After hard work andsave diligently for your retirement, you may find that your nest egg won't get you very far in the US, but there are other options. In fact, you can stretch your dollar far beyond the country and these options can be safer and more comfortable than you think. To help you figure out where you might consider retiring, SmartAsset has put together this list of the best countries where you can retire cheaply and peacefully. Consider professional guidancework with a financial advisorwhich can help financially prepare future retirees for the big event.
How we compiled our list of the safest and most affordable countries to retire
To come up with our list, we used several benchmarks, including the Global Peace Index 2022. This annual report evaluates more than 160 countries based on factors such as quality of life and the presence of unrest or conflict. The Institute for Economics and Peace, a non-profit think tank, compiles this list.
We also looked at other reports, such as the annual global pension index. Produced by International Living magazine, this report ranks countries in categories such as:living expensesand access to health care. Additionally, we consulted Numbe's 2022 Cost of Living Index.
Below you can see our overview of the ten cheapest countries where you can retire well.
Cost of living index: 42.18
Global Peace Index: 6
Nation ofPortugalit ranks sixth on the Global Peace Index, making it one of the safest countries in the world. Moreover, the sandy beaches and warm climate can serve as a refreshing environment for your golden years.
The bridgeretire in Portugal, you must provide proof of health insurance when applying for a residence permit at the local consulate. However, many major health insurers serving the US are also expanding coverage in Portugal. So your transition can be much smoother.
The country also recently changed its tax code to make it especially expat friendly. For example, if you qualify for non-marital resident (NHR) status, you are exempt fromincome taxfor the next 10 years. This would cover income from investments and pensions, even if they were made outside Portugal.
Cost of living index: 34.41
Global Peace Index: 18
Another country on our list that is trying to be more welcoming to expats isMalaysia. You can even get a visa for up to 10 years through the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) program.
For nature lovers, this country serves as the ultimate escape with its many beaches and jungles. But those who want to continue enjoying the city well into their golden years can relax in one of Malaysia's many urban destinations. In fact, several publications have ranked George Town as one of the best cities in the world to retire.
If you're reading this from a major city in the US, you may find the low cost of living in Malaysia particularly appealing. According to Numbe, a one-bedroom apartment in George Town costs an average of $278 in urban areas and $174 in the suburbs.
And don't worry about overcoming culture shock. English is known as the "unofficial first language" in Malaysia. In addition, it ranks 18th on the Global Peace Index. This ranks this country significantly higher on the peace scale compared to other Southeast Asian countries.
Cost of living index: 47,51
Global Peace Index: 29
Spain continues to be a European country known for its overall low cost of living and peace. Often creates multiple liststhe best countries to retirein. With its rich history, Spain offers many sights to exercise the mind and body. Art lovers will especially enjoy the works of Baroque painter Diego Velazquez or modernists such as Picasso and Dali.
In addition, expats may qualify for the country's public health care program if they meet the following characteristics:
- If you are employed or self-employed and pay into the Spanish social security system
- If you have recently divorced your paying partnerSocial security
- If you are entitled to a state pension
The most expensive city in Spain is Madrid. But even here you can find places that are priced significantly lower than those in major American cities. According to travel website Escape Artist, a one-bedroom apartment downtown costs about $1,055 a month.
If you want toretired in Spain, you must apply for a visa after 90 days.
4. Costa Rica
Cost of living index: 43,65
Global Peace Index: 38
Those looking to retire in a tropical paradise without the price of paradise can look no furtherCosta Rica. According to Numbe, rents in popular San Jose average around $610 per month. And meals at local restaurants drop to just $7.
Lovers of being in nature will not get bored easily here. You can enjoy surfing, rafting, fishing, jungle walks, horse riding and much more. You also have less to worry about if you get hurt. International Living rates Costa Rica's healthcare system as excellent and among the best in Latin America.
You can retire in Costa Rica by applying for a Pensionado visa, but you will need a monthly retirement income of at least $2,500.
