Personal Finance

Retire here to get the most out of your Social Security check

Key Points
  • Moving overseas? You can probably still get your Social Security payment.
  • The estimated average Social Security benefit for a retiree in January was $1,404.
  • Egypt is the most affordable, based on cost of living.
Egyptian camel owners wait for tourists outside the pyramids on the Giza Plateau, Egypt on March 29, 2017.
Mohamed El-Shahed | AFP | Getty Images

Come for the pyramids. Stay for the low cost of living in retirement.

A recent analysis by personal finance site GOBankingRates found that Egypt is the destination for retirees who want to stretch their Social Security benefits, thanks to affordable food and housing expenses.

The website examined user-submitted cost-of-living data from Numbeo and took an average in three categories of expenses: food, a one-bedroom apartment and utilities.

A retiree living in Egypt can expect to spend on average $105.93 per month on food, $157.70 on a one-bedroom apartment and $19.46 on utilities, GOBankingRates found. You can also receive your Social Security check there via direct deposit.

Here's an added bonus: Egypt is among a handful of countries in which U.S. citizens residing there are exempt from U.S. taxes on their Social Security benefits.

Other locales with similar treaties include Canada, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Romania and the United Kingdom, according to Katelynn Minott, a CPA and partner with Bright!Tax, a firm that specializes in tax preparation for expatriates.

Taxes and treaties in foreign countries should be a part of your due diligence as you decide which places might be ideal for retirement.

Generally if you're an American citizen or permanent resident of the U.S., your worldwide income, plus up to 85 percent of your Social Security benefits, may be subject to federal income tax — no matter where you reside.

"The first thing you should do is find out what's the tax regime in the country you move to, and then find out what's the treaty situation," said Douglas Ralph, a CPA with Greenback Expat Tax Services.

Here are a few other countries that offer both low costs of living, plus the ability to receive Social Security income, according to GOBankingRates' analysis.


The Gateway of India Monument in Mumbai
Shanna Baker | Getty Images

In this South Asian country, monthly food expenses for one person are $110.85, while housing in a single-bedroom apartment is $174.59, according to GOBankingRates. Utilities are $33.48.


Wolfgang Kaehler | Getty Images

You don't have to go terribly far if you'd like to stretch your retirement income. Monthly costs for a single-bedroom apartment are $279.73, food expenses are $143.22 and utilities are $36.20, GOBankingRates found.


Lipscani Quarter, Bucharest, Muntenia, Romania
Slow Images | Photographer's Choice | Getty Images

Here, you can snag favorable tax treatment for your Social Security benefits, as well as reasonably low monthly expenses. Food expenses are $147.20, while housing costs are $349.13. You'll pay $108.65 per month on utilities.

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