As of 2020, the average monthly Social Security payment for Americans is $1,503, amounting to $18,036 in total payments for the calendar year 2020. That’s not nearly enough to live a decent life, especially when you consider that seniors face out-of-pocket health care costs of more than $13,000 per year on average. But what if you don’t want to retire in the United States? In comparison to the United States, health care, housing, and daily expenses are significantly less expensive in other countries.
We’ve compiled a list of the cheapest and safest countries in which to retire outside of the United States, places where even $150,000 in retirement savings would be sufficient to live comfortably. This year’s recommendations consider local daily living expenses, changes in visa policies, and political developments.
1. Czech Republic
Castles from the Middle Ages, medieval towns, stunning architecture, and frosty local beers are just reasons why the Czech Republic is so popular. In recent years, the country has become increasingly popular as a retirement destination because of its low cost of living and growing ex-pat population.
Apartments in Prague are less expensive than in other European capitals, though foreigners are frequently barred from renting rent-controlled apartments and pay a higher rent. The cost of a real estate agent is one month’s rent, and they can make apartment hunting much easier. The high-quality healthcare system in the Czech Republic is affordable; however, you must be covered by either public or private health insurance from a Czech health insurance company registered with the Czech National Bank to receive benefits.
2. What is the best way to retire to the Czech Republic?
The Czech Republic does not have a special retirement visa program available. For stays of more than 90 days, you’ll need to apply for a long-term visa, which can be valid for up to a year and can be extended. According to the specialists at Move To Prague Relocation Services, this visa requires that you have an official, active reason for your visit to be granted.
Individuals who are retired from the United States who wish to work in Prague as self-employed individuals or who wish to study, particularly in language lessons, are eligible to apply. After one year, you can apply for a one-year long-term resident visa under the same “purpose” by submitting a new application. You can apply for permanent residency in the Czech Republic after five years of lawful residence in the country.
Bolivia, a landlocked country in South America, has been enticing ex-pats for years with its pleasant weather, distinctive physical features, and extremely low cost of living. You may like retiring in Bolivia if you appreciate visiting mountains, salt flats, charming colonial towns, and vibrant cities as much as I do!
Because public health care in Bolivia is still in its early stages, you will receive superior treatment in private clinics. Health insurance can assist in defraying some of the costs. Many foreign retirees, too, have gladly visited and settled in Santa Cruz and La Paz. Knowing Spanish will make it easier for you to blend in.
4. How to Move to Bolivia and Retire:
A “special purpose visa” will be required if you plan to retire to Bolivia. You must submit a statement expressing your plans, as well as confirmation of your financial status and a police background check, before being allowed to enter the charming colonial country.
Nonetheless, you’ll undoubtedly want to take a look around before making a final decision. To travel to Bolivia, you’ll need to obtain a tourist visa from the Bolivian consulate in your city. Expats can live a good life in Tarija for less than $1,000 per month if they live in one of the more affordable cities.
International retirees are increasingly attracted to Belize because of the country’s Caribbean moods, magnificent nature preserves and beaches, and reasonably priced, slower-paced way of life. It is an English-speaking country, with Spanish as the second most widely spoken language in the country.
Placencia Peninsula, a 19-mile-long stretch of land flanked by pristine sands and turquoise waters, and the island of Ambergris Caye are two popular expat destinations in Belize. Although these are some of Belize’s most costly neighborhoods, you can still find apartments for as little as $700 a month. You will want to avoid border towns, secluded regions, and the capital, Belize City because criminal activity is far more prevalent in these locations.
6. How to make it to Belize?
When it comes to dealing with significant health issues, most hospitals in Belize are not well-equipped. According to ExpatExchange, health care in Mexico, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica are much better than in the United States.
It is possible to apply for residency in Belize after you have spent the requisite 50 weeks in the country, provided you can demonstrate that you will be able to transfer $24,000 per year into a Belize bank account. The application will set you back $1,000. It’s important to note that officials want to see a combination of Social Security benefits, a pension plan, and a 401(k) or an IRA as your primary source of income.
Culture-rich For North Americans, Vietnam is quickly becoming one of the most popular retirement destinations globally. Its French colonial architecture, endless outdoor activities, and delicious street food make it hard not to fall in love with the city. The beach town of Nha Trang and the bustling city of Da Nang are two of the most affordable expat-friendly destinations in Vietnam, where a monthly salary of around $1,000 can cover your living expenses for a month.
In Nha Trang, a growing expat community and many services cater to Westerners and locals. Visiting Da Nang is a pleasure because the city is modern, international, and welcoming. Its pleasant weather will allow you to take advantage of the city’s parks, beaches, and riverfront all year.
