Best Places to Retire Abroad

You started your first official job at the age of sixteen. You were so excited because having a job was the start of your freedom. You got out of the house, away from your siblings and you were earning your own money to buy the things you wanted but your parents wouldn’t buy for you. You loved working. You were excited to get out of school in the afternoon and go home to get ready for your shift. You loved being able to socialize, see everyone, have fun, and get paid to do it all! Nothing was better than earning that check you got at the end of your workweek.

Now let’s fast forward fifty years. That same job you loved so much has made you tired. You have grown weary of the same old routine. You are now finally ready to get out of the rat race and sleep in late with no worries except what to have for breakfast and whether you get fully dressed or lounge all day long in your comfy pajamas.

Let’s find your retirement home!

We are going to go over ten of the better places that senior citizens can comfortably afford to retire in abroad in a few articles. This article contains number ten and number nine. You have come to realize that you have put your life on hold for others for far too long. After making the final decision to retire from your individual rat race, you have decided to see the world you have only heard about or seen in pictures in a travel magazine. Let’s find your retirement home!

Vietnam

The number ten place abroad to retire to is a place some of our veteran’s may be familiar with. Some will have good memories while others will have bad memories. The place is Vietnam. This place has a lot to offer everyone, not just senior citizens. They have everything! They have beautiful, pristine beaches off the central coast, waterfalls and forests of pine trees in central Highlands, very remote mountains in northern Vietnam, and of course, the always developing cities that are filled to the sky with skyscrapers. No matter what environment you want to live in, Vietnam has them all. You have your choice of types of housing too. There are upscale condominiums, gated communities with single-family homes and apartments. They even have brand new hospitals with all the latest medical gadgets to keep the community healthy. Even with all the current, up-to-date amenities, traditions are still extremely important here. The locals have a day to worship ancestors, they go to temples at the beginning of the year to pray for blessings, and they even have a separate Lunar New Year. Food is also in abundance in Vietnam. Whatever your budget is for food, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Upper-class food budgets can dine on fresh lobsters and Wagyu steaks while the middle to lower-class food budgets can dine on the humble street vendors’ food of chicken noodles, soup, pad thai, and egg rolls. Vietnam is also home to many museums, commercial hubs, historic towns, national parks, temples, and rich countrysides. There is something for everyone to enjoy. If you think Vietnam is for you, you can live here extremely comfortably. You will need a monthly budget between $800 and $1500. Vietnam is a fine place to live like a king, experience a new culture, meet new friends, and of course, get a big bang for your buck.

Malta

The number nine place to retire abroad in Malta. Malta is a small, yet beautiful island located in the heart of the Mediterranean. It is made up of three small islands including Malta. The other two are Gozo and Comino. The three islands combined are only 122 square miles. Most of the half a million people live between Malta and Gozo. Coming is uninhabitable and is roughly one and a half square miles. The weather here is great. The average temperature stays around 72 degrees. The winds off the water help keep the islands cool and comfortable. The buildings were even built to catch the breezes. Think of it as nature’s air conditioning. The sun seems to shine all day long here, literally. There is so much to see in Malta. You can spend a day or two on the beaches or you can explore the history that Malta has preserved. You can see the old churches, the city, and countrysides, salt farms, burial sights (if you are into that sort of thing) and experience the local customs the people still practice today. You will never be bored in Malta. The food here is also something that will make you forget where you were before moving to Malta. The food here is at least 26% cheaper than in the U.S. Everyone here lives mostly off the land with little food imported. The vegetables and fruit are fresh because they are grown on the island. The fish and seafood are even fresher because they are caught that day you bought them. No matter your budget, the street vendors here offer excellent, tasty meals at a very reasonable price. You can get a pizzette and a beer for $2.60!! A three-course meal, including wine and a dessert, will cost you about $30 a person. Housing in the city is pricier than countryside living. If you want to live on the beach, that will be even more. If you are on a budget and don’t want to spend your entire check on housing, you can find one-bedroom apartments with everything included for under $500. If you can afford more, there are villas that are fully furnished and include pools, gardens, and spectacular views for just under $2,000 a month. Transportation here is mostly public. Since the island is small, you can get around easier either by biking or taking the bus. Senior citizens are offered discounts on monthly bus passes while riding the ferry is free for seniors. The healthcare system in Malta is of high-quality standards. If you are a citizen here, you can have free care or pay for a private doctor. Due to the advances here and the affordability of it, Malta is a medical tourist destination. One of the greatest reasons to live here, if you aren’t convinced yet, is the proximity to many other European countries. You are not far from Italy, Tunisia, Greece, Israel, Spain, France, and many more. Come see what Malta can do for you!

