Some of the The World’s Safest, Most Affordable Retirement Countries

6 min read
Retirement Country

Whether you’re looking for a change of scenery or a lower cost of living, these countries have everything you need to enjoy your retirement years.

10. Spain

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According to AARP estimates, it costs about $20,000 a year to retire in Spain if you choose to live a frugal lifestyle while a comfortable retirement costs about $25,000. Either way, that’s not too bad. And, not only is it pretty cheap to retire in Spain, you have 90 days (that’s without a visa) to try it out before you decide to make the move. If you plan on staying any longer than that, you’ll need a residence visa from your home country’s Spanish embassy or consulate. NOTE: You’ll need to provide proof that you have an annual income of at least 25,560 euros, plus 6,390 euros for each additional family member.

Here’s what you can enjoy if you do decide to make Spain your retirement destination:

-3,000-plus miles of sunny coastline
-Snow-capped mountains
-Mild weather
-Great wine and cuisine
-44 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
-Friendly locals

9. Portugal

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Portugal‘s low cost of living makes it a popular destination for retirees. In fact, according to U.S. News & World Report, “a couple could live comfortably on 1,915 euros per month, including 1,000 to 1,250 euros per month for rent.” But, before retiring there, you will need to get a Type 1 Resident Visa from your home country and provide proof of income. You will also need to pass a criminal background check. There’s a “golden visa” too, but it’s for people investing at least 500,000 euros in Portuguese real estate. Once you’re there, you can enjoy Portugal’s sunny shores, fresh seafood, famous port wine, some of the best beaches and golf courses in Europe, excellent infrastructure, high-speed internet access in most of the country, and a high standard of health care.

8. Chile

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Retirees enjoy Chile‘s low cost of living, high standard of living, strong economy, political stability, low level of poverty, natural beauty (sandy beaches, rocky cliffs, jewel-like coves, glacial fields, charming fishing villages, etc.), and friendly locals. Beware, though: Chile is in a major earthquake zone. So, unless you’re relocating there from California or some other place that frequently experiences earthquakes, you might want to weigh all the pros and cons carefully before making the move. It’s important to note that the country is highly developed and is well-equipped to deal with earthquakes — more so than many other places.

7. Costa Rica

Costa Rica
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Did you know that Costa Rica offers a special benefits package specifically for expat retirees? Yep, it’s true. They offer other perks too, one of which is good healthcare. Temporary and permanent residency visas are available through the Immigration Office of Costa Rica, but you will need to have at least $1,000 per month in qualified pension income if you plan on staying long term.

Here are some activities you can enjoy in Costa Rica:

-Whitewater rafting
-Sea kayaking
-Jungle hikes
-Canopy tours

6. Uruguay

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Although Uruguay is a small country, it still has a stable economy and a great healthcare system that entitles everyone to quality medical treatment. Yes, that includes foreign residents as well. Not only that, but your residency visa also comes with the same rights you would have as a natural-born resident. And, there are several different visa options available. To apply for a permanent visa, you will need to file a written request at a consular office within the country.

In addition to enjoying the same rights as born-there residents, you’ll also be able to enjoy the sunny beaches, a mild climate, a beautiful coastline, a colorful culture, and, most importantly, a low cost of living.

5. Austria

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Believe it or not, it’s cheaper to retire in Austria than in the U.S., but retiring there isn’t so easy. In order to get a residency permit, you have to jump through quite a few hoops, including proving that you can speak German proficiently and providing proof of sufficient financial means. According to GOBankingRates, “you should start your application process in the U.S. before you visit. Permits are granted for specific reasons, such as education, research, or employment.” For those whose application is approved, natural beauty, excellent infrastructure, and high living standards await.

4. Czech Republic

Czech Republic
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The Czech Republic is home to thousands of castles, including Prague Castle, the largest medieval castle in Europe. More importantly, you can get long-term visas — but only in certain situations. Permanent residency is normally reserved for former Czech citizens or for humanitarian reasons. That being said, about 6,000 Americans have permanent or temporary residency in the Czech Republic. But, regardless of how long you plan on staying in the country, you will need to provide proof of health insurance.

3. Slovenia

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If you plan on staying longer than 90 days in Slovenia, you’ll need to apply for a residence permit and provide proof of health insurance, sufficient income, and a permanent address. Keep in mind that you can’t apply for a permanent residence permit until you’ve had at least five years of continuous legal stay in the country. Once that happens and you are approved for permanent stay, you’ll be able to enjoy affordable outdoor living, mountains, lakes, emerald-green rivers, medieval castles, high environmental standards, and sustainable development practices.

2. Malaysia

Malaysia Perak
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A friendly, English-speaking, first-world lifestyle with an exotic mix of cultures are just some aspects that draw retirees to Malaysia. Affordability is another plus. For one thing, the cost of living there is low. Also, foreign-source income is not taxed. And, according to Forbes, “it’s even feasible to buy real estate.” Plus, it’s easy for U.S. residents to retire to Malaysia with the “Malaysia My Second Home” (MM2H) program, which grants visas for up to 10 years as long as you meet financial requirements. The country also offers good housing options for retirees and excellent healthcare. On the downside, crime can be a problem in Malaysia.

1. Australia

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First things first: Australia might not have the lowest cost of living, but, “thanks to a strong U.S. dollar, Australia is gaining traction as an affordable retirement destination,” Investopedia wrote on its website. There are fast-track permanent residency programs, but they require a high net worth. On the other hand, visitor visas are available, and you can reapply as needed. After four years, you can qualify for a permanent residency visa. Once approved, you’ll be able to enjoy rugged natural beauty, vibrant cosmopolitan cities, a laid-back culture, and a healthcare index that outranks the U.S. by seven points.


Your turn! Do you plan to retire abroad? If so, which country are you considering? Let us know in the comments below.