Top 14 Most Affordable Places to Retire Abroad

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  1. Top 1


    Cuba wasn't previously thought of as a good vacation spot, much less a practical location for an overseas retirement.

    However, many adventurous expats have now chosen to call Cuba home as a result of America's softer stance toward this little Caribbean nation and the improvement in its reputation globally. They have discovered a largely tranquil nation where as long as you know Spanish, integration is feasible and where the cost of living is extraordinarily low.

    Rent in Cuba is 61% less expensive than in the USA and 51% less expensive than in the UK. If you're a British or American citizen, eating out will cost you 54% or 50% less respectively. The cost of groceries is 17% lower in the UK and 31% lower in the US. Between $6,000 and $60,000, the income tax rate ranges from 10% to 50%.

    Cuba has one of the highest doctor-to-patient ratios in the world and healthcare is widely available. Although there are periods when facilities are subpar and resources are scarce, the country's life expectancy is comparable to that of America. Therefore, Cuba should not be avoided as a foreign retirement location due to medical needs. In addition, for a variety of medical treatments, the costs in paid hospitals and clinics for foreigners and tourists can be up to 80% less than in the US.
    Photo:  VietnamPlus
    Photo: VietnamPlus
    Photo:  Time Out
    Photo: Time Out

  2. Bulgaria has the most affordable rates for products and services among all EU members, claims Eurostat. Prices in Bulgaria continue to be constrained due to the nature of the economic situation in Europe, particularly within the eurozone, even if it is now experiencing modest producer price inflation.

    The nation is charged with preventing development because of the enormous bureaucracy and red tape that have so far discouraged investment.

    While this may not be advantageous for those who wish to see Bulgaria's living standards rise and its employment rates rise, it may not be a terrible thing for retirees who are drawn to the country by its still affordable costs.

    Living outside of the major towns and cities is affordable by most people's standards, and as long as you stay away from the summer or winter destinations, real estate is still available for rent and purchase at reasonable prices. Even if you decide to live in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, you'll be pleasantly surprised by how inexpensive daily costs are.

    Photo:  Training Experience
    Photo: Training Experience
    Photo:  Freedom House
    Photo: Freedom House
  3. Most people have very firm preconceptions about Malaysia: is it too exotic, foreign, tropical, pricey, or distant?

    The one universal truth about Malaysia is that you must see it in person to fully appreciate it. And in order to see it, you must go there, travel there, and remain there for a while. Only then will you get close to viewing all of this amazing place's facets.

    It is a dynamic, lovely, serene, exotic, tropical, accessible, and reasonably priced place to live. Cities like Kuala Lumpur offer a fast-paced way of life, and resorts like Langkawi, which are fantastic for vacations but not the best places to retire if you want to find inexpensive serenity.

    What will you discover if you veer off the beaten path? People who are well-educated, have access to superior medical services in urban regions, and can live on limited budgets the further away from urbanization. They also learn to speak English at school from an early age.

    There are breathtaking tropical beaches that you could only have imagined, amazing flora and fauna, a rich cultural legacy, affordable real estate, and an increasing number of expats drawn to Malaysia by both the way of life and the tax breaks offered there. You might discover your paradise on earth with the help of the My Second Home program. And unless you go, you won't know!

    Photo:  Freedom House
    Photo: Freedom House
  4. Top 4


    Mexico is a well-liked vacation and retirement destination since it is close to the US border, has pleasant weather, a range of housing options, miles of coastline, and lovely cities. To obtain a better sense of a place as a home, however, a prolonged stay is recommended before making a commitment. This is true whether you plan to retire in Mexico or another retirement location.

    Overall, the cost of living is modest, however it's crucial to consider particular cities. For comparison's sake, the cost of living and rent are both 61% lower in Cancun, a popular tourist destination on the Caribbean coast. San Miguel de Allende, a lovely city in the interior of Mexico that attracts expats, has rent that is 76% cheaper and a cost of living that is 57% lower than New York. Along with the benefits of residing in a resort or expat community, these and other cities provide lower costs.

    Government programs that offer low-income citizens coverage or charge premiums make healthcare accessible. Many retirees have private insurance or pay cash for medical treatments, and private hospitals and specialists provide high-quality care at a fair price.

    For both temporary and permanent residents, there are minimum income requirements of $2,700 per month. About $36,000 and $149,000 in bank accounts are needed, respectively. Additional details are accessible here. The Mexican Consulate handles requests for visas and residence permits.
    Photo:  Boston Consulting Group
    Photo: Boston Consulting Group
    Photo:  Fodors Travel Guide
    Photo: Fodors Travel Guide
  5. Retirement travelers from the United States and other nations go to Ecuador, the entryway to the Galápagos, because of its miles of Pacific coastline, an active volcano, natural beauty, and various ex-pat settlements. The official currency of Ecuador is the U.S. dollar, and English is widely spoken in the larger cities.

    Ecuador has a 49% lower overall cost of living than the United States. The cost of living is 62% lower at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Cuenca than it is in New York, while rents there are around 88% less expensive. Cuenca, which is in Ecuador's highlands, has a temperate climate, which lowers the cost of heating and cooling.

