Why our financial future is still at risk, according to Alan Greenspan — and how to protect yourself

Prices in the United States are rising, quickly, while slow economic growth and the ballooning cost of entitlements remain a big problem for the country — and all Americans shopping at the store, or looking for jobs or higher pay.

Indeed, these factors are cause for caution about the future, former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan said during a Thursday speech at the Economic Club of New York.

Greenspan pointed to rising populism in Europe and the U.S. election of Donald Trump as signs that the working class is frustrated with stagnating living standards.

"What is becoming increasingly evident is that the vitality of our democratic institutions has become seriously impaired by this prolonged period of stagnation," Greenspan said. "It has spurred economic populism ... that has apparently currently gripped the United States and most of Europe."

The economist talked briefly about the threat of "stagflation," the economic worst-case-scenario where you get the double whammy of higher prices and lower employment — which creates a certain catch-22.

Monetary policy that keeps prices affordable tends to slow employment, while moves that improve growth (and hiring) tend to promote inflation, too.

While Greenspan said it's "too early to judge" whether the United States is on the brink of stagflation, he warned about a "false sense of recovery."

Greenspan, who has advised several presidents over the decades, served as chairman of the Federal Reserve for almost 20 years, from 1987 to 2006.

While Greenspan's analysis might leave you feeling worried — both as a worker and as a consumer — there are ways you can empower yourself now to protect against even the worst-case scenarios. In short, it's a good time to learn how to save more, spend less and grow your cash through investments.

Consider these strategies to protect your wallet.

1. Double down on your debt

Higher inflation can be a blessing and a curse for debtors, depending on which kind you have.

If you've got a big, fixed-rate loan — like a mortgage or even certain kinds of student debt — then inflation is arguably "good" for you, because you get to pay off your debt in decreasingly valuable dollars.

But inflation cuts both ways, especially if you carry a credit card balance. Most credit cards have variable rates, meaning yours will go up as interest rates rise — and the Federal Reserve tends to raise rates during times of higher inflation.

If you're worried about your credit card debt, keep in mind that if you pay off your balance each month, rising interest rates can't really hurt you.

Of course, if you're struggling under a mountain of debt, that's easier said than done — so consider the "snowball" strategy of eliminating smaller debts first and larger ones later.

RELATED: Check out the cheapest 50 states to live in:

50 Cheapest Countries to Live In
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50 Cheapest Countries to Live In

50. Kenya

  • Local purchasing power is 69.1% lower
  • Rent is 90.32% cheaper
  • Groceries are 62.35% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 61% cheaper

First on our list of the cheapest countries to live in is the Republic of Kenya on the east coast of Africa. It sits right on the equator, which means anyone thinking of moving here should enjoy warm weather. The country is home to 42.7 million people, and its ethnic diversity makes the culture fascinating and colorful. However, it also brings conflict, and the country has seen a number of terrorist attacks over the years. The primary languages are Swahili and English.

See: What $100 Will Buy You Around the World 

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49. Iran

  • Local purchasing power is 56.82% lower
  • Rent is 82.95% cheaper
  • Groceries are 66.47% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 61.74% cheaper

Iran's full name is the Islamic Republic of Iran, which hints at important features of life that might impact your decision to relocate here. The principal religion is Islam, the official language is Persian and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has authority over the judiciary, armed forces and state-controlled media. As the media faces tight regulations, moving to Iran might not be your first choice if you value a free press.

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48. Estonia

  • Local purchasing power is 31.52% lower
  • Rent is 86.02% cheaper
  • Groceries are 63.26% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 50.5% cheaper

Estonia was part of the Soviet Union until 1991. Geographically, Estonia is wedged between Russia and Latvia just across the Baltic Sea from Finland. Its 1.3 million people speak Estonian and Russian. The country is a member of the European Union as well as NATO and has done quite well economically, making it a good country for stretching your retirement savings

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47. Peru

  • Local purchasing power is 58.8% lower
  • Rent is 82.77% cheaper
  • Groceries are 63.83% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 60.53% cheaper

Located on the west coast of South America, Peru is famous for cultural relics like the ancient Incan capital of Cuzco and the lost city of Machu Picchu. The country has soaring mountains, a lovely coastline and the highest navigable lake in the world. The almost 30 million residents primarily speak Spanish, but also Quechua and Aymara.

