Senior Resources » 10 Most Inexpensive Countries to Retire

10 Most Inexpensive Countries to Retire

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For some, retirement can mean a career change. For others, it might mean more time to devote to a hobby or passion. However, for many retirees, moving to another country is the goal! From Latin America to Asia and Europe, moving outside of the U.S. can reduce retirement costs. Weather, location, health care access, language, visa qualifications, and income requirements are among the many considerations that go into deciding on a retirement home. But what are the other benefits? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about retiring in another country!


Advantages of Retiring in Affordable Countries

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Retiring abroad doesn’t mean sacrificing quality of life! Many countries offer excellent infrastructure and amenities at a fraction of the cost compared to the U.S. With lower living costs, more affordable and accessible healthcare options, and a more diverse lifestyle, you can be sure to find your way to a fulfilling retirement without risking your financial security!

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Retirement Country

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There are seven main categories to determine the best locations out of over 200 countries in the world. Those categories are:

  • Housing
  • Visa and benefits
  • Cost of living (COL)
  • Affinity rating
  • Healthcare
  • Development
  • Government
  • Climate

In addition to these factors, you should also look at the availability of high-speed internet, networking opportunities, as well as English-speaking locals or service providers in each country.

With these main categories in mind, you can compile your own list of requirements needed to retire in a foreign country. No matter what you’re seeking in this endeavor, be sure to sit down and think about what you want your retirement to look like long-term. It may take some time, but it’ll be well worth it!

Researching Affordable Retirement Countries

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There are many options out there on how to research to find the right country for your retirement dreams. Here are just a few that may aid you in your quest!


International Living

American Citizens Abroad


International Citizens Group

Warren & Julie Travel – Slow Travel Nomad Expats


Retirement Travelers

10 Most Inexpensive Countries to Retire

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Now that we’ve discussed all the pros and cons of retiring abroad, let’s dive into some of the top inexpensive countries to retire! While we’ve narrowed this list down to the top 10, it’s important to note that there are so many other great countries ripe for retirement living. Now, without further ado, here are the top 10 most inexpensive countries to retire in.


Just south of the United States, Mexico is a popular destination for retirees and vacationers. Staying at a resort is different from living somewhere full-time, though! Plans to retire in Mexico should include a lengthy stay before a commitment to get a better feel for the place as a home.

Language: Spanish

Currency: Peso

Cost of living: Low (but don’t forget to look at overall cities!)

Health care is available through government programs that cover low-income residents or require payment of premiums. additionally, private hospitals and specialists offer high-quality care at a relatively low cost, and many retirees maintain private insurance or pay cash for medical services. Querétaro, Mexico is another lower-cost option. The local airport also offers direct flights to several hubs in the U.S., including Dallas/Ft. Worth, Houston, and Chicago. Querétaro boasts a mild climate and various warehouse store shopping options, such as Costco and Sam’s Club. These two cities are just some of the many options available in Mexico for you to enjoy during your retirement!


With miles of the Pacific coastline, an active volcano, and natural beauty, Ecuador attracts many retirees from the United States and other countries.


Language: Spanish

Currency: U.S. dollar

Cost of living: 53.8% lower than in the United States

High-quality health care is available at a lower cost than in the United States, and all citizens and visitors are guaranteed services. Foreign retirees can join the government system for under $100 monthly for full coverage, or they can provide proof of private insurance. Permanent Residence Visas are available once an individual has lived in Ecuador for at least 21 months under a temporary visa. Minimum income, real estate investments, or bank deposits are required as part of the temporary visa application.


Portugal has become one of the most popular destinations for both retirees and visitors of all ages from around the world, thanks to its beautiful scenery, coastal cities, wine, food, and mild weather!

Language: Portuguese

Currency: Euro

Cost of living: About 35.4% lower than in the U.S.


If you’re looking to retire here, you must first apply at a local consulate for a residence permit, which is valid for five years, and then for a permanent permit once that expires. The “Golden Visa” program was created to encourage foreign investment in Portugal. Excellent health care is available, and legal residents can register with the National Health Service for access to public hospitals and health centers, paying for services as they go. For others, health care is generally covered by private insurance, which is required as a condition of receiving a residency permit. The warm climate, friendly locals, and entertainment options draw many retirees to Portugal. Living here could be a gateway to explore other parts of Europe as well. 


Spain remains a European country highlighted for its overall low cost of living and peacefulness. With its rich history, Spain offers plenty of sightseeing to keep your mind and body running. Art lovers in particular can bask in the work of Baroque painter Diego Velazquez or modernists like Picasso and Dali!

Language: Spanish

Currency: Euro

Cost of living: 123% lower than that of the U.S

For healthcare, certain people may qualify for the country’s public healthcare program if they meet the following characteristics: If you’re employed or self-employed and paying into Spain’s social security system, if you’re recently divorced from a partner who pays into Social Security, or if you’re a state pensioner. If you do want to retire in Spain, you will need to register for a visa after living there for 90 days!


There is so much to choose from in Peru as far as the scenery goes. The country features everything from vibrant cities to mountainous regions and quiet farming towns. Regardless of where you stay, the cost of living tends to rest on the lower side of the spectrum compared with other Latin American countries!

Language: Spanish


Currency: Sol

Cost of living: 45.61% lower than in the U.S

You’ll also access a world-renowned cuisine made with fresh ingredients from the sea to the mountains. If you can withdraw at least $1,000 in retirement savings, you can secure a Rentista Visa. However, you can’t work and must remain in the country for at least six months each year. Following seven years, you can qualify for a permanent visa.


