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Best Countries to Retire

By July 3, 2024No Comments
Best Countries to Retire

Best Countries to Retire If You’re Retiring on a Budget.

Here are 7 Countries That Make it Easy

Best Countries to Retire

If you’re 401K is looking a bit worse for wear these days and you’re wracking your brain for ways to retire in style—on a budget—look no further. Below we preview seven locations outside the United States—some close by, others further afield—that offer superb retirement opportunities to Americans keen to stretch their savings.

Defining “the best countries to retire in” can be a little tricky. Some people retire with the goal of pursuing a new hobby, like climbing or painting, or seeing the world; others retire from one job with the intention of starting another—perhaps something remote; and still others retire so they can do nothing at all.

Best Countries to Retire

And let’s face it, if you’ve given it your all for many years—9 to 5, year after year, without respite—a “do-nothing” retirement may be just the ticket. That’s why we’ve made sure to include spots where recreational opportunities abound and beaches—excellent for a nap under the shade of an umbrella—are close by.

Read Here: Things to keep in mind when moving overseas

The reality is, with the cost of living in the US continuing to rise and a comfortable retirement for average Americans becoming more and more difficult, an increasing number of older Americans are considering the benefits of retiring overseas. And—in fact—there are more than a few countries outside the United States that give retirees the chance to cut their expenses dramatically and still enjoy a very high standard of living in a safe, secure, and stimulating environment.

Now – let’s be clear – we’re not talking about retiring to the French Riviera here. Or Tahiti, Tuscany, Monaco, Or Bermuda. We’re talking about spots a little off the beaten path, where the cost of living is significantly lower than it is in the United States, but where factors like good weather and access to decent health care and the basics of life mean that the place has real potential for budget-conscious American retirees.

Know More Here: The Best way to organize for an International Move

That said, everybody has a slightly different idea of what constitutes “the good life,” so it’s important that people approaching retirement think about everything from location and lifestyle to personal needs and security before they decide on any possible retirement destination.

Without question, take some time to chat with,

1) Your financial advisor,

2) Any experienced travelers you know, and

3) Any and all expat retirees who’ve already taken the plunge. Mining these people for insights can be enormously helpful. They’ll almost certainly give you the lowdown on things that you won’t always get from mainstream online sources that are typically trying to sell you something.

And don’t be afraid to post questions on social media sites like Reddit and Quora. You’ll often receive remarkably honest and forthright answers from people just like you.

And finally, believe it or not, a lot of great info can be accessed through the Social Security Administration (SSA), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the State Department. Government departments have access to resources and up-to-date info that most of us can only dream of. So taking advantage of these resources is an absolute must.

So here we go! The seven best countries to retire in—on a budget—include…


mexico country

Cityscape of San Miguel de Allende in Mexico

This is the one that Americans are most familiar with. Lying just south of the United States, Mexico is blessed with warm weather, tons of sunshine, a near-infinite number of beautiful places to live, roughly 7000 miles of coastline, and unforgettable cities.

Mexico is understandably popular with retirees for the simple reason that it features many of the amenities of modern life that Americans take for granted, but typically at a price far lower than what most Americans pay at home.

(See also: Reasons Americans are Moving to Mexico).

According to, the crowd-sourced website that compares and contrasts cost of living figures from around the globe, the cost of living in Mexico is significantly lower than it is in the United States, even when regional variation is taken into consideration. Some areas outside of Cancún—on the Caribbean—boast a cost of living half that of a major East Coast US city, and rent more than 80 percent cheaper. That’s a remarkable difference considering the popularity of Cancun.

In San Miguel de Allende, meanwhile, a lovely city in the interior of Mexico that already hosts thousands of American ex-pats, the cost of living is roughly 40 percent cheaper while rent is about 70 percent lower.

This sort of variation occurs all over the country. You can find lovely places to live in Mexico at rock-bottom prices, with very few amenities, or equally lovely spots with tons of amenities, but at a higher rate. The cost of living in Mexico City is typically higher, but even then, it’s extremely affordable compared to say, San Diego or Los Angeles. And the amenities in Mexico City are first-rate.

mexico street

If you settle on Mexico as your retirement destination, consider hiring professional movers to avoid the stress of having to do all the heavy lifting yourself! It’ll ensure the smoothest possible transition.