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46. Slovenia

  • Local purchasing power is 21.77% lower
  • Rent is 85.94% cheaper
  • Groceries are 56.52% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 46.76% cheaper

Since Slovenia broke with Yugoslavia in 1991, the country has joined the European Union. After suffering through a recession in 2012, the economy rebounded, and the country is now on stronger financial footing. In fact, by 2015 nearly 73 percent of the population of 2 million residents were online. The official language is Slovenian.

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45. Oman

  • Local purchasing power is 11.86% higher
  • Rent is 72.08% cheaper
  • Groceries are 50.66% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 47.41% cheaper

Located on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, Oman has a long and beautiful shoreline on the Arabian Sea. This proximity to the sea has allowed Oman to develop a fishing industry and contributes to the rise of tourism in this country. Visitors appreciate the rich geographic diversity, with its mountains, deserts and ocean. But the real economic backbone of the nation is oil. The country is Islamic, and the population of almost 3 million speak Arabic.

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44. China

  • Local purchasing power is 32.16% lower
  • Rent is 81.33% cheaper
  • Groceries are 52.26% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 55.24% cheaper

The People's Republic of China has the biggest population of any nation in the world at 1.35 billion. But that doesn't mean the country is densely populated, given its huge size of 3.7 million square miles. You'll find huge cities like China's capital, Beijing, teeming with markets and tourist attractions, but beware of high pollution levels. Unfortunately, rural areas have not benefited as much from this country's fast-growing economy.

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43. Croatia

  • Local purchasing power is 39.29% lower
  • Rent is 89.91% cheaper
  • Groceries are 60.09% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 52% cheaper

If you've ever visited Italy's eastern coastline, you've seen the beautiful Adriatic Sea. Right across that body of water lies Croatia, a small country with an equally picturesque coastline. This member of the European Union is popular among tourists, and the scenery makes it attractive for expats as well. The capital is Zagreb, and most people speak Croatian.

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42. Cyprus

  • Local purchasing power is 4.08% lower
  • Rent is 87.72% cheaper
  • Groceries are 55.94% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 45.93% cheaper

Cyprus is an island nation in the far eastern Mediterranean Sea and a member of the EU. It is populated by Turkish Cypriots in the north and Greek Cypriots in the south. The warm Mediterranean climate and beautiful beaches have attracted a fairly large expat population that help make it one of the best places to retire. Although the official languages are Turkish and Greek, English is widely spoken.

See: The Coolest Places to Retire in the World 

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41. Hungary

  • Local purchasing power is 52.48% lower
  • Rent is 87.33% cheaper
  • Groceries are 66.38% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 57.23% cheaper

Hungary is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, with Budapest its famous capital. It joined the EU in 2004. The largest lake in central Europe, Lake Balaton, attracts tourists to Hungary. Retirees will discover spa towns and hot springs, as well as a rich musical tradition.

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40. Belarus

  • Local purchasing power is 63.57% lower
  • Rent is 87.79% cheaper
  • Groceries are 72.81% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 66.16% cheaper

Belarus is wedged between Russia, Poland and the Ukraine. The former Soviet republic has some 9.5 million people who still speak Russian or Belarussian. It is still dependent on Russia for its energy. According to Lonely Planet, the country doesn't get many tourists, but it is not without its charm. You'll find neither litter nor graffiti, but plenty of dense forests and simple villages.

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39. Slovakia

  • Local purchasing power is 35.25% lower
  • Rent is 83.51% cheaper
  • Groceries are 61.16% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 55.1% cheaper

Slovakia is a small country that has maintained its fierce individuality and unique culture but has done extremely well economically. It is considered a European success story. Slovakia was part of Czechoslovakia until 1993. It joined the EU in 2004 and its 5.5 million residents speak Slovak. The country welcomes more than a half-million tourists a year who come to visit its High Tatras mountain range, with its ski towns and small, traditional villages. These landscapes might appeal to retirees as well.

