Best Countries to Live when you retire, from Croatia, Spain, Italy, Panama, Malaysia, Greece, Malta, Bali, Portugal to Uruguay
This article may not be related to entertainment and music, but it is important to save money when time to retire comes. For this purpose, we pulled together this list of the Best Countries where to retired with a limited budget, so we can enjoy life as much as possible. There are
This list does not pretend to be a complete analysis of all the elements you should consider when choosing where to spend the rest of your life (or if you are helping your parents to choose where to live), but it shows cost of living, based on 2018 data that is available online. I left to the end of the list the ones I like the most; not because of the cost but because of lifestyle, culture, and style of the country. Do your research and if you have questions just contact us with any question. We will update this list regularly, and add more information to help you with the decision when time comes.
There are a couple of countries that we did not include in the list because we do not know too much about the safety environment that it has nowadays, like: Argentina, Ecuador, Paraguay and Jamaica, but can be added once we address our concerns. As everything in live security is a subjective evaluation, and may vary depending on several factors, you need to do the evaluation from every angle before making the decision. Even after making the decision, and considering that you will be moving to another country with different cultures and habits, be sure to learn how your new home is, which places are safe and which ones you need to avoid, and how to behave when you are out of your house.
Best countries to retire: Croatia
Croatia with a warm Mediterranean climate, beautiful mountains, and Adriatic coasts, is little country and is one of the best destinations when thinking about retiring. You can travel to any city in Europe with a low budget, or even visit the place of The Medjugorje Apparitions. With 1,246 islands and islets encompass 2,522 miles (4,058 km) of coastline, the most indented coastline in the Mediterranean, this is the ideal place for those who like diving or beach life.
While the cost of living is increasing, it is still an affordable place to call home in your retirement years. If we use the same example we used for Greece: if you live in New York and are planning to go to live in Zagreb (capital of Croatia), and your cost of living today in New York is about $8,000, you may need $2,800 per month to live in Zagreb. A typical one-bedroom apartment will cost about $480 a month in the Capital and $330 if you choose to live outside the city. Utilities for two persons is about $200 per month and internet is $25; a meal from a local inexpensive restaurant is about $7 while a three-course meal for 2 people at a moderate one will cost about $40.
Croatia has good healthcare system, called State Health Insurance. Everyone, except tourists, must join. The sign-up fee is about $775 per person, and the monthly fee will be about $70 a month per person. null
Best countries to retire: Bali
Bali is paradise, there are thousands of miles of beaches and shopping to enjoy, an active volcano, Mount Batur, Hindu temples and ruins to visit or explore.
If a vacation in Bali is in your trip dream plans, imagine retiring there because it is totally feasible. 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.
Using the same example we’ve been using, if you live in New York and are planning to go to live in Bali, Indonesia, and your cost of living today in NY is about $8,000, you may need $2,000 per month to live there. Thus, you should live comfortably with $1,700 – 2,500 a month, but you could spend far less if you are willing to live outside the cities. A typical one-bedroom apartment in the city rents for $250 per month, and outside the city, it can cost $180 monthly. Utilities for two persons is about $45. Internet is $50 a month.
Medical care can be better since there is only one major hospital, thus you may need to travel if you ever happen to need surgery or have a major illness. Some expats choose to fly to Singapore or Bangkok for anything other than the usual checkup and minor illnesses. Consequently, it may be a good idea to have some extra health insurance to cover those potential expenses.
Best countries to retire: Thailand
The best thing about Thailand is that you will not need a big wardrobe, just shorts, t-shirts, tops, bathing suits and sandals. English is very common unless you go to smaller towns, but you can learn a little of the local language and make yourself understand.
If you live in New York and are planning to go to live in Bangkok, Thailand, and your cost of living today in NY is about $8,000, you may need $3,272 per month to live there. Prices vary here depending on the area, you can live here comfortably for about $2,200 -3,300 a month in Bangkok. A typical Thai dinner, including beer, costs $3 to$12, depending the type of restaurant you go, a Western dinner for two runs about $10-26. If you choose to rent an apartment in the city can cost between $650, for a 1 bedroom, to $2,300 for a 3-bedroom apartment, while you can save 50% -65% if you live outside the city.
