Planning Your Dream Retirement Abroad – Best Countries & Financial Planning

There is something truly magical about living in a new place. It’s like a fresh start. It’s invigorating.

Have you ever dreamed of living abroad, surrounded by breathtaking landscapes, immersing yourself in rich cultures, and enjoying a more affordable lifestyle? Retirement is the perfect time to make this dream a reality! With the right planning and research, retiring abroad can provide an unparalleled experience filled with adventure, relaxation, and new friendships.

“If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. Walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food. It’s a plus for everybody”. Anthony Bourdain.

Let’s explore the top 10 best countries to retire, along with essential factors to consider for a successful retirement in another country.

Key Takeaways

  • Explore the world & benefit from cost-effective living in the top 10 best countries to retire abroad
  • Prepare & plan for a stress-free retirement experience with visa/residency requirements, healthcare considerations, and financial planning
  • Enjoy the unique charm and appeal of additional destinations while staying connected with friends/family & embracing local culture

Top 10 Best Countries to Retire

To get started on this journey, it’s important to thoroughly examine which foreign country or countries best meet your retirement needs and aspirations. Fortunately, there are many places out there that combine affordability, great healthcare services, pleasant climates, and more!

Among some of the top 10 spots for retiring include Portugal, Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico, Colombia, Thailand, Spain, Ecuador, Italy & France. Each location has its own individual charm, allowing people from all walks of life an amazing chance to experience them in their golden years.


According to the World Health Organization, this European nation also boasts an impressive healthcare system, which makes it easy for those looking to move there to get settled in and manage their investments. Tammy Wahpeconiah (64) and Fred Sisk (56), who live in Porto, pay only €248 per month for private health insurance, a great bargain! All these attractive features, like friendly locals combined with affordability, make it an irresistible choice among retirees seeking out life experiences elsewhere.

Costa Rica

When it comes to affordability and well-being, Costa Rica ranks highly among the top 25 countries. It offers a great lifestyle for those in retirement due to its low cost of living, friendly people, and many fantastic natural attractions. Healthcare services are very good, providing both public and private alternatives with accessible coverage once residents become legally documented.

This Central American paradise offers an affordable lifestyle for retirees. You can live comfortably without spending much on your golden years in beautiful Costa Rica!


A beautiful image of the skyline of Panama City, one of the best countries to retire according to experts.

The country’s Pensionados program permits people with valid passports and an income of at least $1,000 per month – from Social Security or pensions provided by the government or private employers, to become residents easily [1]. Not only this, Panama City offers plenty of entertainment options as well as transportation options plus top-notch medical care facilities, which can all be enjoyed thanks to discounts made available through the Pensionados program.


Mexico is becoming increasingly popular as a retirement destination due to its nice climate and modern amenities. To be safe while living there, it’s essential that one research the country for areas with low crime rates recommended by the US State Department before making a location choice. Residents can obtain either temporary or permanent visas if they meet asset requirements or own property in Mexico. The cost of living expenses are quite reasonable since an individual couple could live comfortably on around $2,500 monthly, depending on their choices regarding lifestyle and where they reside.


Colombia is considered an ideal retirement spot due to its dynamic atmosphere, low-priced healthcare, and easy access from the US. Those who wish to retire in Colombia can expect to spend around $1,500-$2,000 a month on expenses like groceries, entertainment items, and housing accommodations. The medical facilities are highly developed across major cities with bilingual physicians, making it convenient for retirees when communicating their needs [2].


Retirees who wish to spend some of their golden years in Thailand can benefit from the country’s wonderful culture, cost-effective lifestyle, and amazing scenery. A retirement visa is available for those aged 50 or over upon meeting certain conditions with regard to income and savings. This will be renewed yearly.

The expense of living when retired in Thailand depends on where you reside, as well as how luxurious your lifestyle is, but a sum of about $1500 per month should cover most necessary expenses, while an amount of around $2000 monthly would provide a greater comfort level. In Chiang Mai specifically, it’s possible to live at minimum costs averaging 600$/month.


Spain is an inviting place to live and retire due to its low cost of living. Depending on the area, expenses can be affordable even for those who are non-EU citizens but have obtained a visa and residence permit with some effort. For instance, you could find yourself in a one-bedroom apartment outside Madrid or Barcelona costing around $800 monthly. This makes Spain well worth considering as your retirement destination since it has beautiful beaches along with diverse climates & topography.