France

The number eight spot to retire to abroad is France. There is so much to see in France. They have so many different cafes, the coast, lavender fields and of course the Eiffel Tower! Here you will find no shortage of places to get a café au lait, croissants, and shopping of all kinds. Whether you are looking for fresh fruits and vegetables, clothes, or a great restaurant, you will find it all in France. You can have a short lunch with a new friend or a long, romantic dinner with your spouse in one of the many restaurants France has to offer. No one is in a rush here! Food is fresh here too. Cheese is made from goat’s milk by a local fromagerie (cheesemaker), the boulangerie (baker) starts their day before dawn to bake you fresh bread and pastries, and the cavist (wine merchant) can and will give you a tour of their vineyards and tell you all about the history of them. Housing here is affordable no matter what your monthly budget is. You can find a two-bedroom one-bathroom single-family home for around $150,000. The places where you can find those homes are in Normandy, Brittany, and areas in Occitanie which is formerly known as Languedoc. France has one of the best healthcare systems worldwide. Once you’ve been living here for three months, you are eligible for universal healthcare coverage. Seventy percent of your doctor visits are free, and prescriptions are covered 100%. There is usually a small percent of your annual income charged for this coverage unless your only income source is a pension or social security benefits. So, senior citizens will not have to pay a penny for this coverage. Free healthcare! Traveling within France is easy to do. There is so much to see from the large cities to the rolling countrysides. You can see it all from the train that goes throughout the country. What else do you need? Great housing, great food, free healthcare and public transportation! You can live comfortably in France on a monthly budget between $2,100 to $2,500 a month.

Malaysia

The number seven spot to retire abroad to is Malaysia. They have gorgeous beaches, secluded islands that make you feel like you’re the only person in the world there and ancient rainforests that will make you feel free as a bird. The weather here stays around 80 degrees all year round. It is a tropical region, so it will be like you’re on vacation every day you wake up! The food here is delicious. If you are not certain about what to expect, don’t worry. They have grocery stores here with state-side comforts. You will not go without. Plus, you will eventually try the food here. The smell is amazing! You can get a fantastic meal from the street vendors or an equally fantastic meal from one of the many restaurants it has to offer. You can also go to the local bars and learn how the locals live, go shopping in the affordable malls or stop and relax and take in a movie at a theater. Healthcare here is a lot cheaper than the U.S. Prescription medicine here is cheaper than you would pay in the United States. The pharmacists here are well trained and know to look out for drug interactions, new and old. They will let you know if you should take the medicine or not and will call your doctor to make sure you get something that is compatible with what you are already taking. Millions of non-residents seek medical care mostly in Kuala Lumpur and Penang yearly. This speaks to me! You don’t need to make an appointment. You literally just show up at the hospital, tell them what is going on, be seen and taken care of fully all in the same visit. There is no need for months of waiting to be seen, referred for a test and then referred again for a specialist visit. It’s one-stop shopping for your healthcare. Housing here has a nice range of affordability. You can rent a two or three-bedroom place for around $600 to $700 a month. If you have more room in your budget, you can easily rent a high-rise apartment for $800 to $1,000 a month. That price tag includes some great amenities such as a pool, state-of-the-art gym, security around the clock, covered parking and many common areas to share with other residents. The size of this high-rise could be about 2,300 square feet, have three or four bedrooms, up to five bathrooms with a balcony all along the rear of your apartment overlooking the beautiful ocean views. Malaysia is a good place to live if you want to travel and see what else is around you. You can take a short, affordable flight to nearby Thailand, India, Japan and Indonesia. Last, but not least, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Malaysia. In every major city in Malaysia, you can find malls and movie theaters. The malls have air conditioning, so you can shop and not drop from overheating. The movie theaters play all the latest movies for you and your loved ones to enjoy. The locals are friendly here. They will help you to feel right at home. They will ask you what your think about Malaysia. Your honest answers are appreciated. They will see where you are from and the most important question they will ask you is, “did you eat yet?” The cuisine here is something they are very proud of because it is one of the major parts of their culture and customs. You can even get good recommendations from your cab driver, the store owner or even the local beauty shop and barber shop. You really can’t go wrong living there.