There are great things to do and see in this 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 Erawan Falls!
Thailand has a good healthcare system, with good private hospitals in Bangkok that will cost you way lower that what you will pay for the same service in the US.
Best countries to retire: Costa Rica
Costa Rica offers a more laid back, easy going lifestyle where environmentalism is a way of life and people appreciate mother nature. It’s a tropical paradise with temps staying in the 81 to 63-degree range during the whole year.
While the influx of expats has increased prices a bit, you can still live comfortably on $2,000 to $3,000 a month. Renting a typical one-bedroom apartment is $400-$500 a month and utilities average only $75 a month. Dinner in a restaurant can cost between $7 and $22 per person depending the type of restaurant you go, from a more modest to a 3-course premium restaurant.
If you live in New York and are planning to go to live in San Jose, Costa Rica, and your cost of living today in NY is about $8,000, you may need $3,000 per month to live there.
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 doctor’s 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.
Best countries to retire: Malaysia
Malaysia is one of South Asia’s most popular places for retirees. English is spoken almost everywhere, and temps are almost perfect, between 77 and 95 for most of the year. It is humid and it has a monsoon season that runs from October through March.
Things to do in Malaysia: 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.
If you live in New York and are planning to go to live in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and your cost of living today in NY is about $8,000, you may need $2,350 per month to live there. If you leave outside the city you can save about 30-40% of that amount. Prices vary here depending on the area, you can rent a 1-bedroom apartment there for about $325 -575 a month, while renting a 3-bedroom apartment can cost $500 to $1,000 a month. A typical dinner, including beer, costs $3 to$10, depending the type of restaurant you go, from a more modest to a 3-course premium restaurant. Healthcare is inexpensive. You can go to private clinics and hospitals for the best service and still pay far less than they would in the US.
Best countries to retire: Ecuador
Ecuador, located in South America, is a very nice place to live too. It boasts nice beaches, modern cities, and, of course, the 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.
Living in Quito is very affordable. Renting a one-bedroom apartment cost about $430 a month in Quito and only $340 in Cuenca. You can find an upscale restaurant and have a three-course meal for two people for $35. If you are living with $8,000 per month in New York, most probably you will need about $ 2,500 a month in Quito, and only $1,900 in Cuenca. Cuenca is very walkable and has a great public transportation system so may consider twice before buying your own car.
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 costs around $250 a month per couple. Prescriptions are very inexpensive, with the common blood pressure medication costing only $10 for a 30-day supply. A typical dinner for 2 people in an upscale 3-course restaurant can cost about $18-25, compared with the $ 100+ in New York.
Best countries to retire: Mexico
Despite what you hear on the news, Mexico is not as dangerous as you might have heard, but of course is not New York nor Miami. And as in every city, there are places you should avoid, so you need to be careful until you get to know where you will live (this applies to anywhere you may choose to go). There are so many things you can see and do in Mexico, from sport fishing to scuba diving, museums, and pyramids, as well as visiting lakes, volcanos, and much more.
Living here is affordable. A typical one-bedroom apartment rent is between $300 and $600 per month, while a three-bedroom apartment rent can cost about $ 750 – $1,300 per month. Internet and cable combined cost about $30 per month. Medical costs are not expensive at all, 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, thus you may better off if you 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
Using the same example we have been using so far, if you are living with $8,000 per month in New York, most probably you will need about $ 2,100 a month in Mexico City, and only $1,700 in Guadalajara.
Best countries to retire: Greece
Greece may have been through some financial problems but that can be good news for expats as it has kept prices down.
If you live in New York and are planning to go to live in Athens, Greece, and your cost of living today in NY is about $8,000, you may need $3,000 per month to live. But you can live for less money than that if you know how to save money and you are not too picky about where you want to stay. Most retirees can live here comfortably on about $2,000 – 3,000 a month. A one-bedroom furnished apartment can cost about $ 275 and 350 per month, utilities for two persons is another $150, groceries between $250 and $500 (not counting restaurants meals).
