4 Countries Where the Wealthy Are Moving To Spend Their Retirement Years

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Many Americans are choosing to live their golden years abroad, whether for the change of scenery, the weather, the search for new experiences or for better costs of living.

Indeed, more than 440,000 Americans are now drawing Social Security retirement benefits outside the country, according to Next Avenue.

While reasons for retiring abroad and the location choice might mostly be based on living costs, for retirees for whom money is not an issue, the only criteria remaining are mainly the safety of the country and the standard of living.

And Americans moving overseas are on the rise, as a Henley & Partners report notes it received the most enquiries from U.S. citizens on record in 2022 — a 447% increase from 2019. Moreover, Henley & Partners’ USA Wealth Report projects that 2023 will be a record-breaking year, with 125,000 millionaires migrating internationally — practically doubling from the 64,000 high-net-worth individuals who migrated in 2015.

Here are some top destinations for 2023.


According to International Living’s 2023 Annual Global Retirement Index, Portugal takes the No. 1 spot thanks to several assets. From bustling Lisbon and its trams to Porto and its centuries-old architecture, the country can be enchanting to many.  

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Another asset is that the country ranks among the safest in the world, placing sixth in the Global Peace Index (GPI). It’s also ranked at the 36th place by livingcost.org’s index of best places to live.

In 2022, there was a net inflow of approximately 1,300 millionaires in Portugal, as the Portugal Golden Residence Permit Program, which gave wealthy individuals residency in exchange for real estate investment, remained the most popular program, according to investment migration consultancy firm Henley & Partners’ research.

As of March 2023, however, the country suspended its golden visa program  as the government said it wanted to “fight against price speculation in real estate,” according to the Financial Times.

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The country is ranked the seventh best one to retire in, according to International Living. Greece, the birthplace of democracy, is rich in history and archeology. Foreigners are also attracted to its myriad of islands — many of which are known for their iconic blue and white architecture.

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If you plan on retiring there, you can apply for a golden visa; that is, if you have $250,000 to spare — which is the minimum real estate investment to make in order to be granted a five-year residency permit.

And you should act fast, because as of May 2023, the real estate requirement is set to increase to 500,000 euros ($540,000) in certain Municipalities of Greece, such as Athens, Thessaloniki, Glyfada, Mykonos and Santorini, according to La Vida Golden Visa. 

CNBC reported that issuances of the country’s golden visa almost doubled last year, with Chinese citizens being the top applicants. However, a new cohort of investors is emerging: wealthy Americans, according to CNBC. Indeed, applications from high-net-worth U.S. citizens increased 740% in 2021, according to investment immigration firm Astons, making Greece Americans’ third-preferred “residency by investment” destination after Portugal and the U.K.


The Bahamas are appealing for several reasons — namely, endless beaches and crystal blue waters. Another one is its proximity to the U.S.

In addition, the Bahamas allows foreign investors to apply for permanent residency in exchange for investments in the country, also known as a golden visa program. Buying a property valued at least $500,000 will enable you to apply for such a visa. However, as the Golden Capitalist notes, while this is the minimum investment requirement, “the authorities give real estate investments of at least $1,500,000 priority.”

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While the cost of living is higher than in the U.S., one advantage is that the country is considered a tax haven as it has no income tax, capital gains tax, wealth tax, gift tax, inheritance tax or sales tax, according to Retireinthecarribean.com. In addition, there is no corporate tax or business tax.


The Robb Report notes that Thailand is a much sought-after destination in Southeast Asia as it offers an affordable and high standard of living. The country boasts several assets, including ancient ruins, scuba-diving sites, tropical islands, palaces, Buddhist temples and several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Henley & Partners note.

Thailand has been a popular destination for retirees as it provides long-term visas for people over 50, according to International Living.

The nonimmigrant long stay visa, for example, is available to people over 50 who meet certain financial requirements, including having a bank account with at least 800,000 baht ($24,900) and a monthly income or pension of at least 65,000 baht ($1,900), according to SmartAsset.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.
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