Everyone dreams about retiring to a life of leisure after putting in decades of hard work. An increase amount retirees, especially those from the United States are looking to spend the retirement overseas.
This is due to several reasons such as the desire to travel as well as the urge to see other cultures. Of course, it helps that in many cases retiring overseas can also be much more cost-effective than staying stateside.
Retirement is a golden opportunity to live life by your own rules and on your own schedule.
Are you nearing retirement and looking for places to visit? Perhaps you want to make a major change and relocate completely?
Whatever your reasons our list of the top 9 countries in which to retire is a great way to help you plan for the future.
Western Europe is one of the prime locations for travelers of all ages, but it also happens to top our list of one of the best places to retire. Being a first world country, expats from all walks of life will truly enjoy the comfortable standard of living the country has to offer. It is easy to move all around Europe on only the train making it easy to expand on your retirement adventures.
Overall the warm climate persists for most of the year making fresh product and richly flavored fare affordable all year long. For those that prefer hotter temperatures retiring to the north near the sea is ideal. If you are more a fan of a cooler climate, then a villa in the south near the Pyrenees Mountains makes an excellent retirement location.
In all of Europe, Spain offers the best cost of living rates averaging around $2,500 for a moderate lifestyle. Healthcare in Spain is on par with most advanced nations so treating a broken leg, seasonal colds or even more serious health conditions is nothing to be worried about.
Outdoor living is a wonderful way to spend your golden years if you spent your whole career in an office.
There are over 800 islands in Malaysia over which you can hike or laze away your retirement. The rainforest in the country is some of the most beautiful in the world, so much so that hundreds of adventurist retire to Malaysia to explore every year. Travel within
Asia is rather cheap so if you get tired of island hopping you can catch a quick flight from Penang International Airport to any other location on the continent.
The country is very welcoming to expats and most people speak both Malay and English.
The legal system is based on British law which makes everything easy to understand.
The cost of living is among the lowest of all countries on our list topping out at around $1,800 a month for moderate living.
Healthcare is on par with most of the best locations in Asia though the cost of healthcare is among the lowest on that side of the world.
Retirees who want to try their hand at living outside of the USA but don’t want to travel too far may find their perfect niche in Canada. Of all the countries to migrate after retirement, Canada ranks #2. The political system is stable, and the infrastructure is not only well developed but also shares many similarities with the US.
Canada also boasts universal healthcare which is one of the larger draws for those who want to retire out of the country. Americans who immigrate to Canada can become permanent residents to avail this offer which is much easier for retirees than it is for working-class people.
Although the weather tends to be chilly most of the year, the atmosphere, clean air, and friendly natives make the cold weather worth it.
Land cost is reasonably low in most of the country with moderate-sized homes costing as low as $180,000. Canadian culture is different enough to enjoy a change of pace but similar enough that it is easy to transition without much discomfort. If you are looking to put your retirement dollars to work, Canada should be at the top of your list.
The Caribbean draws annual visitors and retirees alike. If you are interested in living in a warm tropical location that is still within reach of the US, then Panama is a great choice.
Gently nestled just three hours away from Miami but outside of the path of the famed hurricane belt, Panama City is a first world wonder. The capital city offers the Pensionado Program for those seeking to retire in the country. This program is available for anyone seeking to migrate to Panama and offers a wide range of discounts on services such as travel, medical care, and entertainment.
The cost of living on a moderate budget is around $2,000 per month and even big spenders can live will on $3,000 a month in the capital. The main city is a modern work of art with casinos, entertainment houses, shopping malls, and countless cultural centers.
For those looking to get away from the city, aside from the amazing views of the Pacific Ocean, there are beaches and mountains galore to explore. Healthcare in the capitol is on par with most first world countries and living expenses such as food and transportation also fall in the mid-range level.
If you are looking to spend your golden years in a scenic location with friendly natives and delicious food, Switzerland is just the place.
Living in Bern or Lugano is one of the most common routes retirees take considering the cost of living in a moderately priced home is around $3,500 inclusive of everything including healthcare.
One of the best things about retiring in Switzerland is the generously low taxes. Another advantage is the healthcare system. Health insurance and accident insurance is required for anyone living in the country, but unlike in the US, the rates are pretty affordable. The actual medical services are extremely well rendered and the waitlist for care is non-existent.
