If budget is a top concern, following are 7 destinations where you should be focusing your attention. You could live in each of these places on a budget of $1,200 per month or less. (Note, coincidentally, that that's the amount of the average Social Security payment.)

You could spend more, maybe much more, retired in these destinations, depending on the lifestyle you adopt and where, exactly, you choose to settle yourself. But, if you're in the market right now for a simple but comfortable retirement on a modest budget, here's where I'd suggest you shop:

#1: Cayo, Belize

Warm and welcoming, independent and private. Those four perhaps seemingly contradictory adjectives best describe both Belizeans and their country. Belize is also one of the safest countries in the world, despite what you may read about it. In some neighborhoods of Belize City, gang members and drug dealers do the things that gang members and drug dealers do, but those are small, contained areas. Outside Belize City, crime is nearly non-existent.

Belize was a colony of Britain until 1981, meaning the people here speak English. They also value their freedom, as it's relatively new.

In the nearly 30 years that I've been spending time in this country, I've joked that "the good news from Belize is no news from Belize." This is a sleepy Caribbean nation with but 330,000 people and three highways. On the other hand, little Belize offers a whole lot of what many retirees and investors are looking for--a chance to start over on sandy, sunny shores--and the country has built a reputation as a Caribbean holiday destination.

However, I favor the interior Cayo region with its Mayan ruins, caves, rivers, waterfalls, and rain forest, a frontier where self-sufficient communities are emerging and attracting like-minded folks interested in being "independent together," as a friend living in this part of the world describes it. This is also the most affordable part of the country; life here can cost half as much as out on the islands.

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