Escaping the daily grind and retiring to an exotic locale where you can spend your golden years exploring and enjoying a new setting might actually make your retirement nest egg go a lot further.
GOBankingRates used Numbeo, an online pricing database, to identify 50 countries that are the cheapest in the world to live during retirement. The countries are ranked by five key affordability metrics. Each metric is measured against what you would find in New York City:
- Consumer price index: Includes costs of local goods and services, including restaurants, groceries, transportation and utilities
- Rent index: Includes typical rental prices in the country
- Groceries index: Includes typical grocery prices in the country
- Healthcare index: Includes estimates of the overall quality of the healthcare system, healthcare professionals, equipment, staff, doctors and costs
- Local purchasing power index: Measures the relative purchasing power of a typical salary in that country; a lower purchasing power buys fewer goods, whereas a higher purchasing power buys more
Based on these affordability metrics, GOBankingRates’ study found the 50 cheapest countries to retire to.
Cost of Living: 33.64
Local Purchasing Power: 37.72
Lush Bangladesh is home to tigers, mangroves, tea plantations and ancient architecture inviting years of exploration. At a fraction of a NYC cost of living, the country has rents 93 percent less expensive and groceries at about one-third the cost.
Cost of Living: 90.88
Local Purchasing Power: 97.99
Although the cost of living is just 9 percent below Manhattan — making it one of the world’s most expensive countries to live in — Japan makes financial sense for retirement. Food costs roughly the same, but you’ll pay 71 percent lower rent in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Cost of Living: 56.85
Local Purchasing Power: 50.65
Stroll along Chile’s 2,700 miles of scenic coastline or head inland to sip vintages at its famous wineries. It’s all possible on a retirement budget thanks to a low cost of living that includes 82 percent lower rent and 51 percent lower food costs than in New York City.
47. New Zealand
Cost of Living: 84.10
Local Purchasing Power: 109.14
You won’t enjoy the lowest cost of living in New Zealand, but the country rolls out retirement-friendly features including a healthcare system ranked higher than the U.S., groceries at 22 percent less and a purchasing power 9 percent higher than NYC.
Cost of Living: 25.14
Local Purchasing Power: 24.51
Let your inner archaeologist run wild, and explore hieroglyphs, the Great Pyramids and other monuments to ancient civilization. Rent is an astonishing 95 percent cheaper in Egypt, and the grocery bill runs a mere quarter of a typical Manhattan food budget.
Cost of Living: 66.12
Local Purchasing Power: 120.86
Your retirement income will enjoy 21 percent greater purchasing power in Qatar than NYC. Rent for a third less money and save 42 percent on groceries when you retire in this country. Qatar is also the most tax-friendly country in the world, according to a separate GOBankingRates study.
Cost of Living: 86.16
Local Purchasing Power: 104.60
Israel works well for retirement, although it’s not one of the cheapest places to live. Purchasing power is 5 percent greater than in NYC while rents cost 63 percent less, and healthcare quality is higher than U.S. standards.
Cost of Living: 93.56
Local Purchasing Power: 109.71
Denmark doesn’t roll out the lowest cost of living, but retirees can enjoy making their money go further than in the U.S. With more purchasing power, a higher ranked health care system and 63 percent lower rents, the country makes financial sense for retirement.
Cost of Living: 63.24
Local Purchasing Power: 88.97
Relish Mediterranean island living when you retire to Cyprus. The island country serves up groceries at roughly half the cost of NYC and rents that are 82 percent cheaper.
Cost of Living: 65.47
Local Purchasing Power: 74.70
Enjoy outdoor living surrounded by Slovenia’s mountains, lakes and rivers. Enjoy setting up housekeeping in an apartment that will cost you less than 79 percent of New York City prices, and pack a picnic lunch with groceries that save 45 percent on the food budget.
Cost of Living: 55.35
Local Purchasing Power: 59.58
Known for dramatic scenery and numerous castles, Slovakia’s low cost of living makes it easy to feast like a king, with grocery prices less than half of U.S. costs.
