Back to all news
Retiring Abroad - Expat Info

Best countries for expats to retire abroad

by ExpatInfo
15 Oct 2018

For many retirees, the thought of moving overseas to start a new and exciting chapter abroad has an almost irresistible pull. Yet there are some serious financial considerations to take into account before upping sticks and moving abroad, such as the cost of living and whether you would be able to sustain the lifestyle to which you’ve become accustomed or aspire to.

Here is a list of the top ten most affordable placed to retire provided by via GOBankingRates. The results are based on the cost of living index, including rent, groceries, health care, among other factors, in more than 100 countries. They based this on’s latest Cost of Living Index Rate, to determine a ranking. New York, the benchmark, was set at 100 and the lowest of all was India, at 27.63, making India 70% less expensive than New York.

The top 10 most affordable places for expats to retire

10. Estonia – 58.00
Estonia enjoys a relatively high GDP per capita and industry and engineering feature prominently in the economy. It is an attractive place to live with mature forests, scenic lakes and the medieval capital city of Tallinn is fascinating. English is largely understood in the larger towns. The small nation has an efficient and dependable rail and bus service.

9. Spain – 62.58
The cost of living is one of the lowest in Europe and living standards are high. Spain offers spectacular scenery, beautiful beaches and the food and entertainment options are varied and plentiful. Some locals do have a grasp of English but learning Spanish would be advised.

8. South Africa – 48.83
This is the top destination for British expats in Africa with around 319 000 making it their home. Cape Town is one of the most beautiful multicultural cities in the world and the vibrant inland city of Johannesburg is the economic hub of the country. The country is renowned for its outdoor lifestyle and the weather is generally gorgeous. English is widely understood.

7. Taiwan – 66.20
The latest International Expat Insider Survey has this East Asian country at the top of the standings. With beautiful countryside and tasty cuisine, the survey revealed that 85% are satisfied with their financial status, as opposed to the average of 64%. They report a healthy work-life balance and the ease with which they interact with locals.

6. Turkey – 41.19
The meeting point between Europe and Asia across the Bosphorus and home to around 80 million people, of whom 99% are Muslim. It is nevertheless a secular republic practising freedom of religion. The cost of living is low, relative to neighbouring European countries, and expats speak highly of the living conditions there. Current economic indicators are more ominous and the country is on the verge of a crisis with the currency devaluing rapidly.

5. Germany – 75.40
Accommodation costs are generally on the high side, particularly in Munich, Frankfort and Hamburg but are lower in the capital city of Berlin. Grocery costs are surprisingly low when compared with most other European countries and this is attributed to the presence of a number of large discounters. Transportation costs are average, relative to those in Europe, and utility costs are high. In the larger cities, it is possible to communicate in English.

4. Czech Republic – 48.73
Everything from real estate to food, utilities and household goods are very reasonably priced. Healthcare is inexpensive and of a high standard. There is a thriving social scene and lots of outdoor activities. Transport costs are low and so too is the crime rate. On a cursory level, particularly in the bigger cities like Prague, elementary English is understood.

3. Mexico – 34.58
Mexicans are highly rated for their friendliness and welcoming culture and the country offers good value for money. Healthcare is reportedly good and is free for legal residents over the age of 60. Personal happiness levels are high and the climate is perfect. A negative factor is that safety issues are a concern. English is usually understood, particularly in the larger cities.

2. Saudi Arabia – 49.57
This ultra-religious and very private society would be an unlikely contender for a place where you’d want to retire but it does appear in the survey, just under India. Of course, if you were younger and under contract there, you would be doing well with zero taxation and accommodation that is generally free.

1. India -27.65
The low cost of living compared to other countries is a major plus for retirees, as is the climate and breath-taking countryside. Medical costs are relatively cheap, transport links are constantly improving and globalisation means that most things are available.

Tell us what you think

Suggested Stories

An expat’s guide to Singapore

Singapore was recently awarded the best country for expats to […]

Best countries in the world for expats

Want to move overseas but not sure where you should […]

How to adjust to a new culture

If you have ever moved overseas, you’ll undoubtedly have encountered […]

Thank you for signing up to our newsletter.

The ExpatInfo team

Thank you for contact us, will be in touch shortly .

The ExpatInfo team