Excellent health care can be accessed in Mexico through government programs that subsidize care for low-income citizens and provide it to everyone else—including expats—through the payment of very reasonable monthly premiums.

Private hospitals and clinics, many with specialists, offer excellent care at low cost, and many US expats buy private insurance or pay cash to access these services.

One important detail that many US retirees thinking of moving to Mexico don’t fully appreciate is that the country has minimum income and bank account requirements—roughly $4400 USD in monthly income for temporary residents (and a bank account total of about $73,000) and $7,300 in income for permanent residents (and a bank account of $293,000). These are significant sums.

Applications for visas and residence permits are handled through your nearest Mexican consulate. And even though Mexico is filled with English-speaking expats and tourists—and most Mexicans know at least a little bit of English—bone up on your Spanish. You’ll thank yourself later.


Cityscape in Quito, Ecuador

Cityscape in Quito, Ecuador

Ecuador is the epitome of a country that’s a bit off the beaten track but nevertheless offers tremendous opportunities to American retirees looking for a way to stretch a dollar.

With 1400 miles of Pacific coastline, spectacular natural beauty (including an active volcano), and multiple expat communities, Ecuador offers tremendous value to would-be American retirees. Indeed, lots of foreigners call the country home, many urbanites in Ecuador speak English well, the country uses the US dollar as its currency, and—perhaps best of all—Ecuador is home to the Galapagos Islands, one of the world’s most unique and celebrated ecosystems.

Read Here: How to Move Overseas on a Budget

The cost of living in Ecuador is effectively half that of the United States. In the city of Cuenca, in the Ecuadorian highlands (a popular community for US expats that’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the cost of living is roughly 70 percent less than it is in New York City, and rent is a truly remarkable 90 percent lower. Cuenca also offers a moderate climate, which helps reduce costs related to both heating in the winter and air conditioning in the summer.

Health care in Ecuador is very similar to that of Mexico. It’s high-quality, significantly cheaper than health care in the US, and everybody in the country—citizens and visitors alike—has the ability access it. For less than $100 monthly, US retirees can join the government program and receive full coverage, or they can stick to private insurance if they prefer to do so.

You can apply for a permanent residence visa once you’ve lived in Ecuador for at least 21 months according to the requirements of a temporary visa. As with Mexico, Ecuador requires minimum income and bank deposit amounts for a temporary visa.

Costa Rica

Best Countries to Retire

Driftwood on brown sand in Provincia de Puntarenas, Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica

This Central American jewel of a nation has coastlines on both the Pacific and the Caribbean and boasts some of the most verdant and ecologically rich territory in all of the Americas. Jungles, cities, rainforests, and stunning beaches all vie with one another for the attention of visitors, but in the end, it’s the mix of all of them that captures the hearts of so many American retirees. Living in Costa Rica means you’re living in an ecological paradise.

Climate, environment, and cost of living vary throughout Costa Rica, but broadly speaking cost of living is one-fourth less than it is in the US, and rents are just over 60 percent lower according to the latest data. If these gaps are smaller than you expected, there’s a good reason for that: Costa Rica is becoming more and more popular with American retirees, and prices are rising as a result.

Read Here: Understanding International Moving Quotes – A Simple Guide

In Costa Rica’s capital city, San Jose—located in the country’s central valley—the cost of living is, again, half that of New York City, while rents are almost 85 percent lower. But bear in mind that prices for consumer goods can be elevated and that infrastructure isn’t always the best, featuring a lot of one-lane–and very windy–roads.

Retirees may want to live within San Jose itself, or in one of its many comfortable suburbs, but regardless, they’ll be able to access tons of amenities. Again, Costa Rica is renowned as an ecological paradise and a great place to walk and hike.

costa rica ocean view

Ocean views are spectacular in Costa Rica

The country is also renowned as a safe, prosperous, and politically stable country—something of a rarity in Latin America. First-rate health care can be accessed through both the public system and private programs. The country’s national medical program is available to everyone (featuring no co-pays or exclusions), and private health care can be accessed through private insurance or cash payments.

