Ever Wonder What It’s Like To Retire In Cuba?

Updated : Sep 02, 2019 in Articles

Ever Wonder What It’s Like To Retire In Cuba?

Hi, I’m Karin, and welcome to Our Human Planet. When I’m on the road I learn more from older people than anyone else. In Cuba you retire when you turn 65. The government even gives you a monthly pension, though it’s not enough to live on. Some retirees sell sticks of gum, or plastic bags. Others buy newspapers at two cents apiece and sell them for double that. At 79, Jose has been at it for quite a while. His pension is 202 pesos per month – about $8. Even on a good day, he doesn’t sell that much. That’s 40 to 80 cents. In spite of all his hardships, he’s an utter gentleman. If you don’t have the money to buy a stack of newspapers, then you can start with this. Recycling is big business in Cuba. Though it’s mostly done by older men who have no one to turn to except the state. Pedro is 78. He’s been on the street since 6:00 a.m.. And all his work will earn him less than 50 cents. He’s too proud to ask for help and too honest to do anything else. He has to stop and put down his bags every chance he gets. Pedro is heading for the recycle center, and he’s not the only one. Unfortunately the hours aren’t very reliable. And it’s already 2 p.m. There’s one other thing – the center doesn’t give you cash, it just offers stuff in trade. But can you then resell that stuff? No, it’s not allowed, and yes, people do. Nobody seems to mind getting paid in bottled soda – but… they’re tired of going home without their loot. And yet both Julio and Pedro seem reasonably content. Traveling may not always give you the answers, but it helps you to ask the right questions. See you next time and don’t forget to subscribe to Our Human Planet.


  • Was in cuba last year. Havana is expensive compared to the outer parts. If you want to live like a king with not much cash cuba is a great option. I plan to spend many warm days there when i retire one day…

  • Heavenly Father helping me, .. I will go to Cuba someday and handout dollar bills so this hardworking people will live like millionaires even if it's for a day.

    My prayers are with them.

  • It’s also hard when you’re a tourist and you can only spend tourist money and can’t give it to the locals because they can only spend cuc. So we bring gifts for our Cuban locals like tooth brushes etc. As much as our extra suitcases can carry. I can’t wait to go back. It’s my favourite place in the world.

  • Reality Check. There are about 500,000 homeless people in the U.S. and the government doesn’t even care whether they get shelter or food. Cuban’s retirees have it 100% better than in the U.S. 🤷‍♀️

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