Cost of Living: 42.66
Local Purchasing Power: 49.09
Spend your retirement years exploring the largest country on earth. Apartment rentals in Russia are 84 percent less than you would spend in NYC, and you can pick up groceries for 64 percent of your current grocery budget. Russia is one of the best countries for the rich, according to a separate GOBankingRates study — you can hold on to more of your wealth there.
38. United Arab Emirates
Cost of Living: 65.64
Local Purchasing Power: 126.09
For those who love to shop, the UAE rolls out some of the highest local purchasing power in the world. Expect to save 46 percent on rent and 45 percent on the grocery bill — you’ll also have money left over for a shopping spree.
Cost of Living: 82.82
Local Purchasing Power: 116.75
Retire to Sweden, and you’ll pay one-third as much rent as you would in New York City. Take advantage of health care that ranks two points higher than the U.S. for overall quality, and enjoy a local purchasing power that’s 17 percent more.
Cost of Living: 40.07
Local Purchasing Power: 42.45
Serbia offers some of the lowest rent for retirees at a 92 percent savings over New York City prices. Combined with groceries at less than one third the cost, there will be plenty left in the budget for skiing or exploring the country’s picturesque mountains.
Cost of Living: 83.28
Local Purchasing Power: 123.19
Australia doesn’t have the lowest cost of living, but it can make sound financial sense for retirees. Besides a local purchasing power 23 percent higher than NYC, its health care quality index of 76.21 outranks the U.S. by nine points, according to Numbeo. America stands to learn much from Australia’s robust retirement program.
Cost of Living: 41.62
Local Purchasing Power: 53.65
Rich in culture, folk crafts and music, Bulgaria is the best place to sway to the Blue Danube Waltz on the shores of the actual river. Rents that are 91 percent cheaper will set your toes tapping, and groceries that cost 63 percent less than the Big Apple is something to sing about.
Cost of Living: 26.77
Local Purchasing Power: 30.07
Dense forests, Baroque architecture and a picturesque coastline along the Black Sea promise leisurely days of retirement in Ukraine. Save more than 90 percent on rent and 79 percent on groceries when retiring in the country.
Cost of Living: 84.16
Local Purchasing Power: 100.42
If days enjoying the French countryside in an open-air cafe seem out of reach, you might be surprised to find it can be less expensive than you think. Rents there are 71 percent lower, and the country has a purchasing power that rivals New York City. However, keep in mind that people in France pay some of the highest taxes in the world.
Cost of Living: 85.58
Local Purchasing Power: 95.81
Belgium has a top-rated health care system, scoring 80.43 compared to 68.22 for the U.S., according to Numbeo. Retirees also enjoy a local purchasing power that’s only slightly below NYC.
Cost of Living: 56.16
Local Purchasing Power: 56.82
Gothic and Renaissance architecture peering over the Adriatic Sea make Croatia a stunning, affordable backdrop for adventures in retirement. The country is budget-friendly for retirees, with a rent index 88 percent cheaper than Manhattan.
Cost of Living: 82.85
Local Purchasing Power: 100.14
Retired life in Austria comes with similar local purchasing power as New York City, and you’ll pay much less for overall living costs. Rent is 70 percent cheaper, and groceries are 21 percent less expensive.
Cost of Living: 40.85
Local Purchasing Power: 35.00
Dramatic volcanic islands provide a wealth of outdoor activities in Indonesia. Your retirement nest egg will take you further by 59 percent in the country, with 91 percent lower rent and 55 percent cheaper groceries.
Cost of Living: 85.72
Local Purchasing Power: 116.76
Although Finland doesn’t enjoy the lowest cost of living, it’s one of the cheapest places to live in the Nordic States. Should you choose to retire there, you’ll enjoy healthcare that ranks seven points higher than the quality of U.S. care and local purchasing power that will take your money 17 percent further.
26. United Kingdom
Cost of Living: 76.88
Local Purchasing Power: 107.10
Although the U.K. can be an expensive place for workers, it has its benefits for retirees. Enjoy local purchasing power that’s 7 percent higher and rents priced at just a third of what you’ll pay in the Big Apple.
