Updated: Aug 31
The cost of living for retirees can vary significantly between India and the USA. Typically, larger cities tend to have a higher cost/living than the suburbs/remote locations.
Before determining next steps, it's best to review what you'll be getting from social security
and other sources.
Below is a rough comparison of some key factors when considering Retire in India vs. Retire in the USA :
Rent for a modest, 1,200 square foot apartment
Routine visit to the Doctor
Food (loaf of bread, dozen eggs, 1 quart of milk)
Housing: In general, housing costs in India tend to be lower than in the USA, particularly in smaller cities and towns. However, major metropolitan areas like Mumbai and Delhi can have higher
housing expenses. Depending upon the amenities, renting or purchasing property in India can be relatively more affordable compared to many parts of the USA. In India, it's also easier to find maids, drivers, etc...for a nominal cost, to make your retirement more comfortable.
Healthcare: Healthcare costs in the USA are generally higher compared to India. The US healthcare system is known for its high expenses, including insurance premiums, out-of-pocket costs, and medical procedures. India, on the other hand, offers more cost-effective healthcare services, especially for routine treatments and medications. However, the quality and availability of healthcare facilities can vary across different regions of India, do review the proximity to hospitals/clinics when determining your retirement location.
Transportation: Transportation costs can be lower in India compared to the USA. Public transportation, such as buses and trains, is often more affordable in India, and the cost of fuel for private vehicles is generally lower. However, the quality of infrastructure and traffic conditions can vary significantly between urban and rural areas in both countries. In the major cities, be prepared to wait in traffic for most drives.
Groceries and Dining: The cost of groceries and dining out can vary depending on the location and lifestyle choices. In general, the cost of food and groceries may be lower in India due to lower production costs and a wider availability of locally produced goods. Dining out at restaura
nts can also be relatively more affordable in India compared to the USA. In India, it's easy to find cooks who specialize in various cuisines to come to your home and kick for you in your retirement.
Entertainment and Recreation: The cost of entertainment and recreational activities can vary greatly depending on personal preferences and the location. In the USA, there is a wide range of options available, but they can come at a higher price. India offers diverse cultural experiences and recreational activities at various price points, making it more accessible for retirees on a budget.
Taxes: The tax structure and rates can significantly impact the cost of living. In the USA, retirees may be subject to federal and state taxes, including income tax and property tax. In India, income tax rates for retirees can be lower, and there are
specific tax benefits available for senior citizens. However, it's important to consult with a tax professional to understand the specific tax implications based on your circumstances. Depending upon your age, status you may be exempt from certain taxes in India. Senior citizens get additional tax benefits, such as higher income tax exemptions, deductions, etc., besides help in submitting tax returns. *** As per the 2023 Budget, NRIs and residents alike are not required to file income tax returns if their total income for the year is below the basic exemption limit of Rs. 3,00,000.
Under the new tax regime, income up to Rs. 3,00,000 is exempt from income tax
It's important to note that the cost of living can vary widely within both countries, dependin
g on factors such as the city, lifestyle choices, and personal preferences. It's advisable to research and consider these factors specific to your situation when comparing the cost of living between India and the USA as a retiree.