Related: 10 Best and Worst Things to Do When Looking for a Place to Retire 

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38. Uganda

  • Local purchasing power is 80.58% lower
  • Rent is 93.17% cheaper
  • Groceries are 70.59% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 65.86% cheaper

English is the official language of Uganda, so that makes it easier to think of retiring there. This landlocked nation is located in Central Africa, to the west of Kenya. Since gaining independence from Britain in 1962, Uganda went through some very tough times marked by coups, wars and dictatorships but emerged fairly stable and financially sound.

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37. Montenegro

  • Local purchasing power is 53.39% lower
  • Rent is 90.46% cheaper
  • Groceries are 68.9% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 60.65% cheaper

Montenegro means "Black Mountain," and this small Eastern European country boasts soaring mountain ranges and a stunning coastline. Bordering on Croatia, Bosnia, Albania, Kosovo and Serbia, Montenegro sits on the Adriatic Sea. It is home to the Tara River Canyon, the deepest in the continent. The population speaks Serbian and Montenegrin.

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36. Sri Lanka

  • Local purchasing power is 69.72% lower
  • Rent is 91.26% cheaper
  • Groceries are 63.21% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 66.53% cheaper

If you're planning for an early retirement on a tropical island kissed by the sun most of the year, you're in luck. This island nation just off the southern tip of India has eight UNESCO world heritage sites. Explore rainforests and miles of beaches, feast on spicy foods and see elephants. However, not all has been peaceful on this lovely isle. A decades-long civil war has left tensions between the majority Sinhalese and Tamil minority.

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35. Armenia

  • Local purchasing power is 67.12% lower
  • Rent is 90.09% cheaper
  • Groceries are 73.17% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 66.13% cheaper

Look for Armenia just north of Iran in the Middle East. This landlocked nation has a troubled history, including the massacre of as many as 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire around 1915. It gained independence from the USSR in 1991, but still obtains gas from Russia. With Armenia's high unemployment and poverty rates, many young people are leaving to seek a better life elsewhere. Even a modest American retirement check will go a long way in Armenia.

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34. Taiwan

  • Local purchasing power is 18.57% higher
  • Rent is 85.2% cheaper
  • Groceries are 27.11% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 38.62% cheaper

Independent since 1950 but claimed by China, Taiwan is an island of contradictions. One of the world's top producers of computer technology, Taiwan is also a place of outstanding natural beauty. Known for centuries as Ilha Formosa, meaning "Beautiful Isle," its tropical forests, steep gorges and lovely coastlines will win you over.

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33. Syria

  • Local purchasing power is 85.92% lower
  • Rent is 94.02% cheaper
  • Groceries are 73.28% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 71.69% cheaper

Syria lands on our list of the most affordable countries to live in — but don't pack your bags yet.

Few countries are more war-torn than Syria. Located in the Middle East alongside countries like Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq, Syria has been crippled by a bitter civil war that is causing many citizens to flee their homes and become refugees in other countries. When at peace, Syria has much to offer for expats, including high mountains, fertile plains and a coastline along the Mediterranean Sea. But peace does not seem to be a near-future reality for Syria.

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32. Bolivia

  • Local purchasing power is 53.26% lower
  • Rent is 88.93% cheaper
  • Groceries are 67.87% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 61.35% cheaper

Ten million people live in Bolivia, a landlocked country in South America to the east of Chile and Peru. A country of extremes, Bolivia's landscape ranges from deep, green valleys like La Paz to soaring Andean peaks. Its extreme natural beauty and abundant flora and fauna will thrill you, whether you come as a tourist or expatriate. The culture is enhanced by the country's large indigenous population. Spanish, Quechua, Aymara and Guarani are the chief languages.

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31. Colombia

  • Local purchasing power is 62.37% lower
  • Rent is 89.31% cheaper
  • Groceries are 71.24% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 65.55% cheaper

Colombia dips its toes in both the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea from its location on South America's northwest coast. Its 47.5 million people are a mix of Spanish, indigenous Indian and African heritage. Colombia's recent history has been marred by a lengthy conflict involving drug cartels and various outlawed armed groups. However, the Colombian president recently reached a historic peace deal.

