20 Better Alternatives to Retire than in America

Retirement is a time for relaxation and rejuvenation, and your chosen location can greatly impact the quality of your golden years. While the United States offers many benefits, soaring healthcare costs, expensive living standards, and bustling city life might not be for everyone. If you dream of retiring abroad, consider these 20 outstanding destinations where your retirement fund might stretch further, and your quality of life could soar.


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Portugal is an appealing option for retirees due to its cost of living, which is approximately 47% lower than in the United States. This substantial difference allows for a significantly more affordable lifestyle, with savings on everything from housing to groceries. Portugal’s healthcare system is highly rated, providing quality services at a fraction of the cost compared to the US. This combination of affordability and quality of life makes Portugal a top destination for retirees seeking a comfortable and scenic place to live.


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Spain offers retirees a high-quality lifestyle bolstered by an excellent healthcare system, ranked among the top in Europe. The cost of living in Spain is roughly 43% lower than in the US, making it more accessible for retirees to enjoy its diverse culture, delicious cuisine, and sunny weather. This affordability, combined with a robust healthcare infrastructure and a relaxed lifestyle, makes Spain an attractive destination for retirement.

Costa Rica

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Costa Rica is known for its progressive environmental policies, stunning landscapes, and high quality of life. It ranks high on the Happy Planet Index, which measures sustainable well-being. The cost of living is about 52% lower than in the US, and healthcare is both affordable and of high quality, often rated better than the US system.


Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA downtown cityscape at twilight.
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Mexico’s appeal to retirees is not just its cultural richness and warm climate but also its affordability. The cost of living is approximately 60% lower than in the US. Healthcare is of high quality and accessible, especially in cities with large expat communities. Mexico’s proximity to the US also makes it convenient for those who wish to visit home frequently.


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Malaysia is increasingly recognized for its modern infrastructure and low living costs, which is about 76% lower than in the US. It boasts one of the best healthcare systems in Asia, which is a significant draw for retirees. English is widely spoken, which eases communication barriers, making it a comfortable retirement destination for Americans.


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Ecuador offers a highly affordable cost of living, about 67% lower than in the US. It uses the US dollar, which simplifies financial management for American retirees. The country provides a variety of climates and landscapes, from beaches to highlands, along with access to affordable and quality healthcare services.


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Panama is notable for its Pensionado program, which provides substantial discounts and tax benefits to retirees. The cost of living is roughly 51% lower than in the US, and Panama enjoys a tropical climate and a strategic location that appeals to retirees looking for a convenient and comfortable lifestyle.


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Colombia offers an attractive cost of living, around 70% lower than in the US, along with a vibrant culture and diverse environment. The healthcare system is advanced, with many facilities accredited by international organizations. Colombia’s natural beauty and warm, welcoming community make it a compelling choice for retirees.


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France is famous for its unparalleled healthcare system, which is accessible and affordable to residents, including expats who qualify for the healthcare program after three months of residence. While the cost of living can be high in urban areas like Paris, many regions offer a more affordable lifestyle, approximately 37% cheaper than living in the US.


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Italy offers a rich cultural experience with a cost of living about 42% lower than in the US, particularly in southern regions. The healthcare system is ranked among the best in the world, providing comprehensive coverage at a lower cost than in many other Western countries. The Mediterranean lifestyle, characterized by a healthy diet and relaxed pace, is highly beneficial for retirees.


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Ireland is attractive for its high standard of living and excellent healthcare system, which is comparable to other Western European countries but with a unique Irish charm. The cost of living is roughly on par with the US, but the quality of life is significantly enhanced by the rich cultural experiences and robust social services. Ireland’s community-focused lifestyle makes it a welcoming destination for American retirees.

New Zealand

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New Zealand is known for its stunning landscapes and safety, with a cost of living 20% less than the US but justified by the high quality of life and healthcare standards. It ranks highly in global peace indexes and offers a great environment for active retirees who appreciate outdoor activities in a pristine natural setting.


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Australia offers a blend of high-quality healthcare and a high standard of living, with living costs similar to the US. It’s a preferred destination for retirees who prioritize health services, safety, and a climate similar to the southern and western US. Australia’s diverse environment and laid-back lifestyle attract retirees from around the globe


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Switzerland, while one of the more expensive options, provides unparalleled healthcare quality and personal safety. The cost of living is high (around 19%) but offers retirees a stable economic environment and a multilingual society that values privacy and security. Its central European location also makes it ideal for those who wish to travel across Europe.


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Austria combines stunning alpine scenery with a high quality of life. It offers one of the best healthcare systems in the world, heavily subsidized by the government, making it affordable for residents, including retirees. The cost of living is reasonable compared to other Western European nations and 28% less expensive than the US, offering a balanced lifestyle amidst a rich cultural history.


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Sweden is noted for its extensive welfare benefits and high standard of living. The cost of living is 35% less expensive and healthcare and education are essentially free, funded by relatively high taxes. The Swedish social system is supportive of seniors, providing excellent healthcare, public transport, and a range of senior benefits.


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Norway offers a robust welfare system to support a high standard of living. Like its Scandinavian counterparts, it provides comprehensive healthcare and social services. While the cost of living is high, it’s still 21% less than in the US. The quality of life, safety, and natural beauty make it a worthwhile choice for retirees seeking a peaceful environment.


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Canada is known for its quality of life, including safety, healthcare, and cultural diversity. The cost of living is generally lower than in the US (around 16%), especially healthcare costs, which are publicly funded. Canada’s proximity to the US makes it a convenient location for retirees who wish to stay close to family and friends.


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Germany offers a high quality of life with excellent healthcare and efficient public services. The cost of living is 35% less, and the country is known for its well-organized, systematic approach to healthcare and social security. Germany’s rich cultural heritage and central location in Europe make it an attractive destination for retirees.


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Thailand offers affordable living, quality healthcare, and a welcoming expat environment. With its beautiful beaches, rich culture, and delicious street food, Thailand’s cost of living is up to 68% cheaper than the U.S. The retirement visa, known as the “Non-Immigrant O-A Long Stay Visa,” is for those aged 50 and above, providing a renewable one-year stay with financial qualifications.

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