas, The Texas State Aquarium, and the sports stadium Whataburger Field. For nature lovers, there are also state parks with plenty of natural splendor. The Padre Island National Seashore has 380 species of birds and is a refuge for sea turtles.
Rent starts at just $650 per month and goes up depending on the amount of space or luxury you are looking for in an apartment. If you are thinking of selling your current house during your move, the average home in Corpus Christi is just $150,000. Best of all, the state of Texas does not collect income taxes.
15. Placencia, Belize
If you are considering becoming an ex-pat to live in paradise, consider Placencia, Belize. The town has 16 miles of beaches along the crystal-clear Caribbean Sea. In the distance, you can see the Maya mountain chain. Years ago, Placencia was just a small fishing village. Now, there are bars, restaurants, cafes, and more. With a high of 86 degrees and a low of 71, the weather in Placencia remains heavenly all year round.
The main language spoken in Belize is English, because it was once a British colony. This makes it a very popular tourist destination, and there are also plenty of other ex-pats living there. According to International Living, an average apartment costs just $500 per month. But if you prefer to live in a more luxurious setting, you can get that for $850 per month. If you want to live there permanently, you can get a condo or small house between $100,000 to $150,000.
14. Morehead City, North Carolina
North Carolina is famous for its Southern charm and temperate climate. Morehead City is blessed to have sandy beaches along the bay called The Crystal Coast. There are cruises that can take you through the bay so that you can enjoy the water on a clear day. You can also go sailing or scuba diving. Besides the water, there are plenty of other things to do when friends and family come to visit. They have the Fort Macon State Park, the North Carolina Maritime Museum, and the History Museum of Carteret County.
According to Best Places, the cost of renting an apartment starts at just $668 for a one-bedroom apartment, and a 2-bedroom is $875. This is significantly cheaper than many other parts of the United States, especially for a beach town. Most renters have a median income of just over $33,000, and homeowners make an average of $55,000.
13. Mallorca, Spain
Situated in the Mediterranean Sea, Mallorca, Spain, is a gorgeous island paradise. The main language spoken in Spanish, of course. But since it is in Europe, there will be plenty of people who can speak English, and there are actually a lot of German ex-pats who love to visit Mallorca. If you wanted to go somewhere that spoke English, you are just a short round-trip flight to London from Barcelona for just $100.
According to Christian Monson from International Living, he happily moved from his home in the United States to live in Mallorca. He pays just $800 a month on his mortgage for a three-bedroom home. A glass of beer at the bar is just $3, taxi rides to the city of Palma are only $10. It’s very affordable for ex-pats to retire there and enjoy the laid-back lifestyle.
12. Volcán, Panama
As the name suggests, Volcán is located near Panama’s one and only volcano, Volcán Baru. The town is small, and not many tourists bother to visit. The population is just 14,000 people, and it is a small farming community near the beach. It is a perfect place to live if you are looking for peace and quiet with gorgeous scenic views. The Volcán Baru National Park and La Amistad Park have hiking trails through forests and jungles.
Volcán has been called the “breadbasket of Panama” because its volcanic soil is so nutritious, they produce the vegetables and the flowers for the entire country. Since you would be living in the heart of the farming community, this means that food is cheap and plentiful. The main language is Spanish, so it is necessary to know when you are renting or purchasing a property. But there are a lot of ex-pats living there, so it is possible to make friends with other English speakers at the local bars. Two people can comfortably live on a budget of $1,514 per month.
11. Fort Pierce, Florida
Located an hour away from the famous Palm Beach, Florida, the town of Fort Pierce gives you the same beaches on a budget. The town of Fort Pierce has been voted by both Reader’s Digest and Travel & Leisure as one of the best main streets in America. The buildings are beautiful, historic architecture standing next to tropical palm trees. There are plenty of restaurants, theaters, comedy shows, and a farmer’s market on Saturdays. On the first Friday of every month, the town has a Friday Fest with live music, food, and community events. If you’re interested in culture and history, Fort Pierce is home to the Navy SEAL museum, as well.
