Last updated on November 18th, 2021

Best Countries To Retire | 2021 Rankings

When it comes to retirement, a rising number of people, particularly Americans, are opting to go overseas. The cost of living, quality of life, and cultural accessibility all play a role in how tempting a country is to retire to later in life. 

In this survey by US News & World Report, countries are ranked on seven attributes, based on scores from people 45 years or older who consider themselves “upper class. These attributes are;

  • Affordability
  • Favorable tax environment
  • Hospitality
  • Is a place I would live
  • Pleasant climate
  • Property rights
  • A well-developed public health system 

The following are the top five on the 2021 Best Countries for a Comfortable Retirement.

1st: Switzerland

In the overall 2021 U.S. News Best Countries list, Switzerland has risen to the top as the best country for a comfortable retirement. Because it is perceived as a country with a favorable tax climate, the European country may appeal to retirees. It also received good marks for economic stability, a well-developed public health system, low corruption, and as a very safe country to live in.

Lake Geneva, Switzerland

How Can I Get Retire in Switzerland?

For retirees desiring to move to Switzerland, the nation offers a reasonably open policy. In order to get Swiss residence, which is required for retirement in Switzerland, foreign persons must satisfy specific conditions. It’s crucial to note that these standards vary based on your nationality and the Swiss canton in which you intend to reside. You may apply for a residence permit if you are over 55 and not employed. You must provide evidence of financial independence as well as proof of accident and medical insurance. You must have a connection to Switzerland, whether through blood, property, company, or financial investment. 

Switzerland Healthcare

When applying for a Swiss residency permit, foreign citizens must provide proof of valid health and accident insurance. You have three months from the time your residence application is granted to obtain mandatory health and accident insurance before visiting Switzerland. You will be required to make monthly payments after registering for Swiss health insurance. Your yearly deductible is determined by your insurance policy. A retention charge is also included in Swiss health insurance. This is fixed at CHF 700 per year for adults and CHF 350 for kids.

Best Swiss Cities To Retire

Switzerland has a great deal to offer pensioners having enough money to make use of its facilities. Although being one of the most pricey countries in the world to live in, certain Swiss locations are less costly.

The best Swiss cities for retirees are:

  • Vaud
  • Zurich
  • Zug
  • Appenzell Ausserrhoden

2nd: New Zealand

After four years as the greatest country for a comfortable retirement, New Zealand has dropped to second place, despite being the most scenic country and the area where poll respondents said they would most like to live. Note that New Zealand is also in the Top 3 of safest countries in the world.

Those considering retiring to New Zealand should make sure they have a good savings account, as both temporary and parent retirement visas have strict financial criteria.

How Can I Get Retire in New Zealand?

For individuals considering retirement in New Zealand, there is a temporary Retirement Visitor visa option available. You can add your partner to the application with it.

To qualify for Temporary Retirement Visitor;

  • You must be at least 66 years old 
  • Have a two-year investment of NZ $750,000 (about $524,835) 
  • Show annual income of at least NZ $60,000 (about $41,987
  • Another NZ $500,000 (approximately $349,890) to live 
  • The visa is valid for two years and can be renewed.
  • It prevents you from working
  • Allowing you to travel in and out of New Zealand for 2 years.

New Zealand Healthcare

New Zealand people have access to a variety of healthcare choices. Both public and private health care are included. Residents get discounted or free health care since taxes fund national healthcare. In New Zealand, those holding a resident class visa are also able to get free or discounted health care. However, after you have a residency permit, you must enroll with a general practitioner (GP) in order to get public health care.

Best New Zealand Cities To Retire

Because of its numerous benefits, New Zealand is unquestionably one of the most appealing countries for foreign retirement. Mild weather, breathtaking landscape, beautiful beaches and high mountains, financial and political stability, and also English-speaking people are just a few of the benefits.

The best New Zealand cities for retirees are:

  • Marlborough
  • Bay of Islands
  • Central Otago
  • Kapiti Coast
  • Auckland

3rd: Australia

According to survey respondents, Australia’s safety, health-consciousness, and nice people, all add to the allure of gorgeous landscapes and mild winters in the country.

While the high expense of living in major cities may be a deterrent for some, as a retiree you can pick from a variety of smaller cities and rural towns.

How Can I Get Retire in Australia?

There are two types of visas to retire in Australia;

Standard Retirement Visa

People above the age of 55 are eligible to retire in Australia. You cannot have any children, excluding your spouse, who can be below 55. In the first case, those who file for a regular retirement visa will be granted a four-year temporary visa. The visa could be extended on a two-year rolling basis once this time period has expired. You must show that you will be in excellent health and have no criminal history records in order to be eligible.