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30. Bangladesh

  • Local purchasing power is 63% lower
  • Rent is 94.39% cheaper
  • Groceries are 67.29% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 63.9% cheaper

Crammed between India and Burma, Bangladesh is a densely populated nation. Over 152 million people live in this country's 55,598 square miles, much of which is a delta of rivers that empty into the Bay of Bengal. It is a lush and stunning country, but there are drawbacks to retiring here. Bangladesh is vulnerable to flooding and cyclones and may fare poorly with rising waters resulting from global warming.

Survey Finds: 1 in 4 Americans Says Cost of Living Is Their No. 1 Financial Concern 

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29. Morocco

  • Local purchasing power is 58.8% lower
  • Rent is 89.56% cheaper
  • Groceries are 68.49% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 64.47% cheaper

Morocco is across the Strait of Gibraltar from Spain. If you move in Morocco, you can choose between its Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts for sunbathing and hike steep mountains in the country's interior. Almost 33 million people live here, creating a vibrant culture that includes Arab, Berber, European and African influences. Arabic and Berber are the county's official languages, but French and Spanish are widely spoken.

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28. Philippines

  • Local purchasing power is 64% lower
  • Rent is 92.68% cheaper
  • Groceries are 66.05% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 65.29% cheaper

With some 7,000 islands to choose from in the Philippines, even the most choosy retirees may find one to love. The islands are mostly mountainous, and subject to volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. The climate is often warm and sunny, but the country can suffer from monsoons and typhoons. The U.S. is a close ally of the Philippines, however, and many of the 96.5 million people residing here speak English. That would make retiring easier.

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27. Azerbaijan

  • Local purchasing power is 69.2% lower
  • Rent is 89.34% cheaper
  • Groceries are 77.07% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 72.24% cheaper

The Republic of Azerbaijan is located in the Middle East just above Iran, with a Caspian Sea coastline. Most of the 9.6 million people speak Azeri and/or Russian, and are Islamic. If having a group of English-speaking friends is important to you in retirement, this might not be your spot — Lonely Planet reports the country has few English speakers. Still, it lands near the middle in our ranking of the most affordable countries to retire in.

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26. Turkey

  • Local purchasing power is 44.36% lower
  • Rent is 89.44% cheaper
  • Groceries are 66.54% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 61.4% cheaper

Turkey straddles Europe and Asia, a large nation with about 74.5 million residents. Its hopes to enter the European Union have not yet been realized, and some EU nations have concerns about its repressive government. Turkey has an American expat population that raves about its cheap, excellent medical care and cheap housing while decrying the prevalence of domestic violence. If a community of expats is important to you, consider moving in Istanbul rather than a smaller town that is less likely to have American enclaves.

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25. Algeria

  • Local purchasing power is 63.34% lower
  • Rent is 93.17% cheaper
  • Groceries are 67.5% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 67.62% cheaper

Algeria lines up next to Morocco on the northern edge of Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea. The largest country in Africa, Algeria is dry and hot. In fact, more than 80 percent of the country lies within the Sahara Desert. If you like regular cool breezes or four distinct seasons, this might not be your spot. This French colony lost more than 1 million people in the fight for independence, but now has a relatively stable economy thanks to oil and gas.

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24. Bulgaria

  • Local purchasing power is 48.6% lower
  • Rent is 91.09% is cheaper
  • Groceries are 69.51% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 63.51% cheaper

Located in the Balkans, Bulgaria shares borders with nations such as Greece, Turkey and Romania. It was once a close ally and satellite of the USSR, but this ended in the early 1990s. Bulgaria joined the European Union in 2007. Most of its 7.4 million residents speak Bulgarian. The country's capital is Sophia.

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23. Albania

  • Local purchasing power is 65.51% lower
  • Rent is 93.7% cheaper
  • Groceries are 73.93% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 67.58% cheaper

This European country is in the Balkans, just north of Greece. It has an extended coastline along the Adriatic and Ionian seas, rugged mountains and the lively capital city of Tirana. Albania is attracting more tourists every year and, with its low cost of living, might make a smart retirement destination.

