GOBankingRates

35 Countries Where Your Social Security Check Goes Furthest

Gerold Grotelueschen / Getty Images

Gerold Grotelueschen / Getty Images

When it’s time to retire, you may find your Social Security benefits don’t go as far as you need them to. If you haven’t saved enough to continue to live the lifestyle you want in the U.S. — and many Americans haven’t — there are other places you can go.

In the United States, the average Social Security check of $1,390.12 a month barely covers the average cost of living of $1,238.80. GOBankingRates looked at the cost of living around the world, including housing, utilities, groceries and transportation, to determine where your Social Security check will go the furthest. The study also only considered countries that ranked highly on the Institute for Economics & Peace’s global peacefulness index, which takes into account a country’s general level of peace and safety.

These are the best places to retire in the world — ranked from good to best — if you want your Social Security check to go as far as possible.

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South Korea

  • Rent: $483.91
  • Groceries: $494.62
  • Utilities: $143.65
  • Transportation: $45.44
  • Total monthly expenditures: $1,167.62

Money left over: $222.51

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Italy

  • Rent: $614.55
  • Groceries: $307.41
  • Utilities: $176.84
  • Transportation: $39.42
  • Total monthly expenditures: $1,138.22

Money left over: $251.90

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Spain

  • Rent: $676.18
  • Groceries: $229.72
  • Utilities: $132.55
  • Transportation: $46.17
  • Total monthly expenditures: $1,084.62

Money left over: $305.50

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Panama

  • Rent: $679.20
  • Groceries: $276.35
  • Utilities: $89.52
  • Transportation: $20.00
  • Total monthly expenditures: $1,065.07

Money left over: $325.06

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Kuwait

  • Rent: $783.95
  • Groceries: $183.02
  • Utilities: $40.62
  • Transportation: $40.60
  • Total monthly expenditures: $1,048.19

Money left over: $341.93

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Cyprus

  • Rent: $587.75
  • Groceries: $239.52
  • Utilities: $144.34
  • Transportation: $45.05
  • Total monthly expenditures: $1,016.66

Money left over: $373.46

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Slovenia

  • Rent: $491.54
  • Groceries: $240.27
  • Utilities: $223.65
  • Transportation: $41.67
  • Total monthly expenditures: $997.13

Money left over: $393.00

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Portugal

  • Rent: $611.94
  • Groceries: $195.61
  • Utilities: $112.41
  • Transportation: $43.87
  • Total monthly expenditures: $963.83

Money left over: $426.30

Related: 50 Cheapest Places to Retire Across America

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Czech Republic

  • Rent: $556.98
  • Groceries: $198.72
  • Utilities: $183.14
  • Transportation: $21.99
  • Total monthly expenditures: $960.83

Money left over: $429.29

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Slovakia

  • Rent: $490.68
  • Groceries: $209.35
  • Utilities: $195.71
  • Transportation: $29.28
  • Total monthly expenditures: $925.02

Money left over: $465.10

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Taiwan

  • Rent: $398.06
  • Groceries: $392.60
  • Utilities: $72.60
  • Transportation: $43.26
  • Total monthly expenditures: $906.52

Money left over: $483.60

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Croatia

  • Rent: $406.74
  • Groceries: $259.43
  • Utilities: $184.75
  • Transportation: $53.17
  • Total monthly expenditures: $904.09

Money left over: $486.03

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Estonia

  • Rent: $451.76
  • Groceries: $193.83
  • Utilities: $195.32
  • Transportation: $25.90
  • Total monthly expenditures: $866.81

Money left over: $523.32

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Poland

  • Rent: $469.21
  • Groceries: $154.52
  • Utilities: $174.33
  • Transportation: $25.35
  • Total monthly expenditures: $823.41

Money left over: $566.71

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Costa Rica

  • Rent: $437.86
  • Groceries: $250.36
  • Utilities: $72.91
  • Transportation: $50.00
  • Total monthly expenditures: $811.13

Money left over: $579.00

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Latvia

  • Rent: $358.29
  • Groceries: $186.64
  • Utilities: $199.06
  • Transportation: $56.31
  • Total monthly expenditures: $800.30

Money left over: $589.82

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Oman

  • Rent: $474.61
  • Groceries: $206.79
  • Utilities: $58.51
  • Transportation: $38.96
  • Total monthly expenditures: $778.87

Money left over: $611.26

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Greece

  • Rent: $345.17
  • Groceries: $219.06
  • Utilities: $169.79
  • Transportation: $33.79
  • Total monthly expenditures: $767.81

Money left over: $622.31

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Lithuania

  • Rent: $414.64
  • Groceries: $171.44
  • Utilities: $144.87
  • Transportation: $32.66
  • Total monthly expenditures: $763.61

