8 Lovely and Affordable Locations for Retiring Abroad

For those seeking to achieve their dream life by retiring abroad, location is all-important.


Moving away from your home means even if you have saved up for retirement, you will want to make sure it is easy to live within your financial means. Even those who think a retirement abroad might be beyond them may be surprised at the low cost of living available in some of the most beautiful foreign retirement destinations in the world.

Of course, cheap food and accommodation are not all you will need in your retirement. A certain amount of political stability, good transportation and infrastructure, and high-quality health care can all be vital parts of a successful retirement experience. Some countries offer robust expat communities to help you acclimate to life in a new country. While you may also have your own personal desires, such as living in an historic town, amid lush scenery or beside a sunny beach, there are enough ideal retirement destinations to find exactly what you are looking for.

North and Central America

Mexico boasts some of the most popular expat retirement locations, with beautiful scenery and an amazing culture to enjoy. The country’s cost of living is well within the means of many U.S. retirees, although certain towns and cities have experienced rising prices in areas such as real estate as a result of their popularity. Nevertheless, most of the costs are reasonably affordable, with special deals available in public transport, health care and entertainment for those over the age of 60. There are also areas with large numbers of residents who speak English, making your move all the easier. Some popular locations for U.S. retirees include Merida, Lake Chapala, San Miguel De Allende and Puerto Vallarta.

Costa Rica offers a special Pensionado visa to those who choose the country for their retirement, provided you can prove $1,000 dollars or more in monthly income. The visa entitles you to enrollment in the state’s health care system for approximately 10 percent of your income. Besides this perk, the scenery and culture of Costa Rica are a huge draw for many U.S. retirees. You may wish to choose a beachside location along the coast, or head for the popular cities in the Central Valley region. The stability and relative prosperity of the country can make it a worthwhile choice, even if it is slightly more expensive than some other alternatives.

South America

Ecuador could be an excellent choice for any retiree looking for an affordable lifestyle, as seniors can get as much as 50 percent off their utility bills, as well as lowered property taxes and a landline free of charge. The efficiency of the public transportation system may even mean you will be able to save on the cost of owning your own vehicle. As well as offering these discounts, Ecuador has a very high quality of life and a rich and varied landscape for all residents to enjoy. The standard of health care can also be very high, especially if you live near one of the larger cities. Cities like Cuenca, Quito, Bahia de Caraque, San Clemente and Manta are all popular destinations for retirees and offer a wide variety of experiences and beauty for expats to enjoy.

Panama, like Costa Rica, offers a Pensionado residency visa to those who can prove $1,000 dollars of income per month. Seniors can also receive huge discounts on doctor’s visits, entertainment, transportation and eating out. In addition to this, Panama’s currency is linked to the U.S. dollar, giving you some additional peace of mind regarding your finances. There is a wide choice of locations, from quiet towns in the countryside and on the coast to large and exciting cities. Many U.S. retirees in Panama find they are able to live more than comfortably even on a comparatively low income. When looking for places to live in Panama, you may want to check out Las Tablas, Coronoado, Santa Fe and El Cangrejo for potential retirement destinations.


Portugal is one of the highest rated countries where you can retire as a foreigner. The weather and beautiful coastline make it the perfect location for many retirees, with plenty of recreational activities to enjoy. In addition, the country has a very low cost of living. The relatively inexpensive real estate will also make it an ideal location for retirees looking for a permanent home. You will be in good company, as many other U.S. retirees live in Portugal. Algarve, at the coast, is possibly one of the highest sought-after locations. For city living, you might prefer Lisbon.


France may not be universally affordable in all its cities, but there are many areas within the country that U.S. retirees could live in more than comfortably. Choosing one of the beautiful towns in the French countryside can mean benefitting from years of culture and history as well as a low cost of living. This includes easily affordable communications packages, allowing you to keep in contact with your family at home. In addition to these perks, France has the highest rated health care system in the world, according to the World Health Organization. For retirement purposes, this can be a huge weight off your mind. Some of the best recommended towns for U.S. retirees are Pau and Saint-Chinan.


Malaysia’s low cost of living makes it the perfect destination for many retirees, especially those who wish to enjoy new cultural experiences. Kuala Lumpur, the country’s capital, is a vast city offering both modern amenities and old-world charms, as well as very affordable health care rates. Another popular destination is George Town on the island of Penang, which is particularly well known for its international standard of culinary excellence. Other locations you may consider are Malacca, Ipoh and Kota Kinabalu.

Thailand also has a very low cost of living, possibly even lower for those older than 60 years of age, who can qualify for numerous discounts on entertainment and travel spending. If you choose an area with the right services and amenities, you can benefit from English-speaking doctors, affordable living costs and beautiful surroundings. The most popular destination is Chiang Mai in the north of the country, as it does not have the same extreme weather as other areas and provides extensive opportunities for shopping and health care. Other popular locations include Phuket, Hua Hin and Bangkok.


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