The Swiss also place a lot of emphasis on leisure which means that those who go there to retire will have a wealth of activities and accommodations waiting for them.
South Asia may not seem a likely target for our list, but retirees who love the tropics will enjoy spending their golden years in Thailand.
This tropical paradise is warm and humid all year long making it the perfect place for those who want to avoid the cold at all cost.
The cost of living is very low compared with many comparable countries with a moderate apartment topping out around $600 a month. There is a wealth of fresh fruits and vegetables to be found all year long thanks to the warm weather and travel within the country is extremely affordable.
Thailand remains a cultural wonder full of rich history steeped with centuries of tradition to explore. Although the country is has avoided being westernized there are several communities of expats for those times you seek a taste of home.
Health care in the country is moderate but with travel out of the country being so affordable, it is easy to hop on a flight to visit a specialized hospital.
One of the more trendy countries to make it on our list is Peru. This country is full of luscious mountains, clean air, and ancient Incan ruins.
For history buffs, retiring to a land that is full of some of the world’s richest history will be a dream come true. Along with old sites and peaceful views, the capital is teeming with galleries, theaters, art museums and more. South America is also nearby if you want to travel to other places during your retirement without spending a whole lot on the fare.
As far as the climate, if you are looking for a location that offers temperate weather most of the year, Peru is just the place. Most of the year boasts sunny skies and mild temperatures that are neither too high nor too low. Fresh vegetables, fruit, and fish are also in abundance in Peru which helps to keep the cost of living below $2,000 a month in middle-class areas.
Healthcare is moderate and the medical system is equipped to deal with most common ailments and the land rights and property rights are also easy to navigate. Most people in Peru speak Spanish even with the large community of expats in the country, so plan to learn the language or live in a capsule community.
Australia is a popular choice for those who want to retire abroad who have more to spend on their monthly expenses. The country offers a high amount of safety and stability while also providing a lot of freedom of expression for retirees.
Most people who chose to spend their final years are health conscious which is no surprise considering the fresh air and lush landscapes Australia has to offer. The weather is dry most of the year with moderately cold winters which offer residents just the right mix of seasonal variety.
The cost of living in Australia is higher than many other retirement countries and the minimum age limit for retirees seeking to migrate is 55. Healthcare in Australia is among the best in the world not to mention affordable.
There are a lot of cultural sites to visit along with natural preserves to run off and explore during your retirement in Australia, making this one of the optimal countries on our list.
For those who want to retire a bit off the beaten path but still in a lovely atmosphere, then consider Columbia. There is something to be said for waking up in the birthplace of all the world’s best coffees without having to wait in line at your big box brewery.
The Coffee Triangle in Colombia offers a wealth of fresh air, green mountains and local flavor to hold your interest all year round. Aside from lush mountains the country also sports some of the most beautiful tropical beaches in the world.
Migrating to Colombia as a retiree is pretty easy with visas that are valid for three years at a time and are awarded easily. The healthcare is on par with most first world countries and the cost of living is not that high for those who choose to live moderately.
Saving For Your International Retirement
There are a few hard and fast rules you should follow when planning how much money you will need to save from your current income to be able to live well internationally during your retirement.
Typically most finance experts recommend saving half of your total income from a young age so that your total savings will be around 60%. Starting late means you won’t be able to reach those numbers, but that doesn’t mean that you still can’t have a cushy international retirement plan. Also having worked for so many years already, chances are you have some savings or entitlements you may not be aware of.
In case you’re current job doesn’t have a set pension plan that pays out monthly, one of your older jobs may have had such a plan. Even if you left your job years ago, you are eligible to recover those funds that were allocated to you. Check through your old paperwork to see if you have any missing gems you can add to your international retirement nest egg.
The government is the biggest supporter of your nest egg, Social Security allows people who retire at the full age, currently set at 66, to get about 42% of their salary as compensation. If you have a lower wage job, your benefits would be much higher, as they also would be if you are married but only have one person earning in the house. To benefit, you will have to have paid taxes on your wages and properly reported your income for the full benefit of social security.
How Our List Is Compiled
There are several aspects that go into choosing which countries qualify for our list of retirement locations.
Our list is based on a target audience that is 50+ and fall within the upper middle-class income bracket.
The countries are also selected according to the general climate, property rights rules for foreigners, health care system and general security.
Personal preferences always play a role in what country you will ultimately choose however our list is a great way to gauge some of the international retirement opportunities available.