Residency programs for potential retirees include the Pensionado visa (requiring a monthly income of at least $1,000 USD, which must be held in a Costa Rican bank for expenses), and the Rentista Program, for those who don’t collect a monthly pension. This latter status requires savings of $60,000 or a monthly income of at least $2,500 from a valid source over two years.


Best Countries to Retire

White houses and blue sky on a quiet street in Marvão, Portalegre, Portugal

Portugal is the new “hot spot” for Americans in search of a retirement option on a budget, and it’s not hard to see why! With gorgeous scenery, enchanting coastal cities, lovely (and extremely affordable) food and wine, memorable beaches, and lots of sunshine (but also mild weather overall), Portugal offers a ton. Best of all, the cost of living is more than one-third lower than it is in the US, while housing costs are more than 40 percent less. Remarkably, in Lisbon—Portugal’s historically rich capital city—the cost of living is half that of New York City, and rents are almost 70 percent lower. Numbers like that inevitably attract the attention of American retirees looking for a good way to pinch pennies.

(See also: Top 5 Destinations for Americans Moving to Europe).

US retirees must apply for a residence permit at their local Portuguese consulate. This permit is valid for five years, at which point the holder must apply for a permanent permit. Portugal’s Golden Visa program, created with the aim of raising the level of foreign investment in Portugal, requires that the applicant invest a certain amount in scientific research or transfer a certain amount of money to the country. Until quite recently, buying property was the preferred way of obtaining a Golden Visa, but the onset of a housing crisis led the government to make changes to the program. Reuters discusses the latest changes here.

Read Here: All about moving to Portugal

Excellent health care is available in Portugal, and legal residents are able to register with the National Health Service for access to public hospitals and health centers, paying for services as they go. This is a great way to receive superior care and save money. For others, health care is generally covered by private insurance, which is required as a condition of receiving a residency permit.


Best Countries to Retire

People walking on a narrow city street in Vietnam’s capital, Ho Chi Minh City

The United States and Vietnam have a dicey history, to say the least, but relations have been harmonious for some time now, and there’s just no getting away from the fact that Vietnam has a lot to offer American retirees.

Located in the very heart of Southeast Asia, Vietnam delivers incredible value for money. The country is especially well-suited for American retirees who crave a simple life.

The cost of living is even lower than it is in Latin America, and adventurous retirees who appreciate Vietnam’s beaches, scenery, food, history, and culture will inevitably get far more than their money’s worth in the country. The overall cost of living is about 60% lower than it is in the United States, and rents are about 80% lower, depending on the specific location. In Ho Chi Minh City, for example, currently home to the largest expat community in the country, the cost of living is 70% or so lower than in New York City, while housing costs are about 87% lower. American retirees on even the tightest of budgets can get used to savings like that pretty quickly!

Read Here: Moving to Vietnam from the US

Since Vietnam is technically a socialist/communist nation and the government owns all the land in the country, foreigners are restricted from purchasing property. The vast majority of expats and retirees are renters—and even though this is less-than-ideal for American retirees who want the security that home ownership confers, the reality is this: renting in Vietnam is incredibly affordable.

Obtaining a visa is not as simple in Vietnam as it is in many other countries on this list, but it’s still possible to apply for either a long-term stay or a business visa.

One of the best things about Vietnam for US retirees—especially those on a budget—is the fact that high-quality health care is very affordable, and both public and private programs work together to satisfy the needs of Vietnamese citizens and foreigners living inside the country.

Most foreign-born residents of the country buy international health insurance and make use of well-equipped private clinics and hospitals. City International Hospital, located in Vietnam’s capital, Ho Chi Minh City, is a favorite of foreign-born retirees and expats and virtually all of the physicians and nurses there speak fluent English. Also popular are Hoan My Medical Corporation medical centers, which—together—form the largest private healthcare network in Vietnam. They can be accessed in every part of the country.



The old town of Budva, Montenegro, near sandy beach and sea

Montenegro, in the heart of the Balkans, is an incredibly popular tourist spot featuring a stunning coastline (with gorgeous beaches) that offers US retirees a ton of benefits at a relatively low cost. A core state of the former Yugoslavia, Montenegro is developing quickly, but even so, it’s slower-moving and more rural than its more developed neighbors in Western Europe—and its cost of living reflects this fact.