Ecuador

The number six of best places to retire abroad is Ecuador. Ecuador is located on the west coast of South America on the equator. It is a small country, but it comes with 1,200 miles of beaches, active volcanoes and the beautiful, interesting Galapagos Islands! The ecology alone here will make you fall in love with the place and never want to leave. If you are skeptic about retiring abroad, Ecuador may be the ideal place for you. They have high-speed internet with fiber optics and the currency is the almighty American dollar. The weather is enjoyable here, public transportation is available to you won’t have to buy a vehicle right away, housing is in everyone’s price range and you will be able to afford healthcare here. In some places, it may even feel like you are back in the 1950’s. You will see a mixture of everyone here from Europeans, Americans, mixed ethnic backgrounds and the lovely indigenous Spanish descendants that were born, raised and never left Ecuador. The weather here is tolerable in all areas of Ecuador. If you live on the beach, you can expect mid-70 degrees to mid-80 degrees. The cool breezes off the water help keep the temperature beautiful, cool and relaxing. If you want some cooler daily weather, you should try living in the Andes mountains. There you will have temperatures between 60degrees and 70 degrees. The higher elevation helps keep that area cooler. There is an endless list of things to see and do in Ecuador. You can visit the beaches, whale watch, eat freshly caught seafood, ride bikes in the mountains, explore the Galapagos Islands, zipline, white water rafting, shop, visit the Shamans for a blessing or a cleansing, explore history or party in one of the oceanside bars that offer live music, fresh food and locally made beer. Housing here is affordable for every budget. You can own a home on the coast for less than $150,000. This price includes the beautiful ocean view that you can wake up to every morning! If that is more than you bargain for, you can rent a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment in the city for $500 a month. While you won’t have an ocean view, you will still be close to all the local spots and shopping. Since the weather is basically perfect here, you can grow a lot of your own fruits and vegetables here. This will help your grocery bill out immensely. Heating and cooling costs are almost nil due to the temperatures being perfect year-round. You can move around easily without buying a car. A bus ride is under 30 cents and cab rides start at $2! You can’t go wrong with living in Ecuador.

Portugal

Our number five place in best places to retire abroad is the lovely Portugal. Portugal is in the southwest corner of Europe. There is something for everyone here. No matter what your interest are, or your budget is, there is something for everyone here in beautiful Portugal. They have miles and miles of beautiful beaches, rolling green hills in the countryside and old-world charm sprinkled everywhere your eyes can see. Many people in Portugal speak English so there is no language barrier here. Healthcare is one of the top rated here and the cost of living is very affordable whether you have a small, modest budget or a large, lavish budget. There is something for all! If you want to submerse yourself into the old-world charm, then Lisbon is for you. The city is very colorful, comes alive even more at night, has museumsto help you learn the history of the area, palaces for you to gawk over, a tram system so you can save your energy for the nightlife that awakens when the sun goes down! You will be surrounded by locals that will welcome you in like you are a part of the family. You go for coffee at a café and end up staying for breakfast instead. No one is a stranger here. One historical place that you must visit at least once is a bakery that has been making custard tarts since 1837. The recipe hasn’t changed, and people of all ages enjoy the sweet treat. You can pair it with a nice pastry that is freshly baked here every morning or have it alone. It’s good either way! You can venture on your day and sample some locally made wine in Porto. You may only go for a sample, but I can almost guarantee you will leave with a bottle to take home for tomorrow’s dinner. Transportation here is public for short distance and long distance. You can ride the bus locally and take the train to explore the area and see all sides of Portugal. You can pass by the wildflowers, oak trees, historic houses and a small population in Evora and Beja. The weather in Portugal is beautiful. Winters are cool but not freezing. Summers are hot and dry. Thankfully there are miles of beaches you can go to and cool down. Housing here is cheaper than the United States. For $400 a month, you can get a fully furnished three-bedroom home with views of the hills and farmland near Lisbon. For about $1,100 a month you can rent a two-bedroom condo in a gated community that has a pool and other fabulous amenities near Quarteira. Portugal has something for everyone. Come and visit and see if you like it.

