25 cheap countries to retire abroad
Enjoy high standards of living at a lower price
If retiring in the U.S. doesn’t seem financially sound, retiring abroad might be easier on your wallet. We’ve compiled a list of some of the least expensive countries for the adventurous senior to retire in. Are you ready to buy a one-way ticket to paradise?
(Notes: GDPs cited refer to purchasing power parity. All numbers are sourced from GoBankingRates and the CIA’s World Factbook unless otherwise noted.)
Cost-of-living index: 69.25
Average rent (U.S. dollars): $987.01
Groceries index: 58.34
Local purchasing power index: 75.72 (all according to GoBankingRates)
GDP (purchasing power parity in U.S. dollars): $2.317 trillion (2017)
What person doesn’t want to spend their golden years floating down the Venetian canal in this photograph?
Italy’s senior population makes up around 21% of the population (25-54 is the biggest age group at 41%), so you should be able to make a good amount of senior buds!
NEXT: This is one of the most earthquake-prone areas on Earth, says an article in National Geographic.
Cost-of-living index: 35.21
Average rent: $283.71
Groceries index: 30.45
Local purchasing power index: 23.65
GDP: $2.186 trillion (2017)
If you’re unfamiliar with the nation of Turkey, it’s a large peninsula that links Europe and Asia together. It’s surrounded by several seas — optimal for beach time!
Turkey has many architectural marvels, like the Blue Mosque featured in this photo, and natural marvels like Mount Ararat, which stands at a whopping 16,945 feet tall.
NEXT: In its city of Braga, the cafe Pastelaria Lusitana is named after its ancient people, the Lusitani.
Cost-of-living index: 50.39
Average rent: $817.64
Groceries index: 40.20
Local purchasing power index: 43.13
GDP: $314.1 billion (2017)
If you enjoy carb-heavy meals, red wine, and drinking coffee all day, Spain’s neighbor to the west is your heaven before actual heaven.
This photo shows the Torre de Belém (Belém Tower) in Lisbon, Portugal — one of the many architectural marvels in the Mediterranean country.
NEXT: Founded in the seventh century, this country is one of the oldest in Europe, says an entry in the Encyclopedia Britannica.
Cost-of-living index: 37.17
Average rent: $340.61
Groceries index: 31.15
Local purchasing power index: 29.86
GDP: $153.5 billion (2017)
Doesn’t the park in this photo (Central Park in Sofia, Bulgaria) look absolutely exquisite? You could spend your days lounging there eating a banitsa (a traditional pastry) and sipping rakia.
(Rakia is a boozy drink — 40% ABV.) Retired Americans could stretch their dollars here but the average citizen might struggle under current economic conditions.
NEXT: Its citizens say “sorry” so frequently, it had to pass the “Apology Act” to make apologies inadmissible in court, says a report in Huffington Post.
Average rent: $986.82 (in Montreal, according to TransferWise)
GDP: $1.774 trillion (2017)
Canada is not all ice and snow! There are metropolitan cities with fun, touristy things to do like Science World (pictured here) and then that sweet, sweet universal health care coverage. (Health care access is very important to retirees!)
World Factbook indicates Canada resembles the U.S. in some ways, including “high standards of living.” Might make for an easy transition, eh?
NEXT: Geologists might be excited by the fact that some of the oldest rocks in Europe exist here, according to an entry in the Encyclopedia Britannica.
Average rent: $845.18 (in Madrid, according to TransferWise)
GDP: $1.778 trillion (2017)
¡Hola! ¡Bienvenido a la tierra del buen vino y la deliciosa comida! (Don’t know what that means? Better brush up on your Spanish if you wanna live here!) Spain is known for its gorgeous Mediterranean landscapes …
And it’s known for its warm weather (most of the time). Its economy has improved since 2008’s recession, but Spanish youth still experience some high unemployment.
NEXT: Its most significant exports since World War II are cultural — literature, film, television, music, and more, according to an entry in the Encyclopedia Britannica.
7. United Kingdom
Cost-of-living index: 65.28
Average rent: $1,152.44
Groceries index: 51.85
Local purchasing power index: 72.37
GDP: $2.925 trillion (2017)
If you’re able to retire in the pricey city of London, there are many touristy sites like the River Thames and the London Eye (featured in this photo) that you can enjoy every day!
You might not think the U.K. would be affordable to retire in (and yes, there are cheaper options), but Bankrate U.K. says the northern U.K. sees more house price affordability.
NEXT: This is the only country that covers an entire continent, according to a report in National Geographic.
Cost-of-living index: 72.08
Average rent: $1,358.34
Groceries index: 66.90
Local purchasing power index: 70.69
GDP: $1.248 trillion (2017)
Whether you’re a city slicker or a country mouse, Australia has something for everyone. There are gigantic cities like Sydney (pictured) and a variety of fauna and flora.
CIA’s World Factbook notes that Australia had some growth constraints as far as its economy goes as it entered the year 2018. A substantial retirement fund should aid in any economic environment, though.