Located in South America, Ecuador is a great destination for those looking to retire. It offers an affordable healthcare system and housing options along with its diverse cultural background, making it regularly rank high as one of the best retirement locations. Retirees will enjoy having access to a 10-year multiple-entry visa that can easily be renewed according to income or investment criteria.

This country boasts spectacular coastlines spanning over 1,200 miles, accompanied by breathtaking active volcanoes plus the captivating Galápagos Islands. Everything combined makes Ecuador incredibly ecologically rich, which undeniably adds up to why this place would make such an amazing spot for retiring abroad.


Living in Italy is a cost-efficient option for those seeking an enjoyable retirement. Potential residents need to possess valid health insurance and passport as well as a stable income of €32,000 ($34,880) or more per annum, either by owning property or leasing one.

Situated amidst the picturesque Tuscan hills and exciting metropolis of Rome, Italy offers retirees its renowned culinary pleasures with world-class wines & artwork that can be savored on this delightful journey into their later years.


France is a much sought-after destination for retirees due to its celebrated cuisine, distinguished wines, and culture of leisure. People seeking retirement in the country are eligible to apply for a VLS-TS Visiteur visa, which provides equivalent residence permits on submission of proof documents indicating sufficient funds, healthcare coverage, and accommodation details.

The cost of living may vary depending on various factors such as place or lifestyle choice but excluding rent expenses. Single people can expect a very reasonable expenditure each month, which is quite feasible even with four members at home.

Preparing to Retire Abroad

A person looking at a laptop with a list of visa and residency requirements to retire overseas

For an excellent and pleasurable experience with overseas retirement, a lot of things need to be considered beforehand. This involves researching the visa requirements for residency, healthcare plans available, financial setup, and possible living options. Careful structuring and proper planning will allow you to tackle any challenges related to retiring abroad so that you can fully immerse yourself in this special time of your life.

Visa and Residency Requirements to Retire Overseas

The US consulate’s website of the country in question contains complete information about each nation’s specific requirements for becoming a permanent resident. For instance, those looking into retiring in Mexico can get either temporary or permanent visas as long as they meet certain income and/or asset thresholds or own property there. Alternatively, seniors moving to Malaysia are recommended the Malaysian My Second Home program, which features easy renewal conditions along with 10-year multiple entry passes being issued by authorities there.

Healthcare Considerations

The level of insurance coverage, availability, and cost of quality medical services in the destination country should all be taken into account for a comfortable retirement experience. For instance, social security benefits such as access to bilingual doctors are available through Colombia’s excellent health care system. On top of that, France’s ‘L’Assurance Maladie’ provides complete public cover for anyone who legally resides there, making it another great choice when considering overseas retirement and finding sufficient healthcare provision.

Financial Planning

Financial planning involves taking charge of assets, taxes, and bank accounts for a successful relocation to another country. This can involve creating an appropriate budget suitable for everyday expenses and understanding the related tax regulations. To regulate overseas banking as well as local financial institutions.

For instance, individuals who are retired and living in Portugal can acquire a visa with a validity of up to one year, which will allow them access to their investment banks easily. Likewise, those located in Spain may apply for residency, allowing access to both temporary residence permits along permanent entitlements provided due diligence is adhered to concerning daily costs and familiarity with applicable taxation laws.

Renting vs. Buying Property

When it comes to selecting between renting and buying property in another country, the decision largely depends on one’s individual situation, finances, and long-term plans. Leasing a home abroad can often be more affordable than purchasing since transaction fees can accumulate up to 10% of the price for sale, and there is no Multiple Listing Service like in the U.S.

On the other side of this debate, investing in foreign real estate does have several advantages, such as gaining stronger negotiation power, which potentially leads to better deals. Along with that, being able to build equity in your own asset plus prices are quite competitive when looking at European countries, thus making it a perfect option for retirees who want to spend their golden years outside of the USA cost effectively yet comfortably.

Staying Connected and Safe Abroad

A person talking on the phone with a smile on their face

For foreign residents embarking on a thrilling international living experience, it is essential to preserve ties with family and friends back home as well as assess the safety of their new residence and its political climate. Simultaneously, they should be engaged in local culture and connect with fellow expats- all these factors will help them transition into their surroundings more easily and foster emotional stability during this process while cultivating meaningful bonds both locally and among other foreigners who share similar experiences.

Keeping in Touch with Friends and Family

Utilizing various digital technologies like Talkatone, Skype, Viber, WhatsApp, or Hangouts can make connecting easily achievable. Setting up visits as well as exchanging experiences are effective tactics in keeping the bond strong when far away from loved ones – a key part of having an enjoyable experience while overseas. Making communication a priority and using these tools will aid significantly in making life abroad more comfortable by staying connected with those who matter most.