Also Read: What to Look for When Deciding Where to Retire

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22. Kazakhstan

  • Local purchasing power is 55.16% lower
  • Rent is 88.73% cheaper
  • Groceries are 75.17% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 69.26% cheaper

With 1 million square miles of territory, Kazakhstan is as large as Western Europe. Bordering both Russia and China, the nation has the advantage of being both geographically and ethnically diverse. Its population of Russians, Uzbeks, Koreans and Chechens live in harmony. The almost 16 million people speak both Russian and Kazakh. This isn't a big tourist area, but the government and economy are relatively stable.

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21. Serbia

  • Local purchasing power is 59.2% lower
  • Rent is 92.75% cheaper
  • Groceries are 75.04% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 66.21% cheaper

Serbia has only been a stand-alone sovereign nation for a decade. It was part of Yugoslavia, then part of the Union of Serbia and Montenegro until 2006. Wedged between Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria and Romania, Serbia is hoping for EU membership in the near future. The almost 10 million people living here speak Serbian. Retirees will love the low cost of living here. 

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20. Romania

  • Local purchasing power is 46.56% lower
  • Rent is 90.41% cheaper
  • Groceries are 70.95% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 64.37% cheaper

Romania boasts dramatic mountains, a Black Sea coastline and the lively capital city of Bucharest. Located in Eastern Europe, Romania has a population of 21.4 million people whom primarily speak Romanian. The country became a member of the EU in 2007 and lands on the No. 20 spot for the cheapest countries to retire in.

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19. Georgia

  • Local purchasing power is 66.97% lower
  • Rent is 91.43% cheaper
  • Groceries are 77.74% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 72.63% cheaper

Georgia is another country that was part of the Soviet Union until 1991. It has a long border with Russia and an interest in joining the EU that is making Russia uncomfortable. Georgia has 4.3 million people, most of whom speak Russian, Georgian or both. If it's important to you to retire in a country where freedom of speech is guaranteed, you should know that the Georgian constitution protects freedom of speech. Newspapers and TV programs often criticize the government without reprisal.

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18. Zambia

  • Local purchasing power is 10.07% higher
  • Rent is 78.06% cheaper
  • Groceries are 66.17% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 55.27% cheaper

Zambia is one of the most stable countries in Africa. Landlocked, Zambia shares a border with Zimbabwe and Namibia in south-central Africa. Its population is growing fast. Currently home to over 13 million people, Zambia is projected to have a population nearing 40 million by 2050. Zambians designated English as their official language, which should ease communication if you decide to move here.

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17. Nepal

  • Local purchasing power is 74.91% lower
  • Rent is 96.64% cheaper
  • Groceries are 73.62% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 69.98% cheaper

Eight of the world's highest mountains are found in Nepal, including Mount Everest. Tourists coming to admire, trek through or climb the Himalayas provide a large chunk of the limited income this South Asian country earns. Nepal, lying long between China and India, is home to 31 million people. Its economy is poor, making it one of the world's poorest countries. Your retirement check will go far here.

Also Read: The Best and Worst States to Retire Rich 

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16. Moldova

  • Local purchasing power is 70.62% lower
  • Rent is 92.15% cheaper
  • Groceries are 78.03% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 71.63% cheaper

Like so many other inexpensive countries, Moldova gained its independence when the USSR broke up in 1991. It is landlocked, and shares borders with Romania and Ukraine. Moldova is home to 3.5 million people and is one of the poorest nations in Europe, struggling with poverty and high unemployment. It produces wine, but the trade is currently in decline. Moldovan and Russian are the primary languages spoken here.

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15. Czech Republic

  • Local purchasing power is 23.78% lower
  • Rent is 85.17% cheaper
  • Groceries are 64.16% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 58.78% cheaper

With a population of over 10 million, the Czech Republic is doing quite well for itself these days. Once a part of Czechoslovakia, it emerged as its own country in 1993 and has proved itself to be a robust democracy. This European country borders Germany, Austria and Poland, and has a highly developed economy. Most people speak Czech.