8. How to Move to Vietnam and Retire?
English is becoming more widely spoken in Vietnam’s cities and tourist destinations, and the government has placed a greater emphasis on English education in the country’s schools. However, in order to communicate in smaller towns and rural areas, you will need some knowledge of Vietnamese.
Vietnamese health care is adequate for the most basic requirements; however, the country does not rank highly in specialized care or surgical procedures. Vietnam does not offer a retirement visa, although citizens of the United States can obtain a one-year multiple-entry visa that must be renewed every year. You must leave the nation once every 90 days to comply with this requirement.
Ecuador has consistently ranked as one of the most popular retirement destinations for expatriates from the United States, with Americans accounting for the vast majority of foreign retirees in the country. In Ecuador, with its stunning natural surroundings, bustling cities, quaint ancient towns, and affordable cost of living, there’s something for everyone, no matter their interests.
In Ecuador’s capital city, Quito, a one-bedroom apartment in the heart of the city will cost you approximately $440 per month to rent. According to the living-costs website Numbeo, the same thing will cost you approximately $360 per month in the charming and welcoming town of Cuenca.
10. How to retire to Ecuador?
Visitors are only allowed to stay for 90 days, so retirees should consider filing for a pensioner residency visa at an Ecuadorean embassy in the United States before traveling. According to International Living magazine, documentation that you will get $800 or more per month from a recognized pension source is required for obtaining a visa.
Once your visa has been approved, you will be required to enroll in public or private health insurance. Ecuador’s political future appears to be bright and promising these days. Citizens approved the reinstatement of presidential term limits in early 2018, distinguishing the country from other unstable governments in the region, such as Venezuela.
Choose to make this place your home. You will find the people to be kind and inviting, the culture and castles to be breathtaking, and the neighboring travel possibilities in the United Kingdom and Europe to be inspiring. Furthermore, Ireland can be a relatively economical destination.
In spite of the fact that home costs in big cities such as Dublin have reached all-time highs, there are still plenty of excellent options for those seeking a low-cost and low-key retirement on the Emerald Isle. The average price of a home in places such as Mohill, Edgeworthstown, and Ballymore is roughly $100,000. Ireland’s hospitals are generally well-equipped, and the quality of care is world-renowned. Because you are not an EU citizen, you will need health insurance to cover your medical expenses.
12. How to Spend Your Retirement Years in Ireland?
If you are not a citizen of the European Union, Ireland does not offer a retirement visa compared to some other nations on this list. As a result, you’d need to apply for a “D” visa, which would permit you to stay for three months. You would then need to apply for permission to remain in Ireland as a “person of independent means” and provide unambiguous evidence that you have adequate funds to meet your living expenses while in the country.
It can translate into a yearly income of 50,000 euros (about $56,000) per person, plus savings to cover emergencies and big expenses such as purchasing a property or a vehicle.
South America’s most southern country is renowned for its stunning beaches, towering mountains, bustling cities, and friendly and inviting people. It is located on a long, narrow strip of land between the Andes Mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west, between the two oceans. Chile, one of the most stable countries in South America, provides retirees the opportunity to live a safe, pleasant, middle-class lifestyle at a fraction of the cost of retiring in the United States of America.
You could live comfortably anywhere in the country for around $1,000 a month, which would cover your housing and basic living expenses. Spend a little more, and you can dine, climb, and travel to your heart’s delight around the country.
14. How to make it to Chile:
To enter Chile to retire there, you’ll require a regular tourist visa and then request to change it to a retirement or income visa, which will cost you more money. One year is the expiration date on these. You must stay in Chile for a total of 180 days out of the year after your temporary visa has been approved before you may apply for permanent residency in Chile.
There is no official necessity for a certain level of revenue. Although the Spencer Global legal company in Chile predicts that you will require at least $1,000 per person for the first one or two years as you finish the immigration procedure and establish your house in Chile, the firm does not provide a specific figure.
Affluent Uruguay is one of the wealthiest countries in South America, boasting a strong democratic government, white sand beaches, modern infrastructure, and mild four-season weather. Although the cost of living is higher than in other Latin American countries, food, housing, and clothing are still significantly less expensive than in the United States.
Salto, Uruguay’s second-largest city, has a monthly cost of living of $800, which is sufficient for a comfortable lifestyle. A mutualista is the term used to describe Uruguay’s most popular healthcare option. It costs approximately $100 per month and provides access to a private hospital and clinics, as well as coverage for virtually any healthcare need you may encounter.