Cost of living index: 48.25
Global Peace Index: 61
Panamatopped International Living's Global Retirement Index. To your advantage, the country is taking several steps to attract expats. For example, the government will not tax income earned outside the US. It can benefit you if you continue to invest in apension planyou opened in America.
It also offers a Friendly Nations visa and a Pensionado visa. You can achieve the latter if you have a pension,annuityor Social Security income of at least $1,000 per month.
The Pensionado Visa works almost like a rewards credit card. It offers you the following discounts:
- 25% discount on flights
- 30% discount on public transport
- 25% discount in restaurants
However, like anywhere, your living expenses will depend on your lifestyle and where you want to live. In Panama, you can give up some basic luxuries to live on just $500 a month. Still modest, but a more standard lifestyle would net you about $2,000 a month.
But if you keep an eye on Latin America, Panama can strike a solid balance between the cost of living and reaching an active retirement. You can enjoy ziplining, cycling, golf and other sports that will get your blood pumping. Or you can retreat to areas like Boquete. This city is known as a wellness center where you can find plenty of opportunities for yoga, meditation, Tai Chi and more.
6. Czechia (Czech Republic)
Cost of living index: 44.33
Global Peace Index: 8
When Eastern Europe calls, the Czech Republic can offer a good balance between affordability and safety. It even ranks 8th on the Global Peace Index. Property costs here are significantly lower than in much of Western Europe, according to global travel website Expat Focus.
But when you're away from home, you'll have plenty to enjoy, especially if you're a history buff. The Czech Republic is even known as the castle capital of the world. Prague Castle has existed since the Middle Ages. The country is also home to 20 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
After 90 days you have to apply for a visa. You need proof of health insurance to apply.
Cost of living index: 30.74
Global Peace Index: 101
You have a lot to choose fromPeruas for the scenery. The country offers everything from vibrant cities to mountainous regions and quiet farming towns. Wherever you stay, the cost of living is generally on the lower end of the spectrum compared to other Latin American countries. For example, you can find an apartment in Miraflores, an upscale area of Lima, for about $740 a month.
You will have access to world-renowned cuisine prepared with fresh ingredients from the sea to the mountains. If you can withdraw at least $1,000 in retirement savings, you can get a Rentista visa. However, you cannot work and must stay in the country for at least six months each year. After seven years you may be eligible for a permanent visa.
Although Peru ranks 101st on the Global Peace Index and has fallen 15 places in the past year, the organization that compiles it still rates Peru as a country with a "high" level of peace.
Cost of living index: 47.30 sati
Global Peace Index: 7
For those who want to retreat to the background of the Alps, but cannot afford the French or Swiss price,Sloveniais a decent alternative. Slovenia offers several peaks, and adventurers can indulge in the Triglav National Park.
In fact, International Living listed the Slovenian city of Ljubljana as one of the top 10 cities in the world to retreat to. According to Live and Invest Overseas, an organization dedicated to providing information to companies moving abroad, a couple can comfortably rent an apartment in Ljubljana for about $720 a month.
Cost of living index: 64.11
Global Peace Index: 5
Although a bit more expensive than other countries on our list,Austriait is among the 10 best countries to live in, according to the Global Peace Index. A recent study by the Economist Intelligence Unit even ranked Vienna as the most liveable city in the world.
This city alone offers a seemingly endless array of museums, fine arts and world-famous architecture. Numbeo shows that you can expect to pay around $960 per month for an apartment in Vienna.
To retire here, you need a residence permit after six months. To get it, you need proof of income.
Cost of living index: 72.27
Global Peace Index: 27
Although the average cost of living inAustraliait is slightly higher than most of the countries on our list, but has fallen in recent years. According to Numbe, monthly living costs with rent can range between $1,000 and $2,000 in the inner city.
And you can enjoy the peace and relaxed atmosphere of the country on one of the many beaches. Animal lovers can visit kangaroos and other native creatures such as wombats.