Colombia

The number four best place to retire to is Colombia. Now I know you aren’t probably thinking the best thoughts right now because of what you have heard on the television about Colombia. Rest assured, there is so much more to Colombia then that. Colombia sits at the northern part of South America. Here is where the Amazon rainforest, Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean come together. It has sights and smells you will not find anywhere else. You can spend a day exploring the historical towns or the ever-expanding cities. You can hike the mountains or take in the warm ocean breeze on one of the many beaches. If you get home sick for the states, Miami is only three hours away from Colombia. You can easily take a flight there. Colombia offers high quality healthcare at an extremely low cost for people living there. It runs roughly seventy percent cheaper than healthcare in the states. Colombia has some of the best rated hospitals and four of the hospitals here are accredited by the Joint Commission International. They are in Bogota, Medellin and Bucaramanga. You will have noreason to be sick here! The weather here is remarkable! It’s warm and tropical. The coastal properties offer a year-round breeze to help keep it cooler. There isn’t a shortage of things to do here either. You can sit on the beach and soak up the sun, you can swim in the clear blue waters, go scuba diving and find the natural coral reefs and the fish that live there and go hiking on Valle Cocora. That hike alone will take up about six hours of your day. Make sure you pack a lunch and plenty of water. Housing here is affordable for anyone with an income of some sorts. You can rent a small apartment with amenities for roughly $500 per month. You won’t spend much time at home, so you really don’t need a large house. There is too much to see and do in Colombia to stay home. Even your visitors will want to explore with you and appreciate every minute of it. You can see a movie for $2 per person at the local movie theater, have a beer at the bar for $1 and take a taxi home from the bar for less than $5. You will not run out of good times here in Colombia.

Mexico

The number three place to retire abroad is Mexico. One of the good thing about retiring to Mexico is you can drive there. Shockingly, over a million Americans now live in Mexico. Even Canadians have moved to Mexico too. Some live there full time while others are snow birds and come when it’s too cold up north. There isn’t too much of a culture shock here in Mexico due to it being so close to the states. Many things will be familiar to you in Mexico while some things won’t be. There is high speed internet, cell phone service, cable and satellite television and almost any other amenity you can think of. Even though there is no shortage of modern amenities, there is still the historic and cultural activities that go on throughout the year. The food here plays an important part in those rituals and of course daily living. There are tacos, ceviche, roasted pork, sandwiches, grilled corn with lots of mayo,cheese and chile powder and of course fresh seafood. You can either eat at one of the local restaurants or get a plate to go from one of the many street vendors. No matter where you get the food from, it all tastes delicious. Healthcare here is high quality but low cost for senior citizens in Mexico. In some areas of Mexico, healthcare is free for residents. Other places offer healthcare for roughly $40 per person per month. That’s an extreme savings compared to healthcare in the states. The hospitals are all up to date with current equipment and accredited by the Joint Commission International as well. You will get great treatment at a fraction of the cost. Housing here is affordable for everyone. You can live in Mexico, comfortably, for under $2,000 a month. That includes everything from rent to healthcare to entertainment. You could live in a resort area, beachside, a big city or one of the many rural colonial towns. The weather is great. A home on the beach offers hot, humid and tropical temperatures. The ocean breeze will help keep it cool though. The mountains offer cooler temperatures due to higher elevation. There is one thing that you must do to live in Mexico. You must apply for residency to live there. You can do it online and it will usually take only a couple of months to be approved. You can make appointments online and then go to one of the many Mexican consulates or the embassy to prove your home country citizenship, marriage status and income verification. You will finish up this process at the immigration office in whatever city you decide to live in. Temporary residency requires you to have an income of $1,600 or at least $82,000 in your bank account. Some require that your income come from a guaranteed source like a pension or Social Security benefits. You can be a temporary resident for up to four years. A permanent residency requires you to have a monthly income of $2,000 a month or $102,000 in your bank account. When you have either one of those, you are free to come to Mexico and stay if youwant and leave as often as you feel necessary. You aren’t required to stay in Mexico for a minimum amount of time.