Permanent Australian Retirement Visa

To be eligible for this, you must follow more severe rules and restrictions. Permanent Australian visas are regarded as investment visas, and as a result, you would be asked to show that you have assets worth a certain amount. This amount will vary depending on where you want to retire in Australia. However, here’s a basic rule of thumb:

  • Assets worth $750,000 plus an extra $500,000 for any dependents in a high-growth region.
  • $500,0000 in assets plus an extra $250,000 for any dependents in the Low Growth Region.

Prior to applying for a permanent Australian visa, you must establish that you have possessed these properties for at least two years.

Australia Healthcare

In Australia, the average lifespan is high, and health and social care services are high quality. Retirees must keep in mind that they will not be eligible for any government or medical benefits while living in Australia and will need to obtain their own completely comprehensive insurance coverage from an Australian firm.

Best Australian Cities To Retire

For many over-60s, where their children and grandkids reside, what facilities are accessible, decent transportation links and inexpensive housing will all play a role in their decision. It also doesn’t hurt to have good all-year-round sunlight.

The best Australian cities for retirees are:

  • Sunshine Coast, Queensland
  • Coolangatta, NSW
  • Hunter Valley, NSW
  • Mornington Peninsula, Victoria
  • Huon Valley, Tasmania
  • Kadina, SA
  • Geraldton, WA

4th: Spain

Spain is regarded as one of the most globally connected countries and one of the most culturally accessible. Expatriates may find it easier to retire in the country than in other countries.

How Can I Get Retire in Spain?

Spain is a wonderful nation to live in, and acquiring a “Residence Visa” makes it easy. All you need is a steady source of income and sufficient savings. Before applying, be sure to read the criteria, but here’s what you’ll need to bring:

  • Proof of funds (POF)
  • Certification of ‘absence of criminal history
  • Travel documents or passport 
  • Health insurance
  • A visa application form
  • Health certificate

Golden Visa Program in Spain

Spain has a “Golden Visa” program that makes residency permits easier to get for anyone who spends at least €500,000 on real estate in the country. So if your overseas retirement includes Spain and you have the funds, you can consider Spain Golden Visa.

Spain Healthcare

There are two types of medical systems in Spain: public and private. People paying into the Spanish security system and their families have access to public treatment. If someone does not want to wait a long period to get treated, they have to choose private healthcare, which offers a variety of possibilities.

Best Spanish Cities To Retire

You must first pick which location is the greatest fit for you before moving to Spain. Spain is the ideal country in which to retire since it has so many wonderful cities. Some include coastlines and mountains, while others include rural areas or bustling metropolitan cores. 

The top cities in Spain for retirees are:

  • Barcelona
  • Granada
  • Madrid
  • Malaga
  • Valencia

5th: Portugal

Portugal is among the top five countries for a comfortable retirement in this year’s report. The country receives good marks from survey respondents for its pleasant environment, friendly people, and the fact that it is a place where they would want to reside.

How Can I Get Retire in Portugal?

Applying for residence is the simplest easiest method to stay in Portugal. You’ll require a visa from your home nation if you’re an expat.

The documents and criteria may change, but in general, you’ll need to prove:

  • Your travel document
  • Proof of income or financial resources 
  • A filled-out visa application
  • Check for criminal records
  • Two passport-style pictures
  • Evidence of lodging in Portugal
  • An intent letter

Make An Application for A D7 Visa

Portugal offers retirement tax policies and visas that have made retirement in the country easier for expats – such as D7 Visa

You can register for the D7 visa if you want to migrate to Portugal and have a steady, additional income such as a pension or Social Security payments. It’s also known as a Type 1 Visa.

Golden Visa Program in Portugal

The Portugal Golden Visa can be obtained by investing in qualified property in Portugal. As an expat, you will advantage of this program, which includes the right to a family reunion, visa exclusion for the Schengen Zone, and a grant to work and live in Portugal, among other things.

Portugal Healthcare 

The Serviço Nacional de Sade is a national health-care program in Portugal (SNS). Based on their circumstances, it offers medical treatment at a reduced or free cost. It’s a government-funded system that connects public hospitals with community health clinics. However, it might not be as excellent as your private medical insurance. If you want to retire in Portugal, you may want to choose a global medical provider.

Best Portuguese Cities To Retire

There are several retirement options in Portugal. You’ll have to consider your options. Do you prefer to live in a big city, on the seaside, or in the country? Those are some of the greatest cities to retire in Portugal:

  • Lisbon
  • The Algarve
  • Cascais and Estoril
  • Central Portugal
  • Porto

One of the beaches in the Algarve, Portugal

Interested to learn more? Here are the countries that make up the rest of the top 20.

  1. Canada
  2. Ireland
  3. Italy
  4. Sweden
  5. Panama
  6. Norway
  7. Greece
  8. Netherlands
  9. Denmark
  10. Costa Rica
  11. Austria
  12. Finland
  13. Belgium
  14. Dominican Republic
  15. Thailand

Reference: US News & World Report