However, retirement here can be a little more difficult than other places on our list. For starters, the country abolished the retirement visa in 2018. But you may be able to get a retirement investor visa if you meet the following qualifications:
- Be at least 55 years old
- Live and work in Australia for up to four years
- Invest a certain amount in the country and earn a minimum income based on the location
Australia offers a number of different visas with the aim of attracting people who can contribute to the country's economy. Therefore, it could be the right destination for those who want to work part-time in their golden years. In addition, a family member can sponsor you. Otherwise, you can apply for a visitor visa and reapply if necessary.
Comes down to
Finding the cheapest place to retire may not be the most difficult task, but you also deserve a comfortable retirement in a safe environment. That's why we've compiled this list to help you find the right balance. Of course, cost and security vary greatly within the country depending on where you live within the country's borders. So be sure to do your own research to find a place that works for you and fits your personal retirement needsbudget.
Tips for a cheap and comfortable retirement
- Your financial situation is unique and factors such as tax status will affect you differently abroad. That's why it's crucial to find a financial advisor to help you make these life-important decisions. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn't have to be difficult.Besplatni alat van SmartAssetconnects you with up to three financial advisors serving your area, and you can interview your advisors for free to decide which one is right for you. If you're ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals,Start now.
- This article has focused on places outside the US, but don't overlook a domestic pension when exploring your options. We also published a report onbest places to retire in usa
Photo credit: ©iStock.com/DavorLovincic, ©iStock.com/Eloi_Omella, ©iStock.com/Image Source
Javier Simon, CEPF®Javier Simon is a banking, investment and pensions expert for SmartAsset. The writer's works on personal finance have been published in Investopedia, PLANADVISER and iGrad. Javier is a member of the Society for the Advancement of Business Editing and Writing. He received his bachelor's degree in journalism from SUNY Plattsburgh. Javier is passionate about helping others outside of his personal finances. He has volunteered and raised money for charities including Fight Cancer Together, Children's Miracle Network Hospitals and the National Center for Missing and Abused Children.
According to various studies, including International Living, Portugal is ranked as the best country for US expats to retire to. Its friendly population, welcoming community of American expats, excellent weather, safety records, and affordable cost of living are all big draws for retirees.Which country is the happiest for retirement? ›
- New Zealand.
According to various studies, including International Living, Portugal is ranked as the best country for US expats to retire to. Its friendly population, welcoming community of American expats, excellent weather, safety records, and affordable cost of living are all big draws for retirees.What country can I retire to with $800 a month? ›
Ecuador. If you're looking for a country where you can retire outside the US comfortably with $800 per month and experience one of the most ecologically diverse places in the world, then Ecuador might be for you. The go-to city for US retirees in Ecuador is Cuenca, which also happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage site.What countries are cheapest to retire in? ›
Mexico. Just south of the United States of America border with warm weather, a wide variety of places to live, miles of coastline, and beautiful cities, Mexico, one of the cheapest countries to retire in, is a popular destination for retirees as well as vacationers.What is a good country for an American to retire in? ›
- Panama. Panama tops most lists of the best countries to retire in, and there are good reasons for that. ...
- Costa Rica. ...
- Portugal. ...
- Ecuador. ...
- Greece. ...
- Belize. ...
- Nicaragua. ...
- The Philippines.
US citizens can retire in Europe if they meet the eligibility criteria for retirement. Once the criteria are met, you need to apply for a long-stay visa to be allowed to stay in the country of your choice for a long-term period.What is the best country to move to as an American? ›
Cyprus is a beautiful and highly developed nation with a low cost of living and a comfortable tax system. But there are many more: check our Best countries to move from the USA list. Greece, Cyprus, Andorra, Portugal, the Caribbean and Malta are among the most favourable places for US expats.Which country has the best Social Security system? ›
- The Netherlands, Denmark, and Israel have the best pension systems.
- The U.S. ranks far from the top.
Nearly 450,000 people received their benefits outside the U.S. at the end of 2021, up from 307,000 in 2008, according to the Social Security Administration, which says nearly half are U.S. citizens. Many countries have visas designed for retirees.
