So, you are getting to that age where you start to dream about retirement almost daily. You’ve worked long and hard for this day and you deserve to truly enjoy your golden years.
However, if you start adding up your piggy bank and savings accounts, you might find that you are running a bit short on the suggested $1 million in retirement funds set aside.
Living in the U.S. is expensive! Many investment firms say that the average person will need at least $260K just for their medical expenses!
If you read those numbers and felt horrifically depressed, don’t be! You can still retire in style if you are willing to become an expat!
There are a great many countries where $200K in retirement money, combined with the average Social Security income of $1,360, will have you living the good life for 30 years or more.
Don’t believe it? Keep reading and discover 20 of the most retirement friendly countries that will make your $200K last for decades!
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This beautiful central American country has a little something for everyone. The Western side has multiple lakes, mountainsides, and volcanoes, while the Eastern side has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. While Spanish is the main language, English is very widely spoken.
The weather is very nice almost all year. There are 3 temperature zones, with the coasts being the warmest between 72 nighttime lows and as high as 100 degrees in the summer. The central part of the country is about 10 degrees cooler than the coast and the mountains about 18 degrees cooler.
Living In Nicaragua
The cost of living here is rather inexpensive, with the average rent for an average 900 square foot apartment running about $460. You can live just fine on $1,200 a month and for $2K a month, you can live like an Egyptian King and Queen! A month of groceries is about $300, and a restaurant beer is $1.25. Healthcare is also very reasonable, and many hospitals base their fees on your age, not your income. Those between 51 and 65 pay $61 a month and those over 65 pay only $65 a month.
You won’t run out of things to do, either. There are beautiful islands to visit, snorkeling, diving, hiking trails, volcanoes to see, nature preserves, and beautifully preserved architecture. You can also swim through Nicaragua’s version of the Grand Canyon!
The best thing about Thailand is that you can pitch almost your entire wardrobe and pack nothing but shorts, t-shirts, tank tops, bathing suits, and sandals. English is very common unless you go to smaller towns where you might want to pick up a few key phrases.
If you like hot, sunny beaches, this is for you! Temps can reach 105 degrees between March and May and even in “winter” months, between November and March, temps are still in the upper 80’s.
Living In Thailand
Prices vary here depending on the area, but, you can live here comfortably for about $1,500 to $2,000 a month in the big city of Phuket. A typical Thai dinner, including beer, costs less than $10 and a Western dinner for two runs about $15.
There are great things to do and see in this breathtaking country. In addition to the best beaches in the world, you can visit the Grand Palace, see a floating marketplace, visit the Khao Yai national park, attend a full moon party, go diving, ride the Thai-Burma railway, and don’t forget Erawan Falls!
Thailand boasts some of the most advanced healthcare in the world and the best private hospitals in Bangkok will cost you only a fraction of what you would pay in the US.
3. Costa Rica
More and more American’s are flocking to Costa Rica to retire every year and for good reason. Costa Rica offers a more laid back, easy going lifestyle where environmentalism is a way of life and people appreciate mother nature.
Both English and Spanish are spoken almost everywhere, and this warm climate means never having to buy another sweatshirt ever again. While the country has small microclimates, it’s basically a tropical paradise with temps staying in the 81/63-degree range year-round.
Living In Costa Rica
While the influx of expats has increased prices a bit, you can still live comfortably on $1,400 to $1,700 a month. A pound of red snapper is a tiny $4 and lettuce only 50 cents. Rent in an average 900 square foot apartment is about $650 and internet service $38.
Healthcare is very affordable and under the national public health insurance system, you can pay between $75 and $150 a month for full coverage. A typical doctors visit is a mere $20.
Perhaps one of the best things about Costa Rica is the abundance of things to do. No matter where you are, you can visit a cloud forest, Manuel Antonio national park, the famous Arenal Volcano and the surrounding hot springs in Tabacon, the Poas Volcano, and watch sea turtles hatching on the Caribbean side of the island.
This country is one of South Asia’s most popular places for retirees. English is spoken almost everywhere, and temps are darn near perfect at 77 and 95 for most of the year. Humidity is worth mentioning, as well as the monsoon season, which runs from October through March.
