Retirement Locations Outside US

Why Retire Outside US?

Majority of the US citizens do not have sufficient nest egg to permanently become expatriates in the expensive city of Paris or to put up with a daily glass of Italian red wine in Tuscany. In fact, the cost of living in America is rising. This is putting many American citizens, including seniors and the baby boomers, under tremendous pressure to look outside the country, seeking affordable & quality retirement abroad. The idea of retiring outside US is gradually becoming very popular. Based on some important parameters such as health care system, real estate cost, tax liability, culture & climate and ease of obtaining residency, people in the United States are opting for retirement outside the country.

Data reveal that around 75 million Baby Boomers in US will reach the retirement age in the next decade. Federal Government statistics reveal that many of them will not be able to maintain the current standard of living, relying on their assets, savings and pensions. So, quite naturally, increasing number of US Baby Boomers are mulling retirement outside their country. Being more energetic and daring than their previous generations, the Baby Boomers in US have well understood the requirement to optimize their diminishing retirement incomes. So the idea of overseas retirement is alluring many.


Best Place to Retire Outside the US


The current 401(k) balance of the many US citizens, who are on the verge of retirement, may be sufficient enough to retire in a country where the cost of living is relatively less. There are many good locations spread across the globe which boast of persistently good weather and where one can stretch his or her dollar further that would not be possible in the United States. Or the destination you are planning to retire may offer you wonderful opportunities to pursue your own hobbies and interest. Whatsoever, below here we provide you descriptions about some of the top retirement locations outside US.

Retirement In Mexico

The North American country of Mexico is one of the top retirement locations outside US. The low cost of living in this country, inexpensive health care facilities, salubrious weather, breathtaking natural beauty and of course its proximity to family and loved ones in the US, have made it a wonderful overseas place to retire. There are few American-centric retirement locations in the country such as San Miguel de Allende and Lake Chapala near Guadalajara. Since, large number of Americans and Canadians stay at these areas, it is not at all required to learn Spanish. There are many familiar stores in these areas, meeting the requirements of retirees. The low cost of real estate is also a good reason to settle here.

Why Choose Mexico for Retirement? 

  • Settling down in this Central American country opens the door to all sorts of recreational activities. You can enjoy a leisurely life at Mexico.
  • You will get great value for money in Mexico. Did you know you could dine in one of the popular restaurants of Mexico and have a few drinks for less than $9?
  • If you are a retiree in Mexico you will be amazed at the low taxes and day-to-day costs. Mexican property tax is payable quarterly at a rate of 0.1% of the assessed value of the property. It is easy to live here at half the cost than in the U.S.
  • Healthcare facilities for retirees in Mexico are very affordable. While a visit to the doctor's office will cost you as little as $30, you will also get heavy discounts on hospital bills and medicine bills.
  • The low cost of buying and renting property in Mexico is also a good reason to settle here. The properties in El Dorado Ranch with sea view will hardly cost you $40,000. A retirement home along the Mexican Riviera may also be a favorable option for you.

Pros: Natural beauty, great food, excellent weather and a low cost of living.

Cons: Cobblestone streets which may be uncomfortable to ride on, too many dogs around, and poisonous insects like scorpions.

Apart from the fine weather, affordable costs and rich culture, Mexico's main attraction for expatriates is its proximity to the US. Many Americans are heading south of the border after retirement to grab an affordable beachfront property in the nearby tropical paradise of Mexico.

Retirement in Mexico offers incredible value when you consider the safe, secure, ocean-front living with a fabulous year-round temperate climate for so little investment. For instance, while the cost of a beachfront property 30 miles up the coast in southern California would be several million dollars, in Mexico, a spot on the beach could cost you less than $100,000.

The low cost of living in Mexico allows you to splurge on luxuries that would be absolutely unaffordable in the US. The lovely retirement havens of San Miguel de Allende, Mazatlan, Oaxaca, Guadalajara, and Lake Chapala constitute the major areas where American retirees tend to flock. This land of great natural beauty flaunts a very good health-care system, with well equipped hospitals and several doctors who have been trained in the US or Europe. Besides, excellent cellular coverage and high-speed internet widely available across the country makes Mexico a sought after destination of an increasing number of American professionals and business people who "semi-retire" to Mexico, carrying on work from a beach with a laptop!