Love fishing? Then you would love to move to Fort Pierce. The fish there have broken records for size. Even though it is such a fantastic location, it is relatively uncrowded with other fishermen. Buying a house costs an average of $150,000. There are plenty of one-bedroom apartments available for $700 to $1,000 a month, depending on the location. According to Census Bureau, most residents of Fort Pierce pay under $10,000 a year in housing costs. Coupled with Florida’s zero income tax, it’s an inexpensive place to live.
10. Lagos, Portugal
Portugal has been a go-to holiday destination for Europeans for a very long time. The town of Lagos is an oceanfront town in the Algarve region, which is known for its beautiful climate all year long. In the winter, it only gets as cold as 52 degrees, and only up to 75 degrees in the summertime. The city is easy to walk around, especially near the marina. It is also just one hour away from the International Airport in Faro, so it should be easy to get on a plane to visit the surrounding countries in Europe, or to see friends and family.
Normally, Lagos has a population of only 22,000, but in the summer, tourists begin to visit from all over the world. Even though the main language spoken is Portuguese, you should be able to meet other ex-pats who speak English. The average budget for two people is just $2,080 per month.
9. Rovinj, Croatia
If you are a fan of Game of Thrones, you may or may not know that the scenes of the citadel of King’s Landing were filmed in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Since it is a seven-hour drive away from one another, you cannot exactly go on a behind-the-scenes tour so easily. However, the city of Rovinj is a seaside town with its own medieval winding streets that are absolutely breathtaking.
According to Numbeo, an apartment in the center of the city is just $355 per month. Everything else in the city is equally as affordable. The main language spoken is Croatian, so be prepared to learn if you want to move there. For some, it may actually be worth it if this is the lifestyle you have always dreamed of.
8. Daytona Beach, Florida
Made famous by the Daytona International Speedway, the city of Daytona Beach, Florida, has so much more than just NASCAR races. They also have the Daytona Beach Pier with loads of rides and attractions, which would be perfect for grandkids who come to visit. And, of course, you can relax on the beach with warm weather all year round. Last but not least, it is just an hour away from Orlando, so it’s an easy day trip to visit Disney or Universal Studios.
Again, Florida does not have an income tax, so you will save a lot of money each month. The median income in the city is $41,857. There are plenty of options online to find an apartment between $850 to $1,200 per month. The median home price is just $117,000, which is less than most other places in Florida.
7. Tuckerton, New Jersey
Just 20 minutes away from the luxurious Long Beach Island, Tuckerton is a small shore town that sits on the Great Egg Harbor Bay. Both tourists and local residents can enjoy the historic Tuckerton Seaport, which is now a museum that was once the town’s yacht club. The seaport allows you to take a ferry to Long Beach Island. The ferry drops you off near Bird & Betty’s restaurant, which also doubles as a venue for concerts. It is also within walking distance of museums, restaurants, and the Fantasy Island amusement park.
The town of Tuckerton itself is very quiet, but it has everything you need. This includes antique shops, restaurants, bars, a shopping center, and a Walmart. If you are looking for a place to relax and get some work done with a good cup of coffee, stop by the Union Market cafe, which also serves as an art gallery and co-op for local artisans. Apartments in Tuckerton start at just $800 per month and go up to $1,500 depending on the size you need.
6. Volterra, Italy
Located in the heart of Tuscany, the town of Volterra has been preserved for 2,500 years. Walking down the streets, you will feel like you are walking back in time. It has been called one of the most beautiful towns in all of Italy. Tuscany is famous for its beaches and its beautiful wine country. Compared to the famous San Gimignano 20 miles away, Volterra gets very few tourists coming to visit so residents can enjoy a quiet existence.
The town has museums, historic monuments, public spaces, and of course, delicious Italian food. It’s also very affordable, especially compared to the major hotspots in Europe. Two people couple can live a comfortable lifestyle on $1,715 a month, or $20,580 a year.
5. Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica
If you are looking for a quiet and laid-back place to live in the Caribbean, look no further than Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. It’s warm all year long, so you and your family can enjoy lying on the beach, snorkeling to see the beautiful underwater wildlife, or surfing. Since it is a popular tourist destination, there are plenty of restaurants, cafes, and supermarkets filled with items imported from other countries. Unlike other islands in the Caribbean, Costa Rica has miraculously been spared from ever suffering the effects of a hurricane, and they have only ever been hit by tropical storms during the rainy season.
The cost of taxes, food, and rent are all low. There is also a public healthcare system where it’s very cheap to get medical attention when you need it. The only downside is that since Puerto Viejo is relatively rural, you would have to travel for at least 90 minutes to get to the nearest hospital that would be equipped to help you in case of an emergency. According to International Living, you can rent a beautiful 2-bedroom villa for just $950 a month, and most couples enjoy a very comfortable life living on $2,000 a month.
4. San Juan, Puerto Rico
Spanish is the main language spoken in Puerto Rico. But as a US territory and almost-51st-state, many people speak English, and there are plenty of ex-pats living there. This actually makes it very easy for Americans to move there, and you will not have to deal with loads of immigration paperwork. In 2017, Puerto Rico was hit with Hurricane Maria. It was incredibly tragic, and much of the island is still trying to recover. As the largest city, San Juan has the most in terms of restaurants, entertainment, and nightlife, as well as access to medical care and anything else you could possibly need.
Property prices vary drastically in San Juan. You can find a six-bedroom house in a typical residential neighborhood for just $84,000 or spend a million dollars on an eight-bedroom mansion near the ocean. The same goes for apartments. There are options from $650 per month, all the way up to $6,000. Keep in mind that food and groceries in tourist areas will be incredibly expensive, but most of the residential areas are going to be the same prices you would typically expect in the United States.
3. Phnom Penh, Cambodia
According to IL’s Annual Global Retirement Index, Cambodia is ranked near the top as one of the most affordable places to live in the world. Local residents are friendly and welcoming to Americans, and many people even speak English.
Ex-pats can live comfortably on less than $30,000 per year. The US dollar stretches a lot more in Cambodia, so any American who lives there can have a high quality of living. The city of Phnom Penh has apartments where you can live in a one-bedroom apartment for just $250 per month. Utilities are roughly $100 per month, with food being another $200.
2. Pedasí, Panama
Four hours away from the bustling Panama City, the small town of Pedasi sits on the Pacific coast. It was once a small fishing village along the sea and has a very relaxed and laid back lifestyle. The beaches are brown and lined with rock formations. Pedasi is considered to be one of the best places to surf in the world. Temperatures stay between 75° to 93° all year long, and it’s far less humid than Panama City.
The cost of living is very affordable. According to Panama Equity, most couples live comfortably on just $1,500 to $2,000 per month. You can buy a beer for just $1 and hire a housekeeper for only $15 a day. Any other help you might need like gardeners or handymen costs just $5 per hour. The average cost of a 2-bedroom house is $100,000. Rent is only $500 to $1,200 per month, depending on the size you are looking for.
1. Central Valley, Costa Rica
Costa Rica is a gorgeous tropical paradise that has been called “the best climate in the world.” It is warm all year long, and rarely gets hit by major storms. In The Central Valley, the majority of the nation’s population lives there. This means that you will find plenty of medical facilities, shopping, restaurants, and entertainment. You can also enjoy amazing natural sights like volcanoes, waterfalls, rivers, and rainforest. The main language spoken in Costa Rica is Spanish, but there are also some people who can speak English, because of the high number of ex=pats and tourists.
Depending on the lifestyle you want to live, you could survive on under $1,000 per month, or spend upwards of $2,000 if you plan to have the life of luxury. If you are looking to buy a property in the Central Valley, there are a number of condos and houses that cost less than $200,000. And if you are looking to visit, it is possible to rent a gorgeous villa with a pool for just $45 per night on AirBnB.