Best Countries To Retire On A Budget

You may discover that your savings account won’t get you much farther in the United States after working long and meticulously preparing for retirement, but there are alternative options. Your money might go a lot further outside the country, and those possibilities might be safer and more inviting than you imagine.

I have put together this list of the best nations for retiring cheaply and peacefully to help you decide where you might want to think about doing so. Consider collaborating with a financial advisor who can assist future retirees to become ready financially for the big event if you want professional guidance.

To come up with the list, our experts perform a detailed approach and also get information from reliable sources. The 2022 Global Peace Index, an annual evaluation of over 160 countries based on variables like quality of life and the existence of war or instability, was one of our main sources of information. This collection was put together by the famous nonprofit research tank The Institute for Economics & Peace.

I also looked through additional reports like the Annual Global Retirement Index. This index, produced by International Living magazine, rates nations according to factors including costs of living and access to healthcare. Additionally, I looked for information in the Numbeo 2022 Cost of Living index.

Best Affordable Countries to Retire

Here is our list of the cheapest countries where you can travel.


Index of Consumer Prices


Global Peace Index


Portugal is one of the world’s safest nations overall, according to the Global Peace Index, where it is ranked sixth. Additionally, its mild climate and sandy beaches can provide a rejuvenating environment for your golden years.

When applying for residency at the local consulate, you would need to show proof of health insurance if you wanted to retire in Portugal.

However, a lot of significant U.S.-based private health insurance providers also offer coverage in Portugal. Consequently, your transition might be made easier.

Additionally, the nation recently changed its tax laws to make them especially welcoming to foreigners. For example, if you are granted Non-Habitual Residence (NHR) status, you are excused from paying income tax for the following ten years.

Even if money were earned outside of Portugal, this would include investment and pension income.


Living Expense Index


Global Peace Index Position


Malaysia, another inclusion in our list, actively extends a warm welcome to expatriates. Through its Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) initiative, individuals can secure a visa for a remarkable duration of up to 10 years.

This nation stands as an ideal sanctuary for nature enthusiasts, boasting pristine beaches and lush jungles. Yet, for those inclined towards an urban lifestyle in their golden years, Malaysia’s numerous city hubs offer relaxation.

Remarkably, George Town has earned accolades from various sources, positioning it as one of the world’s premier retirement destinations.

If you’re transitioning from a major U.S. city, Malaysia’s alluring low living expenses might capture your interest. As per Numbeo, the average cost for a one-bedroom apartment in George Town is $278 within urban confines and $174 in suburban zones.

Adapting culturally won’t pose a hurdle; English holds the status of an “unofficial first language” in Malaysia.

Furthermore, its impressive ranking of 18 on the Global Peace Index sets it apart in Southeast Asia, indicating a significantly higher level of tranquility when compared to neighboring nations.


Living Expense Index


Global Peace Index Position


Spain, celebrated as a European gem, stands out for its affordable lifestyle and peaceful ambiance. Often gracing lists of top retirement destinations, the country’s rich history offers a tapestry of experiences.

Enthusiasts of art can indulge in the masterpieces of Baroque painter Diego Velázquez, as well as modernists like Picasso and Dalí.

Moreover, expatriates meeting specific criteria can access Spain’s public international health insurance program:

Employed or self-employed contributors to Spain’s social security system

Individuals recently divorced from a Social Security contributor

State pension beneficiaries

Although Madrid claims the title of Spain’s priciest city, even here, pockets of affordability outshine major U.S. urban counterparts. According to Escape Artist, the monthly rental cost for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center averages around $1,055.

For those aspiring to retire in Spain, visa registration is mandatory after 90 days.

Costa Rica

Living Expense Index


Global Peace Index Position


Yearning for an affordable tropical haven? Costa Rica offers just that. Numbeo reveals average rents of approximately $610 per month in popular San Jose, while local eatery expenses can be as low as $7.

Thrill-seekers will find their match here with an array of outdoor activities, including surfing, whitewater rafting, fishing, jungle hikes, and horseback riding.

The icing on the cake is Costa Rica’s commendable healthcare system, rated excellent by International Living and among the finest in Latin America.

Retiring in Costa Rica necessitates applying for a Pensionado visa, which requires a minimum monthly income of $2,500.


Living Expense Index


Global Peace Index Position


If you are planning to retire abroad and searching for a low cost country, this is the best choice to consider. Earning the pinnacle spot on International Living’s Global Retirement Index, Panama beckons with its expat-friendly initiatives.

A notable advantage is the absence of taxes on income earned beyond U.S. borders. This can prove advantageous if you wish to continue investing in a retirement plan initiated in the United States.

Panama further presents the Friendly Nations Visa and the Pensionado Visa options. The latter becomes attainable with a monthly pension, annuity, or Social Security income of at least $1,000.

Much akin to a rewards credit card, the Pensionado Visa bestows the following benefits:

25% off flights

30% off public transportation

25% off dining establishments

Nevertheless, your living costs hinge on your lifestyle choices and preferred locale. Panama permits frugal living at around $500 per month, forsaking certain luxuries. For a more typical yet still modest lifestyle, budget around $2,000 monthly.

Panama stands as a viable Latin American option, blending cost-effectiveness with an active retirement. Embark on exhilarating experiences like zip-lining, cycling, golfing, and other sports to stay energized.

Alternatively, retreat to places like Boquete, renowned as a wellness enclave offering yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, and more.

Czechia (The Czech Republic)

Living Expense Index


Global Peace Index Position


For those drawn to Eastern Europe, the Czech Republic presents an appealing fusion of affordability and security. Impressively, it holds the 8th spot on the Global Peace Index, affirming its tranquil environment. Real estate costs here notably undercut those prevailing across much of Western Europe, as highlighted by the renowned travel platform Expat Focus.