If you're single, it's even cheaper. Take Cambodia, where you can live comfortably for just $1,150 a month. The most expensive place on the list — which spanned from Southeast Asia to Europe to Latin America — came in at just $1,500 a month for a single person.Where is the cheapest warm place to retire? ›
- Tarboro, North Carolina. ...
- Melbourne, Florida. ...
- Lakeland, Florida. ...
- Mountain Home, Arkansas. ...
- Mount Airy, North Carolina. ...
- Kingsport, Tennessee. ...
- Roanoke, Virginia. ...
- College Station, Texas.
In many places throughout the world, goods and services cost much less than they do in the United States, which allows you to reduce your monthly expenses. Currency advantages can further enhance savings if you move to a country where the U.S. dollar is strong against the local currency.What is the cheapest English speaking country to retire in? ›
Possibly the cheapest English-speaking country to live in is South Africa. Not only can you get by without having to go to language school, but most South African cities also have a high standard of living, similar to Western cities, which will make the transition much easier.
There are several places in the world where you can live affordably. Still, when it comes to the safest and cheapest places to live in, you can pick a few countries – the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Albania, Portugal, Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam.How to retire outside the US? ›
- Check Visa and Residency Requirements. ...
- Research Safety and Political Stability. ...
- Determine Rules of Foreign Ownership. ...
- Visit Before Moving, Rent Before Buying. ...
- Consider an All-Cash Purchase. ...
- Organize Your Assets (and Taxes) ...
- Settle Your Healthcare. ...
- Get an International Driver's License.
- Italy (You must also be a citizen of Italy for the exemption to apply.)
- United Kingdom.
If you leave the U.S., we will stop your benefits the month after the sixth calendar month in a row that you are outside the country. You can make visits to the United States for specific periods of time, depending on how long you've been outside, to continue receiving your benefits.Where can I retire on $1,300 a month? ›
Panama: A Home Away from Home
You can retire comfortably on $1,300 per month, and it's one of the best countries for quality of life. What's more, English is widely spoken, and you can use your US money anywhere across the country. The country also offers first-rate hospitals, and many of its doctors are US trained.
If you earned Social Security benefits, you can visit or live in most foreign countries and still receive payments. Look up the country on the SSA Payments Abroad Screening Tool to be sure you can receive your payments.
If you are a U.S. citizen, you may receive your Social Security payments outside the U.S. as long as you are eligible for them.Is it better to retire in Italy or Portugal? ›
Firstly, the Global Peace Index 2021 ranks Portugal as the fourth-safest country to live in, while Italy is ranked at thirty-two. Of course, this doesn't mean Italy is completely unsafe, but an environment where you don't have to worry about your safety is an added benefit for older people.What country can Americans move to easily? ›
Which are the easiest countries to immigrate to from the US? Portugal, Malta and Spain are some of the easiest countries to relocate to from the United States. American citizens can either gain permanent residency or apply for citizenships via each country's Citizenship by Invest programs.What country is easy for Americans to move to? ›
Portugal has a warm climate and a much lower cost of living than the US, which makes it one of the easiest countries to immigrate to from the US. Portugal is well known for its beautiful beaches, rich culture and history, and vibrant cities.What is the friendliest country to move to? ›
In 2021, Taiwan ranked as the friendliest and most welcoming country for expats in the world. Not only are its people friendly and welcoming, but the language is said to be easy to learn—although a huge percentage of locals also speak English.What state gives you the most Social Security benefits? ›
- Total Social Security Received: $9.34 billion.
- Total Number of Recipients: 6,166,205.
Annuity. An annuity is by definition a way to supplement your retirement income. To "annuitize" an investment means to convert it from a pool of capital to an income stream that lasts for your lifetime. If you die prematurely, the insurance company keeps the remainder of the payments.What is the most Social Security check? ›
The maximum Social Security benefit in 2023 is $3,627 at full retirement age. It's $4,555 per month if retiring at age 70 and $2,572 if retiring at age 62.Where can I retire on $2 500 a month? ›
Edinburg, Texas. Edinburg made the No. 1 spot as the best city to retire on a monthly budget of $2,500 or less by offering the most budget-friendly expenditures compared to the rest of the U.S. and the top livability score among these 13 cities.How is my US pension taxed if I live abroad? ›
How retiring abroad affects your 401(k) or IRA taxes. Distributions from your 401(k) and pensions are still taxed as income, albeit they're treated as unearned income—meaning you won't be able to claim them under the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion.