    All residents and visitors are guaranteed access to high-quality healthcare at a lesser cost than in the United States. Foreign retirees have two options: they can show confirmation of private insurance, or they can join the government system for about $100 per month for full coverage. Once a person has resided in Ecuador for at least 21 months on a temporary visa, they are eligible to apply for permanent residence visas. The application for a temporary visa must include proof of a minimum income, real estate investments, or bank deposits.

    Photo:  State Department
    Photo: State Department
    Photo:  PlanetWare
    Photo: PlanetWare
  6. This Central American nation, with its jungles, rainforests, contemporary towns, and beaches, runs from the Pacific to the Caribbean. The country's climate, environment, and costs vary from region to region, but altogether, they are about 38% and 72% less expensive than in the United States, respectively, according to data from June 2022.

    The cost of living is 55% less expensive in San Jose than it is in New York, and rents are 82% less expensive. San Jose is the nation's capital and is situated in the central valley. Retirees have access to the amenities San Jose as a well-liked tourist destination offers whether they want to live in the city proper or in the hilly environs. The Pensionado visa, which is part of residency programs, needs a monthly income transfer to a Costa Rican bank for expenses of at least $1,000. The Rentista Program demands a minimum of $60,000 or a monthly income of at least $2,500 from a guaranteed source for at least two years for people without a monthly pension.

    Both public and private programs offer top-notch medical care. Residents have access to the national medical program, which has no co-pays or exclusions, as well as the choice of private health care, which has out-of-pocket expenditures that can be covered by self-insurance or a private insurance policy.

    Video: Joyous Travel
    Photo:  CanStockPhoto
    Photo: CanStockPhoto
  7. Retirement travelers and tourists of all ages from over the world who appreciate its stunning scenery, coastal cities, wine, food, and warm climate have made Portugal one of the most sought-after vacation spots. Living expenses are roughly 37% less expensive than in the US, and housing costs are roughly 54% more reasonable. These differences are even more pronounced in Lisbon, the capital, where rent is around 70% cheaper and living expenses are roughly 53% less.

    When their five-year residence permit expires, retirees must apply at a local embassy for a permanent residency permit. The "Golden Visa" initiative, designed to promote foreign investment in Portugal, calls for minimal investments in real estate, monetary transfers, or scientific research. Interested retirees with capital to invest should review the most recent information.

    Legal residents can register with the National Health Service to gain access to public hospitals and health centers and pay for treatments as they go. Excellent healthcare is also readily available. Others have access to health care through private insurance, which is a requirement for obtaining a residency visa.

    Photo:  Wapiti Travel
    Photo: Wapiti Travel
    Photo:  Freedom House
    Photo: Freedom House
  8. Top 8


    Panama has grown to be a well-liked retirement location after being named as one of the "most affordable places to retire abroad in 2022". Retirees are interested in it because of its proximity to the US, easy access there, pleasant environment, and affordable cost of living. The cost of living is generally 31% less expensive than in the United States, and housing expenditures are typically 58% less expensive. The cost of living and rent in Panama City, for instance, are 49% and 74% cheaper than those in New York, respectively. Costs vary based on region.

    With the Pensionado visa, which needs pension income of at least $1,000 per month and offers incentives like discounts on a number of services and a tax exemption on importing household goods, the government has made living in Panama particularly alluring. Visitors with valid passports may stay for three months; for permanent residency, details must be handled by a local immigration attorney.

    With public and private hospitals, clinics, and physicians, Panama features a two-tiered healthcare system with lower pricing in the public system and co-payments for services at both. The private system, which provides great care and amenities at affordable costs, covered by private insurance or self-pay, is preferred by the majority of seniors.
    Video: El Souvenir
  9. Top 9


    You might be interested in Belize since it offers the Qualified Retired Persons Programme, which enables eligible people to live in Belize tax-free. Naturally, you will have up to 50% more to play with without the erosion of taxing on your money!

    You are eligible to join the program if you are 45 years of age or older and make a minimum of $2,000 per month. Your application can also list your spouse and any dependents you have. The program's drawback is that the time spent in the nation as a Qualified Retired Person will not contribute toward the time needed to submit an application for permanent residency. Additionally, you are not allowed to look for work, but investing in businesses is strongly advised.

    The benefit of this scheme is that retirees can import their personal belongings duty-free in addition to living tax-free. Belize is well protected internationally, this time by the UK, like Panama is. British visitors are welcomed in Belize, where English is the official business language. You will see how far your tax-free money may take you if you leave the busiest tourist attractions and the most populated places.

    Photo:  Time Out
    Photo: Time Out
    Photo:  Tripadvisor
    Photo: Tripadvisor
  10. Montenegro, a well-liked vacation spot with an Adriatic shoreline and gorgeous beachside resorts, is beginning to catch the attention of expats and retirees. It is a desirable area to retire due to its lovely surroundings, European location, friendly residents, and affordable cost of living. Rents are around 75% cheaper than in the United States, while the average cost of living is 48% lower. The cost of living is 64% less expensive in Podgorica, the largest and capital city, than it is in New York, while housing costs are around 90% less expensive.