Assessing Safety and Political Stability

Retiring overseas is made easier and more enjoyable with a thorough understanding of the safety and political stability of your chosen nation. To have insight into these topics, explore relevant travel advice from the U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs, which provides useful international information for numerous countries around the world.

Knowing about potential risks ahead helps you take appropriate precautions so that you can enjoy an uninterrupted retirement life abroad – Keeping up-to-date with your selected country’s security conditions should be paramount when planning to move there permanently or temporarily.

Embracing Local Culture and Community

Connecting with locals, taking part in activities and events organized by the area, as well as learning its language will help create an authentic experience that is both educational and rewarding. Doing this leads to feeling at ease while providing them with an appreciation for all their surroundings’ traditions, customs, etcetera, which contribute to forming a meaningful connection within one’s country of residence.

Additional Retirement Destinations Worth Considering

A person exploring a new country with a map in their hand

Those exploring the best countries for retirement abroad will find some other attractive destinations to choose from. Greece, Malaysia, Malta, and Vietnam are all great places with unique benefits that should be considered.

Greece offers stunning scenery by the seaside at a reasonable cost of living while those who opt for Malaysia can enjoy the tropical climate as well as take advantage of their popular retirement visa program. If history or mild Mediterranean weather is appealing, then one could look into retiring in Malta, whereas if budget is an important factor, it may be worthwhile checking out what Vietnam has to offer: low expenses along with its vibrant culture making this country a sound option when considering life overseas post-retirement.

Resources for Retirees Abroad

A person looking at a list of resources for retirees abroad

American Citizens Abroad and InterNations offer advice related to tax planning, health care services, and housing for those going overseas in retirement.

Online forums and social media groups provide a means of connecting with other individuals who have had similar experiences.

Here are some examples:

You can also find groups on Facebook that will help you connect with locals.

Utilizing these sources can help give retirees the confidence they need as they embark on this journey. All in all, these organizations seek to ensure that retired citizens settling down outside the US are equipped with everything necessary for a smooth transition into an enjoyable overseas retirement lifestyle.

The Institute of Financial Wellness

A person looking at a financial plan with a smile on their face

The Institute of Financial Wellness is a top-notch financial institution that provides support and resources to help people plan an ideal retirement in countries such as Portugal, Costa Rica, or elsewhere. Our aim is to be the foremost multimedia resource center for fiscal knowledge, tools, and services that equip individuals with the necessary know-how needed when deciding on their overseas retirements.

We offer continual guidance every step of the way so you can create a strategy specific to your financial wishes and needs while dealing adeptly with any complicated monetary matters associated with retiring abroad.

Full Summary

Retiring abroad offers a unique opportunity to experience new cultures, landscapes, and lifestyles. By researching the top countries for retirement, understanding visa and residency requirements, healthcare considerations, financial planning, and staying connected with loved ones, you can confidently embrace the adventure of living abroad. With careful planning, a world of opportunity awaits in your retirement journey. So, where will your retirement adventure take you?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best country to live in for retirement?

For two years in a row, Switzerland has been ranked as the best country for retirees to move to. It offers high-quality healthcare and an affordable cost of living. Also highly rated are Portugal, Australia, and New Zealand, great choices for those looking into retirement abroad!

What is the cheapest and safest country to retire in?

For retirees seeking a cost-effective getaway, Bulgaria provides an excellent choice. Not only is the country’s living expenses approximately 45.7% lower than in the US, but it also offers captivating beaches and ancient ruins to explore as well as authentic cuisine to savor at relatively low prices compared with other destinations around the world.

What is the US retirement ranking?

Natixis Investment Managers recently released a study that ranks 44 nations for retirement security, with the U.S. dropping down to twentieth place on this year’s list. Norway took the first spot, followed by Switzerland and Iceland in close succession.

What factors should I consider when planning my retirement abroad?

When thinking about moving abroad for retirement, it’s essential to have an understanding of the necessary visa and residency requirements, secure suitable healthcare coverage, effectively manage your finances, and research housing options. Doing this will ensure a successful transition into life after retiring away from home.

Are there resources available to help me plan my retirement abroad?

You can access resources from American Citizens Abroad, InterNations,, and The Institute of Financial Wellness to help plan a successful retirement overseas. These entities provide assistance with each step on the journey towards your goals abroad so you are well-equipped for life in another country.

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