The Top Five International Retirement Locations in 2018


The rising cost of living has forced many to delay retirement despite diligent preparation and disciplined savings. International retirement offers tax advantages and lower living costs to individuals who are tired of the daily grind.

The high cost of living in the United States has many potential retirees considering a life outside of the United States. International locations that offer the best opportunities for retirement have high standards of living at the fraction of the cost of retiring stateside.

When considering an international move, healthcare, housing, food, transportation and utility costs are the most important factors for individuals to focus on. Indicators such as local currency stability and overall safety ensure retirees an easy transition and prosperous lifestyle.

5. Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico, a United States territory, barely makes the list since it does not qualify as an international location. However, the tax advantages offered to retirees paired with easy resettlement means this destination is hard to ignore. Puerto Rico differs from other locations in the US since residents do not pay federal income tax on their earnings. English is widely spoken in tourist areas, but a working knowledge of Spanish is helpful here. U.S. News and World Report reports depressed real estate values with lower home prices than several years ago. A home close to the ocean in popular San Juan can be found for around $100,000.

4. Portugal

For potential expats intimidated by the prospects of underdeveloped infrastructure or lower standards of living, Portugal is Europe’s best inexpensive location for retirement. Beautifully situated along the Atlantic Coast, Portugal has the advantages of other Western European countries without the price. In fact, Portugal is a popular destination for medical tourism due to high quality standards and low costs, according to an article by The Huffington Post. Taxation on income attributed to a pension is waived while wages, interest and capital gains are taxed at a reduced rate for seniors in retirement.

3. Ecuador

The unassuming South American country offers numerous benefits to senior citizens, both foreign and native alike. With discounts on utilities such as phone service, public transportation, electricity, water and airfare rates, coupled with Ecuador’s generous tax policies, retirees can live comfortably for less. The official currency is the American Dollar so retirees do not have to worry about fluctuations in the local currency. Investopedia says the cost of living in Ecuador could range anywhere from $12,000 to $24,000 per year — a considerable reduction when compared to retirement in the United States.

2. Malaysia

Malaysia is consistently sited as one of the best places for retirement in South Asia. Settlement is easy since crime rates are low, and English is widely understood. Apartments in the capital of Kuala Lumpur can be rented for around $500 per month, but in regional cities, like Batu Pahat, rental amounts can be under $200 according to an article by Transfer Wise. Additionally, healthcare in Malaysia is inexpensive without compromising quality. Many doctors are trained in the US, UK and Australia and are familiar with western standards of medicine.

1. Nicaragua

Because of its close proximity to the US, Nicaragua tops the list as the best place for budget-conscious expats to call their new home. Flights from Miami to the capital of Managua take under 3 hours and run multiple times per day. Unlike neighboring Costa Rica, the country maintains affordable housing prices in the face of increasing tourism. Nicaragua’s landscape is the biggest draw since retirees can choose between beachfront locations or mountainous retreats. International Living reports homes on the beach can be found for under $100,000 while renting similar properties would cost between $400 and $500 per month. There is universal healthcare for citizens of Nicaragua, but expats are encouraged to purchase plans that afford them access to private medical care at the closest medical facility.

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