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Why North Cyprus is one of the best places to retire in the world.

What's right for each person varies, well, for each person. So let's take a hard look at the case for and against retirement in North Cyprus.

The Case For

Most retirees love it here. North Cyprus is truly amoung the best places to retire in the world.

  1. Cosmopolitan:
    It's normal to have four or five nationalities represented in a room with eight people. The biggest group of Ex Pats are from the UK but you will find numerous Russians, Iranians, Turks, Africans (including Afrikaners), Ukrainians, and numerous other nationalities. Obviously, Turkish Cypriots are the single most common group.

  2. Small Town Life:
    Yeah, everybody really will know your name. It may not be the smartest thing, but it's normal to leave car and home doors unlocked. Crime is quite low.

  3. Cost of Living:
    The Supermarket does stock brands from America and Europe but they normally cost twice as much. It's possible to live well here on a modest income if you show just a little flexibility. As an aside, alcohol, small appliances, clothing, and metal items are often well made and inexpensive. You'll discover labor intensive projects to be cheap.

  4. Annual Property Taxes:
    Crazy cheap!

  5. Real Estate Prices:
    Perhaps the single biggest draw. If you buy a home, learn the different forms of deeds and be sure to not purchase a house sitting on Greek owned land. This is perhaps the biggest reason to deal with a reputable Estate Agency.

  6. Friends!
    The people here are very friendly and you will not encounter the kinds of racism and religious bigotry so common elsewhere. This is the most liberal Muslim country in the world.

The Case Against
  1. Do you love city life?
    Maybe you live in the Big Apple or LA and don't even own a car, the TRNC may not be for you. Most places are small towns, even villages and there is no Met Opera, no cross-town Metro, and no Gucci Store.

  2. Do you need medical support?
    If you have a serious medical condition that requires a Doctor's supervision, you may wish to consider an industrialized country. The first Resort offering assisted living is still under development and is not ready for occupancy. There are some good hospitals here, and the best are mostly private.

  3. Do you need to work?
    A Residency Permit is not the same as a Work Permit. Having a job without a work permit is considered a crime and can result in being deported.

  4. Hate hot weather?
    Let's face it, some folks wilt in the sun. If a cool drink under a sunny, cloudless sky doesn't sound good, you may want to consider a milder climate.

Map showing the location of Cyprus in the Med

Can you afford to retire in North Cyprus?

We are sure that this is one of the best places to retire in the world but it's time to get down to the serious question: Let’s pretend that you own your house and your put only a little money back for retirement. So you will live in a paid-for house plus Social Security. Can you really do that here?

According to CNBC, the average price for a home in the US in April, 2020 was $246, 334. That equals £184,782 in GBP. Real Estate here is priced in Pounds. You can purchase a nice, sea view villa for that amount, complete with any upgrades you wish, no problem.

You will want to hold back six or eight of that for a good car. Used compact cars are favored by Ex-Pats because they are cheaper to own and operate. Taxes when first purchasing a car are high but annual road taxes are quite cheap; less than $100 a year. Good mechanics are not expensive.

Now, let’s say that you have no savings or investments at all and will simply live off Social Security. Yahoo! Finance says you will receive $17,566, on average and Moneywise says $17,076. Most others are within a few dollars of this amount, so we will round down to seventeen-thousand.

Update: the Lira has been falling lately so your dollars are worth far more than the estimates below. We have not updated these figures as the Dollar continues to clime on a daily bases. Our Home Page has the current Dollar/Lira exchange rate.

At this writing, the dollar is down so your retirement will only come out to ₺133,000 (Turkish Lira is the local currency). That’s over eleven-thousand Lira a month. To put that number in perspective, the current minimum wage is ₺3,400. So you will retire with three times what many locals live on.

If we were to roll that number back the other direction, you would have three times the American minimum wage, or twenty-one dollars an hour. Can you retire on twenty-one an hour if your house and car are paid for?

What if you don’t own your house?

Even if Social Security is your only source of income, you can still live well here on seventeen thousand a year. You can rent a nice two bedroom place here, with sea views, built to Western standards, for three hundred dollars a month. Try finding a sea view apartment in the US for that amount. So yes, you will live well with only $17K a year.

Now I do have a note of caution, you will have a ninety day stamp in your Passport when you arrive. You will need a lease, proof of that Social Security income, and local health insurance before that ninety days is up. Be sure to learn the current requirements before you get on the jet.

To Conclude

Here, your Social Security income is a heaping pile of money and you will easily be able to take a cruise, fly to Paris, or anything else that strikes your fancy a couple of times a year. Now, if you have just a couple of thousand, say you sold the car (we did) and cashed in a few things before you left, you really will have a decent lifestyle. This is truly one of the best places to retire in the world.

As an aside, I had cash to buy a house with me upon arrival: I mean a bunch of Benjamins. I was careful to declare that money and supporting paper (sales contract for the house) at both ends and nobody gave us any problems at all. But I did declare it and I caution you against trying to sneak large sums on money into any country, either end may well decide you're a drug mule and ruin your week. No fees were charged, if I recall correctly.

And finally, open a dollar account at your Bank when you get here. Local banks offer Pound, Euro, Lira, and Dollar accounts. By keeping most of your money in another currency, you will avoid any bounces in the exchange rate. Yeah, you will lose sometimes but you will mostly come out ahead.

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