16. How to Move to Uruguay and Retire?
Uruguay offers a variety of visa options that may be suitable for retirees. A single applicant for the rentista visa must demonstrate that they have a monthly income of $1,500 in order to be granted the visa. There is also a foreign retiree visa that permits you to bring in your personal belongings without paying any charge.
However, this visa is more difficult to obtain, and you would need the assistance of an attorney to complete the application. It is important to note that, while getting residency in Uruguay is very straightforward, the country does not normally grant citizenship to foreigners.
France isn’t the first place that comes to mind when considering a low-cost retirement destination, but several of its smaller cities are well-known for their economic housing. Winters and summers in Pau, which is located close to the Spanish border, are pleasant, and a one-bedroom apartment in the center of town rents for approximately $531 per month.
According to Numbeo, a decent meal for two will cost approximately $53. Montpellier, a charming Mediterranean university town, is also a fairly affordable vacation destination. A one-bedroom apartment will cost you between $500 and $700 per month. Pau and Montpellier both offer excellent healthcare facilities and hospitals.
18. How to retire to France?
According to International Living, because France does not have a specific visa for retirees, you would have to apply for a long-term visa at a French embassy in the United States. The consulate will want to see proof that you have the financial means to fund your travel and have valid health insurance in France.
Social security statements, bank account information and investment information are all examples of documents that can be used to establish your financial condition. The long-term visa can be renewed once a year, and you would need to submit current financial information to extend the visa.
In Thailand’s tropical climate, your retirement funds will undoubtedly go further. Living comfortably on $1,500 to $2,000 a month (including rent) can be accomplished almost anywhere in the country. Chiang Mai, Thailand’s most affordable city, is full of modern conveniences, such as health clubs, retail malls, and high-quality (but reasonable) health care services.
Aside from being a beautiful and sun-soaked island paradise, Koh Samui also boasts a low cost of living. Even amid the city’s bustle, Bangkok is reasonably priced and home to some of the country’s greatest private hospitals. Thailand’s political atmosphere is rather stable, and there is a strong police presence throughout the country, particularly in major cities and tourist destinations.
20. How to Move to Thailand and Retire?
Expats looking to become a part of a large international community will find a welcoming environment in Thailand. When relocating to Thailand, you will be required to obtain a visa mandated by Thai Immigration Law. Many of those who relocate to Thailand do so on a tourist visa (valid for 60 days) or a non-immigrant visa, which is originally good for 90 days but can be extended through Thai Immigration if necessary.
A one-year retirement visa is available in Thailand, which can be extended. Expat retirees must have at least 800,000 Thai baht (about $24,000) in savings and annual income. Every 90 days, you’d have to report to Thai immigration officials.
Suppose you are one of the many people who have fallen in love with Italy’s regional cultures, mouthwatering cuisines, and fantastic climate. In that case, you will be pleased to know that retiring here is more affordable than you might expect!
It is possible to purchase a modest home in one of the smaller villages in the southern region of Basilicata for approximately $32,000. A one-bedroom apartment in Matera, a charming historical town, can be rented for approximately $625 per month, depending on the season. In the eastern Puglia region, renowned for its sunny beaches and fresh seafood, the cost of living is even lower.
22. How to retire to Italy?
Because Italy lacks a retirement visa scheme, you’ll have to apply for an elective residency visa. Proof of yearly income from a pension, 401(k), or other liquid assets would be required. For one person, the minimum is currently around $35,000, while for two individuals, the minimum is currently between $40,000 and $70,000.
You’d also have to produce documentation of a rental agreement as well as proof of medical insurance. Once you become a resident of Italy, you are eligible for the country’s national health care system, which the World Health Organization ranks second in the world. Costs vary per region, but a single person might easily spend less than $400 each year.
Adventurers already know that Peru is home to the incredible Machu Picchu and stunning beaches and fascinating old cultures, among other things. According to International Living, the low cost of living is a major attraction for retirees: a couple may live very comfortably on $1,500 a month, according to International Living.
A one-bedroom apartment in popular expat destinations such as Arequipa and Cusco rents for about $200 a month, while a fancier three-course supper for two costs between $10 and $12. Public health care is also reasonably priced, but expats prefer to be covered by health insurance and visit private health clinics instead. Altitude sickness, common among newcomers to Peru’s high altitudes, is the most serious health problem.
24. Relocating to Peru:
The rentista visa, a retirement visa that can be renewed indefinitely, is available in the country. Visa for a person with independent financial means (Rentista) A Rentista visa is available to foreigners who have a permanent passive income, such as a pension, and who wish to establish themselves in Peru (person of independent means). Proof of your retirement income or permanent passive income of at least US$12,000 per year is required.
