Top 10 Countries to Retire

If you’re considering moving to another country for your golden years, then boy, you’re in for a treat.

We’re about to embark on a globetrotting journey, revealing the top 10 countries to retire in 2023.

Spoiler alert – they’re all pretty fantastic!

So sit back, relax, and let’s find your perfect retirement haven.

1. Portugal: The Pocket-Friendly European Paradise

Ah, Portugal! With its stunning landscapes, charming culture, friendly people, and budget-friendly cost of living, it’s an easy pick. Plus, Portugal’s Non-Habitual Residence program provides tax breaks for foreign retirees.

Goods: Affordable cost of living, excellent healthcare system, tax benefits for retirees.

Concerns: Learning Portuguese might be necessary for better integration into local life.

💡 Tip: Buy travel health insurance before your trip.

Check out popular travel insurance plans and choose one that suits you.

Most plans only cost less than $20 a day.

2. Spain: Siesta, Fiesta, and All Things Nice-sta

Spain, with its glorious sunshine, laid-back lifestyle, and irresistible cuisine, continues to be a retiree’s delight. The country’s Golden Visa program offers a pathway to residency for retirees with certain investments.

Goods: Great climate, beautiful beaches, affordable cost of living.

Concerns: High unemployment rate, language barrier if you don’t speak Spanish.

3. Malaysia: The Asian Gem

Malaysia is an underrated retirement paradise. It’s culturally diverse, English-speaking, and offers first-class healthcare. Plus, the Malaysia My Second Home program allows foreigners to stay on a long-term visa.

Goods: Excellent healthcare, multicultural environment, affordable living.

Concerns: Humid climate, distance from western countries.

4. Costa Rica: The Puravida Lifestyle

Known for its “Pura Vida” or “pure life” ethos, Costa Rica is a biodiversity hotspot offering a comfortable lifestyle. Its pensionado program offers incentives for foreign retirees.

Goods: Beautiful nature, friendly locals, retiree-friendly visa programs.

Concerns: Might require some proficiency in Spanish, higher cost of living compared to other Central American countries.

5. Panama: The Canal, and Much More

Panama, the narrow strip connecting North and South America, has one of the best retiree benefit programs in the world – the Pensionado. It’s a high-standard yet affordable haven for retirees.

Goods: Retiree discounts, strong economy, high standard of healthcare.

Concerns: High humidity and heat, Spanish language might be necessary.

6. Mexico: The Spicy Retirement Life

For those seeking a retirement spiced up with rich culture, warm weather, and a lower cost of living, Mexico is the place to be. Its Residente Temporal visa is popular among retirees.

Goods: Lower cost of living, close proximity to the USA, excellent cuisine.

Concerns: Safety concerns in certain regions, Spanish language proficiency might be required.

7. France: The Sophisticated Choice

Retiring in France means embracing a country renowned for its refined culture, world-class healthcare, and delicious cuisine. Non-EU retirees can use a long-stay visa as a pathway to residency.

Goods: Excellent healthcare, rich culture, great public transportation.

Concerns: Higher cost of living, learning French would be beneficial.

8. Thailand: The Tropical Paradise

For those craving a tropical paradise, Thailand offers just that, alongside its Buddhist calm, friendly locals, and delectable food. The Non-Immigrant Long Stay visa is designed for foreign retirees.

Goods: Low cost of living, tropical climate, friendly locals.

Concerns: Far from Western countries, political instability.

9. Italy: La Dolce Vita

Offering “la dolce vita” or “the sweet life”, Italy is all about rich history, amazing food, and slow-paced life. The Elective Residence Visa allows self-sufficient retirees to reside in Italy.

Goods: High-quality healthcare, rich culture, great food.

Concerns: High cost of living in cities, learning Italian is essential.

10. Ecuador: The Affordable South American Haven

Last but not least, Ecuador – where ancient culture, diverse ecosystems, and a low cost of living meet. Plus, the country’s Pensioner’s Visa makes retiring there an easy choice.

Goods: Low cost of living, diverse environments, retiree-friendly visa program.

Concerns: Spanish language proficiency required, slower pace of life.

Phew! We’ve hopped around the globe, sussed out retirement havens, and seen the best each country has to offer. Now, it’s up to you to pick the one that suits your retirement dreams the best.

But let’s face it, with options like these, you can’t really go wrong. Happy retirement planning!

💡 Tip: Buy travel health insurance before your trip.

Check out popular travel insurance plans and choose one that suits you.

Most plans only cost less than $20 a day.


Are these countries English-speaking?

Not all of them, but many have a good proportion of English speakers, particularly in the tourist areas or large cities.

Do these countries provide good healthcare?

Yes, all these countries have robust healthcare systems. Many of them offer world-class healthcare facilities at a much lower cost than the USA.

How can I qualify for retirement visas in these countries?

Each country has its own requirements, often based on proving a steady income or making a certain level of investment in the country. It’s best to check the specific details on the countries’ official immigration websites.

Is the cost of living higher in these countries than the US?

Some countries like France or Italy may have a higher cost of living, especially in the major cities. However, most of the countries on this list have a lower cost of living compared to the USA.

Can I become a citizen of these countries?

Most of these countries do offer a path to citizenship, but it depends on specific residency requirements and may take several years.

Can I work in these countries during retirement?

Depending on the type of visa, some countries do allow you to work. However, some retirement visas prohibit any kind of employment.

Are these countries safe?

Yes, these countries are generally safe for retirees. However, as with anywhere, it’s always important to stay vigilant and be aware of your surroundings.

Are there expat communities in these countries?

Yes, all these countries have established expat communities that can make the transition smoother and provide a ready-made social life.

What about taxes for retirees?

Each country has different tax rules for retirees. Some countries have treaties with the US to avoid double taxation. It’s crucial to understand these tax obligations before making the move.

Can my family join me if I retire in these countries?

Yes, most countries offer visas that allow you to bring immediate family members with you. However, the specific rules can vary, so it’s worth checking the details for each country.

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