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The Best Places to Retire Overseas

Aruba

Who wouldn’t want to live in this tropical paradise? If you’re looking for a cheaper place to live in your retirement years, you could do worse than Aruba. Rent in Aruba is, on average, 42% lower than in the United States, but the cost of living for things like public transportation, groceries, restaurants, and utilities is about 14% higher than in the U.S. Plus, gaining legal residency is pretty easy as long as you can prove you have an annual retirement income of about $40,000 and you can purchase a home.

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Australia

While the initial process for an American to retire in Australia is a bit taxing—pun intended—the rewards are plenty. The Investor Retirement Visa entitles the holder to a Seniors Card, which provides all sorts of benefits for those aged 60 and older who reside in the country such as travel and dining discounts. In addition, the rents or mortgage in Australia is typically 6% cheaper than the United States.

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Belize

I mean. There are worse ways in which to live out your retirement than living on the Caribbean shoreline and exploring its coral reef, or its Mayan ruins. Also, let me point out that not only is the cost of living in Belize 27% lower than the United States, but the average rent in Belize is about 72% cheaper than in the U.S. And one more thing? In Belize, a person can qualify for their Qualified Retired Person Residency Program as early as the age of 45!!

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Canada

A few great things about retiring in Canada? One: The rent on average in Canada is roughly 21% lower than in the United States. Two: The cost of living is also lower, meaning you can stretch your retirement bucks a bit further. Three: The scenery is great and the people are friendly! However, although traveling to Canada for U.S. citizens is relatively easy, immigrating there is considerably harder. But you can visit Canada for up to six months at a time, no questions asked—unless you overstay your visit.

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Colombia

To retire in Colombia, it is relatively easy and simple. The first requirement is that a person meets the retired person’s income requirement which is three times the minimum wage in Colombia—$2,725,584 pesos per month. Don’t get too hyped up. That translates to about $780 U.S. dollars per month. And as an added bonus, the rent there is about 76% cheaper than in the United States and the cost of living is about 57% lower, too.

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Costa Rica

There are three ways to gain a permanent visa to retire in Costa Rica, the easiest being either the pensionado visa or their rentista program. The first requires proof that the person receives at least $1,000 per month in Social Security or a Pension. The second requires proof of an income of at least $2,500 per month for the length of two years or a $60,000 deposit into a Costa Rican bank. Not to mention that the cost of living is about 30% cheaper and rent is about 65% lower than in the U.S.

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Croatia

Since they’ve become a peace-loving, low-crime country, more people are coming to realize it’s a rather charming location on the Mediterranean, just across the Adriatic Sea from Italy. In order to retire to Croatia, the process begins in the United States with an application for a visa, and then, the process is relatively simple and inexpensive. The draws of retiring in Croatia? The cost of living is about 20% cheaper than in the United States, and the rent is on average about 64% less as well.

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Cyprus

To retire permanently in Cyprus, one only needs to prove that they have an annual income of about $12,000, so there’s that little perk. Typically, the process can take around 5-12 months, but can be fast-tracked if that person decides to purchase property in the country worth at least $363,000. If that thought doesn’t cheer you up, maybe the 45% cheaper rents and 11% lower cost of living will.

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Dominican Republic

Why retire in the Dominican Republic, you ask? Why, because there is no minimum age requirement to qualify for retirement and you can live there comfortably on $1,200 per month. You can even live lavishly on a $2,000 per month budget. Plus, there is the added benefit of the white, sandy beaches, clear waters, and year-round tropical climate. You could even live cheaper if you purchased a home, however, the rent is on average about 76% lower in the Dominican Republic than the United States.

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France

The Wine, the art, the fashion, the food—What’s not to love about France? There’s plenty to see and do, especially if you live in or around Paris. Art gallery openings, museums, picnics in the many varied parks, walks along the Seine, and an active night life. However, the process to become a permanent citizen can be lengthy and difficult, but it can be done. Compared to the United States, while the cost of living is about 12% higher, the rent in France is on average 32% lower.

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Indonesia

Indonesia is a warm, exotic country comprised of 17,000 islands and has been tempting retirees for a long time now, especially since English is widely spoken there. To gain the right to stay permanently, a person only needs to prove an annual income of at least $36,000 for two people, and make a commitment to hire a maid or a driver. Let’s not leave out the facts that the cost of living in Indonesia is on average 48% lower than in the U.S. and the average rent is about 75% cheaper.

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Ireland

Ireland is a beautiful, lush country steeped in history and lore to explore all the day long. Gaining permanent residency is sort of a difficult process if you don’t have a native parent or grandparent living on the island and it can be expensive. A couple wanting to gain residency for retirement must prove an annual income of at least $110,000. The cost of living is higher around Dublin than it is in the countryside but, on average, it can be about 15% higher than in the United States. Rent is also about 10% higher there.

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Italy

Okay, if you really want to retire somewhere where the adventure never stops, then Italy is the country for you. From ancient cities and monuments to the shopping, the food, the arts, and the wine—Italy is ranked at the top of the list for quality of life for American retirees. On top of all of those perks, it’s easy to immigrate to Italy, if expensive. However, living in Italy is definitely worth it since the rent, on average, costs about 44% less than in the United States.