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14. Ukraine

  • Local purchasing power is 73.07% lower
  • Rent is 90.64% cheaper
  • Groceries are 80.13% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 73.78% cheaper

Ukraine is another Eastern European nation located near Russia and the Black Sea. It is the second largest in Europe, with broad, rich farm lands, and industrial centers in the east. Some 44.9 million people live in Ukraine, many of those in its capital, Kiev. Ukraine gained its independence in 1991, but has had continued problems keeping it. Russia seized and annexed the autonomous republic Crimea in March 2014, and continues to hold it.

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13. Malaysia

  • Local purchasing power is 26.66% lower
  • Rent is 88.81% cheaper
  • Groceries are 57.56% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 59.76% cheaper

If you are looking for a long history of political stability in a retirement destination, Malaysia might be just the place. It is a federation of 13 states and three federal territories, with the ethnic Malay and Chinese existing in relative harmony. The country includes Borneo with its fabled rainforests, a major tourist destination in the area. The Southeast Asian country has a population of 29.3 million.

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12. Poland

  • Local purchasing power is 28.25% lower
  • Rent is 86.07% cheaper
  • Groceries are 70.31% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 61.85% cheaper

Poland is a country in Eastern Europe on the Baltic Sea. It has a turbulent history but has since become independent and joined the European Union, flourishing economically. Poland has a population of 38.53 million, and the official language spoken is Polish.

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11. Bosnia-Herzegovina

  • Local purchasing power is 48.71% lower
  • Rent is 93.78% cheaper
  • Groceries are 70.24% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 64.95% cheaper

Bosnia-Herzegovina is a European nation that borders Croatia and Serbia, and has a population of 3.7 million. Its capital is Sarajevo. It is still recovering from a three-year war that happened during the break-up of Yugoslavia, which left the region's economy in tatters. Bosnia-Herzegovina became an independent state but remains under international administration. In 2016, the nation asked to join the EU and just barely misses the top 10 cheapest countries to retire.

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10. Macedonia

  • Local purchasing power is 60.15% lower
  • Rent is 93.98% cheaper
  • Groceries are 74.59% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 69.07% cheaper

Rounding out the top 10 cheapest countries to live in is Macedonia, yet another country created from the break up of Yugoslavia. It did not face the brutal, ethnic violence that shattered other Balkan countries during that period, but has since come close to civil war. It is located just north of Greece and has a population of 2.1 million. Its main languages are Macedonian and Albanian.

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9. South Africa

  • Local purchasing power is 1.04% lower
  • Rent is 83.67% cheaper
  • Groceries are 63.73% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 56.88% cheaper

South Africa, with over 50 million people, has one of Africa's most developed economies. Governed by a white minority until 1994, South Africa enforced apartheid, where races were separated by laws. The government finally yielded to years of opposition and protests, and made way for a democratically elected government. The country has 11 official languages, one of which is English.

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8. Tunisia

  • Local purchasing power is 59.81% lower
  • Rent is 93.9% cheaper
  • Groceries are 72.42% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 71.26% cheaper

Tunisia is a coastal North African nation that borders the Mediterranean Sea, Algeria and Libya. It has a population of almost 11 million and is quite prosperous, with both agriculture and tourism playing important roles in the economy. Arabic and French are spoken here. The country's long Mediterranean beach and islands like Djerba make Tunisia an attractive place to retire.

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7. Pakistan

  • Local purchasing power is 60.05% lower
  • Rent is 94.97% cheaper
  • Groceries are 75.17% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 72.82% cheaper

Pakistan is located west of India and south of Afghanistan. It has a population of nearly 185 million people. English is one of the languages spoken here, along with Urdu, Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashto and Balochi. The state was created to meet the demands of Indian Muslims for their own homeland.

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6. Egypt

  • Local purchasing power is 70.61% lower
  • Rent is 94.97% cheaper
  • Groceries are 80.99% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 77.64% cheaper

If you long for pyramids and love archaeology, Egypt is a prime retirement destination. Located in Africa and bordering the Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, Libya and Sudan, Egypt has a population of 83.9 million. Tourism has always been important for the country's economy, but the flow of American visitors slowed after political upheaval started in 2011. The main language in Egypt is Arabic.