Money left over: $626.52

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Chile

  • Rent: $383.23
  • Groceries: $180.14
  • Utilities: $118.45
  • Transportation: $51.95
  • Total monthly expenditures: $733.77

Money left over: $656.35

Read: What Social Security Will Look Like in 2035

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Hungary

  • Rent: $367.66
  • Groceries: $159.92
  • Utilities: $161.90
  • Transportation: $30.82
  • Total monthly expenditures: $720.30

Money left over: $669.82

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Uruguay

  • Rent: $378.23
  • Groceries: $188.28
  • Utilities: $106.41
  • Transportation: $36.05
  • Total monthly expenditures: $708.97

Money left over: $681.16

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Vietnam

  • Rent: $348.16
  • Groceries: $201.24
  • Utilities: $65.17
  • Transportation: $7.79
  • Total monthly expenditures: $622.36

Money left over: $767.76

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Montenegro

  • Rent: $297.26
  • Groceries: $149.04
  • Utilities: $113.05
  • Transportation: $31.53
  • Total monthly expenditures: $590.88

Money left over: $799.25

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Ecuador

  • Rent: $342.14
  • Groceries: $162.61
  • Utilities: $47.97
  • Transportation: $25.00
  • Total monthly expenditures: $577.72

Money left over: $812.40

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Romania

  • Rent: $293.27
  • Groceries: $151.77
  • Utilities: $109.25
  • Transportation: $16.28
  • Total monthly expenditures: $570.57

Money left over: $819.56

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Bulgaria

  • Rent: $266.55
  • Groceries: $166.59
  • Utilities: $107.11
  • Transportation: $28.78
  • Total monthly expenditures: $569.03

Money left over: $821.10

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Serbia

  • Rent: $252.95
  • Groceries: $138.29
  • Utilities: $147.70
  • Transportation: $28.74
  • Total monthly expenditures: $567.68

Money left over: $822.44

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Malaysia

  • Rent: $286.92
  • Groceries: $179.19
  • Utilities: $47.23
  • Transportation: $23.39
  • Total monthly expenditures: $536.73

Money left over: $853.40

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Indonesia

  • Rent: $240.53
  • Groceries: $186.43
  • Utilities: $75.30
  • Transportation: $14.07
  • Total monthly expenditures: $516.33

Money left over: $873.79

Also See: 20 Tips To Live Comfortably Off Just a Social Security Check

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Albania

  • Rent: $232.18
  • Groceries: $152.71
  • Utilities: $75.63
  • Transportation: $14.52
  • Total monthly expenditures: $475.04

Money left over: $915.09

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Kazakhstan

  • Rent: $261.02
  • Groceries: $137.89
  • Utilities: $51.06
  • Transportation: $16.21
  • Total monthly expenditures: $466.18

Money left over: $923.95

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North Macedonia

  • Rent: $176.23
  • Groceries: $138.19
  • Utilities: $109.78
  • Transportation: $25.60
  • Total monthly expenditures: $449.80

Money left over: $940.32

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Sri Lanka

  • Rent: $198.50
  • Groceries: $166.24
  • Utilities: $44.78
  • Transportation: $5.36
  • Total monthly expenditures: $414.88

Money left over: $975.25

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Argentina

  • Rent: $203.76
  • Groceries: $127.66
  • Utilities: $64.62
  • Transportation: $14.30
  • Total monthly expenditures: $410.34

Money left over: $979.79

More From GOBankingRates

Methodology: To find the countries where your Social Security check goes the furthest, GOBankingRates first found (1) the average monthly Social Security payment according to the Social Security Administration’s May 2020 Monthly Statistical Snapshot report. Then, GOBankingRates used Numbeo to find estimates for the average monthly cost of (2) rent, calculated as the average of rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center and for a one-bedroom apartment outside the city center; (3) groceries, calculated as the recommended minimum budget for a Western food types monthly grocery basket; (4) transportation, calculated as the cost of a monthly public transit pass; and (5) utilities. Factors 2-5 were then added together to create a conservative (6) total monthly expenditures estimate. This was then subtracted from factor (1) to find (7) the amount left over from the average monthly Social Security retirement benefit after monthly expenses. Before creating a final ranking, GOBankingRates also considered each country’s (8) global peacefulness index rating from the Institute for Economics & Peace, which takes into account the “level of societal safety and security,” “the extent of ongoing domestic and international conflict” and “the degree of militarization” in each country. All countries with a peacefulness level less than “high” were excluded from the final ranking. The 43 countries with high peacefulness index scores where you can live off of the average monthly Social Security benefit and have money left over each month are ranked here with No. 1 being the country where your Social Security check goes the furthest. All data was collected on and up to date as of June 24, 2020.

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