Exploring beyond your residence offers abundant pleasures, especially if you’re enamored with history. Often heralded as the castle capital of the world, the Czech Republic boasts treasures like the enduring Prague Castle dating back to the Middle Ages. Notably, the country shelters 20 sites acknowledged by UNESCO as cultural and world heritage landmarks.

After 90 days, visa registration is required, accompanied by proof of adequate health insurance coverage.


Living Expense Index


Global Peace Index Position


Peru unfolds a diverse tableau of landscapes, ranging from vibrant urban centers to mountainous terrains and tranquil agricultural villages. Irrespective of your chosen abode, the cost of living leans toward the economic spectrum compared to its Latin American peers. In upscale Lima district Miraflores, for instance, securing an apartment might cost around $740 monthly.

The country is enticed by its renowned gastronomy, crafted from fresh bounty spanning the seas to the mountains. If you can access at least $1,000 in retirement funds, a Rentista Visa beckons. However, this visa entails abstaining from work and necessitates a minimum stay of six months annually. Following seven years, eligibility for a permanent visa surfaces.

Peru’s Global Peace Index ranking of 101, reflecting a 15-spot decrease over the past year, still classifies the nation as possessing a “high” level of peace, as defined by the index organization.


Living Expense Index


Global Peace Index Position


Yearning for an Alpine retirement without the hefty French or Swiss price tags? Slovenia emerges as a sturdy contender. This nation unfolds numerous peaks, enticing adventurers to Triglav National Park for invigorating pursuits.

Notably, Ljubljana, Slovenia’s city, garnered accolades from International Living, securing a spot among the world’s top 10 cities for retirement. As per Live and Invest Overseas, an authoritative resource for businesses relocating abroad, a couple can comfortably lease an apartment in Ljubljana for around $720 monthly.


Living Expense Index


Global Peace Index Position


Austria, although slightly more expensive than its counterparts on our list, claims its place among the Global Peace Index’s top 10 most livable countries. The Economist Intelligence Unit deemed Vienna the world’s most livable city.

Vienna unfolds a realm of seemingly limitless museums, fine arts, and renowned architecture. Witness the Wachau Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Numbeo suggests an average monthly apartment cost of approximately $960.

Securing a residence permit after six months is required for retirement here, substantiated by proof of income.


Living Expense Index


Global Peace Index Position


Australia’s average cost of living slightly surpasses that of other countries on our list, yet it has seen a recent decline. Numbeo indicates monthly living expenses with rent ranging between $1,000 and $2,000 in city centers.

Indulge in the tranquility and laid-back atmosphere on one of Australia’s numerous beaches. Wildlife enthusiasts can embark on sightseeing tours to encounter Kangaroos and indigenous creatures like wombats.

Retiring here may involve complexities compared to other destinations. The Retirement Visa was abolished in 2018, but the Investor Retirement Visa might be an option if you meet the criteria:

Age of at least 55

Ability to reside and work for up to four years

Investment of a designated sum in the country and attainment of a location-based minimum income

Australia extends an array of visas targeting individuals contributing to its economy, making it suitable for those desiring part-time work during retirement. Sponsorship by a family member is also feasible while applying for a visitor’s visa is an alternative for periodic reapplication. Medical treatment from private hospitals is superb and state-of-the-art.

North Cyprus

North Cyprus stands out as a Mediterranean retirement haven offering exceptional value for your money. This picturesque region combines safety, natural beauty, and breathtaking beaches with warm summers, scenic mountains, golf facilities, and everything essential for a leisurely retirement.

While North Cyprus may be small in size, its appeal is far-reaching. If you seek a serene lifestyle, this country merits serious consideration.

Remarkably, property prices here are surprisingly affordable. For approximately $230,000, you can acquire a splendid 3-bedroom villa complete with a garden, swimming pool, and captivating sea vistas.

The cost of rent and healthcare is also notably budget-friendly, especially when compared to expenses in the USA. Public and private programs for health are also available.

An alluring perk of residing in North Cyprus is the absence of income tax on pension income. As a retiree, you can savor your pension without the burden of taxation, further enhancing your retirement experience.


The Philippines stands out as one of the cheapest countries in the world, drawing retirees with its cost-effective way of life. The allure of warm weather and numerous beaches is compelling, while Filipino cuisine, including its unique twist on Mexican adobo, captivates palates.

Expatriates have the option to participate in the national health service or coverage or opt for private insurance. Davao City, Tagaytay, and Cebu City are popular among Americans. Retiring in the Philippines requires a $10,000 investment in a retirement account or property, along with a demonstrated monthly retirement income of $800.

Guidelines for a Budget-Friendly and Content Retirement

Your financial circumstances possess a distinct essence, influenced differently when transitioning overseas. Hence, involving a financial advisor in these life-altering choices is pivotal. The process of identifying a capable financial advisor need not be cumbersome.

Utilize the complimentary tool, which links you with up to three local financial advisors. You can explore these matches without any financial commitment, facilitating your decision-making process. If you’re prepared to collaborate with an advisor who aligns with your financial aspirations, embark on this journey now.

Although this article centers on international options, don’t overlook domestic retirement when investigating possibilities. Our coverage extends to U.S. retirement destinations in a separate report.

To Sum Up

Discovering the most affordable retirement destination is a manageable endeavor, yet your retirement abroad deserves a blend of economic feasibility and a secure atmosphere. Hence, I’ve meticulously crafted this compilation to guide you in striking that equilibrium. Understandably, costs and safety diverge significantly within a country’s borders.

Therefore, conducting personal research is essential to uncover a locale harmonious with your preferences and financial plan.

Looking for other retirement articles worth reading? Check this list out below…

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My Official Early Retirement Guide