The monsoon season notwithstanding, there are tons of things for expats to occupy themselves with, including visiting the Tunku Abdul Rahman national park (which is a collection of 5 virtually untouched islands), hiking, swimming, the Malacca Strait, hike the suspension bridges in Taman Negara national park, and ride the cable cars over the mountains in Genting Highlands.
Living In Malaysia
However, the cost of living here is unbelievably low. A typical meal on the street is $3 and a three-course restaurant dinner for two is $15. You can rent a nice one-bedroom condo in the center of the city for only $550 and if you want to live in the melting pot known as Penang, you can get that same apartment for $265!
Healthcare is very inexpensive. So much so that most American’s go to private clinics and hospitals for the best service and still pay far less than they would in the US.
If living in Europe sounds more like what you had in mind, then you will want to consider warm and sunny Spain. This is a very popular retirement destination, with its laid-back lifestyle and fantastic food, but it’s probably the weather that brings most people here.
You don’t even need to leave Spain, to find things to do. You can visit The Alhambra, which is the castle of the first king of Spain, check out the idyllic beaches in Mallorca, visit the famous cities of Salamanca, Seville, and Merida, as well as the Palace of Catalan Music.
Living In Spain
Since Spain is part of the European Union, you can travel from country to country with ease. Spanish is the main language, but English is definitely spoken in most larger cities. Unfortunately, a huge increase in both expats and tourism has made places like Barcelona too expensive, but other cities remain affordable, such as Valencia. A typical one-bedroom apartment is only $525 within the city and $400 just outside the city. The island of Gran Canaria also has affordable prices and nearly perfect temperatures, which range from a cool 68 to a sunny 80 degrees.
Health care is kept affordable due to competition and private healthcare is easily accessible. Most pharmacies don’t even require a prescription for most non-addictive types of medication.
If the thought of learning a new language is putting you off, then Malta is the place for you. English is this island’s second language and that makes living here much easier!
While Malta isn’t a common retirement destination, this is only because most people haven’t heard of it yet. This small set of islands off the Africa and Sicily coasts has a nearly perfect climate with sunshine all year round. It has beautiful surroundings and architecture that rivals Rome!
Living In Malta
You will also find that living here is very affordable, especially when compared to other Mediterranean countries. A typical one-bedroom apartment is only $750-$800 a month and utilities average only $120 a month. You can eat in small, local restaurants for $15 a person and a seaside three-course meal is a reasonable $23 a person. Most people don’t even need a car since the islands have such a great public transportation system.
Malta’s health care system is one of the best in the world, with the WHO ranking it above the US and the UK. You can choose between public or private healthcare systems. The public system is funded through taxation and you pay into it even if you want private health care.
Ecuador is considered to be one of the jewels of South America. It boasts stunning beaches, modern cities, and, of course, the infamous Galapagos Islands. Popular cities for expats are the capital city of Quito and the smaller town of Cuenca.
This is an exciting place to retire for those who want to live an active lifestyle. You can see the monument and plaza which marks the equator, a volcano, and glacier, called Cotopaxi, and Quilotoa has another volcano, hiking, a beautiful lake and a lagoon for swimming
Living In Ecuador
The cost of living here is one reason why people choose to retire here. A one-bedroom apartment runs about $430 in Quito and only $340 in Cuenca. You can find a nice restaurant and have a three-course meal for two people for a tiny $35. Many retirees find that $1,500 a month has them living the good life in Ecuador. Cuenca is very walkable and has a great public transportation system so many expats don’t even own cars.
Ecuador has its own government-run healthcare program which costs you $70 a month per person. You can also opt for private health insurance, which runs around $250 a month per couple. Prescriptions are very inexpensive, with the common blood pressure medication costing only $10 for a 30-day supply.
Despite what you hear on the news, Mexico isn’t nearly as dangerous for expats as what you might have been led to believe. Mexico’s pretty towns and crystal-clear beaches make it one of the top retirement choices for thousands of expats every year.
Depending on where in the country you decide to live, there is no limit to the things you can see and do. Everything from sport fishing to scuba diving, museums, and pyramids, as well as lakes, volcanos, and big city shopping.