If you are a U.S. citizen and qualify for Social Security retirement, family, survivor or disability benefits, you can receive your payments while living in most other countries. Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP The Magazine.What country can you live on $1,200 a month? ›
“The cost of living in Cambodia is so low that my bills only total around $1,200 a month, without having to budget,” says Brett Dvoretz, who lives in Sihanoukville.Where is the cheapest place to live in the United States? ›
In its report, Niche also ranked the cheapest places to live in the U.S. At the top of the list this year is Brownsville, Texas. Brownsville has been steadily rising in Niche's Lowest Cost of Living ranking over the past few years, placing number six in 2021, number three in 2022 and finally, number one in 2023.Can I live on just Social Security? ›
Living on Social Security alone is not only possible, but many retirees already accomplish that very feat every year. While the lifestyle associated with Social Security income isn't exactly luxurious, it doesn't have to equal rice and beans for the rest of your life, either.Where is the best cheapest state to retire? ›
A new study identifies a rugged group of states — Wyoming, Utah, Montana and Idaho — as the most affordable destinations for American retirees.Where is the best place to retire financially? ›
Countries Natixis ranked as secure retirement locations are mostly concentrated in Europe but also include New Zealand and Australia. The top three countries in the rankings are Norway, Switzerland and Iceland, all of which have life expectancies of 83 years, compared to 77 in the U.S. and the world average of 72.Where is the cheapest place to live on the water? ›
- Deerfield Beach, Florida. Population: 86,339. ...
- Daytona Beach, Florida. Population: 74,437. ...
- Jacksonville, North Carolina. Population: 72,896. ...
- Gulfport, Mississippi. ...
- Port Arthur, Texas. ...
- Pensacola, Florida. ...
- Biloxi, Mississippi. ...
- Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Average Cost to Retire in Costa Rica
According to March 2022 data from Numbeo, the average cost of living in Costa Rica, minus rent, totals around $600 per month or $7,200 a year for an individual retiree. So if you and your spouse want to retire together, you can easily do so for about $1,200 a month pre-rent.
And though Belize's cost of living is comparably lower than that of the U.S., its costs vary per area. However, you may very well be able to survive with a monthly budget between $1,200 and $1,500. But housing and food will play a significant role in your monthly bill.How much does the average US citizen retire with? ›
What Is The National Average For Retirement Savings? The national average for retirement savings varies depending on age, but according to the Economic Policy Institute, the median retirement savings for all working age households in the US is around $95,776.
Singapore. Singapore is a country where you can find political stability as well as safety, as there is a low crime rate there. You can also find people from various nationalities already living there. They include people from China, Malaysia, and India.Which country is best to live after retirement? ›
- New Zealand.
Where is the cheapest place to retire in Europe? Some of the cheapest places to retire in Europe are the best places to retire in Europe on a budget. These include Malta, Spain, Portugal, Turkey and Greece.What is a cheap but good country to live in? ›
- 10 Cheapest Countries in the World to Live In.
- South Africa.
- Costa Rica.
When evaluated by 2022 GPI, the top three safest countries in North America are Canada, Costa Rica, and Panama.What is the safest place to live in the United States? ›
Frisco, Texas, part of the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex has been ranked the number 1 safest city to live in the U.S. It boasts the fourth-lowest violent crime rate and the sixth-lowest property crime rate.
