Retire To Chile: Cost of Living

Do you wish to retire in Chile and want to know how much it will cost to make that a reality? Is it a secure place to retire, and what kind of lifestyle can you expect for your money? I’ll talk about it with you and give you some great pointers on how to get started.

Here’s a step by step breakdown of the retirement cost for Chile:

Rent for a 3 Bedroom House$624 USD / 495,000 CLP
Rent for a 1 Bedroom Flat$361 USD / 288,000 CLP
Utilities (Electricity, Gas, Rates)$135 USD / 108,000 CLP 
Internet$32 USD / 25,500 CLP
Groceries$131 USD / 104,000 CLP
Dining Out (2 people) For 4 times$61 USD / 48,000 CLP
Healthcare$71 USD / 56,000 CPL
Fitness or Social Club Membership$35 USD / 28,000 CPL

NOTE: These are the most expensive costs, though they may be less expensive depending on where you reside. The lifestyle you adopt will also influence how much money you save.

Now that we’ve looked at the general prices, let’s take a closer look at them and see how you may customize them to your particular livestyle.

What Is Chile Like?

Chile is known as one of the safest countries in Latin America. With a huge beautiful coastline from the tropics all the way to the cooler southern coastline Chile is not short of beaches.  There are both country and rural places to live with access to everything you will need to make you feel at home at a much cheaper price than the USA.  

Chile is unique as it runs as a long country down the west coast of South America bordered by mountains on its eastern side. Its ocean to mountain geography means you have ski resorts and great beaches both within a short drive from the capital of Santiago.  You can also travel to the Atacama Desert in the north of the country which is the world’s driest location, for yet another environmental extreme!

Check Retire to Santiago Chile: A Vibrant Place To Live and Retire In Valparaiso Chile: Little Known Facts to learn more about why many retirees are choosing to live in one of these cities.

What Is Healthcare Like In Chile?

Chile’s public and private health systems are very similar to those of the United States, with a slight difference in their global ranking according to the World Health Organization. It also has one of the best healthcare systems in Latin America. 

There are two kinds of healthcare available in Chile. There is Government healthcare (FONASA) and private healthcare insurance. The government healthcare in Chile is only for permanent residents and citizens.

Expats who do not have a permanent address or who do not pay taxes are denied access to the public health care system (FONASA). Even expatriates who have access to the public system frequently choose private care in order to receive a higher level of care and more healthcare and services. Furthermore, English-speaking doctors are more likely to be found at a private clinic.

The private system is made up of health insurance firms known as ISAPREs (Instituciones de Salud Previsional). Those who make more money are more likely to enroll in ISAPREs as the quality of care is better and this is the recommended path for expats.

ISAPRE grants you access to Chile’s private health facilities (Clinicas). Each ISAPRE has a variety of plans to choose from. The plan you select is like anywhere else in the world and is based on the level of cover you require, your age and any pre-existing conditions.

You can check to the following websites of several ISAPREs:

TIP: Some of these websites are in Spanish. If you open the website in google chrome you can use the built in translation to change it to English.

Can A Foreign Citizen Own A Property In Chile?

Except in border areas, there are no limitations on foreigners holding property. However, obtaining a mortgage for a nonresident is very hard so most expatriates purchase in cash. It is advised to employ a lawyer to keep track of the process and verify the property is clear of debts or liens and has all the appropriate paperwork. 

The majority of the transaction details are handled by a notary. Once the seller and buyer agree on a price and title is confirmed, the purchase monies are then kept in escrow.  They stay there until the government’s property registration office, the Conservador de Bienes Raíces, approves the transaction.

Real estate prices are usually listed in Unidad de Fomento (UF), a currency linked to the Chilean peso but adjusted for inflation to offer more consistent figures.

Here are some real estate websites you can use to look for property:

TIP: Some of these websites are in Spanish. If you open the website in google chrome you can use the built in translation to change it to English.

What Visas Are Available For Foreign Retirees In Chile?

One of the many forms of temporary residence visas is a retirement visa. It entitles you to spend a year in Chile. If you wish to work in Chile you can still apply for a work permit. One of the most frequent visas for living in Chile is the retirement visa for expats.

You do not need to be retired to apply for a retirement visa, despite the name of the visa. The visa is officially known as a “retirement / income visa”.  You are not allowed to work on this visa but you can once you get it apply for a work permit as well which will allow you to work.

The retirement / income visa has the fewest conditions of all of the four types of visas available in Chile, and most foreigners are qualified for it. All you need to do is show that you have a steady source of income and enough assets to sustain yourself and your family in Chile. Pensions, rent generated by real estate holdings you own, and income created by financial investments are among the most common that Chilean Immigration acknowledges.

You must register with the police department and the civil registry in Chile after you have received your retirement visa. You can request for a permanent resident status visa after one year if you still fulfill the income requirements, have spent at least 180 days in the nation in a year, and have paid all of your taxes.

LINK: Chile Visa Requirements

How Much Do Groceries Cost in Chile?

Chile is South America’s most developed country and one of the most costly for groceries there as well but still 45% lower than the USA. The costs are comparable to those in Europe, and in many cases they were substantially higher than what we paid in Spain for the identical item.

Here is the overview of the average monthly groceries:

Milk1 Liter / 1 quart$1.5 USD
Bread1 Loaf$2.6 USD
Eggs1 Dozen$2.3 USD
Beef1 kg / 2.2 pounds$7.5 USD
Chicken Breasts1 kg / 2.2 pounds$3.8 USD
Beer12$7.1 USD

Here is a common local supermarket you can look at for current prices:

LINK: Lider Supermercado

TIP: If you access the page on Google Chrome, you may change the language to English using the built-in translation.

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