Living In Mexico
Living here can be super affordable. The more expats, the more expensive an area tends to be, so for the best prices, look outside major cities. A typical one-bedroom apartment is between $200 and $500. Internet and cable combined is often $25 and filling your fridge with produce costs less than $10. If you have air conditioning, electrical bills can be a bit high in the summer, but many places offer solar power to run their air conditioners.
Medical costs are very reasonable. While the country does have its own health care system that costs about $250 per person per year, the wait for services tends to belong. Most expats use private health insurance for major items and pay out of pocket for other medical costs. A typical doctors visit is $25 and an emergency appendectomy at a private hospital, $2K, a dental filling, $20.
Portugal is one of the most inexpensive countries in Europe, even cheaper than Spain. Large cities, such as Lisbon, will cost you more than smaller towns, but even big cities have reasonable prices overall.
The climate is very temperate, with winter nighttime lows in the mid 40’s and the hottest month, July, only sees temperatures in the low 80’s, with most months seeing the upper 50’s at night and mid 70’s during the day.
Living In Portugal
It’s the cost of living in this beautiful country that attracts people from all over the world. A one-bedroom apartment outside the city is only $488 on average and utilities about $100. A local restaurant charges about $8.50 for a meal and even a three-course meal for two at an upscale restaurant will set you back about $34.
The old-world charm of this country will make you feel as if you traveled through time. There are plenty of things to do and see, including the Pena Palace, Jeronimos Monastery, a medieval tower called Belem and more castles than you can shake a stick at. If history isn’t your thing, you can sunbathe on the beautiful Matosinhos Beach or take a canoe ride on Furnas Lake.
Panama is a top destination for expats due to its first-class dining, living, medical care, and culture in the big city areas. Spanish is the main language, but since it’s a short hop via plane to Miami, English is widely spoken here.
Whether you are looking for warm sandy beaches, exotic rainforests, or cool mountaintops, Panama has something for almost everyone. Temps average about 90 in the warmest months and a low of 72 in the coolest months.
Living In Panama
The cost of living here is reasonable, with rent for an average 900 square foot apartment in a large city going for about $1,000, but outside the city, it’s a tiny $620. The hourly rate for a maid is $4.16 and internet service will set you back only $38.
Panama has an amazing program for retirees that subsidize your medical care, car taxes, property taxes, and many other benefits. You only need to show that you earn $1,000 a month from your money country. These benefits alone will pay for most of your retirement costs!
Want more? Besides checking out the Panama Canal, of course, you must visit the San Blas Islands, do a bit of snorkeling and sailing, see the ruins in Portobello and check out the historical site called Panama Viejo, which has a huge museum.
One of the most beautiful Central American countries, Belize offers a laid-back way of life that entices many expats. English is the official language of the country as well, so getting around and adapting is super easy.
The weather makes this country a great place to get out and about. You can go see the ancient temple ruins at Xunantunich, see the Great Blue Hole (a storied sinkhole in the ocean floor), dive to see the Belize Barrier and check out Ambergris Caye. Belize has some of the best and least crowded Mayan ruins you will ever visit in your life.
Living In Belize
The cost of living here is as easy as the lifestyle, with a typical 900 square foot apartment going for about $460 and internet for $40. Many expats say that they live quite well on only $1200 a month. While some imported food items can be expensive, many simply cross the border into Mexico for items they simply can’t live without. Seafood and locally grown food are very inexpensive.
The climate is very mild, with the need for air condition or heating is a rare occurrence. Gasoline is expensive at $6 a gallon but most people opt for a monthly public transportation pass for $35.
Health care is affordable for the most part, but it can be difficult to find doctors if you choose to live in a rural area. The average doctor’s visit is $7, and hospitals cost about $15 a day.
12. The Philippines
With more than 7,000 tropical islands, you are sure to find a place to park your hat in the Philippines. This country has thousands of miles of pristine beaches and offers tropical living at its finest.
You can keep yourself busy by visiting the many parks and beaches, including Manila Ocean Park, the temple at Cebu, the Tubbataha Reef, and Fort Santiago or Puerto Princesa Subterranean River national park.
Living In The Phillippines
The cost of living is what brings most people here. An expat can live like royalty for a mere $2200 a month and the average person does quite well on a budget of $1500 and many people find that if they do without items like cable TV or internet, they can live quite well on $1,000.