Retirement In Costa Rica

The picturesque Central American country is a popular tourist place in the world. The country is well known for developed medical tourism and quality medical facilities. The life expectancy of the people of this country is considerably high than the average world life expectancy rate. The tropical climate and the slow pace of life in Costa Rica have made it one of the favored retirement destinations outside the US. The cost of living in Costa Rica is significantly lower than that of the United States.

There is a popular belief that Virgin Mary came to Costa Rica never to return back to heaven as the place was so beautiful. Well, this is what Costa Rica is! It is one of the popular countries in Central America and is a popular tourist destination. It also a major center for medical tourism as high quality medical facilities and services are available in the country. The country is surrounded by Nicaragua and Panama. Costa Rica has a lovely coastline and is bordered by the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean as well. It is home to diverse species of flora and fauna.   Is Costa Rica an ideal retirement destination?

  • The slow pace of life in Costa Rica and a tropical climate make it one of the favored retirement destinations outside the US.
  • When it comes to value for money Costa Rica is one of the best retirement locations outside the US. The grocery bill in the country is at least 15% lower than that of the US. While the housekeeper will charge you $2 to $3 per hour, you can have your hair cut for less than $3. You can't think of such a low cost of living in the US.
  • If you are bothered about high tax rates in the US, Costa Rica is a good place to move to. As a retiree, you need to pay just a few hundred dollars a year for a house which costs between $150,000 and $200,000.
  • While in Costa, you do not need to worry about the quality of Healthcare services. It has one of the longest life expectancies in the world. There are more than 32 government-sponsored hospitals and around 280 clinics around the country.
    • Buying and renting property in Costa Rica is also very cheap. An average –sized home in San Jose comes for about $100,000. The average home price is around $150,000 depending on the location and facilities. The small houses in Cartago and mountain towns cost as little as $40,000.

Pros: More than 50,000 U.S. citizens have settled in Costa Rica. The government of Costa Rica has an open-door policy for North American retirees with many tax sops.

Cons: The crime rate is on the higher side, and traffic can be a problem.

Retirement In New Zealand

New Zealand is one of the major countries in the southern hemisphere. This beautiful island country is a part of the continent of Australasia and is made up into two parts: North Island and South Island. The population of the country is mainly of European descent. The local Maori communities are the largest minorities. Thousands of travelers from various parts of the world come to this country to get the feel of scenic beauty. The country is home to beaches, coral reefs, forests, mountains and other natural features. Some of the popular tourist destinations are Wellington, Dunedin, Hamilton, Christchurch, and Auckland and so on. Retirement in New Zealand promise to be great retirement options outside the US. After retiring in New Zealand you can enjoy beautiful islands coral reefs, forests, and other beautiful locations.


New Zealand – A great Destination for Retirees

Retirement Lifestyles in New Zealand

  • New Zealand is an ideal place for seniors like you who want to live a comfortable life at reasonable expenses. In New Zealand, you can maintain your home for as little as $15 to $20 per month and your average monthly medical costs (if any) will vary between $10 and $13. Your weekly food bill can be anywhere between $175 and $275.
  • If you are retiring in New Zealand, you must know that the healthcare system of the country is funded from the taxes collected from the people. Medical treatment is often free or subsidized. You do not need to pay anything for hospital treatment in case of emergency. Moreover, prescription medicines for all public hospital patients are free of cost.

  • Buying property will be affordable in New Zealand after retirement. While homes in South - Papatoetoe can be a bit expensive at $339,000, houses in Palmerston North in North Island Towns are much cheaper at $293,000. The cheaper regions are Invercargill and Dunedin will cost you an average of $225,000 for a well-furnished home.
    Pros: Beautiful locations, low taxes and cost of real estate. The mild weather, low rate of crime and absence of pollution are the major benefits of staying after retirement in New Zealand.

    Cons: Moving to New Zealand is not easy since you have to go through several stages. Moreover, New Zealand Immigration Service frequently changes their rules.