When people think of the Balkans, they usually think of Serbia or Croatia—but Montenegro, a tiny state that lies immediately south of its two larger neighbors, delivers even greater value to foreign-born retirees.

Why? Well, first—the scenery is just breathtaking, and—even better—the country is right across the water from Italy!

Ferries cross the Adriatic daily, connecting the two countries. In addition, the cost of living in Montenegro is at rock bottom (about half what it is in the United States), and—remarkably—rents are 75% lower, which is stunning when you consider how close Montenegro gets you to some of the most expensive tourist destinations in Europe.

In the capital, Podgorica, the largest city in the country, the cost of living is 60% lower than it is in New York City and rents are a mind-boggling 90% lower. This means you can rent an apartment in Podgorica for one-tenth the price of an apartment in New York (with Italy right next door!).

Read Here: The Cheapest way to move your stuff to Europe

Various visas are available from the government of Montenegro, which has been working hard to encourage both foreign investment and permanent residency. Unlike the situation in Vietnam, foreigners are permitted to buy property—though renting remains a very viable option considering how affordable everything is.

It surprises some Americans, especially those who are thinking about retiring here, but Montenegro is a member of NATO and is positioned to join the European Union (EU) at some point in the very near future. In almost every respect, the country is on its way up.

In terms of health care—so important to most older people—Montenegro offers both public and private options, and both systems have an excellent reputation (though retirees tend to prefer private coverage). Various plans are also available that cover health costs in the event that a resident of Montenegro has to be treated in another country—like Italy or Germany.



A street View Of Columbia

Positioned on the northwest coast of South America, and facing both the Caribbean and the Pacific, Columbia is renowned for its beaches, rainforests, and towering mountain ranges (especially the Colombian Andes).

The cost of living in Columbia is roughly 60% of what it is in most places in the US and rent is 80% lower on average. Costs obviously vary between different cities and regions—and some rural areas of the country are vulnerable to drug-related crime—but if we look specifically at Bogota, Columbia’s capital city, the cost of living is 70% lower and housing is 90% cheaper (on average) than it is in New York City.

An enormous—and gorgeous—studio apartment in one of Bogota’s most coveted neighborhoods could end up costing you a mere fraction of what you’d pay in the US. Many American retirees are so amazed by how little they spend that they hire domestic servants to help with cooking, cleaning, and laundry. Even retirees trying to minimize their expenditures often find that they can afford to pay domestic helpers a basic hourly rate or a flat rate.

Read Here: Top 5 Destinations in the Southern United States

Columbia’s health care system is a blend of public and private resources, but almost without exception, care is high-quality. The public health program can be accessed by citizens but also anyone with a national ID card—which expat retirees can obtain quite easily (see below). Eligibility requires the payment of regular premiums. Many well-off Columbians and foreign retirees rely on private coverage.

Available visas vary. Foreign-born retirees tend to favor the Pensionado, which requires applicants to have a monthly income at least three times higher than the lowest salary in the country. This minimum amount can be sourced from a foreign pension, Social Security, or savings. Once five years have passed, retirees can apply for a full-blown resident visa. This, in turn, allows foreign retirees to obtain a Foreign ID Card, which gives them access to the health care system and additional social services.

International Van Lines

ivl truck

The World’s No. 1 International Moving Company

International Van Lines (IVL) is the world’s No. 1 moving company, whether you’re moving across town or between continents.

IVL is also one of the country’s premier interstate movers. We’re in full compliance with FMCSA regulations and provide valuation coverage for your belongings. No other international moving company comes close to what IVL is able to offer. (And let’s be honest, no one’s been close for quite some time). Local, intrastate, interstate, overseas—it doesn’t matter. Wherever you’re headed, IVL will make sure your personal possessions arrive on time—and in pristine condition.

Based in Coral Springs, Florida, but now serving over 180 countries worldwide, IVL’s reputation for professionalism—and for unrivaled excellence—continues to grow. Over the past 25 years, we’ve mastered every aspect of full-service door-to-door relocation. Today’s international moving experience, in particular, is far superior to what we were able to offer customers two or three decades ago.

