Retirement Saving

Top 10 Places to Retire Abroad

Elizabeth Aldrich

Worried about how far your retirement funds will stretch in the United States? Many Americans are considering retirement abroad, where their purchasing power is often double or more. Besides, if international travel is a post-retirement goal, why not just travel full-time?

We ranked some of the top international retirement destinations from 1-10, 1 being the best, according to the following five factors. We then averaged their scores to give them an overall ranking. Here’s how we measured each factor.

Cost of Living: We measured this factor using www.expatistan.com, a cost of living comparison calculator. For reference, we compared this to Orlando, Florida, a popular domestic retirement destination with a fairly average cost of living for the United States.


Health Care: We combined the World Health Organization’s World Health Report rankings of healthcare systems across 191 countries and the cost of healthcare in these countries.

Visa and Residency Laws: Although it can have its perks (Panama offers some of the best), obtaining residency isn’t always worth it. In some countries, like Costa Rica and Nicaragua, it’s as easy as hopping over the border and coming right back every 90 days to renew a tourist visa indefinitely. Using information on International Living, we’ve evaluated the Visa and Residency laws of each country and ranked them according to how easy it is to obtain residency and what the benefits are.

Safety and Stability: We ranked countries according to the Global Peace Index. For reference, all but three countries (Colombia, Mexico, and Thailand) ranked higher than the United States.

English Proficiency: Although it’s always good to learn some of the language where you’ll be living, we’ve used the English Proficiency Index to score countries based on how easy it is to get by on English alone.

About the author

Elizabeth Aldrich

Elizabeth Aldrich

Elizabeth is a freelance writer and “digital nomad” specializing in small business, entrepreneurship, career advice, real estate, travel, arts, and culture. She’s written for outlets as varied as Rawckus Music and Arts Magazine, Itcher Entertainment, Sweden Tips, Houzz, Hometalk, JobHero, Tico Times, and Eugene Weekly. Thanks to a three-year stint in a travel job, a knack for mining great deals, and credit card churning, she has not paid for a single flight since 2012, despite her constant travels. You can find her on Twitter @LizzieAldrich or her website, www.elizabethaldrich.com.

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