Some people dream of moving to a different state when they retire; others dream of moving overseas. These are the best countries for a comfortable retirement. The U.S. makes the cut, but do you know where it ranks?
Cream of the Crop
U.S. News & World Report ranked the best countries for retirement based on a global survey of around 6,100 people in their mid-40s and older. The rankings came down to participants’ associations of different countries with the following attributes:
- Favorable tax environment
- A place I would live
- Pleasant climate
- Respects property rights
- Well-developed public health system
A high cost of living doesn’t prevent Switzerland from ranking as the best country in the world for a comfortable retirement. Excellent public health care undoubtedly helps offset some of the cost for hopeful retirees wanting to live there.
Portugal is notorious for its friendly foreigner visa policies, and retirees are no different, with the country even offering a Portugal Retirement Visa. Plus, retirees will have access to fresh Portuguese custard tarts every day. What better way to spend the rest of one’s life?
Australia’s respectable third ranking as the most comfortable country for retirement is due in large part to participants saying Aussies are friendly people. Americans may feel more at home than overwhelmed by having such a large country to choose where to settle down.
4: New Zealand
The words “New Zealand” bring a smile to many people’s faces. Foreigners hoping to adopt the Kiwi lifestyle are in luck, for New Zealand received excellent ratings as a great country to retire.
Who doesn’t want to retire in a country where siestas are the norm? Spain is among the most affordable countries in Western Europe, allowing retirees to get a lot of bang for their buck.
Canada may not fare well as having a pleasant climate, but America’s northern neighbor excels in other categories, making it an excellent country for retirement. Its universal health coverage means that all retirees will have access to health care, even if it means waiting to land an appointment.
Sweden offers eye-candy architecture and excellent healthcare for retirees who ate one too many pieces of candy during their youth. Retirees can expect excellent social services, clean water, and a diverse culture.
Not only is Italy full of stunning scenery and world-famous food, but it’s relatively easy for retirees to gain citizenship there. You may even be able to snag a one-euro house, giving you instant access to retirement cash if you sell a house you own in the U.S.
Whether mainland or island life is your style, Greece offers the best of both worlds to retirees looking to spend their Golden Years abroad. Money goes further in most parts of Greece than in the U.S., giving retirees the chance to live higher on the hog than they’re used to.
Denmark is an expensive place to retire, and it’s relatively more challenging for foreigners to get residency there. Nevertheless, retirees who can afford to live in Denmark can expect to have a comfortable lifestyle.
If you’re looking to retire early and surround yourself with others doing the same, Luxembourg is a great country to settle down in. More than 80% of people working in Luxembourg report that they expect to retire before the age of 65.
Norway may not have a retirement visa, but retirees who manage to move abroad there can expect excellent health care. You’ll just need to have money to spare, as the cost of living is expensive to enjoy Norway’s comfortable lifestyle for retirees.
Moving to Finland is a no-brainer for some Americans looking for excellent social welfare, cool summers, and lots of English-speaking people.
The Netherlands is an excellent country to retire if you want to make retiree friends who are enjoying a good quality of life, given that the Netherlands mandates pension funds in most industries. Just try not to get too jealous.
Whether cute mountain towns or bustling cities are your thing, Austria offers foreigners an above-average retirement in the comfort department. The country’s low crime rate gives even more reason to choose it as your retirement home.
Does the promise of pubs or listening to the Irish accent draw you to Ireland? You’ll be glad to know Ireland is among the best countries for retirement. Retirees can choose from both public and private healthcare.
Belgium knows how to take care of its retirees, so foreigners looking to retire there can expect to feel welcomed and safe. Retirees who wish to move permanently to Belgium must prove that they’re retired and have a pension-like fund to withdraw from.
Thailand is the first Asian country to make this list of the best countries for a comfortable retirement. Thailand’s low cost of living truly takes comfort to a whole different level. Retirees who don’t have sufficient retirement savings to live in the U.S. will likely find they have more than enough money in Thailand.
Panama is notorious for having excellent policies for foreign retirees. The country offers tax advantages, the ability to import a car tax-free, and senior discounts.
20: Costa Rica
Costa Rica’s pura vida philosophy means foreigners looking to retire there can expect welcoming, laid-back locals. Although Costa Rica is expensive for a Central American country, Americans from certain states and cities will feel like it’s a steal.
Whether you love mountains or the tropics, Mexico offers an ideal climate for nearly everyone and (mostly) at a fraction of the cost compared to the US. Retirees with family and friends in the States often choose Mexico because of its proximity to the States and cheap flights.
We’re headed back to Europe, with France making the list as one of the best countries to retire comfortably. It has a renowned healthcare system and cuisine that’ll keep your tastebuds happy as you age.
23: Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is the first and only Caribbean island on this list. Not only is living in the Dominican Republic affordable for many American retirees, but the country offers a visa specifically for retirees.
24: United Kingdom
The United Kingdom is far from a cheap place to retire. But like so many European countries, it offers good public health care and a high quality of life that’s unmatched in most other countries.
Germany is the last country that makes the top 30 most comfortable countries to retire. It’s a more reasonable country for retirement from an economic standpoint than most other European countries on this list.
If you’re hoping to retire in South America, Argentina might be the first country you want to turn to. Despite ongoing inflation issues, Argentina provides foreigners affordable living in a relatively well-developed country.
The Philippines has a special resident visa for retirees, making it easy for Americans to call it home during retirement. There’s little not to love about spending your Golden Years on tropical islands, though some parts of the Philippines are less developed than others.
Wedged between Europe and Asia in the Mediterranean Sea, Cyprus offers retirees excellent affordability and a high quality of life. Retirees will also have access to excellent healthcare.
American retirees seeking a modern lifestyle in a tropical climate may want to make a beeline to Singapore. The Southeast Asian nation boasts outstanding infrastructure and healthcare.
30: United States
The United States ranks as the 30th best country to retire comfortably. While most of the U.S. has friendliness down to a science, not all states treat retirement taxes equally, and the cost of living continues to rise.
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