See the World on 10k Annual Income?

Hi Bill and Akaisha,

I enjoy reading your articles. But when you keep talking about portfolios, it seems it doesn’t reflect for the very poor. How can I have medical coverage and see the world, with an income of 10k yearly. I’m 53, and keep dreaming of these wonderful places, also, I’m single. Thanks so much for your time and dedication.


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Hi Asha,

Thanks for taking the time to write, we appreciate it.

That is a challenge to be able to “see the world” on $10,000 a year income. We know people who are living overseas on that amount but they do not do that much travel, or if they do travel it’s with local transport and not all that often.

The largest expenses that you would have to concern yourself with is housing, transport and food. If you can find a decent place to rent for about $200-$300 a month (which is doable in Thailand, Mexico, Guatemala etc.) that leaves about $500-$600 for other things. Food is generally cheap in the aforementioned countries so you could find yourself with several hundred a month to put towards travel — so long as you don’t find yourself spending this “extra” money on dental care or other medical needs.

To have adequate access to medical, you would probably have to live overseas and pay out of pocket. This would probably work until or unless you had contracted some chronic health condition which would require medications or frequent and regular visits to the doctor.

Medical care is generally more affordable overseas with doctor’s visits and medications at lower cost. Even paying for help around the house or with shopping and cleaning is affordable, but you would be wise to set aside some money for an emergency fund should you need it.

And don’t forget the expense of renewing your visa. This will often entail traveling outside the country to get stamped out and then get stamped back in every so many months. You might try applying for a retirement visa or a permanent visa, but often there will be financial requirements that you might not meet. In this case, you will need to continue to renew your tourist visa.

We know a man who does some “slow travel” and he lives on $12k a year and seems to be able to manage that fairly well. It’s definitely doable and not impossible. If you are self-disciplined, then it is probable that you will be able to manage some travel on your $10k a year.

Take a look at our Relocation Page and find some Expat forums where you will be able to find out what the local expenses are in any location.

We wish you the best of luck. Do your research and you are apt to find some doors opening to you.

All the best,


About Retire Early Lifestyle

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired three decades ago at the age of 38 and began traveling the world. As recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel, they have been interviewed about retirement issues by The Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, The Motley Fool Rule Your Retirement newsletter, nationally syndicated radio talk shows and countless newspapers and TV shows nationally and worldwide. They wrote the popular books The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement (Your Simple Path to FIRE) and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.
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