    Besides magnificent scenery and hordes of activities for baby boomers to indulge in, New Zealand boasts the world's highest "healthy longevity" figures, an affordable cost of living, an English speaking populace, and very good infrastructure. No capital-gains tax is imposed on retirees residing in the country.

    One of the best places to retire in New Zealand is where you can enjoy an improved retirement lifestyle at half the annual cost in the US. For instance, while two coffees and two banana nut muffins at Starbucks at the LA airport would cost you about $10.00, if you spend an additional $10.00 in New Zealand, you could be sitting in a restaurant by the ocean, savoring oysters, the catch of the day, a rack of lamb, coffee, dessert and a bottle of chardonnay. And all for mere $ 20.00!

    However, you may find it difficult to obtain permanent residency status in New Zealand, though there'll be no trouble spending up to six months a year in the country. 

Retirement In Spain

A land of ancient tradition and heritage, Spain is a well known country in Europe. It is one of the top tourist destinations in the world and is home to the second largest number of World Heritage Sites by the UNESCO. The country is also home to the largest number of World Heritage cities. The scenic beauty, idyllic atmosphere and rich culture and tradition make it one of the most sought after tourist destinations for the travelers. Madrid is the capital city of Spain while Barcelona, Seville and Granada are other well known cities.

Why Choose Spain for Retirement?

  • The land of bull-fights and the flamenco is full of energy. Retiring in this beautiful European country will give you great weather, friendly people, and different retirement communities.
    • Retiring in Spain ensures that your wallet does not get lighter. Spain is cheaper than other European countries. You can live here for less than $13,000 per year. Your dining bill will be around $20 for a meal. A beer and snacks cost around $1.50. You do not need to worry about grocery bills, which are only around $70 per week. You can afford $6 for movies and a ticket to Madrid's bullfighting arena for $4.
    • The cost of private health insurance is less than in the US. Health policies for you will cost you anywhere between $880 and $2,000 per year. While a routine check-up with a private doctor costs $35 to $55 the cost of a bed in a private hospital is around $140 per day.
    • Despite the rise in Spain's real estate prices, home prices are still pretty low. Pay $120,000 and move into village homes and coastal apartments. Living in the cities is also an affordable option where you can own a retirement home for less than $120,000. Costa Azahar and Orange Blossom Coast are two of the places seniors from the US relocate to.

Retirement In Croatia

Why you can Retire in Croatia?

Retirement Lifestyles in Croatia 

  • This small European country has beautiful fishing villages, thousands of islands and attractive beaches. With a very low population in Croatia, you can have a relaxed life.
  • The retirees in Croatia are exempted from paying income tax.
  • Staying in Croatia will mean that you can lead a healthy life. Fresh foods and good medical facilities have increased the rate of life expectancy of the people.
    Being a retiree, your health care is covered by government-subsidized medical insurance. You will find many specialized polyclinics, hospitals and medical centers countrywide.
  • You can expect low real estate costs in Croatia. Where else can you find a stone house with courtyard for less than $170,000? The houses in Hvar Island are beautiful, yet within your means. A small villa of your own in Korcula Island will cost you around $175,000.

Pros:Life expectancy of the people in Croatia is far higher than many other countries.

Cons:There are cases of political instability that might be a cause for concern.


Retirement In Thailand

Thailand is one of the popular nations in South East Asia. It is officially referred to as the Kingdom of Thailand and is located in the midst of the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea. There are plenty of tourist spots in the country which draw tourists from all over the world. They are known for scenic beauty, idyllic charm and vibrant culture and tradition. If you are wishing to undertake a trip to some charming place, Thailand can be your ideal choice.

Why Choose Thailand for Retirement?

  • Known as the land of smiles, Thailand is a perfect place for you to live in after your retirement. Long stretches of beaches, a lot of sunshine, and a reasonable cost of living combine to make it an ideal retirement spot.  
  • For $1000 a month you can expect to lead a modest life in Thailand. Pork, chicken and beef are only $ 1 per pound. While a bottle of beer costs a dollar, you can have your monthly groceries for less than $ 300. The biggest savings will be the gasoline, which is only a dollar per liter.
  • The bus fares are less than even half a dollar. If you're looking for entertainment, you can buy movie tickets for as low as $ 4.
  • If you have private health insurance, the cost of diagnosis, hospital fees and medical charges are covered. There are special health benefits for seniors like you that include discounts in medical bills.

