Cheapest Places to Retire: Get the Rest You Deserve

Cheapest Places to Retire: Get the Rest You Deserve

If the days when you look at the calendar and see nothing but Monday depression are getting closer and closer, you are in the right place! As time flows nearby, you must have been working for many years, completing your duties for the world. Now let the world pay what it owes you. Retirement is here! 

Chains of the workdays are off. Now, it is time for endless possibilities and postponed dreams. 

So you’ve decided to spend your golden years abroad. How will you choose the best country to retire to, though?

Typical Requirements of Retiring Abroad

Although the requirements to retire abroad vary depending on the country, they typically include obtaining a visa or residency permit, providing proof of financial stability, and meeting health insurance requirements.

Retirees need to ensure they have adequate health insurance coverage that meets the requirements of their country of choice. They may need to purchase private insurance or enroll in a government-sponsored program depending on the country.

It’s also essential to have a reliable source of retirement income, which may come from savings, investments, pensions, or social security. Retirees should consider the cost of living in their chosen country to see whether or not their retirement income will be sufficient to cover their expenses.

Retirees may also be required to show proof of a clean criminal record and demonstrate proficiency in the local language in some countries. Or some countries may require retirees to invest in the local economy or real estate market. Researching and understanding the specific requirements of the country you’re considering retiring to is very important when retiring abroad.

8 Cheapest Countries to Retire

If you want to get what you deserve, but are a bit hesitant about whether your budget can cover it, you may want to have a look at the cheapest countries to retire in the world. Although it’s filled with new opportunities for travel, learning, and leisure, retirement can also be a time of financial uncertainty.

Many retirees search for affordable and efficient daily life, healthcare options, and peaceful, sunny days overseas. Luckily, there are a growing number of countries that offer all these at the same time. In this article, we will explore some of the best places to retire overseas for those who are looking for peace, health, and a low cost of living. We’ll also present how they’ve ranked in the Global Peace Index Ranking. 

8. Peru

Continent: South America
GPI Ranking: 101
GDP Per Capita: 6.621,57 USD (2021)

Peru offers a variety of stunning landscapes, ranging from bustling cities to tranquil rural towns. The country is known for its relatively low cost of living compared to other Latin American countries. For example, you can rent an apartment in the upscale district of Miraflores in Lima for approximately $740 per month.

In addition to its scenic beauty, Peru boasts a world-renowned cuisine made with fresh ingredients from both the coast and the mountains. If you have a fixed monthly income of at least $1,000, you may be eligible for the Rentista Visa, although you are not permitted to work and must spend at least six months in the country annually. After seven years, you can qualify for a permanent visa.

Peru has made significant strides in improving its health care system and now offers high-quality medical care at affordable prices. The services delivered by private health care providers in Peru include a range of medical specialties, including cardiology, orthopedics, and ophthalmology, with many doctors and specialists holding international certifications.

7. Panama

Continent: north america
GPI Ranking: 61
GDP Per Capita: 14.617,60 USD (2021)

Panama is yet another country of panoramas. If you feel like you get a call from Latin America, Panama is the country that will remind you how retirement can turn into an exciting life where you can zip line, bike, and golf. Also, Panamanians are known for their welcoming and friendly nature, making it easy for retirees to settle into their new homes and make new friends. On top of all these perks, it’s one of the cheapest countries to retire.

Panama ranks pretty high in International Living’s Global Retirement Index. The country has made efforts to attract expatriates, offering them various incentives. One such example is the tax exemption for income earned outside the U.S., which can be beneficial for retirees who continue to invest in a retirement plan from America.

Panama has a modern and efficient health care system with both public hospitals and private options. Many private hospitals and clinics in Panama are accredited by international organizations, such as Joint Commission International, ensuring that medical care meets international standards. Furthermore, health care in Panama provides a wide range of specialized services, including dentistry, cosmetic surgery, and medical tourism, the cost of which is generally lower than in the US and Europe, making it an attractive option for retirees on a budget.

Panama also provides the Friendly Nations Visa and the Pensionado Visa for retirees. Retirees can obtain a Pensionado Visa if they have:

  • a monthly pension income, 
  • annuity, 
  • a monthly income of at least $1,000.

The Pensionado Visa functions like a rewards program, offering discounts such as 25% off flights, 30% off public transportation, and 25% off restaurants. It’s crucial to keep in mind that, like any other location, there may be pros and cons to retiring in Panama, and it’s in your best interest to thoroughly research and consider all factors before making a decision.

6. Costa Rica

Continent: north america
GPI Ranking: 38
GDP Per Capita: 12.472,44 USD (2021)

If you feel like it’s time to get the self-care and rest that you deserve, Costa Rica may probably be the perfect destination for you. The country puts a great emphasis on healthy eating and outdoor activities, which makes it an ideal place for retirees who want to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.

