10 Countries That Are Cheap and Safe for Retirees

Viktoriia Hnatiuk / Shutterstock.com

How about an extended international vacation? That seems to be the choice for more and more Americans who are moving to other countries.

The Social Security Administration reports that more than a half-million people are receiving their retirement benefits outside the United States.

Among the many reasons to take this plunge are: adventure, friendlier tax laws, lower cost of living, less crime and a change of pace.

Investopedia has compiled a list of affordable countries that rank high for safety using this data:

  • Safety. Based on the 2018 Global Peace Index from the Institute for Economics & Peace, a nonprofit think tank, this index uses 23 qualitative and quantitative measurements to rank 163 nations for “peacefulness,” from the calmest (No. 1, Iceland) to the least-peaceful (No. 163, Syria.)
  • Affordability. Numbeo’s 2019 Cost of Living Index identifies affordable locations, ranking them by comparing their cost of living (including groceries, restaurants, transportation and utilities, but not housing) with costs in New York City. If a country’s score is 92.40, for example, its cost of living is 92.4% of NYC’s.

The following, in alphabetical order, are Investopedia’s choices for a cheap, safe retirement abroad.

Austria

BABAROGA / Shutterstock.com

Peacefulness: No. 3

Cost of Living Index: 71.79

Austria’s government offers information on relocating, including permanent immigration and working.

Once you’re past the red tape, you can enjoy this land of tradition and culture. The country’s location in Europe — Austria shares borders with eight countries — can’t be beat.

Says the U.S. Embassy in Austria:

“Rents for unfurnished apartments in Vienna or other major cities and towns may vary between $700 and $3,000 up per month for a two-bedroom apartment with bathroom and kitchen (utilities not included).”

Australia

Nicole Kwiatkowski / Shutterstock.com

Peacefulness: No. 13

Cost of Living Index: 72.08

Life in the land of kangaroos and koalas can be pricey in the big cities. Numbeo estimates life in Sydney, for example, to run just under $3,500 per month for a family of four, excluding rent.

Moving permanently to Australia became more complex in 2018, when the country abolished its Investor Retirement visa for self-funded retirees. But Expatra has a detailed breakdown with alternative approaches for retiring there.

Chile

Santiago, Chile
Marianna Ianovska / Shutterstock.com

Peacefulness: No. 28

Cost of Living Index: 47.73

Rent in this South American coastal nation is 60% lower than the average rent in the U.S., according to Numbeo.

With an unusual shape, Chile is nearly 2,700 miles long from its northern border with Peru to the tip of the South American continent but averages just 110 miles across. Chile has the world’s driest desert (Atacama Desert) and had the biggest earthquake on record — 9.5 on the Richter scale — in 1960.

Costa Rica

Galyna Andrushko / Shutterstock.com

Peacefulness: No. 40

Cost of Living Index: 50.89

A reliable pension or income stream is one requirement for getting a “pensionado visa” to retire to this Central American country, Investopedia says.

Spanish-speaking Costa Rica is bounded by the Pacific Ocean on the west and the Caribbean Sea on the east. A promoter of peace, it is home to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the University for Peace of the United Nations and the Earth Council, according to the Embassy of Costa Rica in Washington, D.C.

Czech Republic

LALS STOCK / Shutterstock.com

Peacefulness: No. 7

Cost of Living Index: 45.12

This European nation is surrounded by Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary, affording plenty of weekend travel opportunities. That may be one reason this land of many castles has become a top retirement destination.

ExpatFocus recommends consulting an international tax expert to determine your retirement income tax liability.

Malaysia

HelloRF Zcool / Shutterstock.com

Peacefulness: No. 35

Cost of Living Index: 39.38

This island nation in Southeast Asia is a popular destination for retirees and expats. Most people here speak English, eating out is cheap, you can buy property and expats can get 10-year multiple entry visas, according to International Living.

A one-bedroom apartment in George Town can be found for less than $200 and a meal for less than $2, Investopedia says.

Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal
Steve Photography / Shutterstock.com

Peacefulness: No. 4

Cost of Living Index: 50.39

This Iberian Peninsula nation is a big draw for retirees from the U.S. and Europe. It has lots of beaches, sun and affordable housing, from cheaper villages to the much-pricier capital, Lisbon.

Expatica supplies an in-depth playbook on putting down stakes in Portugal, with information on residence permits, buying property and drawing money from your retirement plan or pension.

Slovenia

Roman Babakin / Shutterstock.com

Peacefulness: No. 11

Cost of Living Index: 52.51

In this country, at the crossroads of southeast and central Europe, renting a home is 60% cheaper than in the U.S., on average, according to Numbeo. The money saved can allow retirees to check out the many historical and cultural attractions.

The U.S. Embassy in Slovenia gives details on getting residence permits.

Spain

leonov.o / Shutterstock.com

Peacefulness: No. 30

Cost of Living Index: 54.70

Living in the land of flamenco and tapas requires prior authorization and a visa, according to the Spanish government.

Currently, life in Spain can be affordable for Americans because of the real estate downturn following the 2008 banking crash and the U.S. dollar’s relative strength against the euro.

Uruguay

Daniel Zappe / Shutterstock.com

Peacefulness: No. 37

Cost of Living Index: 57.31

This South American nation’s climate, culture and lack of crime lure many American retirees, says Investopedia.

Uruguay’s cost of living is 22.5% lower than the U.S., not including rent, Numbeo says. But living here is not dirt cheap: Milk is nearly $3 a gallon, a pair of Levi’s can cost almost $80, and you can expect to pay more than $11 for an inexpensive restaurant meal.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
5 Ways Social Security Will Change in 2021
5 Ways Social Security Will Change in 2021

These adjustments will affect both workers and retirees in the new year.

10 Common Expenses That Have Skyrocketed for Seniors
10 Common Expenses That Have Skyrocketed for Seniors

Retirees must stretch their dollars further and further these days — no thanks to these costs.

11 Small Money Moves That Will Make a Big Difference
11 Small Money Moves That Will Make a Big Difference

These small money moves will pay off big in the long run.

It’s Worth Spending More on These 14 Purchases
It’s Worth Spending More on These 14 Purchases

Here’s where to find the sweet spot at the intersection of price and quality.

60% of People With This Disease Don’t Know They Have It
60% of People With This Disease Don’t Know They Have It

Millions of people overlook this potentially potent condition that tends to strike women and older adults.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership
How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership

The warehouse club often has some of the cheapest gas in town. Here’s how you can get it as a nonmember.

10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home
10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home

If you like to keep things simple, avoid these purchases.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Vacuums from this brand can last a half-century, if not longer — and they’re hot on the resale market.

A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today
A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today

A few steps can keep your phone from ringing when a spammer calls.

This Company Makes the Best Tires in America
This Company Makes the Best Tires in America

Driver satisfaction with tires is at an all-time high, but one brand stands out.

This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance
This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance

One type of pain is especially associated with cognitive decline.

Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?
Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?

Knowing when to claim can help you maximize benefits.

36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon
36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon

The writing is on the wall for dozens of things we have grown up with.

Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs
Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs

Don’t let these health care expenses catch you off guard in retirement.

8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon
8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon

The giant retailer shines when it comes to these things, from basics to hard-to-find specialty goods.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

8 Federal Income Tax Breaks for Homeowners
8 Federal Income Tax Breaks for Homeowners

Some of these deductions and credits are available to a wide swath of homeowners.

5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food
5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food

Anyone can take advantage of these resources.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

10 Types of Retirement Income That Are Not Taxable
10 Types of Retirement Income That Are Not Taxable

There are lots of things Uncle Sam can’t touch — so long as you play by the rules.

6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home
6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home

Stashing money around the house is anything but harmless.

5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees
5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees

All of these states are located in the same region of the nation.

5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic
5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic

Sometimes the brand-name version is clearly superior.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.