Read Here: How International Van Lines Crushes the Competition

And we’re continuing to move forward. Check out our rankings in publications like Forbes, USA Today, US News, and Consumer Affairs to get a sense of how IVL operates and what we can do for you. These are rankings we’re incredibly proud of and that we’re always working to improve.

Even more importantly, customer reviews of IVL at Trustpilot average 4.8/5 stars, a remarkable figure for an incredibly competitive industry.

Remember, we treat your belongings as if they were our own. Wherever they’re headed, for whatever reason, and however quickly you need them to be there—IVL stands ready to help.

Click here for your free international moving quote today!

ivl owner

Josh Morales, IVL founder and CEO

Why IVL Over Other Long-Distance Moving Companies?

A simple question with a simple answer: IVL is the best international moving company on planet Earth—the best-equipped, the most adaptable, and the most experienced. With a tremendous team of moving professionals on the ground and also guiding operations from our company headquarters in Coral Springs, Florida.

As a result, your international move becomes a smooth, predictable, and worry-free process.

IVL has a global network in place that most long-distance moving companies can only dream of. Our resources, infrastructure, and personnel are second to none.

Wherever your household goods and personal possessions need to go—we can get them there—on time, at a lower cost, and in a way that ensures that every single item arrives in pristine condition. That’s a promise.

IVL’s Services


The Moving Process in Broad Strokes

Whether we’re moving you next door or across an international border, we typically rely on one—or all—of the following transport methods:

1) Our enormous and growing fleet of high-end moving vans and trucks,

2) Air freight, or

3) Ocean freight.

But whichever method we use to get your personal items to their final destination, and however much heavy lifting is involved, remember: we treat our cargo—that is, your cargo—with enormous care at all times.

Remember too, as a full-service, door-to-door international moving company—with decades of experience, we know every potential obstacle en route to your destination. We know all the logistics. All the angles. All the tricks.

So wherever you may be headed, IVL knows what it takes to avoid complications and delays and get your household goods to their final destination fast!

A Closer Look

IVL’s moving services, whether international or domestic, are comprehensive and door-to-door. Here’s a brief overview of what we offer:

  • Comprehensive packing services/unpacking services, though packing supplies and other moving supplies are also available to customers who want to save time—and save money—by doing some of the hard work themselves. Contact IVL directly to discuss potential moving discounts.
  • Furniture assembly and disassembly.
  • Personalized services for high-value, sensitive items, including art, antiques, collector automobiles and family heirlooms.
  • Comprehensive ocean and/or air freight services, used in conjunction with IVL’s enormous fleet of moving vans and trucks.
  • Junk removal.
  • Domestic or international vehicle transport.
  • Varied storage services (domestic or international; short-term storage, long-term storage and/or climate-controlled storage).
  • Full customs clearance management.
  • Limited liability insurance, with full value protection available for purchase.
  • Full corporate and military relocation services.
  • Live chat and customer service 24/7.
  • Easy shipment tracking for every long-distance move.

How Much Does IVL Charge for its Moving Services?

Take a few minutes to check out our moving cost calculator to get a better feel for what your international move is likely to cost.

This service delivers an initial quote that’s a bit rough around the edges. For a much more accurate and reliable quote—a moving quote that takes account of your specific circumstances and needs—please contact us directly.

Moving costs inevitably ebb and flow. Shifting fuel costs and different move dates can influence pricing. Hence the difference in cost between off-season and peak moving seasons can be significant.

Calculate the cost of your small international move

International Moving Calculator

Whatever the total amount, however, IVL is always fully transparent with you, the customer, when it comes to fees and charges.

When you use IVL for your move, there are no hidden costs or add-on fees and the final bill is never, ever a surprise. Unfortunately, this is rarely true of other moving companies.

For your free international moving quote, click here!

What Else I Should Know?

An IVL mover at work!

To promote the speed and efficiency of your move, IVL occasionally partners with local moving companies at certain points of the moving process. Local movers tend to be involved in the very last stages of an overseas move.

There is also a 25 percent deposit required to reserve a moving date.

Is IVL Licensed?

Yes. Per federal requirements, IVL is licensed by DOT, FMC and AMSA (the latter having been recently absorbed by ATA).

Contact IVL Today. For Your Free Online International Moving Quote Click Here

best international mover

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