Costa Rica offers a range of healthcare services that are accessible to retirees from all over the world, including comprehensive healthcare plans and private healthcare providers. Most of these services are accessible at a fraction of the cost of similar services in the US and Europe, hence are available to low income residents as well. .

The country’s public healthcare system is also highly regarded, granting access to affordable and comprehensive services, medications, and treatments.

Costa Rica also offers many conveniently priced recreational activities, including golfing, hiking, and water sports, and a relatively low cost of living, making it an attractive destination among the best countries to retire to on a budget. 

Apart from being already affordable, Costa Rica also welcomes retirees by being eligible for tax benefits, making it even easier to live in the country and enjoy their years of freedom.

One of your options to be able to retire in this beautiful country is to apply for a Pensionado visa. However, it is necessary to have a minimum monthly income of $2,500 to be eligible for the Pensionado visa.

5. Spain

Continent: europe
GPI Ranking: 29
GDP Per Capita: 30.103,51 USD (2021)

Spain is a European country that offers the friendliness of a warm climate. If you are willing to take your golden years in a country with rich and diverse cultural heritage, a long history dating back to the Roman Empire, and is home to many world-famous cultural landmarks such as the Alhambra and the Sagrada Familia. Such a history also contains tremendous museums with works by famous artists such as Picasso, Dalí, Miró, Gaudi, Van Gogh, Monet, and Cézanne.

Apart from being a popular destination for those seeking a more relaxed pace of life, Spain is also known as one of the easiest and less costly countries to retire. It is even easier if you can meet one of the following requirements:

  • Being employed or self-employed and prying to the social security system of Spain
  • Being married or recently divorced
  • Being a state pensioner 

The public healthcare system in Spain is considered one of the best in Europe, and private health care facilities are also widely available in the country. Many private hospitals in Spain offer world-class medical treatments and technologies, and their staffs consist of highly trained medical professionals who typically speak fluent English and other languages.

The cost of medical care in Spain is also significantly lower than in many other European countries, making it an attractive option for retirees who want to cut back on their expenses.

4. Czech Republic

Continent: europe
GPI Ranking: 8
GDP Per Capita: 26.821,25 USD (2021)

The Czech Republic, a pearl in Eastern Europe, is a country that offers a desirable combination of low cost of living and safety for those who seek to relocate abroad for retirement. Expat Focus reports that real estate prices are significantly lower compared to most other countries in Western Europe.

For those who enjoy historical prosperity and cultural events, the Czech Republic offers a wealth of opportunities. It’s referred to as the castle capital of the world, with its famous Prague Castle dating back to the Middle Ages. Additionally, the country is home to 20 monuments designated as UNESCO cultural and world heritage sites.

If you plan to stay in the Czech Republic for more than 90 days, it’s necessary to register for a visa. To apply for a visa, you must provide proof of international health insurance.

3. Malaysia

Continent: Asia
GPI Ranking: 18
GDP Per Capita: 11.109,26 USD (2021)

Another country that may attract you with its history and nature is Malaysia. This country has a very warm welcome for expats who are thinking of settling in the country and has a plan called Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H). Thanks to this plan, it’s even possible to get a 10-year visa in one go. 

Malaysia is a melting pot of cultures, with a rich history and a diverse population that includes Malay, Chinese, Indian, and indigenous communities, yet, almost everyone speaks English in the country. Known for its lush jungles, pristine beaches, and towering mountains, Malaysia is a popular destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers. The country lives both during the day and the night. Hence, you can take revenge for the sleepless working nights and compulsory early mornings with some dancing and dawn walks. Especially when you look at the housing costs, both in big city centers and suburbs–both have their undeniable charms–you’ll notice that Malaysia is one of the most affordable places to retire.

Malaysia has become a popular destination for retirees seeking affordable and high-quality healthcare services. The country boasts a well-developed healthcare system, with both public and private hospitals offering advanced medical treatments and technologies. Many private hospitals have international accreditation and offer services in multiple languages. In addition to the overall low cost of living, the cost of medical care in Malaysia is significantly lower than in many Western countries, making it an attractive option for retirees on a budget.

Malaysia’s government has established the Malaysia My Second Home program, which offers a range of benefits to foreign retirees, including health care access.

2. Slovenia

Continent: Europe
GPI Ranking: 7
GDP Per Capita: 29.291,40 USD (2021)

Slovenia offers a picturesque Alpine setting for retirees, with several peaks and opportunities for adventure in its Triglav National Park. The capital city, Ljubljana, was recognized as one of the top 10 cities for retirement by International Living. Convenient housing costs contribute to the pertinence of Slovenia in terms of retirement: a comfortable apartment in the city costs approximately $720 per month.

Slovenia has a public health care system that provides free or low-cost comprehensive medical care to all residents, including foreigners. Retirees can access healthcare services such as consultations with general practitioners, medical specialists, and medical treatment. There are also private medical facilities available for those who prefer shorter waiting times. Moreover, private coverage is typically more extensive.