Cost of Living: 73.49
Local Purchasing Power: 115.53
Canada might not have the lowest cost of living for the working person, but it’s one of the cheapest places to retire. Enjoy local purchasing power 16 percent greater than NYC and rents that are 70 percent lower.
Cost of Living: 48.16
Local Purchasing Power: 61.20
Home to exotic beaches, one-of-a-kind skyscrapers and some of the best geologic features for exploration, Malaysia is one of the cheapest places to retire. Rent there costs a full 88 percent less than New York City.
Cost of Living: 82.31
Local Purchasing Power: 106.65
Although the Netherlands can’t claim the title of lowest cost of living for retirement, it has definite perks. Check out its healthcare system, which ranks 13 points higher than the U.S., and 62 percent lower rents.
Cost of Living: 39.33
Local Purchasing Power: 57.46
If you want to while away your retirement days poking through old castles and churches, Romania may be your ideal location. It delivers one of the cheapest places to live, with 90 percent lower rents and groceries at a third of the cost of Manhattan.
Cost of Living: 39.76
Local Purchasing Power: 34.32
White beach sand and turquoise waters attract vacationers to the Philippines, but it’s also one of the cheapest places to retire. And, it’s the best country to own investment property, according to a separate GOBankingRates study. Enjoy rents that are 87 percent less expensive and 61 percent cheaper groceries, along with health care quality that rivals the U.S.
Cost of Living: 45.71
Local Purchasing Power: 79.18
The sunny beach in Sanya, China, is a retirement hotspot. Enjoy some of the lowest costs of living in the country, which are 54 percent lower than NYC. Groceries are 53 percent cheaper, and rent is 75 percent less.
Cost of Living: 51.03
Local Purchasing Power: 40.47
Thailand’s sunny beaches and misty mountains are reason enough to want to retire there. The cost of living is nearly half of that in Manhattan, and you’ll enjoy rent that’s 82 percent cheaper and groceries that are 42 percent less.
Cost of Living: 52.97
Local Purchasing Power: 57.82
Spend a lifetime exploring Lithuania’s architecture or summers barefoot on the sand along the Baltic Coast — the overall cost of living is 57 percent less there than New York City. Rents are 86 percent cheaper, and the healthcare quality is similar to that in the U.S.
Cost of Living: 55.11
Local Purchasing Power: 64.34
Portugal’s healthcare ranks within a percentage point above the quality of care in the U.S. Keep up a healthy lifestyle with grocery costs that are 54 percent lower than NYC and low-stress living with rents that are 81 percent cheaper.
Cost of Living: 56.05
Local Purchasing Power: 60.03
Argentina’s healthcare system ranks three points higher than the U.S. for overall quality of care, according to Numbeo. Combine that with an 84 percent lower cost of rent and a 52 percent savings on groceries, and you’re looking at one of the cheapest places to retire.
Cost of Living: 38.51
Local Purchasing Power: 41.99
If saving 91 percent on the price of rent sounds good, check out Macedonia. The healthcare system ranks about six points lower than the U.S. but you can maintain a healthy diet with quality groceries for 69 percent less.
Cost of Living: 29.15
Local Purchasing Power: 44.57
With a cost of living that’s 70 percent lower than NYC, Pakistan is an attractive place to spend your golden years. It’s one of the cheapest places to live, with rents that are 92 percent less expensive and groceries 73 percent lower.
Cost of Living: 45.48
Local Purchasing Power: 70.97
With one of the lowest costs of living, Poland has retirement-friendly rents that are 84 percent lower than what you’d pay in the Big Apple. Groceries are 64 percent less, and health care ranks about six points lower than in the U.S.
Cost of Living: 35.97
Local Purchasing Power: 37.02
Wake up to a great cup of locally sourced coffee when you live in Colombia. Rent is 89 percent cheaper than in New York City, groceries are 69 percent less and the healthcare system ranks within 1 percent of U.S. care.
