(MoneyWatch) Americans who dream of a retirement filled with sandy beaches, temperate weather and colorful local life may have another thing coming.
That's because a new report from the National Institute on Retirement Security finds that 45 percent of working-age households have no retirement savings at all. The average figure for funds set aside by households nearing the end of their working lives was a meager $12,000. That's not enough to cover a single year.
If there is no change in their savings rate, many Americans may wind up living on monthly Social Security benefits alone. Monthly benefits now average just $1,262 -- an amount that doesn't cover housing costs in most retirement hot spots in the U.S.
- 10 best countries to live and work abroad
- Housing trend: A home within a home
- Best vacation home locations
But it is possible to retire with nothing more Social Security benefits if you do so outside the U.S. In some of the most affordable, but still appealing, cities in the world, an expat can live on just $1,250 per month.
Live and Invest Overseas, a publication and research firm specializing in overseas living, found six places where Americans could live well on the cheap. The company's Retire Overseas index uses 12 factors, including climate, whether English is spoken, cost of living, health care and infrastructure, to determine the best cities to retire.
In any of the six Asian and Latin American cities the index dubs most affordable, retirees can live in luxury -- and without breaking the bank. In these cities, $1,250 is enough to cover all your living expenses, from housing to dining to travel.