Most medical professionals in Slovenia speak English, which makes it easy for retirees who don’t speak Slovenian to communicate with their doctors. The country has a high standard of medical care, and its healthcare system is well-regulated. Overall, Slovenia is a great destination for retirees looking for quality health services.

Besides being one of the cheapest countries to retire to, Slovenia offers a high level of peace and safety, making it an excellent choice for those looking for a secure and peaceful retirement destination.

1. Portugal

Continent: Europe
GPI Ranking: 6
GDP Per Capita: 24.567,51 USD (2021)

With its mild Mediterranean climate and sunny days, Portugal is one of the countries that can make you enjoy the best years of your life. The weather is always perfect for a pleasant walk, and in the evenings, you can enjoy delicious Mediterranean cuisine accompanied by quality wine. Apart from this magnificent invitation, it is one of the most affordable countries to retire, as daily life is much more affordable than many others. 

Portugal has a stunning coastline, rolling hills, and picturesque villages. It allows you to pursue the joy of exploration and the learning process of your life, but this time, for your own curiosity’s sake. The country has a rich history and cultural heritage, with numerous historic sites and monuments that reflect its past as a colonial power. 

One of the most advantageous sides of retiring to Portugal is that the country offers a range of medical services for foreign retirees who choose to settle in the country. The national health service provides free or low-cost healthcare to all residents, including retirees, and non-residents can also access healthcare services by paying convenient costs. Additionally, private healthcare is also available at affordable rates, which makes getting a private insurance policy advantageous because it enables you to access many services more quickly.

The country has a high standard of medical facilities, and the medical professionals are highly qualified and trained. The language barrier can be challenging for some retirees, but many medical professionals speak English or other languages. Portugal is also known for its warm climate and relaxed lifestyle, making it an attractive destination for retirees seeking affordable and accessible medical services.

To retire in Portugal, you must present proof of a valid health insurance policy when you apply to your home consulate. As Portugal generally accepts almost all major medical insurance, this process can be much easier than you might expect. Furthermore, Portugal offers a considerably low cost of living compared to other European countries.

Cheapest Countries to Retire: The Wrap-Up

In conclusion, numerous affordable countries around the globe offer an attractive retirement lifestyle at a fraction of the cost of more developed nations. The factors that make a country a desirable retirement destination may vary depending on an individual’s preferences and circumstances. However, common factors include a low cost of living, a pleasant climate, a high quality health care system, and a welcoming local community.

It’s crucial to consider the potential downsides and challenges of living in a foreign country, such as language barriers, cultural differences, and access to health care. With proper economic research and planning, though, retiring abroad can be a rewarding and affordable option for many people.


What are some of the cheapest countries to retire in the world?

Some of the cheapest countries to retire in the world include Thailand, Mexico, Portugal, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Malaysia, Panama, Nicaragua, Colombia, and Cambodia.

What are the best countries to retire?

According to the annual Global Retirement Index, some of the best countries to retire are Portugal, Norway, Iceland, Ireland, New Zealand, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.

How much money do I need to retire abroad?

The amount of money you need to cover your living expenses as you spend your retirement years in one of the cheapest countries to retire depends on your lifestyle and expenses. However, it's generally recommended to have at least $1,500 to $2,000 per month to live comfortably in one of the cheapest countries to retire.

Can I still receive my Social Security benefits if I retire abroad?

Yes. You can still receive your benefits if you retire in another country. However, you may need to inform the Social Security Administration of your new address and pay taxes on your benefits, depending on the country you retire.

Can I buy property when I retire in another country?

Yes, you can purchase property as a foreigner. There are even programs like Golden Visa that allow you to obtain residency in return for certain real estate investments. These programs aim to encourage foreign investment while providing investors with the opportunity to reside abroad. However, the rules and regulations may vary depending on the country, so it's essential to do your research and work with a trusted real estate agent or attorney.

What are the minimum income requirements for retiring abroad?

The minimum income requirements for retiring abroad vary depending on the country. Some countries require retirees to have a minimum income, while others do not. For example, in some countries, retirees may need to prove that they have a certain level of income or savings to qualify for a visa or residency permit.

Is there a retirement age requirement to retire abroad?

The retirement age requirement varies by country. Some countries have a specific retirement age for their citizens, but this may not apply to foreign retirees. However, some countries may require retirees to be at a certain age to qualify for a visa or residency permit.

Do I need to have universal healthcare to retire abroad?

Universal healthcare is not a requirement for retiring abroad, but it's important to consider healthcare options in the destination you're considering retiring. Retirees may need to purchase private health insurance or enroll in a government-sponsored program, depending on the country. It's best if you check the public and private programs in your destination.

What makes a country ideal for retirement?

There are several factors to consider when choosing a country for retirement. Some of the key criteria include low living costs, affordable and accessible healthcare,  mild climate, high safety levels, and good infrastructure.

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