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Malaysia

If you’re looking for a great way to live a better lifestyle for less with an easy immigration process, look no further than Malaysia. English is widely spoken there, the cost of living is about 45% lower than in the United States, and the rent is, on average, 75% cheaper as well. In order to qualify for the ‘Malaysia My Second Home” visa, one only needs to deposit $34,883 into a bank in Malaysia or prove a monthly income of $2,350 from a government pension. Oh, and the climate? Think Florida heat and humidity.

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Malta

About 100 miles south of Sicily in the Mediterranean, lies a small five-island treasure of a country with opportunities for diving, beach excursions, visiting UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and viewing modern art. It is also relatively cheap to retire to Malta, only needing to prove either a net worth of about $40,000 or an annual income of at least $26,000. The cost of living is just about 2% higher than in the United States but the rental average is about 20% lower.

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Mexico

Retiring in Mexico is a relatively simple process. And with so many beautiful and historic places to see and visit, your retirement is sure to be smooth sailing. One benefit of retiring in Mexico is the cost of living, which is 51% lower than in the United States. Not to mention that the healthcare and medications are cheaper in Mexico, and the rent on average is about 72% cheaper. To qualify for a temporary resident visa that lasts for up to four years, one would only need to prove a monthly minimum of $1,400 in income.

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Panama

Panama has been compared to Florida with its sunny, warm climate, but the affordability is much different. For instance, the cost of living in Panama as compared to the United States is about 25% cheaper. And the rental average is about 45% lower in Panama. And a retirement visa is super easy to get—no matter what age you are! As long as one can prove they receive a guaranteed pension from any government entity of at least $1,000 per month and $250 per dependent, they can qualify.

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The Philippines

The Philippines is a tropical country spread over approximately 7,400 islands in Southeast Asia where English is an official language. With so many islands to choose from, there are many lifestyle options from the beach to the mountain to the city. The cost of living in the Philippines is 43% lower than in the United States and the average rent is about 75% cheaper. The Philippines is also one of the easiest Asian countries to retire to, only requiring proof of at least $800 per month or $1,000 per couple and a $10,000 deposit into a Philippines bank.

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Portugal

Want to retire somewhere beautiful with a rich history to explore? Try Portugal - where they have great food, some of the best beaches in Europe, and unparalleled golf courses. The other perks of living out your days in sunny Portugal are that the cost of living is about 26% lower and the rental average is about 46% cheaper than the United States. The process to become a permanent resident of Portugal has been hailed as one of the best in Europe. They offer several different options with many benefits.

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Scotland

The history, the scenery, the food—what wouldn’t be wonderful about retiring to such a magical, mystical place? The process to become a citizen is complicated and tough, but it is doable. At a minimum, one must prove that they have at least a $32,000 annual income if they are a “retired person of independent means.” However, the fight is worth it because living in Scotland’s biggest city, Glasgow, is cheaper than say - New York City. The cost of living is cheaper by 30% and the average rent in Glasgow is 73% lower than it would be in NYC.

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Slovenia

Slovenia shares its borders with Italy, Austria, Croatia, and Hungary, as well as bordering on the Adriatic Sea. And if adventure is what you’re looking for, there are plenty of castles and caves to explore throughout the country, as well as beaches, mountains, and cities. The cost of living is about 17% lower than in the United States, and the rent on average is 54% cheaper. It is relatively easy to gain permanent residency after five years with an annually renewable visa - and having proof of around $1,000 per month income.

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Spain

Spain—full of history, architecture, literature, are, and music, not to mention the landscapes and food, is a popular European retirement destination, sort of like Florida is in the United States. The country has so much to offer for retirees with an adventurous spirit. In order to retire in Spain, one needs to prove an income of about $36,000 per couple. The cost of living in Spain is about 17% lower than in the U.S. and the rental average is about 43% cheaper.

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Uruguay

Uruguay has fast become a popular retiree destination due to its stable government, warm climate, and beautiful beaches. Sandwiched between Argentina and Brazil, this country is known for its friendly citizens and rich culture. A retirement visa is the most popular visa to apply for because it allows you to bring your vehicle without being taxed for it, but it can take up to two years before it’s approved. However, you can begin living there while waiting—and why wouldn’t you, when the cost of living is about 29% cheaper and rent on average is about 67% lower?

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Thailand

Thailand is most definitely for the adventurous and young at heart because it can be quite the culture shock—but it’s definitely a great way to stretch the budget. It is becoming a more popular retirement destination due to the fact that it’s home to the world’s most beautiful beaches. It is relatively easy to migrate to Thailand, needing to prove an income of around $1,800 per month. The rent is a whopping 60% cheaper in Thailand and the cost of living is about 31% lower.

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Virgin Islands (U.S.)

Well, although not technically a foreign country, it is foreign enough to make this list - especially since driving on the left side of the road is included in a Virgin Islands adventure.  The best part about retiring here is that you get to keep all of your United States benefits such as Medicare, AND it's just a short flight back to the mainland to receive top-notch medical care. The cost of living can be higher than on the mainland, but the crime rate is low. Plus—it’s an American territory so no visa or immigration is needed!

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