NEXT: It became a sovereign republic in 2006, says the BBC’s country profile on this nation.
Cost-of-living index: 35.39
Average rent: $312.45
Groceries index: 26.30
Local purchasing power index: 27.84
Not only does it have some of the cheapest rent prices for seniors, Serbia has picturesque mountains and natural landscapes for all you nature lovers. Enjoy skiing? You’ll like Serbia, then.
If you’ve lived in Serbia for five years — or married a Serbian — you may qualify for a permanent visa, says a report from GOBankingRates.
NEXT: This country was temporarily divided into north and south but underwent unification in 1975, says an entry in the Encyclopedia Britannica.
Cost-of-living index: 37.70
Average rent: $500.73
Groceries index: 37.87
Local purchasing power index: 18.89
A 2015 report in U.S. News by Kathleen Peddicord details a seaside resort popular with retiree expats called Vung Tau (pronounced “voong tao”). Why do retirees love it so much?
It’s because living the good life there doesn’t cost very much. The U.S. News report says that a retired couple can live at Vung Tau comfortably for $1,000 a month.
NEXT: Its geography is a land of extremes, with both high mountains and deep canyons, says National Geographic.
Cost-of-living index: 32.71
Average rent: $414.16
Groceries index: 30.30
Local purchasing power index: 30.23
GDP: $2.463 trillion (2017)
Mexico has warm weather, good food, and beautiful cities like Mexico City (pictured here). There’s a large wealth gap in Mexico, but your U.S. dollar will stretch far here.
“Per capita income is roughly one-third that of the US; income distribution remains highly unequal,” reads the CIA Factbook’s entry on Mexico. If you’re attached to the U.S., live close to the U.S.-Mexico border.
NEXT: There are about 175 languages spoken in this country, says a report in Huffington Post.
Cost-of-living index: 35.09
Average rent: $437.35
Groceries index: 32.61
Local purchasing power index: 19.67
GDP: $877.2 billion (2017)
Aren’t the skyscrapers and towers in the Manila skyline in this photograph absolutely gorgeous? Like Mexico, it’s another city where your dollar goes far. Wanna live here?
Here’s what you need to do, according to the Embassy of the Philippines: For a special resident retiree’s visa, you’ll need a monthly pension income of $800 and a required time deposit of $10,000.
NEXT: This country is made up of 18,307 islands, says a report in The Telegraph.
Cost-of-living index: 36.24
Average rent: $397.46
Groceries index: 38.14
Local purchasing power index: 18.02
GDP: $3.25 trillion (2017)
This photograph shows the mountainous region around Kintamani, centering on Mount Batur’s deep crater lake and hot springs, according to the photographer Thomas Depenbusch via Flickr.
Indonesia’s big cities like Jakarta might be best for city-slicker retirees, but there’s a wealth of natural marvels (like volcanoes!) for adventurous seniors.
NEXT: This is the only American nation that is named for Christopher Columbus, the so-called “discoverer” of the “New World,” says an entry in the Encyclopedia Britannica.
Cost-of-living index: 30.15
Average rent: $331.19
Groceries index: 24.33
Local purchasing power index: 22.46
GDP: $711.6 billion (2017)
This photo shows a street view of a charming comuna in Medellín, Colombia. Retirees might enjoy Colombia’s tropical coastline and Easter Plains and coolness in its glorious highlands.
Retirees might acquire a special temporary pensioner’s visa. There are several steps one must take to apply for one, including a payment of $50.
NEXT: Its name was derived from two words — the Persian word for “holy” and the Hindi word for “place,” according to a report in U.S. News.
Cost-of-living index: 20.40
Average rent: $181.83
Groceries index: 18.25
Local purchasing power index: 15.42
GDP: $1.061 trillion (2017)
Pakistan is a predominantly Islamic country with plenty of mosques (not quite as glorious as the Faisal Mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan, pictured here) for all your religious needs.
Pakistan has beautiful mountainous regions and big cities to enjoy. However, make sure you can get adequate health insurance as free services are limited.
NEXT: What might possibly be the largest unrecoverable treasure trove from a sunken ship is located in this country, says an article from U.S. News.
Cost-of-living index: 39.38
Average rent: $396.59
Groceries index: 39.70
Local purchasing power index: 22.75
GDP: $933.3 billion (2017)
The home of famed shoe designer Jimmy Choo, Malaysia is comprised of two main landmasses — Peninsular Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo. If you’re picking which one to live on, may we recommend …
Kuala Lumpur on Peninsular Malaysia! Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur is dense and urban with architectural beauties like the Petronas Twin Towers (pictured here).
NEXT: It’s known for having a caste system (social ranks). Caste is determined at birth and is unchangeable, says a report in National Geographic.
Cost-of-living index: 24.17
Average rent: $225.30
Groceries index: 24.20
Local purchasing power index: 17.15
GDP: $9.474 trillion (2017)
India is located in the continent of Asia, surrounded by the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea in the south and the breathtaking Himalayas in the north.