Ecuador. If you're looking for a country where you can retire outside the US comfortably with $800 per month and experience one of the most ecologically diverse places in the world, then Ecuador might be for you. The go-to city for US retirees in Ecuador is Cuenca, which also happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage site.Which country has the most American retirees? ›
It's humble Canada that takes the No. 1 spot on the list of the foreign countries where the most retired workers are collecting Social Security checks. That's followed by Japan, Mexico, Germany and the U.K., according to government...Where is the happiest place to retire? ›
The United Arab Emirates claim the top spot for the happiest place to retire. The study reveals that the United Arab Emirates is the happiest place to retire with an overall score of 7.76. It comes as no surprise that with the average yearly temperature being 27 degrees and 3,508 hours of sunshine, they came out on top ...Which country offers best life? ›
- Sweden. #1 in Quality of Life. #5 in Best Countries Overall. ...
- Denmark. #2 in Quality of Life. #10 in Best Countries Overall. ...
- Canada. #3 in Quality of Life. ...
- Switzerland. #4 in Quality of Life. ...
- Norway. #5 in Quality of Life. ...
- Finland. #6 in Quality of Life. ...
- Germany. #7 in Quality of Life. ...
- Netherlands. #8 in Quality of Life.
Retirement in the U.S. offers a predictable and familiar lifestyle, and you'll be close to your friends and family. But it can be expensive and lead to a boring routine. Retiring abroad can bring new and exciting experiences, a change of scenery, and a lower cost of living.Where is the best place to retire in the country? ›
Maine topped The Motley Fool's list of best U.S. states to retire, with high marks for quality of life, safety, and health care cost and quality. The state has the highest percentage of residents over age 65, so retirees can find like-minded neighbors who enjoy the outdoors, natural beauty, and reliable health care.Can a US citizen retire in England? ›
The U.K. recently closed its retirement visa program, meaning retirees don't have a straightforward way to get into the country. Fortunately, the U.K.'s other visa avenues are still open. So, retired couples can apply for work, ancestry or family visas. These visas have varying costs and requirements.What countries are better than America? ›
- United States.
- United Kingdom.
Switzerland: Although many European countries offer a better quality of life than the U.S., Switzerland takes the cake. It's globally ranked for its safety, infrastructure and natural beauty. All of this, of course, comes at a cost: Switzerland is one of the world's most expensive countries to live in.Why are retirees leaving Florida? ›
“In addition to inflation, housing prices and increasing costs of living in Florida, retirees are also leaving for other reasons,” says Dutch Mendenhall, Founder of RAD Diversified REIT. “Higher auto and home insurance along with a 7% sales tax on already high-inflation goods can put a strain on retirement income.”What is the #1 retirement town in the US? ›
Lancaster, Pennsylvania, ranks as the best place to retire in the U.S. thanks to a high quality of life, a reasonable cost of living and proximity to health care options. READ: The Best Beach Towns to Retire in the U.S.What state has the best healthcare for retirees? ›
These states round out the top five healthiest: Vermont, Minnesota, Connecticut and Colorado. Mississippi places 50th on the list and is joined by Louisiana, Kentucky, West Virginia and Oklahoma as the least healthy states for seniors.What states do not pay Social Security taxes? ›
Fortunately, there are some states that don't charge taxes on retirement income of any kind: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming.What is the best state to retire in the US News and world Report? ›
Pennsylvania and Florida towns took top spots for places to retire, according to U.S. News & World Report. The yearly list of Best Places to Retire in the U.S. named Lancaster, Pennsylvania as the No. 1 place to retire for 2023.
Normally, people who are not U.S. citizens may receive U.S. Social Security benefits while outside the U.S. only if they meet certain requirements. Under the agreement, however, you may receive benefits as long as you reside in the United Kingdom regardless of your nationality.Can I get my UK state pension if I live in the USA? ›
You can claim and receive a UK State Pension while living overseas. But Pension Credit stops when you move overseas permanently. This is a means-tested benefit, which can top up your weekly income. Your State Pension can be paid to a UK bank or building society account, or to an overseas account in the local currency.Can I collect US Social Security and UK pension? ›
“A U.K. pension may affect your U.S. benefit. If you qualify for Social Security benefits from both the United States and the United Kingdom and did not need the agreement to qualify for either benefit, the amount of your U.S. benefit may be reduced.