    The government of Montenegro offers a variety of visa options, and there are rules for establishing permanent residency. Foreigners are permitted to purchase real estate, and Montenegro offers a number of incentives to promote investment. Montenegro is a NATO member and is anticipated to join the EU in the near future.

    In Montenegro, there are both private and state healthcare options. Retirees and expats typically acquire private insurance, which may include medical evacuation, giving them the option of seeking treatment abroad if necessary.

    Photo: GEO
    Photo: GEO
  11. This South American nation, which is situated on the northwest coast of the continent, is home to a variety of towns, beaches, rainforests, and mountains. Bogota's cost of living is roughly 62% lower than that of the US, while rent is 82% less expensive. Cities and inland communities have different prices, and there are different types of homes available. The cost of living is 71% lower and the cost of housing is 88% lower in the city of Bogota than it is in New York. Modern public and private hospitals in Colombia offer high-quality, reasonably priced healthcare. Citizens and holders of a national ID card have access to the public health plan, including the ability to pay premiums. Additionally, private insurance is offered.

    The Pensionado visa, which is most frequently used by retirees, is one of many visa classifications. Applicants must demonstrate a minimum monthly income of at least three times the minimum wage in Colombia in order to be granted the visa. Pensions, Social Security, and savings are possible sources of income. Currently, a monthly salary of at least $750 is necessary. Retirees can apply for a residence visa after five years. Additionally, foreign ID cards that grant access to the healthcare system and other advantages are available to visa holders.
    Photo:  Pelecanus
    Photo: Pelecanus
    Photo:  Lonely Planet
    Photo: Lonely Planet
  12. Vietnam is a fairly inexpensive area to retire, particularly for active retirees who value the nation's beaches, beauty, cuisine, history, and culture. Compared to the United States, the overall cost of living is approximately 49% lower, and, depending on the location, rents are typically 75% less expensive. According to International Living, Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), which has the largest ex-pat population, has a cost of living that is 62% lower than New York's and housing costs that are roughly 83% lower.

    The majority of expats and retirees rent since it's more affordable and because the government controls all the land and foreigners aren't allowed to buy homes. Vietnam's visa application process is more complicated than in many other nations, although it is still possible to apply for long-term or business visas.

    Both public and commercial health care systems offer high-quality services at extremely reasonable prices. The majority of expats use private hospitals and have international health insurance. International Living claims that "Hoan My Medical Corporation, with hospitals and clinics spread out across the nation, is the most prestigious hospital network in Vietnam. The largest international hospital is City International Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, where a quarter of patients are foreigners and the majority of the medical personnel understand English."

    Photo:  Lonely Planet
    Photo: Lonely Planet
    Photo:  Vietnam Plus
    Photo: Vietnam Plus
  13. Another nation that has an incentive scheme for retirees is the Philippines, which offers the "Special Resident Retiree's Visa." The program comes with a host of benefits, including the ability to enter and exit the Philippines many times and the right to live there permanently. Under this arrangement, you can get your pension and annuity income tax-free and travel in and out of the nation as frequently as you'd like. Additionally, you can import your possessions tax-free.

    This tropical nation's affordable cost of living is its biggest draw. Everything in the Philippines will be less expensive for you, including real estate, food, entertainment, domestic help, labor prices, power, etc. In the Philippines, you may live comfortably on $1,000 per month.

    The Philippines can provide a high standard of living, and the nation has first-rate medical care. Additionally, this program has the advantage of being available to you from the age of 35 and allowing you to continue working in the country (if you want to).

    To be eligible for the scheme, let's say you are retiring to the Philippines with a pension in your bank account. In such instance, you must be 50 years of age or older, have a deposit in a Filipino bank equal to $10,000, and have a pension income of $800 per month for a single applicant and $1000 per month for a couple (about £650 and £800, respectively). What do you receive in return? A tropical haven with immaculate beaches, affordable housing, and cheerful smiling people, eating out frequently, traveling, hiring housekeepers, and never keeping track of your finances.

    Photo: The Philippines
    Photo: The Philippines
    Photo:  Freedom House
    Photo: Freedom House
  14. Last but not least, one of the cheapest countries to retire is Argentina.

    This nation offers the ideal balance of convenience, affordability, and refinement. It mixes breathtaking scenery with elegant cities and towns, and its literature, music, and art can satisfy even the most discerning aficionados.

    Argentina offers a significantly lower cost of living than the UK or the USA for the majority of items. Rentals in the most upscale neighborhoods of popular cities may be an exception. However, if you compare like with like, you should be comparing renting such apartments with renting similar properties in Manhattan or Knightsbridge; you'll realize that Argentina is by far the more affordable option.

    Food and fine drink, such as some gorgeous red wines, are considerably more reasonable, and if you venture outside of the tourist areas and pick up the local dialect, you will be treated more seriously and your money will go much further.

    Photo:  GetByBus
    Photo: GetByBus
    Video: 4K WALK

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