Pros:Doesn't get very cold and you do not have to experience snow. Health care costs are pretty low.

Cons:You have to be careful about diseases like malaria. The cost of electricity is also very high in Thailand


Retirement In France

Officially known as the French Republic, France is one of the well known countries in Europe. It ranks among the popular tourist destinations in the world and is known for its scenic beauty, vibrant atmosphere and rich culture. France is the largest country in the European Union. The country is home to numerous tourist spots such as Eiffel Tower, Palace of Versailles, and Mont-Saint-Michel and so on. Paris, the capital of France is one of the cultural and fashion hubs in the world.

For most American retirees, France is the foremost country that comes to mind when retiring abroad due to its great quality of life, varied range of offerings and modern-day comforts. This beautiful country is not only the most romantic place on Earth, but also a retirement haven for baby boomers.

Although France does not provide a special incentive visa for retirees, yet retiring in France involves a quite simple process. All you have to do is apply for a long-term visa at the nearest French consulate in the US, following which you would get a carte de séjour visiteur.

The most romantic place for retirement in France is of course Paris -- a city that one should at least visit and preferably reside in for some time, at least once in his life. However, since Paris is the most expensive place to retire in France, you may want to opt for the French countryside, where real estate, rents and the cost of living are very much affordable.

Retirees certainly can appreciate France's lower tax rate for "pensioners" -- a retired couple can have a joint income of up to approximately $102,000 USD and pay about 14% in taxes. That may be better than what could be expected in the U.S. If you spend longer in France than in any other tax jurisdiction during one year's time, you are automatically considered a resident for tax purposes.

A recent study by the World Health Organization revealed that the overall health-care system in France is the best in the world, so expatriates need not worry about medical services in the country. But it is recommended that American retirees should buy private medical insurance when they relocate to France. Generally, France's public health system covers 70% of medical expenses, so you will want to opt for a supplement that will provide benefits for the remaining 30% that is not covered.

Housing cost is considerably high in France, with the average property prices going up as high as around $275,000 USD, and this trend of a boom in property prices is continuing.

Retirement In Romania

A country steeped in history, myth and folklore, Romania is the favorite second home for the adventure-seeking yet budget-conscious American retirees. The long stretches of unspoiled beaches, majestic mountains, forests, natural spas, medieval villages, gothic castles and magnificent architecture lend a fairytale setting to Romania, making it the best place to retire abroad.

Romania's main draw is the real estate prices, which are some of the lowest in entire Europe. This results in a low cost of living that makes it all the more easier for you to enjoy a rich and satisfying life even on a modest budget.

The downside to retirement in Romania is that the health care system in Romania is not up to western standards. So, Americans who are planning to retire in Romania are urged to consult their medical insurance companies back home before traveling overseas to confirm whether their policy applies abroad and if it will cover emergency expenses like a medical evacuation.

The Romanian government finances salaries, drugs and medical equipment. However, since finances are limited, there is an overcrowding of facilities resulting in lack of equipment and medicines. Now that Romania is part of the European Union, billions of euros are scheduled to be invested in additional infrastructure, aiding in the overall prosperity and growth of tourism in the country.

Retirement in Romania can be a great idea for retirees and older adults. The low cost of living and the idyllic surroundings make it one of the most preferred retirement destinations among the Americans.

Low cost of living
Compared to other countries, Romania has a low cost of living. Almost all the basic facilities and services are available at reasonable rates. Retirees who have to maintain their lifestyle from fixed income sources can come to Romania and stay after they retire. Lodging facilities as well as other services are available at affordable rates. For instance, a studio apartment costs around $150 per month. Other services are also easily available within the reach of your pocket.