Panama

Panama has many things to attract people to here. There are breathtaking ocean views with outstanding beaches, beautiful, warm, tropical weather, mountains to hike on and most importantly…no hurricanes! That is a major plus if you are from the southeastern United States of America. Anyone would want to take a break from hurricane season! The weather in Panama is gorgeous. It is not too hot, and it is not too cold. The sun seems to always be shining here even in the rainy season from May to November. The temperature fluctuates between 75 degrees and 90 degrees. In mountain cities, the temperature is usually fifteen degrees cooler. The higher up you go, the cooler it will be. Transportation is easy to come by in Panama. You can get on the bus if you want to get around locally and flights if you want to explore a little further away but still within Panama. They also have a ferry you can ride and explore by water! You can take a 45- minute ride from Panama City to Taboga Island and only pay $20. If you’re feeling freer, you can take a ferry ride to Contadora Island for about $100. That trip will take you roughly two hours. You can find the metro system only in the capital, Panama City. The internet connection and cell phone service here is reliable. You will not drop a call! Panama is a little bit like Mexico in the way of becoming a resident. You must have a monthly income of at least $1,000 for residency. Once you become a resident of Panama, you are able to take advantage of the benefits they offer. You will get a discount on your electric bill, plane fares, dinners at the local restaurants, movie tickets and live shows. The most important discount is off your medicine every month. After all, you shouldn’t go broke trying to stay healthy and alive! Healthcare is great and it will cost you under $150 a month and that includes doctor’s visits, the dentist and specialists! You can’t go wrong by moving here. There are places to live here in everyone’s price range. To live in Panama City, you can find a nice two-bedroom apartment with amenities, that is close to the metro station, grocery stores and restaurants for about $2,400. You are also not far from the richculture that is available for you to explore. Panama has many activities for you to try, experience and enjoy watching. There are many museums and galleries for the art and history lovers. There are sporting events for the sports buff in the family. You can even try sky-diving or learn how to ride a motorcycle. Whatever you can think of, Panama will have it. Food is covered from one spectrum to the other. They have pizza, pasta, sushi, Indian food and Italian food. There is literally something for everyone’s taste buds. Produce is cheaper because it is grown locally and the food is fresh as fresh can be. Fruits and vegetables are grown locally, eggs are laid every night and every morning, the beef is grass fed and the seafood is caught daily from the ocean. The healthier you eat, the healthier you will become. You may even shed a few medications you’ve been taking due to your American diet as there is hardly any processed food here. Why preserve when you can grow and catch fresh food every day! That may be why there are more senior citizens reaching the triple digits in age in Panama. They live in the “Blue Zone.” There are only five of these zones and they all have unusually high number of people living to be over one hundred years old. They say it is due to healthy diet, sunshine, active lifestyle, family and friends around, water with natural calcium and of course, faith. I think Panama may be the right place to go. Who else is going?

Costa Rica

Finally, our number one place to retire abroad is here. It’s the beautiful Costa Rica which just happens to between right between North and South America. Costa Rica means Rich Coast so that is reassuring that there is a lot of beauty here. Some of the land here is protected and are either national parks or wildlife refuges. The locals are committed to keeping their land beautiful and not to overrun nature. There are Joint Commission International-accredited hospitals here to ensure you get the medical you need. Medical coverage is paid for by you after you become a resident. You will pay between 7% and 11% of your monthly income to cover you under the national medical program that is offered here. Housing is affordable here for a retired couple or singles. You can find a lovely two- bedroom house with familiar amenities and air conditioning. Add in your groceries, entertainment expenses, healthcare and transportation and it will cost you around $2,000 a month. If your budget is around $3,000 then you can live extravagantly here. Nothing would be denied to you. You can find your forever retirement home in the lush, green mountains, on the coast with beautiful, pristine beaches or in the inner cities with nightlife to keep you busy like you are twenty-one again. To keep you active here, there are many activities you can indulge in. You can go fishing, play golf, try horseback riding, hike in the mountains, surf in the beautiful ocean or see how well you can do yoga, either on the beach or in a meditative studio.

Start Living

I hope you have enjoyed this list of the best places to retire abroad and have gained knowledge to help you make your decision on where you will move to enjoy retirement. I wish you a safe journey, lots of smiles, millions of laughs, many new friends, try everything once, reconnect with nature and old friends along the way. Stay safe, stay blessed, stay healthy and enjoy life.