11. Sri Lanka
Cost of Living: 37.72
Local Purchasing Power: 27.62
If you’re age 55 or older and meet the minimum income requirements, you can retire comfortably in Sri Lanka. The country serves up rents that are 90 percent cheaper than Manhattan and grocery bills that are 58 percent less.
Cost of Living: 58
Local Purchasing Power: 74.63
Estonia is one of the cheapest places to retire. Rent averages 84 percent less than in the Big Apple, and you’ll save 56 percent on groceries.
Cost of Living: 62.58
Local Purchasing Power: 87.64
Few places are more romantic than Spain, and you can find a place to live there for less than a quarter of what you’d pay in New York City. The health care index ranks well above the U.S. by nearly 10 points, and groceries cost half as much.
8. South Africa
Cost of Living: 48.83
Local Purchasing Power: 97.78
A cost of living less than half of that in NYC makes South Africa one of the cheapest places to retire. Qualify for a temporary or permanent retirement visa in the country by proving a guaranteed monthly income of R37,000, or about $3,100.
Cost of Living: 66.20
Local Purchasing Power: 99.72
Healthcare in Taiwan rates significantly higher than the U.S. Purchasing power rivals New York City, making Taiwan one of the best retirement values for your money.
Cost of Living: 41.19
Local Purchasing Power: 55.22
Imagine paying just 9 percent of what you would in Manhattan to rent an apartment in Turkey. Enjoy your digs with special meals cooked at home, as groceries cost 64 percent less.
Cost of Living: 75.40
Local Purchasing Power: 128.19
Enjoy local purchasing power that’s 28 percent greater than the Big Apple when you retire in Germany. Rent runs 70 percent cheaper there, and groceries are 40 percent less.
4. Czech Republic
Cost of Living: 48.73
Local Purchasing Power: 77.21
A dozen romantic UNESCO sites in the Czech Republic offer plenty to explore during retirement. With a cost of living that’s half of what it is in New York City, there will be plenty of room in the budget to go sightseeing.
Cost of Living: 34.58
Local Purchasing Power: 61.25
Life south of the U.S. border delivers more than warm winter weather perfect for outdoor activities. Live in Mexico for a fraction of the cost, with rent that’s 90 percent cheaper and groceries just a third of the cost.
Retiring in the US? This Is What a Comfortable Retirement Will Cost You in Every State
2. Saudi Arabia
Cost of Living: 49.57
Local Purchasing Power: 127.01
Gas prices that are 59 percent cheaper than in the U.S. is one way you’ll save money by moving to Saudi Arabia. Rent is 85 percent cheaper, and local purchasing power is 27 percent higher, making Saudi Arabia one of the cheapest countries to live in.
Cost of Living: 27.65
Local Purchasing Power: 75.22
Enjoy a much lower cost of living in India, and pay 93 percent less rent than in a New York City apartment. You’ll save 70 percent on groceries, and enjoy health care costs that rank about the same as in the U.S.
Keep reading to discover the cheapest cities in the world to live in.
More on Retirement Planning
- Here’s Why These 20 Cities Are the Worst for Retirees
- How Long $1 Million in Retirement Will Last in Every State
- Best and Worst States to Retire Rich
- Watch: Best Cities to Retire on a Budget of $1,000 a Month
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Methodology: GOBankingRates generated its ranking based on cost-of-living indices sourced from online pricing database Numbeo.com. This study surveyed cost indicators for major cities in the 103 nations for which Numbeo had recent and accurate data, using the cities’ median cost indicators to generate a typical cost index for the country. In countries where information was only available for a single city, that city’s data was used. GOBankingRates measured each country’s performance on five key data points: (1) the country’s local purchasing power, which measures the local buying power of typical incomes; (2) cost index of consumer goods and services; (3) cost index of rents; (4) cost index of groceries; and (5) healthcare index. Countries were scored on the relative favorability of these factors, with each weighted equally, and ranked according to these scores. Additional details about the countries and certain cities were sourced from Numbeo.com or the Central Intelligence Agency’s The World Factbook on March 29, 2018, unless otherwise stated.