Retirement: The Definitive List of Ideal Places to Settle Abroad
You have finished your last day of work and are ready to tap into your 401(k). The kids are all grown up, and nothing is stopping you from retiring abroad to a life of exotic wonder. With the cost of living, quality of life and cultural aspects to consider, there are a lot of important decisions to make before leaving the country.
Below is a comprehensive alphabetical list of some of the best places to spend your golden years.
Argentina is rich in natural beauty with sprawling deserts and abundant rainforests. It’s family-friendly and community-focused with cultural diversity and a dose of a European feel. The capital city, Buenos Aires, is also one of the most popular tourist destinations in South America.
If you want to retire abroad but remain in an English-speaking country, then think about heading Down Under. Australia is renowned for its laid-back lifestyle. From endless coastlines to top-rated big cities, this country has something for everyone. Adventurous retirees can even brave the outback with roaming 'roos.
With a population of just over 400,000 people, Belize is a great choice for those who want to make a small country home. Located on the northeastern coast of Central America, you'll spend your final days on the Caribbean Sea. Different cultures, languages and ecosystems abound.
As the world's fifth-largest and fifth-most populous country, Brazil has a plethora of places to settle. Brazil has 4,655 miles of coastline, expansive tropical rainforests and a wide array of ecological systems, natural resources and protected habitats. It's also a rising nation in terms of GDP, global wealth and international influence.
Chile is the narrow strip of land between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, and it’s a paradise for retirees with a deep motorcycle affection. It tops the list of Latin American countries in terms of development, income and economic freedom. It also possesses a low level of political corruption and the lowest murder rate in the Americas.
Despite a history of violence in the 80s and 90s, two of Colombia's largest cities are safer now than some U.S. cities. It's also a recently accessible location for expats to retire. You'll find breathtakingly lush villages with crystal clear Caribbean waters. Colombians often find a reason to celebrate with salsa dancing and visually stunning art.
Costa Rica is one of the top retirement destinations with over 20,000 U.S. expats. The country's motto, Pura Vida, or "pure life," is an attitude as well as a slogan. You can enjoy a tropical climate year-round, slow-paced rural areas and beautiful beaches with gnarly surf if that's your preference.
Croatia is probably not at the top of a retiree’s list of locations, but it should be. It's slowly becoming a popular destination, so the laws regarding foreigners are continually evolving. Croatia offers a low cost of living, but you'll have to decide if it's worth all the bureaucratic red tape.
Escape to the center of the Caribbean Sea on the island of Hispaniola for your retirement. The Dominican Republic is the most-visited country in the Caribbean and boasts an ever-expanding economy. There’s plenty of time for golfing and sightseeing followed by a dance festival or baseball game.
Ecuador's economy has been steadily improving with exports of oil, bananas and shrimp. Since 1999, the U.S. dollar has been the country's national currency, so there is no need to concern yourself with exchange rates. Ecuador is also quite senior-friendly, offering discounts on airfare, public transportation and entertainment.
You may not have considered retirement in Paris due to the expense. However, France offers a fantastic quality of life that you might not be able to experience at home. The beautiful French countryside provides a welcoming atmosphere with affordable real estate. You'll reward your life's choices in a mostly temperate climate with secure connections to the Eurozone.
Immerse yourself in Mayan ruins when by retiring to the most populous country in Central America. Half of Guatemala's population are Mayans that speak over a dozen local languages. The uniquely rich cultural heritage makes this country an appealing choice for retirement, and it’s only a two-hour flight from the U.S.
The Emerald Isle is the ideal retirement location for those who love lush greenery. The landscape offers astonishing views of castles and cattle pastures. It's also considered one of the most fabulous golf destinations in the world, with hundreds of high-quality courses.
Italy should also be on a shortlist of possible retirement locations. The country offers incomparable food, wine and healthcare. It offers exciting metropolitan nightlife and quiet rural areas, depending on your preference. The Italian culture is also famous for its focus on strong family bonds.
Japan is also a popular destination for retirees. It's even better for people who can't get enough Japanese food. While there isn't much culinary or cultural diversity from which to choose from, the food is quite healthy, and the country and has a culture based on respect and honor.
Malaysia is an amazing choice for a retirement destination. There are not many places in the world with such cultural diversity, since the country has cultural influences from China, India and even the United Kingdom. It also offers rainforests in the interior that are home to rhinos, monkeys and orangutans.
The Maldives is a top vacation destination. It has some of the world's most gorgeous beaches and tropical atmosphere. For retirement, however, it's more advisable for those who are financially independent. Outside of the capital city, there is little in the form of healthcare or financial services.
The island of Malta is one of the sunniest places on Earth. It's also one of the only places in the Mediterranean that primarily speaks English. It's an island community with a large portion of expats, so you’re likely to have a lot in common with the current residents.
Although Mexico may not be at the top of the list, there are plenty of reasons to choose the country for retirement. It's a vast country with a unique cultural history. Mexico offers a slower-paced lifestyle that embraces long siestas and family get-togethers.
The famous Dutch phrase doe eens normaal translates to "just do normal," meaning people who enjoy assimilating will fit right in. That said, the Netherlands is a trendy place for expats. Dutch is the national language, yet almost everyone speaks English. The country is known for its culture and diverse architecture.
New Zealand is known for its relaxed and friendly lifestyle. Kiwis tend to look out for each other while being famously easygoing people. The climate and scenery are second to none. The views are fantastic, with grand mountain ranges and surf-heavy beaches.
Panama is a top choice for retirees from all over the world. It's an ideal location for people who want unbridled biodiversity, vast mountain ranges and unforgettable beaches. International Living named it one of the world's best retirement havens of 2019.
Peru is an optimal destination for retirees who still want to experience some adventure. It offers friendly residents, decent weather and ancient ruins. Among the most breathtaking of these sites is Machu Picchu, the old Incan capital. The country also offers some of the best food in the world.
Located in southeast Asia, the Philippines is an island chain with a rich culture influenced by Spanish and U.S. colonialism. With over 7,000 islands to choose from, there are plenty of options for housing in urban centers and remote areas alike.
Portugal is available for people seeking mild weather and friendly Europeans. It's been a popular tourist and retirement destination for the English for a long time. There are hundreds of miles of coastline from which to choose. Portuguese can be a difficult language to learn, but many residents are well-versed in English.
Slovenia may not top the list of most retirees, but there are plenty of benefits to consider. First of all, the country is one of the safest in the world, with very low crime rates. The vicinity to other ideal travel destinations such as Germany, Austria, Hungary and Italy also bears mentioning.
Spain is rich in tradition and cultural heritage and known for its relaxed lifestyle. A daily two-hour siesta is perfectly normal. Although Barcelona is known for its active nightlife, other areas such as Granada and Sevilla are perfect places to take a stroll down a cobblestone street.
With incomparable natural beauty, Buddhist ruins and secluded locations, Thailand frequently comes up in discussions about places to retire. It goes without saying that Thai food in considerable abundance. Thailand is a tropical paradise with gorgeous scenery and weather.
At 68,000 square miles, Uruguay is a small country, around the size of Missouri. The highest point of Uruguay reaches only 1,686 feet, and the rest of the country is full of fertile plains and modest hills. Uruguay has moderate weather year-round, so there are not many surprises.
Vietnam is a trendy destination for working Americans, let alone those seeking escape in retirement. It is home to 54 different ethnic groups, mainly the Kinh (Viet) people. The great weather and steady improvements to the country's infrastructure move Vietnam up the list for future retirees.