Moderate cost of health care
Health care is moderate in Romania. The affordable health care costs have also made it a favorite destination for medical tourism. According to recent surveys, Romania has become one of the preferred treatment locations among the American patients. There are well developed hospitals and medical centers in the country where one can get good treatment at affordable rates. In order to enjoy good medical facilities, you can opt for a medical insurance plan. This makes your health care costs more cost effective.

Idyllic climate and surroundings
The charming weather and idyllic climate of Romania has also made it a popular retirement destination among the Americans. The climate of Romania is mainly mild and cool. The summer months are pleasant while the winter months are cool. Rainfall ranges from low to moderate. There are also plenty of tourist attractions in Romania which can be popular destination for retirees. You can make trips to these places and have a nice and enjoying experience.

Post retirement jobs
If you are wishing to work after you retire from the main job, there are plenty of job opportunities in Romania. You can opt for both part time and full time jobs. There are jobs in the education sector, tourism and hospitality, marketing and retail and other industries.

Retirement In Uruguay

Why retire in Uruguay?

High quality health care at reasonable rates

Health care facilities of high standards are available in Uruguay. The country is home to many hospitals and medical centers which offer facilities and services high standards at moderate rates. The capital city of Montevideo consists of many hospitals and medical centers where you can get facilities of high standards. To enjoy better health care benefits, you can opt for some health care insurance plans which will take care of your needs and preferences.

Charming climate

The climate of Uruguay is also charming which makes it most preferred by the retirees and older adults. The summer months are mild and pleasant while the winter months are cool. The scenic surroundings also add to the charm of living here. There are also plenty of tourist spots in Uruguay where one can embark on holiday trips.

Low cost of living

The low cost of living is another factor which has led to the growth of retirement in Uruguay. Almost all the basic facilities and services are available at affordable rates. The cost of education, real estate, transportation and other basic facilities are available in the country at moderate rates. Infrastructure is also excellent and other essential services are also available. 



In 2009, ‘International Living’ rated Ecuador as the best place in the world to retire. This small Latin American nation boasts of several locations which offer wonderful living environments for the retirees. Quality health care system, cheap real estate prices and low cost of living in the country, have made it a preferred destination among the retirees. If you can provide documented proof of your income, you can easily obtain a retirement or pensioner visa in the country. This visa will enable to entitle with all kinds of benefits that an Ecuadorian use to enjoy except the right to vote. Cost of labor is also very low in Ecuador. It implies that you can afford to employ a gardener, chauffer, guard or a maid for as little as $10 to $12 per day.


Panama is one of the top retirement locations outside US. Long overshadowed by its neighbors such as Mexico and Costa Rica, the country is fast growing as a popular destination because of special features such as birding, deep sea fishing, rain forest experiences and river rafting. In addition to these, there are stunning beaches and wonderful opportunities for diving, kayaking and surfing. Not the least, the friendly nature of the Panamanians is sure to catch the attention of foreigners visiting the country. The Modern Maturity magazine has recently ranked Boquete, Panama fourth in the rankings of top retirement destinations in the world. The picture perfect landscape, tropical climate, cool mountains and the palm fringed beaches and most importantly comparatively low cost of living have made it a popular choice for the retirees.


One of the top destinations in Europe to retire is Italy. The country boasts of rich history & culture, sumptuous food, wine and art and a convenient spot to travel the entire continent. The cost of living in the country is comparatively low while the standard of living in the country is quite high. So, Italy welcomes the retirees who feel the country as their second home and often opt to retire in the country. There are some low budget places in the country. One such place is the Le Marche region in Italy.


This is truly a tropical paradise and fast growing as a popular tourist destination in the world. This is located on the Caribbean coast and surrounded by Guatemala and Mexico. The unlimited recreational activities, beautiful tropical waters and the sun-drenched beaches entice not only the families but also the retirees. English, being the official language of Belize, helps the retirees from US, to get used to the culture of this country easily. Not only the cost of living of this country is low, but also it takes pride in offering quality education, good health care facilities, convenient shopping, historic homes as well as welcoming neighbors. Recently, with the introduction of the Retired Persons Incentive Program, the country is fast growing as a popular retirement location. Apart from these, the friendly people and the stable & strong Belize Dollar, make this country a popular choice among the retirees.


Last Updated: 08/17/11