Skip to main content

If you have dreams of traveling more when you retire, you’re not alone.

By the end of 2019, there were about 432,000 retired American workers living in foreign countries receiving Social Security benefits, according to the Social Security Administration. About 28% of these beneficiaries are Canada and Japan. Obtaining residency in Canada can be a challenge, according to Expatra, and Japan is one of the most expensive countries in the world to live.

And cost is a factor for many retirees who head abroad, looking for a way to enjoy a higher-end lifestyle on a smaller budget. About 53% of American expats surveyed by Internations said cost of living abroad was a benefit (23% of those surveyed are retired.)

A comparison of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and Alexandria ,Va., shows that consumer prices are 145% higher in Alexandria, rent is 201% higher and groceries are 173% higher, according to the Numbeo comparison tool. You would need around $6,300 a month in Alexandria to maintain the same standard of life that you can have with $2,400 in Puerto Vallarta. The estimated average Social Security retirement benefit for 2022 is $1,657, AARP says.

TheStreet Recommends

TheStreet Recommends: Retirement Is More Than a Solid Financial Plan

There are other critical things to consider before retiring abroad besides cost and climate. These include taxes, bank accounts, visas and residency, and, while you can collect Social Security overseas, your Medicare generally doesn’t pay for care outside the U.S., so quality affordable healthcare and insurance matters. What languages do people speak there? Are the residents friendly and the government stable?

This list of the best countries to retire abroad comes from World Population Review and InternationalLiving’s annual global retirement index, which ranks countries based on opinions and real-life experiences of these factors compiled by retirees living in various destinations around the world.

8 panama Peek Creative Collective : Shutterstock
panama city panama sh
6 Samara, Costa Rica sh
10 costa rica san pedro sh
5 puerto vallarta mexico sh
fea tulum mexico sh
20 ecuador quito Sh
8 quito ecuador Cotopaxi sh
4 george town malaysia nitsawan katerattanakul : Shutterstock
malaysia
Bogata, colombia
13 colombia cartagena Mariano Luis Fraga : Shutterstock
25 porto Portugal sh
20 peru cusco sh
8 bangkok thailand sh
barcelona spain sh
11 arles provence france wjarek : Shutterstock
26 cambodia Akarat Phasura : Shutterstock
10 sorrento italy sh
Belize sh
9 malta sh
Honduras sh
bolivia potosi sh
12 Cobh Ireland sh
29 hanoi vietnam tipwam : Shutterstock
20 montevideo uruguay M M Vieira : Shutterstock.
sri lanka sh
19 Bavaro beach Punta Cana Dominican Republic sh
20. Zadar, Croatia sh
san juan del sur nicaragua sh

    >> Also see: Want to Live Abroad? This is Where Expats Are Happiest