To be eligible, you need to demonstrate that you have a stable monthly income of $1,000 for one person, plus $500 for each additional dependent. Rentista visa holders are excused from paying the taxes on other Peruvian visas, which is a fairly good deal.
Since the 1990s, Slovenia has established itself as an attractive and reasonably priced retirement destination in Eastern Europe. The region is a hidden gem with charming medieval villages, a pleasant four-season environment, and a diverse selection of outdoor activities. Renting a one-bedroom apartment in Ljubljana, Slovenia’s modern capital city, costs roughly $600 per month, according to Numbeo, and local food and essentials are similarly reasonably priced.
All citizens must pay for mandatory state health insurance, which offers access to extremely high-quality medical care. Expats and residents frequently supplement their public health insurance with private, local health insurance to cover additional services.
26. Retiring to Slovenia:
Non-EU citizens who wish to retire in Slovenia must first apply for a one-year temporary residence permit in the country before departing the United States. Because Slovenia does not have a retirement visa for non-EU citizens, you must begin your retirement planning before departing the United States.
The permission must be renewed on an annual basis. After five years of lawful residence in Slovenia under this visa, you may be eligible to apply for permanent residence. To be eligible for temporary residency in Slovenia, you must demonstrate that you have an income that is at least equal to the basic minimum income, which is now comparable to approximately $1,000 per month.
Europeans have long regarded Spain as a warm and sunny retirement destination. The country’s capital, Madrid, continues to be one of the most popular destinations on the continent for expats. Spain is an excellent location for retirees who want to travel around Europe because of its inexpensive food expenses, natural beauty, and lack of a winter season.
Keep in mind that the cost of housing varies greatly from region to region in Spain. Rents in popular tourist destinations such as Barcelona are comparable to those in the United States. An apartment with one bedroom and one bathroom costs approximately $630 per month in smaller towns like Valencia.
28. How to Move to Spain and Retire:
Documented confirmation is required that you have the financial resources to support yourself and any accompanying family members while living in Spain and not working is required. To be eligible for a “retirement visa” in Spain, you must be able to demonstrate that you have a monthly income of at least $2,500 or a yearly income of at least $30,000 in the country. In addition, you’d need to demonstrate that you had health insurance that is valid in Spain.
Obtaining your foreign visitor identification number (the NIE required for everything from opening a bank account to installing internet in your home) may require a few appointments. Still, after that bureaucratic foolishness is through, the rest is smooth sailing.
Portugal has been capturing the hearts of vacationers for years, and more and more individuals are electing to relocate there every year. The country is a great place to visit with a lower cost of living than neighboring Spain, sun for more than 300 days a year, and all of the medieval castles and delicious seafood you could want. Furthermore, it has a rather stable political environment.
Rental housing in a smaller town is your greatest option for a more economical retirement living situation. Because public health care in Portugal has been experiencing certain difficulties recently, international residents strongly choose private health care.
30. How to retire to Portugal:
As a retiree, you would need to go to a Portuguese consulate in the United States and present a valid passport, proof of income, health insurance, and evidence that you have undertaken a criminal background check before being granted a residence permit.
All of this would make it possible for you to apply for permanent residency in Portugal once you have arrived. Although there are no specific income requirements for either temporary or permanent resident applicants, you must have enough money to support yourself for the period you intend to spend in your chosen region in Portugal, which is not stated.
Despite its popularity with retirees, Malaysia has a lot to offer them, from pleasant weather to good food and entertainment to many English-speaking services. Just be prepared for the monsoon season in Malaysia, which occurs during the winter months.
Living in Kuala Lumpur is less expensive than most American cities; a one-bedroom apartment may be rented for less than $600 per month. If you’re drawn to the island lifestyle, check to visit vibrant Penang, where a one-bedroom apartment will set you back an average of $225 per month. There are two levels to Malaysia’s internationally known healthcare system, with the best care available at private clinics.
32. How to move to Malaysia:
Although you can travel to Malaysia without a visa if your nation has an agreement with the Malaysian government, if you want to retire there, you must enroll in Malaysia My Second Home program. According to International Living, the government gives a 10-year visa that is renewable to people who are 50 years old or older and can demonstrate a monthly income of at least $2,495 or liquid assets of approximately $87,300.
Malaysia is usually considered a secure country, but petty thievery is frequent in tourist areas, and home break-ins can occur when people are not at home. Because of violent behavior and kidnappings for ransom in the eastern Sabah region, the United States Department of State urges Americans to avoid the area.