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5. Mexico

  • Local purchasing power is 39.92% lower
  • Rent is 91.63% cheaper
  • Groceries are 71.94% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 70.19% cheaper

Rounding out the top five is Mexico, an enormous nation with sprawling urban centers, countrysides, beaches, mountains and small villages across more than 758,000 square miles. Thanks to a favorable exchange rate from the U.S. dollar to the peso, your money will stretch further. It's one reason why Mexico is among the top vacation spots for retirees

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4. Libya

  • Local purchasing power is 32.65% higher
  • Rent is 81.2% cheaper
  • Groceries are 52.99% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 54.15% cheaper

Libya has abundant supplies of sand, sun and oil. It was the oil — discovered just after the country gained its independence — that brought Libya immense riches. Libya is also known for the four-decade rule of Col. Muammar Gaddafi, who seized power in 1969 and held onto it until 2011, when he fell in an armed rebellion. About 6.4 million people live in this Arabic speaking nation.

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3. Belize

  • Local purchasing power is 34.33% higher
  • Rent is 88.65% cheaper
  • Groceries are 50.65% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 44.2% cheaper

Once named British Honduras, Belize has a superb location and low cost of living, making it one of the cheapest countries to retire to. It reclines beside the Caribbean Sea and shares a border with Guatemala. Tourists flock to Belize for its beaches, reefs, wildlife and Mayan ruins. Best of all, English is the official language and, just off the coast of Belize, is Caye Caulker, a premiere but cheap island getaway

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2. Saudi Arabia

  • Local purchasing power is 38.05% higher
  • Rent is 85.64% cheaper
  • Groceries are 59.46% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 51.63% cheaper

Saudi Arabia is one of the most important and influential nations of the Arab world. This Middle Eastern nation is prospering thanks to its strong oil industry centered on crude oil, petroleum refining and petrochemicals. Its population of 28.7 million primarily speak Arabic. Unfortunately for American retirees, Saudi Arabia is also known for its attachment to a puritan version of Sunni Islam that embraces brutal punishments and severe restrictions on women's dress and activities.

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1. India

  • Local purchasing power is 23.27% lower
  • Rent is 93.23% cheaper
  • Groceries are 74.8% cheaper
  • Local goods and services are 74.92% cheaper

Coming in as the country with the lowest cost of living is India. In the 70 years since its independence, India has made enormous strides in almost every area. Today, its 1.2 billion residents power the fourth-largest economy on the planet. It produces enough food to export, and life expectancy has more than doubled. It is the world's largest democracy, a vast and diverse nation of some 1.2 million square miles.

Up Next: States Most and Least Likely to Live Paycheck to Paycheck

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2. Spend less money — and bring in more

The easiest way to improve your cash flow without altering your lifestyle is to bring in more cash, whether by asking for a raise, taking on a second job or getting a little creative. For example, finding stuff to sell, from your old junk to personal assets, can be surprisingly lucrative.

But if a raise isn't in the cards at work — and you've got no way to line up an extra gig or extra hours — then your best strategy will be cutting costs.

In other words, it's as good a time as any to download a few coupon apps, start brown-bagging lunch and buying in bulk. A Today Show investigation suggests tires, electronics, batteries, paper cups and plates, medications and laundry detergent are the places to look for the best bulk discounts.

3. Profit from price inflation by buying TIPS

One option, which might surprise you, will actually let you profit from higher prices. Yes, you could put some of your cash into stocks — which tend to increase in value faster than prices of goods rise. But they tend to be risky.

A safer investment is Treasury Inflation Protected Securities — often called TIPS for short. Essentially, TIPS are government-backed bonds you can buy directly from the Treasury or indirectly through a broker.

What makes TIPS different from other government bonds is they have an underlying value that goes up and down with consumer prices.

In other words, if inflation goes up, TIPS bonds pay a little extra — and holders have a little extra cash on hand to deal with those higher prices.

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