7 Worst Countries to Retire In

Cagliary cityscape and architecture with Mediterranean Sea in Sardinia island, Summer Italy.
RomanBabakin / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Retirement conjures images of serene landscapes, affordable living, and a slower pace of life. While there are numerous countries touted as the best retirement destinations, some nations may be less ideal than they seem at first glance. Here’s a deep dive into seven such countries and the challenges they might present for retirees:


Economic Volatility: Argentina’s history of economic booms and busts has led to fluctuating living costs. High inflation rates mean that what may seem like a comfortable retirement budget today could be strained in just a few years.

Changing Political Landscape: Argentina’s political dynamics, ranging from conservative to socialist administrations, can lead to abrupt and unexpected policy shifts. This unpredictability can impact investment opportunities and tax policies for expatriates.


Economic Uncertainty: Still grappling with the fallout from the financial crisis of the 2010s, Greece has faced pension cuts and tax hikes. The ongoing economic issues might mean limited local job opportunities for those retirees looking to supplement their income.

Healthcare: Metropolitan areas like Athens offer excellent healthcare, but the more picturesque and quiet islands or rural areas can be lacking in modern medical facilities.

South Africa

Crime Rate: While cities like Cape Town are famed for their beauty, they also struggle with crime, particularly in certain districts. This necessitates security measures that retirees from safer nations might not be accustomed to.

Economic Stagnation: With ongoing issues of power outages, water shortages, and a fluctuating currency, planning long-term becomes a challenging endeavor.

Are You Retirement Ready?


Safety Concerns: Popular cities for expatriates, like Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, are vibrant but have neighborhoods known for high crime rates. Navigating these cities safely requires local know-how.

Healthcare Disparities: Brazil boasts some top-rated hospitals, but they are mostly concentrated in urban centers. In more remote areas, healthcare facilities might be basic, requiring evacuations for more severe health crises.


Harsh Winters: Especially in cities like Saint Petersburg or Moscow, the cold can be intense, requiring not just acclimatization but also potentially higher heating bills and winterproofing expenses.

Political Tensions: With ongoing geopolitical tensions, retirees from NATO countries might find the environment less welcoming due to political differences and sometimes even visa challenges.


Bureaucracy: Renowned for its “la dolce vita” lifestyle, Italy’s bureaucratic maze can be frustrating. Tasks like registering for healthcare, buying a property, or even setting up a bank account can take much longer than expected.

Economic Strains: Regions of Italy, especially in the south, are still grappling with economic challenges. This has led to variations in living costs, with cities like Milan or Rome being considerably pricier than anticipated.


Infrastructure: While Belize’s beaches and jungles are stunning, basic utilities like water and electricity can be inconsistent, especially during the rainy season. Roads, especially in less-touristed areas, can be rough and poorly lit.

Healthcare Limitations: While basic healthcare is available, specialized treatments might not be, requiring potentially expensive trips to neighboring countries like Mexico or even the U.S.

Are You Retirement Ready?

While these countries undoubtedly have myriad attractions, potential retirees should delve deep into the practical aspects of day-to-day life in these nations.

It’s essential to visit, ideally for an extended period, to gauge if the challenges can be comfortably navigated in one’s golden years.

Editor's note: This article was produced via automated technology and then fine-tuned and verified for accuracy by a member of GOBankingRates' editorial team.

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