Greece has some of the best ancient ruins and architecture in the world, like the Acropolis of Athens, or the Parthenon. Additionally, it has fabulous islands, lakes, caves, and even old monasteries atop rock pillars that are accessible only via rope bridges, and much more.
Best countries to retire: Curacao
Weather is warm, and stays during the whole year at around 80 degrees, in winter (Jan-Feb) it may drop to 77 degrees. This tropical island is located in the Caribbean Sea, just off the coast of Venezuela, it has a beautiful colonial center, sun-drenched beaches, a national park and beautiful caves to explore.
Talking about cost of living, and using the example, if you live in New York and are planning to go to live in Willemstad, Curacao, and your cost of living today in NY is about $8,000, you may need $3,750 per month to live Willemstad. To rent a 1-bedroom apartment may cost about $450-600 per month, while a 3-bedroom apartment my cost $ 1,000 – 1,500 monthly. Utilities averaging about $150 per month. A meal for two at a local upscale restaurant is about $45. Health care is accessible.
While Curacao is a sovereign state, it is a part of the Netherlands and uses the Netherlands Guilder as currency. The country has a special tax rate for retirees and no capital gains tax. The standard of living in island is rather high.
Best countries to retire: Belize
One of the most beautiful Central American countries, Belize offers a laid-back way of life that is great for 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, Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave, Altun Ha Ruins, Caracol Mayan Ruins, Lamanai Archaeological Reserve, the Great Blue Hole (a sinkhole in the ocean floor), the Belize Barrier and many other things.
This is not an expensive place to live. If we use the comparison we have been using, if you live in New York and are planning to go to live in Belmopan, Belize, and your cost of living today in NY is about $8,000, you may need $2,400 per month to live there, and probably less if you are willing to live outside the cities. A typical one-bedroom apartment in the city rents for $250 per month, and outside the city, it can cost $180 monthly. Utilities for two persons is about $110. Internet is $90 a month. Going to a restaurant is not expensive, 2 people in an upscale restaurant can cost $40 for a 3-course dinner.
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.
Best countries to retire: The Philippines
Philippines has more than 7,000 tropical islands and thousands of miles of pristine beaches. Residents speaks Spanish and English. There are many places to visit from parks to beaches, including Manila Ocean Park, the temple at Cebu, the Tubbataha Reef, and Fort Santiago or Puerto Princesa Subterranean River national park.
It is an affordable place to live, if you live today in New York and are planning to live in Manila, Philippines, and your cost of living today in NY is about $8,000, you may need $2,300 per month to live there, and definitely less if you choose to live outside the cities. A typical one-bedroom apartment in the city rents for $5000 per month, and outside the city, it can cost $200 monthly. Utilities for two persons is about $140. Internet is $50 a month. Going to a restaurant is not expensive, 2 people in an upscale restaurant can cost $20 for a 3-course dinner.
This country has a good healthcare system. The cost of care in the Philippines is low.
Best countries to retire: Colombia
Colombia has the second most bio-diverse climate in the world, so chances are that you will find the climate that suits your needs. It has good roads, great restaurants, good upscale nightclubs, reliable electric and internet service, good health system. Spanish is the official language, so you may need to learn basic Spanish. Some people may speak English, but it is not spread.
Things to do in Colombia: visit the Lost City Ruins (“Ciudad Perdida”), White Beach (“Playa Blanca”), learn Spanish to have more fun, hike the Valle de Cocora, coffee tours and farms in the “Coffee Triangle” of Quindío, Caldas and Risaralda, paragliding The Chicamocha Canyon, walking tours in Medellín, Cartagena and Bogotá, hike Tayrona National Park, visit Costeño Beach just outside of Tayrona National Park, explore the Castillo San Felipe de Barajas Fort, see the Amazon, and much more.
If you live in New York and are planning to live in Colombia, and your cost of living today in NY is about $8,000, you may need $1,800 per month to live Bogota (Colombia’s capital), $1,600 per month to live in Medellin and $1,750 in Cartagena, a little less if you choose to live outside the cities. A typical one-bedroom apartment in the city rents for $400 per month, and outside the city, it can cost $350 monthly. Utilities for two persons is about $75. Internet is $40 a month. Going to a restaurant is not expensive, 2 people in an upscale restaurant can cost $20-30 for a 3-course dinner.
