Every year a growing number of Americans and Canadians decide to move abroad to better enjoy their retirement years. Lower costs of living and healthcare coupled with pleasant weather all year round are the main reason why the number of recipients of Social Security benefits in foreign countries grew from 396,000 in the year 2000 to more than 520,000 in 2011.
I recently wrote an article with suggestions on how to build a safe portfolio that guarantees you a growing monthly income to support your retirement abroad. Some readers pointed out the fact that my portfolio was built on the premise they maintained a U.S. bank account, but it was more realistic that if they were going to a foreign country, most of their money would follow them and would be invested locally.
So if you're considering moving abroad and would like to invest part of your savings in local currency, knowing in advance which are the best dividend paying companies there makes for a good start.
Mexico - Both the country's Caribbean coast as well as Baja California are among the top destinations of retirees. Good dividend stocks that pay you in Mexican Pesos are Coca-Cola Femsa (KOF), one of the largest Coca Cola (KO) bottlers in the world, Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico (PAC), Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste (ASR) - both owning airports, with a 3.7% yield, and Industrias Bachoco (IBA), a meat producer paying a 2.45% dividend. Telefonos de Mexico, a telecom company, pays a 5% dividend and Grupo Mexico, a mining company, yields 4%
Malaysia - This Asian country is also very cheap, the climate is good and English is well understood. The most reliable companies there to get some Ringgits to spend are Malayan Banking Berhad (MLYBY.PK) which pays a 6% dividend, Maxis Berhad (MAXSF.PK) a telecom company, with a 7% yield and YTL Power Intl., a utility, currently yielding 5%.
Colombia - Medellin is one of the best places if you want to live cheap but don't want to give up the benefits of dwelling in a big city with restaurants, social events and a sparkling night life. Companies that copiously shell out Pesos are Ecopetrol (EC) - a large oil company - currently yielding 3.2%, Isagen (ISAGY.PK) - a utility paying a 2.6% dividend and Bancolombia (CIB) the country's largest bank (2.2%)
Ecuador - This is probably the cheapest place to retire: a thrift couple here can live with as little as $700 a month, although $1,000 would be ideal. The bad news is that there are no reliable dividend paying companies traded on Quito's stock exchange that I would recommend buying. The good news is that the greenback is the official currency in Ecuador, so you don't have to worry about exchange rates and Banco del Picincha, the country's largest banking group, offers internet banking and trading in international stocks, so you should encounter no problems in building a well diversified portfolio for income.
New Zealand - If language is an issue, then you may decide to retire in this beautiful country in the Pacific. Investing in US stocks should not be a problem in this advanced nation but if you insist on having your dividends paid in New Zealand Dollars, then you might want to buy some shares of The Telecom Corp. Of New Zealand (NZT), The Warehouse Group - a retailer - both with an hefty 7% yield and Kiwi Income Property Trust (KWIPF.PK) a REIT with a 6.5% dividend.
Brazil - Brazil features amazing landscapes ranging from striking white beaches to beautiful rainforests and Southern America's most exciting cities. Your best choices to be paid in local Reals are CEMIG (CIG) a large electric utility offering a 4.4% yield, Petrobras (PBR), an oil major with a 3% dividend and Banco Do Brasil, the largest bank in all Latin America, currently paying a 6% dividend. Sabesp (SBS) is also a great choice; this very safe water utility currently offers a 5% dividend.
Italy, Spain and France - If excellent cuisine and art are a must for you and your income is at least $2,000 a month, these three European countries should be on top of your list. Southern Italy and Spain are reasonably inexpensive, while living in the best locations in Northern -Central Italy and France can cost you more than your average US city. Here choosing the right bank or broker is not a problem, you can even have accounts in US dollars but the euro will be your everyday currency. If you want to invest safely and get a decent income I would suggest Total (TOT) and Eni (E), both energy majors with 5% yields and BNP Paribas (BNPQY.PK) among Europe's largest banks, with a 3% dividend. Somewhat riskier is Banco Santander (STD), another large bank, offering a 10% yield.