While it can be a bit more expensive than other countries, Austria still ranks among the top 10 most livable countries, according to the Global Peace Index. A recent study by the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Vienna as the most livable city on Earth.

Language: German

Currency: Euro


Cost of living: 64.11% less than the U.S

To retire here, you will need a residence permit after six months and to obtain one, you will need proof of income.


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You can enjoy the peacefulness and laid-back vibe of the country at one of its many beaches. Animal lovers can go on sightseeing tours of Kangaroos and other native creatures like the wombat. With an average cost of living almost equal to the U.S., Australia is an adventurer’s dream. Retiring here may be a bit trickier than other places on our list, though. For starters, the country abolished its Retirement Visa in 2018. But you may be able to acquire an Investor Retirement Visa if you meet the following qualifications:

  • Are at least 55 years old
  • Live and work for Australia for up to four years or invest a certain amount of money in the country
  • Make a minimum income based on location

So it may be the right destination for those who want to work part-time during their retirement. The other options are having someone sponsor you, or apply for a visitor’s visa, and reapply when required.

Language: English

Currency: Australian dollar

Cost of living: 4.9% more expensive than the United States

Costa Rica

This Central American country stretches from the Pacific to the Caribbean, with jungles, rain forests, modern cities, and beaches. Climate, environment, and costs vary throughout the country, but overall, housing is 61.3% lower on average.


Language: Spanish

Currency: Colón

Cost of living: About 25% lower than in the United States

Retirees can choose to live within the city itself or in the mountainous suburbs, but either way, they have access to the amenities offered by San Jose as a popular tourist destination.  Excellent health care is also available through public and private programs. The national medical program, with no co-pays or exclusions, is available to residents along with the option of private health care with out-of-pocket costs that can be self-insured or paid through a private insurance policy. Residency programs include the Pensionado visa, which requires a monthly income of at least $1,000 to be transferred to a Costa Rican bank for expenses, and The Rentista Program, for those without a monthly pension, requires a minimum of $60,000 or a monthly income of at least $2,500 from a guaranteed source for at least two years.


On the other side of the world, Vietnam has a plethora of beaches, scenery, food, history, and culture!

Language: Vietnamese

Currency: Vietnam đồng

Cost of living: 59.3% lower than in the U.S.


Since the government owns all the land and foreigners are restricted from purchasing property, retirees rent since it’s the more economical way to go. Unfortunately, obtaining a visa is not as straightforward in Vietnam as in many other countries. It is possible, however. You can apply for long-term stays or business visas. High-quality health care is very affordable, with both public and private systems. Most retirees end up carrying international health insurance and take advantage of private hospitals. Though it can be more difficult to stay long-term, Vietnam is definitely a wonderful, low-cost retirement option.


A popular tourist destination with a coastline on the Adriatic and stunning beachfront resorts, Montenegro is beginning to be noticed by retirees. Its beautiful scenery, European location, welcoming populace, and low cost of living make it a great place to retire!

Language: Montenegrin

Currency: Euro

Cost of living: 43.6% lower than in the U.S.

In the capital and largest city of Podgorica, the cost of living is 62% lower than in New York City. Visas of various types can be obtained from the government of Montenegro. However, there are provisions for becoming a permanent resident. Investing in Montenegro is also highly encouraged with a variety of incentives, and foreigners can buy property. Both private and public health care are available in Montenegro. Retirees and expats generally purchase private coverage, including medical evacuation, which provides the option of receiving medical treatment in another country if needed.

Lifestyle Considerations for Retirees Abroad

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Moving to a lower-cost country does not mean you need to compromise on quality of life. The level of medical care, infrastructure, and other important lifestyle factors can be as high as, or even superior to, U.S. equivalents. Many international locations cater to expat retirees looking for an enjoyable lifestyle and the chance to discover new places and cultures. However, you will need to determine how much you can afford to spend. Factor travel costs, such as flights back to the U.S. to visit family, into your overall budget. There are also taxes and visas to consider, which can vary from one country to another. Make sure you do your research thoroughly before you move anywhere!

Tips on Retiring Cheaply and Comfortably

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Retiring cheaply and comfortably is absolutely possible. Here are few additionally tips on making the most out of retirement abroad.


Budgeting: Create a detailed budget outlining your retirement income and expenses. Be realistic about your spending habits and identify areas where you can cut costs without sacrificing your quality of life.

Downsize: Consider downsizing your living space to reduce housing costs. This could involve moving to a smaller home, downsizing to a more affordable area, or even renting instead of owning property.

Location: Choose a retirement destination with a low cost of living. Look for countries or regions where housing, healthcare, groceries, and other essentials are affordable. Research visa requirements and consider factors like climate, safety, and access to amenities.

Manage Expenses: Cut unnecessary expenses and prioritize spending on essentials and activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. Look for ways to save money on groceries, transportation, entertainment, and other discretionary expenses.

Stay Active and Engaged: Retiring cheaply doesn’t mean sacrificing a fulfilling lifestyle. Stay active and engaged in retirement by pursuing hobbies, volunteering, traveling, or spending time with family and friends. Engaging in meaningful activities can enhance your well-being and happiness in retirement.

The Bottom Line on Retiring Elsewhere

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Finding the cheapest place to retire may not be the most difficult task, but you also deserve to live a comfortable retirement in a safe environment! However, make sure you do your research as well to find a place that you mesh well and that fits your personal retirement budget. Retirement is an adventure, so get out there, do some research, and have fun with it! I hope you find the best place to retire and enjoy every moment. After all, you’ve earned it!

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Originally published May 30, 2024


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