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The 3 Most Affordable Retirement Havens for Australians in 2019 –

January 17, 2019 Lifestyle News No Comments Email Email

A new report from the editors at reveal the top 3 countries that offer the best-value in International Living Australia’s 2019 Global Retirement Rankings, the places where Australians can live better, for less—Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.


The winners of the Cost of Living category of International Living Australia’s 2019 Global Retirement Rankings are the top three most affordable destinations overseas today for Australians to retire to.

A low cost of living is one of the most important factors for retirees who move overseas and in the right places, it’s possible for them to upgrade their lifestyle in retirement.

In the best-value countries outside Australia, expats are finding that they can live better than they could at home—for less.

#1 Vietnam

Achieving a perfect score of 100 out of 100, Vietnam claims the top spot in the 2019 International Living Australia Global Retirement Rankings, Cost of Living category.

Vietnam is a brilliant blend of East and West. A vibrant destination, steeped in history and brimming with opportunity. When it comes to bang for buck, Vietnam is top of the list.

“I moved here mainly to live somewhere with a change of culture and a lower cost of living,” says Sunshine Coast native Samantha Cherry of her new life on the coast in Vietnam. “Nha Trang has the best of both worlds. You can live cheaply but still access Western things if the need arises. My husband and I budget about $1,200 per month and we are living very well.”

Vietnam boasts some 3,260-kilometres of coastline, making it a beach lover’s paradise. The Vietnamese people are kind and welcoming and the value for money here can’t be beat.

Another coastal option is the modern, progressive city of Da Nang, which lies halfway between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. It’s not only home to a thriving expat community but also a clean, beautiful beach that stretches all the way to the historic town of Hoi An, 30 kilometres to the south.

Sydney native Gary Stapleton is living well here for just $1,100 per month. He says, “I live in a three-bedroom furnished house with a kitchen, a washing machine and an air-conditioner. My home is in An Thuong District, less than a kilometre from the beach. My rent is just $470. I pay about $90 per month for all my utilities, the remainder is for food, clothing and entertainment.”

#2 Cambodia

Cambodia has fast become one of the top retirement hubs for Australians. And it’s easy to see why—while the cost of living in Cambodia may be one of the lowest in the world, the standard of living is high.

With 99 points, Cambodia is in second position in the Cost of Living category in the 2019 International Living Australia Global Retirement Rankings.

Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s vibrant capital, has lots to offer expats. Here you’ll find an impressively low cost of living, bustling markets and a flourishing food scene all set to a backdrop of colonial French architecture and temples.

Daniel Stewart, 57, left his old life in Sydney behind to embrace a fulfilling new life in Phnom Penh.

“I finally found a true sense of purpose in my role as a lecturer,” he says. “In Sydney I would wake up dreading the day ahead at my depressing office job. Now for the first time I go to work with a grin and a positive attitude.

“My salary easily covers my expenses, even if I spend a lot going for drinks or the cinema I’m never able to spend more than $1,250 a month, including rent and food. But money isn’t something I obsess on anymore (aside from looking for bargains at the market).”

“Cambodia has changed the way I look at the world. I’m a cynic no longer, living the local life means adding fun to everything I do and I’m all the better for it.”

#3 Thailand

The overall winner of the 2019 International Living Australia Global Retirement Rankings, Thailand, takes the third spot for the best-value retirement destinations overseas, scoring 94 points in the Cost of Living category. Thailand is an energetic country that has a lot to offer, with an alluring price tag.

“Cost of living was key to our decision-making to move overseas,” says Michael Cullen, International Living’s Thailand Correspondent. “We live well here in Hua Hin for 70 per cent less than we did back home in Brisbane.”

Michael and his wife, Vivien, bought a fully furnished, two-bedroom, two-bathroom villa, complete with plunge pool and Jacuzzi.

“Our utilities for the month are $100, our monthly food and grocery shopping comes in at $500 and we budget around $350 for eating out,” he says. “This can go a long way when you can get tasty, fresh Thai meals for around $4 in local eateries. In more traditional cafes and restaurants main course dishes won’t cost more than $10. Eating out several times a week isn’t unusual for us these days—and all for less than one meal out back in Australia!

“Access to affordable, quality healthcare was also a non-negotiable for us and we knew we’d have no problems in this regard in Thailand. Hua Hin is home to two international standard hospitals offering excellent medical services and we’ve also discovered visits to local medical clinics to be extremely cost-effective. Seeing an English-speaking doctor for a consultation and receiving any required medication before you leave the clinic has typically set me back no more than $20.”

The complete International Living Australia 2019 Global Retirement Rankings report, can be found here: The World’s Best Places for Australians to Retire to 2019

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