Compared to other Mediterranean countries in the European Union, Malta has a more temperate and cultured climate and a lower cost of living. The island is rich in both historical significance and natural beauty. English is one of Malta’s official languages, making it easier for retirees from North America to get around.
According to the World Health Organization, the country’s healthcare system ranks in the top five in the world. Rents on the northern island of Gozo are normally less than $500 per month, and there is enough beach to keep you amused while you wait for your flight. It takes only 20 minutes to get by ferry to Malta’s larger main island.
34. How to Move to Malta and Retire?
Retirees must reside in Malta for an average of 90 days per year during five years; nevertheless, they are not permitted to reside anywhere else in the world for more than 183 days in any one calendar year. The Malta Retirement Programme is exclusively available to persons who own or lease real estate in Malta or Gozo and is not available to anyone else. Malta’s resident permit programs live up to the country’s image as a welcoming and peaceful haven for foreign nationals.
For non-EU residents, Malta offers various visa alternatives, including one-year visas that are eternally renewable for pensioners and self-employed individuals who seek to live and work in the nation.
Thanks to its high quality of life, laissez-faire tax policies, and excellent healthcare system, Panama has long been a popular retirement and investment destination. Living in this area provides you with all of the magnificent sunshine, culture, and natural beauty you could ever desire to fill your retirement years to the fullest. Even though Spanish is the primary language, English is also commonly spoken, particularly in larger cities.
Panama City, the country’s capital, is surprisingly affordable. According to Numbeo, a one-bedroom apartment in the city center rents for less than $1,000 a month, internet costs approximately $52 a month, and a great supper for two at a mid-range restaurant costs approximately $50.
36. How to retire to Panama:
Panama’s retirement scheme, known as the visa pensionado, is extremely attractive to foreigners. A lifetime retirement income of $1,000 a month from a recognized source in the United States would be required of you. If you get less than $1,000 but more than $750, you can invest the difference in a Panamanian property worth at least $100,000, and your monthly pension requirement will be reduced to $750 for the rest of your life.
Using this visa, you will be eligible for various discounts on medical care (including dental and vision care), travel, utility prices, loans, and a variety of other services. There is no minimum or maximum age requirement to be eligible for this visa.
Mexico, especially the Yucatan peninsula, is another popular retirement destination for Americans. The Yucatan Peninsula, considered the safest place globally for international retirees, is home to white-sand beaches, incredible wildlife, and the famed Mayan complex of Chichen Itza. You’ll also notice many familiar companies scattered around the area, from Starbucks to Petco and Walmart.
One-bedroom apartments in the Yucatan capital, Merida, rent for about $250 per month for a centrally located apartment in the city. Because Mexico is so close to the United States, many retirees choose to maintain their medical insurance from their home country and payout of pocket for any medical needs that arise.
38. How to Move to Mexico and Retire?
The application for a temporary resident permit, which permits unlimited travel in and out of Mexico for up to four years, is highly recommended for prospective residents. Following that, you’d need to apply for a visa to become a permanent resident. Temporary residence candidates must demonstrate that they have received roughly $1,550 in monthly income over the preceding six months (from pensions, investments, and other sources) or that they have accrued around $25,880 in savings over the past year.
According to International Living, permanent residency applicants must demonstrate that they have earned at least $2,388 in monthly income over the previous six months or have saved at least $103,500 over the previous year.
39. Costa Rica:
Costa Rica is a country in Central America that Nicaragua surrounds to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the northeast, and the Pacific Ocean to the southwest. It is our top option among the world’s most cheap retirement destinations, thanks to its well-known Pura Vida lifestyle, high levels of safety and stability, and numerous travel opportunities. The Pacific coast of Costa Rica, often known as the Southern Zone, is extremely popular with North American expats who live there.
Southern communities such as Dominical, Ojochal, and Uvita, which offer sunny beach living near the region’s incredible biodiversity, feature a wide range of services, including restaurants, markets, and public and private medical clinics, among others.
40. How to retire to Costa Rica?
To qualify for and maintain residency under the pensionado program for retirees, you would need to demonstrate that you receive at least $1,000 in monthly income from a recognized source such as Social Security or a state retirement fund. It should be noted that IRAs and 401(k)s are not recognized in this section. In addition, you would be required to contribute a percentage of your monthly income to the public health care system.
The majority of expats choose higher-quality private health care, which comes at an additional cost. Costa Rica is stable because of the influx of tourism revenue, and the country is rather safe as long as you use common sense and don’t do anything stupid. Isn’t it about time you took a trip to Costa Rica if you haven’t already done so?