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.
Best countries to retire: Cambodia
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.
Cambodia has a temperature range from 21 to 35 °C (70 to 95 °F) and experiences tropical monsoons. The coastal areas are the most vulnerable to monsoons and its aftermaths, so you should avoid them unless you really need to live by the water. The big city of Phnom Penh is where most expats like to stay because of the number of amenities.
If you live in New York and are planning to go to live in Phnom Penh (Cambodia’s capital), and your cost of living today in NY is about $8,000, you may need $2,700 per month to live. But you can live for less money than that if you know how to save money and you are not too picky about where you want to stay. A one-bedroom furnished apartment can cost about $ 300 and 500 per month, utilities for two persons is another $80, internet cost $40 per month. Going to a restaurant is not expensive, 2 people in an upscale restaurant can cost $20-25 for a 3-course dinner.
Best countries to retire: Malta
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!
Malta isn’t a common retirement destination 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.
You will also find that living here is affordable, especially when compared to other Mediterranean countries. In Valletta, Malta, a typical one-bedroom apartment is $750-$950 a month and utilities average only $80 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.
If you live in New York and are planning to go to live in Valletta, Malta, and your cost of living today in NY is about $8,000, you may need $3,750 per month to live there.
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.
Best countries to retire: Italy
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, Lazio, Lombardia, Veneto and Umbria.
For the purpose of this cost comparison we choose a city in the south of Italy, Cosenza, in Calabria, to compare with. It is a city with 70,000 people, if you include suburban area the population increases up to 300,000. Like most cities, rent is cheaper outside of town. A typical one-bedroom apartment in the city can be $375 and outside the city, $315. Utilities can cost you $135 monthly, and a bit if you want to use air conditioning for a few months out of each year. Most places have fireplaces to help heat homes on the coldest days.
Using the same example we’ve been using, if you live in New York and are planning to go to live in Cosenza, Calabria – Italy, and your cost of living today in NY is about $8,000, you may need $3,150 per month to live there.
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.
Best countries to retire: Dominican Republic
The second largest Caribbean island, Hispaniola is house to two countries: Haiti and Dominican Republic. While some expats prefer to live in Dominican Republic only during the winter months, many calls it home all year round. With 6 international airports, it’s easy to get in and out.
Keeping the comparison with living in New York that we’ve been using, if you live in New York and you are planning to live in Punta Cana (the tourism destination in Dominican Republic), and your cost of living today in NY is about $8,000, you may need $2,250 per month to live in Punta Cana. But shall you choose to live in other not so touristic destination within that country, you will be able to live with a lower budget. To live in Dominican Republic you need between $1,000 and $2,500 per month, depending on where you choose to live.
If you can afford it, it is better to live in Punta Cana probably, due to language barriers. In this city you can rent a typical one-bedroom apartment for $400 a month, and if you choose to live outside the city your monthly cost will be around $350. Utilities for two people will be about $56 and internet is about $45. Meals at low end restaurant cost the same as in Zagreb (Croatia), $7, while in a moderate restaurant for 2 people, it may cost about $30.
You will need to demonstrate $1,500 of monthly income to qualify for a long-term visa.
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. Some expats keep their health coverage in US too, which may be useful in some specific cases. Being close to US and several flights on a daily basis back and forward is helpful too.
The country has beautiful beaches, resorts, golf clubs, whale watching, and forests. And as you probably know, the weather is fabulous.
Best countries to retire: Peru
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 Machu 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 sand-boarding in Huacachina, just to name a few of the sights to see.
The cost of living in Peru is inexpensive in all the but richest areas of Lima. If you live in New York and you are planning to live in Lima (Peru’s capital), and your cost of living today in NY is about $8,000, you may need $2,250 per month to live in Lima. But shall you choose to live in Arequipa, your monthly cost will decrease to $1,750. Renting a one-bedroom apartment in Arequipa cost $ 150-250 per month. A and a three-course meal for two at an mid-scale restaurant is $15.