They do speak English on these islands, which makes acclamation easier. Rent is especially cheap here with a three-bedroom apartment averaging $400 or less if you go outside the big city. Utilities cost about $80, not including internet, which is about $40. Food is also very inexpensive with most people feeding themselves on less than $200 a month.
This country has top-notch healthcare and many doctors were trained in the US. The cost of care in the Philippines is so low that most people, including expats, don’t even bother to purchase health insurance.
Like Mexico, Peru has such as varied climate that everyone can find a climate they enjoy. Peru has so much going for it, it’s a wonder it hasn’t become overpopulated with expats.
This country as so many things to do and see, you could feasibly spend your golden years doing just that. In addition to the infamous Machhu Picchu, you can tour the floating islands of Lake Titicaca, spend days exploring all there is to see in and around Cusco, see the Amazon Rainforest, fly over the Nazca lines, and go sandboarding in Huacachina, just to name a few of the sights to see.
Living In Peru
The cost of living in Peru is very inexpensive in all the but richest areas of Lima. You could live very comfortably on a tiny $1,000 a month. While a three-bedroom apartment in Lima can cost $900, travel just 20 minutes away and get that same apartment for $300 and basic utilities a mere $48. A local restaurant meal costs $6 for two and a three-course meal for two at an upscale restaurant is $18.
Private health care should be the choice for expats as public health facilities are generally insufficient and poorly staffed. While most private healthcare is very affordable, most doctors expect cash payment up front and want your insurance company to reimburse you.
If you want to live out your golden years somewhere warm and upscale, Colombia is looking for you. This country has the second most bio-diverse climate in the world, so you are sure to find a climate that suits your tastes.
Colombia is not a third world country and you will find that it’s upscale nightclubs, restaurants, good roads, and reliable electric and internet service a nice change from other Latin American countries.
This country has a wide range of things to do for the active senior as well. You can check out the rainforest and ruins at Tayrona National Natural Park, go boating from Spratt Bight Beach or ride the moonlight to the top of El Penon de Guatape.
Living In Colombia
Colombia, besides some of the finest coffee in the world, has some of the most affordable living around. You can rent an average 900 square foot apartment for $450. Utilities for two are a small $100 and internet service is only $23. Many expats live comfortably for as little as $1,000 but you will probably want a higher standard of living, so plan on $1500.
Since the country sits so close to the equator, there is almost no variation in temp’s, no seasons, and every day is a perfect 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of the night.
If you are thinking of all the violence of Pol Pot, then you are old enough to retire! Those days are long gone, so it’s time to take a new look at this ancient and beautiful country.
Cambodia is an ancient country with tons of places to go and things to do. You can visit the massive Angkor Wat temple, or see Southeast Asia’s largest freshwater lake, Tonle Sap. You can tour the ancient ruins of Angkor Thom or Banteay Srei and watch the stunning Apsara dance in Phnom Penh.
Living in Cambodia
The big city of Phnom Penh is where most expats like to stay because of the number of amenities. With at least 5 golf courses that have green fees of only $15, expats love to hang out at the golf course. A membership at the country club is only $600 a year for unlimited access to a gym, spa, swimming pool, tennis courts, and a private beach.
You can rent an average one-bedroom apartment in this big city for a tiny $375 and basic utilities for 2 persons a small $85. The Internet is about $28 and a three-course meal for two at an upscale restaurant is about $18.
For the active senior, Bali truly is paradise. There are thousands of miles of beaches and shopping to enjoy, an active volcano, Mount Batur, which is popular with hikers, and lots of Hindu temples and ruins to explore.
If a vacation in Bali sounds like the trip of a lifetime, imagine retiring there because it is totally possible. This Indonesian island has a fun pop culture and an ancient Hindu history, in addition to being one of the most beautiful islands in the world.
For the active senior, Bali truly is paradise. There are thousands of miles of beaches and shopping to enjoy, an active volcano, Mount Batur, which is popular with hikers, and lots of Hindu temples and ruins to explore.
Living In Bali
Like many countries, you can live in the big city or out in more rural areas. Most people find that they can live comfortably on $1700 a month, but you could spend far less if you are willing to live outside of town. A typical one-bedroom apartment in the city rents for $245 and outside the city, a tiny $180. Utilities for two persons is about $45. Internet is one of the biggest expenses here at $50 a month.
