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Best Places to Retire Abroad

Interested in Retiring Abroad? Here are 10 great spots to consider

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Whether you want to add more adventure to your life, live more affordably or enjoy better weather, people are increasingly considering the option of retiring abroad.

There are a number of locations in almost every part of the world that have a lot to offer retirees. We’ve compiled our picks for 10 locations, based on affordability, community, cultural activities and proximity to the United States. Here are 10 top spots for retiring abroad.

1. Equador

(c) Getty Images

Ecuador boasts one of the lowest costs of living in Latin America, as well as high-quality, inexpensive health care. History buffs, sun-seekers and those who dream of settling in a quaint mountain village will love Ecuador. American dollars go pretty far in a place like Cuenca, where you can rent a furnished apartment for less than $600 a month or buy a small condo for around $40,000. A home right on the beach can cost less than $150,000. 

2. France

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France is more than pricey if you’re planning to move to Paris, Lyons or Provence. However, if you head south to the Languedoc-Roussillon region, you’ll find affordable rents, as well as idyllic scenery and plenty of old world charm. While you may have to travel a bit to get to a major airport, flights to the U.S. are easy to come by. The region welcomes foreigners, and health care is reasonable and easily available.   

3. Panama

(c) Getty Images

Panama is easily accessed from almost anywhere in the U.S. The country already uses the U.S. dollar, which makes purchases much simpler. Rent, home prices and general cost of living are very low, and foreigners have the same property rights as citizens. Panama also offers many incentives for and makes it easy to acquire residency, which probably explains its growing expat community. Best of all, you’ll have easy access to turquoise seas, where you can sunbathe on the beach, fish, swim, dive and surf.

4. Spain

Competa in Spain
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Due to an ongoing recession, the cost of living as low in some parts of Spain as it is in Latin America (rents are as low as $500 a month in some cities). You also have the added benefit of experiencing medieval castles, European gardens, museums and all the beauty and warmth of the Mediterranean. Spain is very accessible from the U.S., and it is easy to get around the entire country. The country offers good hospitals, as well as private and nationalized health care. The best part: the people are warm, friendly and inviting to foreigners. 

5. Mexico

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Your dollar will go a long way in Mexico. It is also just a hop and a skip from the United States, making visiting family an easy prospect. The health care system in Mexico is very good, and far more affordable than it is in the U.S. There is a large community of expats in many places, and the culture is warm, friendly and laid-back. 

6. Nicaragua

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Nicaragua is a safe, beautiful and exciting place to retire. A casual atmosphere, a warm and welcoming culture, and year-round great weather offer a higher quality of life, while the low cost of living makes everything more affordable. In addition, you will find a large and growing expatriate community. 

7. New Zealand

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It may be on the other side of the world, but in New Zealand, everyone speaks your language! In addition to English being the primary language spoken, the country offers absolutely stunning landscapes and a wonderful year-round climate. Health care is affordable, and, while you won’t get the low cost of living you would in Uruguay or Ecuador, you can live modestly there for under $50,000 a year. 

8. Ireland

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Once upon a time, Ireland was an expensive place to retire. Now, due to a struggling economy and low housing prices, retirees who dream of a thatched cottage amid rolling green hills and sheep farms won’t be disappointed. A lakeside cottage can be had for less than $150,000. The people in Ireland speak English and love Americans. They are warm, friendly and, some say, among the most easy-going folks you will ever meet. 

9. Uruguay

(c) Getty Images

Beyond beautiful beaches, Uruguay’s Golden Coast has a lot to offer retirees. The cost of living is so low you can easily live well there for $1,200 to $1800 a month if you purchase property. The government health care system is available for foreigners as well as neighbors, but private insurance is also an option. Uruguay is stable and safe and the residents are warm and friendly. 

10. Malaysia

(c) Getty Images

Malaysia is a bit far from the U.S., but the affordability it offers may be well worth the trip. A city dinner will set you back all of $3, gas is $2 a gallon, and a furnished 3-bedroom apartment can be had for as low as $250 a month. The country has a great transportation system complete with air-conditioned buses and an efficient, comprehensive health care system.   

When calculating the affordability of retiring to another country, it is important to take into account costs of international shipping, taxes and other hidden expenses. Some countries have strict income requirements for residency, and some have high tax requirements for imported goods. Research your country of choice to get the full picture when it comes to affordability.
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