Best Places In The World To Retire On A Budget

For both adventurous and budget conscious seniors, the thought of retiring abroad is enticing. Let's globe hop together in search of that ideal locale.
Senior couple with their backs to us looking out at the ocean

Ready for a new chapter? Looking to reinvent yourself or to finally fulfill a bucket list adventure? Looking to stretch your pension further than Uncle Sam will allow?

For many seniors, retiring abroad is the way to make these dreams a reality. And yes, it’s possible to retire on a budget and still enjoy a life that many older adults only dream about.

Stretching Your Dollar & Staying Safe

You may be able to stretch your dollar further outside of the United Sates. However, it is important to look for a location that is likely to be both cheap and peaceful. With recent events in the world, it’s wise to pay special attention to safety issues as well. Consider the factors of health care, environment and country infrastructure when evaluating which country to call home. It’s the best way to stretch your dollar, stay safe and enjoy your retirement move.

This is a short list of the 10 best places to retire in the world on a budget where you can retire and enjoy your lifestyle.



Porto, Portugal Old City skyline on the Douro River

High on the many lists of best places to retire on a budget is Portugal. In fact, Portugal came up first for International Living and is among the top 5 on the Global Peace Index. This makes it one of the safest countries in the world. In addition, if you’re dreaming of sandy beaches and warm, sunny climate…this is a winner.

The country has recently adjusted its tax code to be friendly to expats. If you qualify for Non-habitual Residence, you may be exempt from paying income tax for the next 10 years.



Porto, Portugal Old City skyline on the Douro River

Spain is often listed as one of the best places to retire in the world. You can find sunny weather and a warm climate. It remains relatively low cost of living and a peaceful country.

Spain has the second lowest cost of living in Europe. (Portugal is slightly lower.) Cost of living varies and tends to be lower in the countryside than in major cities. Barcelona and Madrid are more expensive; Malaga, Alicante and the Canary Islands tend to be more affordable.

Food prices are also reasonable. When you think of Spain, you often think of fresh, locally grown produce, including oranges, fruits, and vegetables. Naturally, wine is also plentiful and inexpensive. With the abundance of fresh produce, seafood, and olives, this is a perfect place to explore the Mediterranean diet.

Spain offers retirees options of country explorations as well as city escapes.


Czech Republic

Historic town of Cesky Krumlov in fall, Bohemia, Czech Republic

Czech Republic ranks number 7 in the Global Peace Index. It offers a lower cost of housing than many other countries in Western Europe.

Prague has a tremendous lure for retirees, as a center for the arts, entertainment, and enjoyment. Czech Republic is known as the beer capital of the world. It is readily available with wide varieties—such as sour beers, fruit beers, light and dark beers. The exceptional brews are available at eye-popping low prices, $1 or $2.

If you’re a food lover, Czech cuisine offers many options of German-Slavic staples such as sausages, potatoes, bacon, and sauerkraut. However, Prague has grown up and now offers great choices including options for Vietnamese cuisine, sushi, and Mexican.

If you picture spending your retirement in outdoor cafes, concerts, and taking long walks, Prague is a must-consider locale. With beautiful landscape, castles, and architecture, you may find yourself enchanted.



Batu cave in Malaysia, Hinduism temple

This country is known for welcoming expats, which is why it’s also on our list for best places in the world to retire on a budget. It is possible to get a visa for up to 10 years with the Malaysia My Second Home, MM2H, program.

Additionally, English is known as the ‘unofficial first language’ in Malaysia. It also ranks 30 on the Global Peace Index, higher than other countries in the region.

Options abound for beaches and jungle adventures. Alternatively, there are many urban destinations to explore.

The low cost of living is especially attractive. For example, a one-bedroom apartment in George Town costs an average of $175 in the city and $140 in the suburbs, according to Numbeo.


Costa Rica

Toucan sitting on the branch in the forest, green vegetation, Costa Rica

This country has been called ‘paradise for the right price’. The year-round climate is tropical, with an average high of 81° to an average low of 64°. Rents start at $500 a month in the Central Valley. Meals may be had for as low as $4. Are you still reading or booking a flight?

Costa Rica is known for having an excellent healthcare system, among the best in Latin America.

For exploring, this is an outdoor enthusiast’s playground. Surfing, swimming, whitewater rafting, fishing, jungle adventures are among the favorites.



Aerial view of Panama´s Skyline showing La Cinta Costera Boulevard

Panama is attractive to retirees both for the lifestyle, climate, and costs of living.

Cost of living can be as low as $500 per month rent, or a modest but higher lifestyle for $2,000 a month.

An active retirement may include many of the activities you’ll find available in Panama such as golf, biking and swimming. In some areas, you’ll find wellness opportunities such as yoga, Tai Chi and meditation retreats.



Beautiful streets and colorful facades of San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas, Mexico

If you’re looking for low cost of living, beautiful beaches, great weather and close proximity to the United States—consider Mexico.

Mexico also has a healthcare system rated good to excellent. People with a residential visa can partake in the national healthcare system. Overall, healthcare costs are much lower than what you’d expect to pay in the U.S.



Twelve apostles at sunset, great ocean road at Port Campbell, Australia

Australia is popular with many tourists, with Sydney being its most popular city. Sydney is a beautiful place with a mild climate that is perfect for seniors who want to enjoy the outdoors all year round. The city has a vibrant culture and is filled with historical landmarks and museums. Sydney is also home to many beaches, making it a great place to retire for seniors who enjoy spending time outdoors.


Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu city view from Diamond Head lookout, Hawaii

If you want to stay closer to home, look no further than Hawaii! Honolulu is another great city for seniors who want to enjoy mild weather all year round. The city has a laid-back atmosphere and is filled with beautiful beaches and parks. Honolulu is also a great place to retire for seniors who want to be close to family and friends, as it is a popular destination for visitors from the mainland United States.


Cruise Ships

Luxury cruise ship sailing to port at sunrise

This last option isn’t a place, per se, but it’s one of the best places in the world to retire to: a cruise ship! When you’re on a cruise, all of your needs are taken care of. There’s non-stop food, entertaining, and even exercise. Let’s not forget that you get to wake up in a new city or country every day! Cruise living does not just provide seniors with a way to see the world more comfortably, it’s also one of the ways you can live rent-free!

Assistance Club Summary

Retiring overseas may be a dream but by taking the right steps can become a reality.

The #1 key: Find the right balance of low cost and safety. Look for countries that are peaceful, offer health care and have relative stability. In addition to being more affordable than many places in the United States, living abroad can be an exciting phase of your life.

Better climate, lower cost of living, diverse cultures all may contribute to the benefits of moving overseas. If you are looking to retire outside of the U.S., you may find great options for living your dreams.

Other key items for consideration:

  • Cost of living compared to quality of life available
  • Cost and quality of health care
  • Language ease — how much is English spoken
  • Opportunities for how to spend your time
  • Climate
  • Environment
  • Infrastructure
  • Safety
  • Ease of establishing residency
  • Benefits for expats

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