Private health care should be the choice for expats as public health facilities are not as good. While most private healthcare is very affordable, most doctors expect up-front cash payment, which means that you will need to ask your insurance for reimbursement.
Best countries to retire: Spain
If you are looking to retire in Europe, then probably Spain is top in the list of where to live. Spain 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. 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.
Potential cities to live or to visit: Madrid, Barcelona, Toledo, Segovia, Salamanca, Sevilla, and Merida.
Unfortunately, a huge increase in both expats and tourism has made places like Madrid and Barcelona more expensive, but other cities remain affordable, such as Sevilla. If you live in New York and are planning to go to live in Sevilla, and your cost of living today in NY is about $8,000, you may need $3,000 per month to live there. If you still prefer to live in Madrid or Barcelona your monthly cost will be of about $3,750.
Sevilla is a beautiful place to live too, with almost as many things to do as in Madrid or Barcelona. A typical one-bedroom apartment is only $650 within the city and $500 just outside the city. Utilities for two persons is about $150. Internet is $50 a month. A three-course meal for two in a mid-range restaurant can cost $40.
Health care is kept affordable and private healthcare is easily accessible. Most pharmacies don’t even require a prescription for most non-addictive types of medication.
Best countries to retire: Portugal
About 13 million of tourist go to Portugal every year, it 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. Portugal is very safe overall, with a low crime rate, although some cities have some dangerous areas that tourists should better avoid.
The climate is OK, with winter nighttime lows in the mid 40’s and the hottest month, July, only sees temperatures in the low 80’s, with average temperatures varying from 50 to 70, from night to day.
It’s the cost of living in this beautiful country that attracts people from all over the world. Keeping the comparison with living in New York that we’ve been using so far, if you live in New York and you are planning to live in Lisbon (Portugal’s capital), and your cost of living today in NY is about $8,000, you may need $3,500 per month to live in Lisbon. But shall you choose to live in Porto, your monthly cost will decrease to $3,000.
Renting a one-bedroom apartment in Porto is only $500-750 per month, utilities about $120, while internet can cost $35 monthly. A local restaurant charges about $8 for a meal and even a three-course meal for two at an upscale restaurant will set you back about $35.
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.
Best countries to retire: Panama
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.
The cost of living here is reasonable, if you live in New York and you are planning to live in Panama City (Panama’s capital), and your cost of living today in NY is about $8,000, you may need $3,450 per month to live in Panama; with rent for an one-bedroom apartment in the city cost about $1,000 per month, but outside the city, it’s a tiny $650. Utility services can cost about $100 per month and internet service will set you back only $60.
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 home country. These benefits alone may pay for a percentage of your retirement costs.
Best countries to retire: Uruguay
Uruguay is perhaps the best-kept secret when it comes to retiring cheap. Like many countries, prices vary depending on the size of the city and outlying areas are more inexpensive. Keeping the comparison with living in New York that we’ve been using, if you live in New York and you are planning to live in Montevideo (Uruguay’s capital), and your cost of living today in NY is about $8,000, you may need $3,000 per month to live in Montevideo.
Renting a one-bedroom apartment in the city can cost $500-1,000, with utilities for that apartment about $115. Internet costs about $35. Clothing seems to be the big expense here, with a pair of Levi’s costing $83 and a pair of Nike shoes $100. Otherwise, food is inexpensive Healthcare is the biggest plus here, with a basic public plan for two people costing about $200 a month. This includes right to all doctor visits, tests, and hospital stays, you will have a copay like in the USA, but it is cheaper.
There are many things to do in Uruguay, from walking by the beach in Pocitos or Carrasco neighbours, going to Colonia del Sacramento (an historical City with ruins from the eighteen-nineteen century), or the county and stay in a Farm, or even visit one of the many beach destinations it has throughout its hundreds of miles of white sand beaches. Punta del Este is probably the best known of those places. the cultural live and living style is also very similar to how you would live in Europe, especially if comparing with Spain, France and Italy.F