Living in India, you might find that it’s a very spiritual country with a caste system that might seem foreign to Americans. There’s also lots of tasty curry …
NEXT: This country was once known as “Taprobane,” “Serendib,” and then “Ceylon,” says an entry in the Encyclopedia Britannica.
18. Sri Lanka
Cost-of-living index: 30.24
Average rent: $300.95
Groceries index: 33.57
Local purchasing power index: 17.36
GDP: $275.8 billion (2017)
Sri Lanka’s proximity to India has created close cultural interactions between the two nations. Other cultures influenced Sri Lanka, too, because of its location in trade routes.
In addition to being culturally diverse, get ready for some warm, tropical weather (at least in the lowlands)! You’re looking at temperatures between 72 and 92 degrees Fahrenheit.
NEXT: This country has one of the highest life expectancies in the world, Mental Floss reported, citing statistics from the World Bank.
19. Costa Rica
Cost-of-living index: 50.89
Average rent: $660.15
Groceries index: 47.91
Local purchasing power index: 42.58
GDP: $83.94 billion (2017)
Imagine living full-time in this tropical landscape. This particular photo is of the Los Suenos Marriott in Costa Rica, according to the caption in Max Pixel.
Costa Rica is known for its beautiful, tropical environment and diverse fauna and flora. Another thing they’re known for? Happy residents, says Mental Floss. (Sign us up!)
NEXT: Apparently, the tallest sand dune is located in this country, according to a report in Huffington Post.
Cost-of-living estimate: $2,000 per month
GDP: $430.3 billion (2017)
Peru is one of the least expensive countries in South America to live in, says International Living. You can live a comfortable retirement for less than $2,000 per month in areas other than Lima.
Smaller cities like Arequipa are a bit less expensive to live in — rent might be $700 per month. In addition to affordable living, Peru has modern amenities that should make for a comfortable retirement.
NEXT: This is the fifth “booziest country in the world,” says The Telegraph. Belarus, Russia, Moldova, and Lithuania are boozier.
Cost-of-living index: 36.45
Average rent: $354.67
Groceries index: 29.88
Local purchasing power index: 32.26
GDP: $483.4 billion (2017)
The Balkan country of Romania has plenty of attractions for the adventurous retiree like the Bucegi Sphinx (pictured), Black Sea resorts, Transylvania, and more.
Like many countries in Europe, Romania is an eclectic mix of old and new. An entry in International Living says you might see contrasts like horse-drawn carriages and brand-new Mercedes sedans rolling down the street.
NEXT: This country is named after the equator, says a report in National Geographic.
Cost-of-living index: 41.98
Average rent: $480.80
Groceries index: 37.87
Local purchasing power index: 29.43
GDP: $193 billion (2017)
Retirees can take advantage of the many benefits available in Ecuador. For example, Forbes says seniors get 50% off public transportation, utilities, recreational activities, and events.
No matter if you retire in Guayaquil (pictured), Santo Domingo, Quito — wherever! — you can work if you’re a pensionado retiree resident. Forbes says to apply, you must prove you have enough income in order to support you and your family.
NEXT: This country is shaped like a crescent.
Cost-of-living index: 49.18
Average rent: $431.80
Groceries index: 40.33
Local purchasing power index: 40.36
GDP: $102.1 billion (2017)
You can expect most Eastern European countries to be lower in cost than the rest of the continent, including Croatia. In addition to low costs, you can expect sunny islands, historic towns, and national parks.
International Living recommends these cities for exploring. Perhaps you might consider settling down in one of these too?: Varaždin, Šibenik, and Labin. All have charming, old architecture and views galore.
NEXT: This country is linked to both Latin America and South America with a canal cut through its center.
Cost-of-living index: 51.45
Average rent: $1,089.64
Groceries index: 48.21
Local purchasing power index: 47.06
GDP: $104.1 billion (2017)
The first thing that pops into your head when you hear “Panama” is probably the Panama Canal. However, there’s a lot more to Panama than just a canal.
There are glorious cities like Panama City (pictured) and what a report in Forbes calls the “Gold Standard retiree visa option.” Retirees in the thousands have flocked to Panama to reap benefits they can’t get in the U.S.
NEXT: Its Calypso Cave is said to be the cave Homer wrote about in The Odyssey.
Average rent: $750-$800
GDP: $19.26 billion (2017)
Malta might be very enjoyable for those that want to retire abroad. First off, this Mediterranean island is usually pretty sunny and warm, with crystal-clear waters to dip your feet in. Secondly, it’s affordable — average rent is around $750 to $800 monthly.
Thirdly — they speak English! (Oh thank Jah you don’t have to learn another language.) Maltese is the other official language in Malta but you don’t need to worry about learning that. Most retirees might cross off retiring in another country because of the language barrier, so Malta is an excellent choice.