Medical care can leave something to be desired since there is only one major hospital and if you will need to travel there is you need surgery or have a major illness. Some expats choose to fly to Singapore or Bangkok for anything other than the usual check up and minor illnesses.
After gaining its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, expats have been flocking to this geographically diverse country, with a warm Mediterranean climate, beautiful mountains, and Adriatic coasts, this little country has something for everyone.
You can easily travel to places like Paris, Berlin, or Venice or check out the surrounding areas of Serbia, Hungary, and Montenegro. With more than 1,000 islands and reefs, this is the ideal place for those who like diving or beach life.
Living In Croatia
While the cost of living has been increasing gradually due to the number of expats, it is still a very affordable place to call home in your retirement years. A typical one-bedroom apartment in the city will cost about $380 and outside of the city, $280. Utilities for two persons will set you back $190 and internet is only $25. A meal from a local restaurant is a tiny $7 and a three-course meal at a more upscale restaurant is still only $30.
Croatia has what is called State Health Insurance that everyone must join, other than tourists. Expect to pay a sign-up fee of approximately $775 per person, then about $70 a month per person. Overall, the country has plenty of hospitals and a good health care system.
18. Dominican Republic
The second largest Caribbean island is made of up two parts, Hispaniola, and the Dominican Republic. While some expats prefer to live there only during the winter months, many call it home all year round. With 6 international airports, it’s easy to get in and out.
The country is very diverse, with more than 1,000 miles of coastline, but it also has mountains, deserts, even a rainforest. You are sure to find a climate that suits you somewhere on this island.
Living in The Dominican Republic
While many people say it is possible to live in the DR on $1,000 a month, the government says you need $1500 to qualify for a long-term visa. Rents tend to be more expensive in tourist or expat areas so if you want to save $, stay away from these areas. You can rent a typical one-bedroom apartment in Santo Domingo for $415 but only $250 outside the city. Utilities for two people will set you back about $65 and internet is more expensive here than other places at about $50.
Healthcare is top notch and easily accessible. Most expats choose to use private doctors and hospitals with insurance rather than deal with the long lines at public health care facilities.
The country has no shortage of things to do and see, including resorts, golf clubs, whale watching, and mangrove forests filled with petroglyph caves.
This beautiful country has a lot to boast about, including a mild year-round climate, reasonably priced food, and lots of things to do and see.
While medical care costs far less than the US, you will still want to have insurance. Hospitals and doctors are top rated, and the best ones are found in and around larger cities. While living on one of the more remote islands sounds great, this means you will need to travel if you have a major medical problem.
Living In Greece
Greece is having financial problems but that can be good news for expats as it keeps prices down. Most retirees can live here comfortably on about $1800 a month. A typical one-bedroom apartment just outside of a large city runs about $265. Utilities for two persons is another $150 and many expats say they spend about $250 a month in groceries, not counting restaurant meals. The further away from tourist and expat locales that you stay, the cheaper things are.
Greece has some of the best ancient ruins and architecture around. Go visit the 5th century temple monument Acropolis of Athens, or the iconic Parthenon. There are gorgeous lakes, caves, and old monasteries atop rock pillars that are accessible only via rope bridges.
If the thought of living in this ancient, yet upscale country sounds good to you, it is entirely possible to do so, providing you are willing to stay away from the tourist areas like Tuscany and Umbria.
One of the best things about Italy is that entertainment is free for the most part. Beaches and national parks (there are 4 in Abruzzo alone) are absolutely free. Movies are about $4 per person but with all the beautiful things to see, why bother with cinemas?
Living In Italy
The city of Abruzzo is a good example. With both mountains on one side and the coast on the other, you can sit on the beach in the morning and go skiing in the afternoon! This city is also near the 16th-century thermal springs of Caramanico. For old world charm, you can’t beat Italy and Abruzzo is very affordable.
Like most cities, rent is cheaper outside of town. A typical two-bedroom apartment in the city can be $850 and outside the city, $250. Utilities can cost you a bit since you will probably want to use the air conditioning for a few months out of each year. Most places have fireplaces to help heat homes on the coldest days.
Italy ranks #2 for healthcare and the national health care system is a treasure. You pay a small fee to join, then approximately $450 per year per person.