Are you considering retiring internationally? Some people want to make a travel dream come true by retiring in a favorite country. Others want to make their retirement savings last longer. Learn here about how long $1 million USD in retirement savings will last in the 20 most popular countries for Americans retiring overseas.
How This Article Calculates the Cost of Living Abroad as a Retiree
This article compares the cost of living in 20 popular countries to retirement income from $1 million dollars. For international retirement, the cost of living is how much money you need to live comfortably. It includes your housing, food, transport, and average living expenses. Where the cost of living is lower, $1 million for retirement will support you for a longer time.
To provide the most accurate costs of living for these countries in 2023, calculations here were based on the following:
- $1 million USD in retirement savings, a sum often recommended to fund an affluent retirement
- At least two locations in each country, a major city and a smaller city or town
- A current 2023 cost of living sourced from the world’s largest cost of living database, Numbeo, and based on two people renting a three-bedroom home outside a city center.
How Long Will My Retirement Savings Last?
How long can $1 million USD last when retiring internationally? The range varies from 14 years to an amazing 60 years! What’s more, changing from a major city to a smaller city or town in the same country can extend your retirement by two to 10 years.
The “how long” calculations accounted for a 5% inflation a year. Note that increasing the inflation rate to 7% reduced the years of retirement by an average of two years for costly countries and five years for more affordable countries.
- Compare multiple quotes and coverage options
- Work with an insurance expert at no additional cost
- Find the best plan for your needs and budget
Retirement Costs in English-Language Countries
Many American retirees want to combine travel with convenience by retiring in a different English-language country. However, these countries have a high cost of living. Read the costs for each country to learn how locations outside of major cities can make the most of your retirement budget.
In the United Kingdom, London is a world capital of culture, and also an expensive place to live. You can extend your retirement funds by choosing to live outside London.
- London — $63,460 annually: 14 years of retirement
- Southampton — $37,200 annually: 22 years of retirement
- Edinburgh — $38,230 annually: 21 years of retirement
Peaceful, well-mannered Canada is increasingly popular as a retirement destination for people from the USA. Its large cities, Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal, cost far more to live in than its provincial towns and centers.
- Vancouver — $57,120 annually: 15 years of retirement
- Saskatoon — $28,272 annually: 28 years of retirement
The promise of sunshine, beaches, and the laid-back Australian lifestyle is tempting. Australia’s retirement visa program is on hold as of 2023: you may be able to enter if you have family connections. But be prepared for the high cost of living in Australia.
- Sydney — $58,230 annually: 15 years of retirement
- Ballarat — $37,200 annually: 22 years of retirement
Ireland’s D-Reside retirement visa makes it an accessible option for affluent retirees. Yet living there is expensive. You will also need to pay for private health insurance as an expat resident in Ireland.
- Dublin — $49,850 annually: 17 years of retirement
- Galway — $43,800 annually: 19 years of retirement
Retirement Costs in Europe
Europe’s culture and convenience beckon many retirees. Europe is known to be an expensive place to live, but many places there are surprisingly affordable. Inflation or legislation can change how long your retirement savings will last in Europe, so choose wisely.
Retiring in France, especially Paris, may be a beloved dream. Paris comes with a luxurious price tag, but in the rest of France, the cost of living is notably lower, even in desirable provincial locations.
- Paris — $51,800 annually: 17 years of retirement
- Bordeaux — $37,488 annually: 23 years of retirement
Related: Cost of Living in Paris
Germany, too, has a wide range in its cost of living. Large cities are often easier to live in for expatriates who may not speak much German. Yet investing in learning the German language opens up many picturesque, quiet places.
- Munich — $48,800 annually: 18 years of retirement
- Leipzig — $32,640 annually: 26 years of retirement
Related: Cost of Living in Germany
Italy is the second most popular place in Europe for Americans seeking a European retirement. But it can be expensive to live there if you are renting. Americans who purchase a property in Italy to live in often want to renovate it extensively – another cost.
- Rome — $39,050 annually: 22 years of retirement
- Pisa — $31,550 annually: 26 years of retirement
Thanks to Portugal’s Golden Visa and D7 visa, Portugal is the most popular place in Europe for Americans seeking to retire.
- Lisbon — $33,600 annually: 25 years of retirement
- Portimão — $34,420 annually: 24 years of retirement
See Also: Best Places to Live in Portugal
Spain has long been a favorite retirement destination for Europeans. Outside of large cities, the living costs are very reasonable for a European country.
- Madrid — $35,050 annually: 24 years of retirement
- Alicante — $21,510 annually: 36 years of retirement
In Greece, you can choose between big cities or a sunny, more modest life on a Mediterranean island. Be aware that Greece has a volatile economy. Rents may decrease while consumer goods increase, or vice versa, affecting your retirement budget.
- Athens — $31,340 annually: 26 years of retirement
- Corfu — $24,100 annually: 33 years of retirement
Free Quotes for an International Move
- Get quotes from up to 5 moving companies
- Save up to 40% on your moving costs
- Find the best rates all at once!
Retirement Costs in Central and South America
Many international retirees expect their savings to go further in Central or South America. For some countries and cities, they are correct. In other countries, there may be a surprisingly high cost of living.
Panama’s Pensionado visa means it’s easy to live in Panama if you have retirement income of over $1,000 USD a month. Panama’s currency, the balboa, is closely tied to the U.S. dollar, and many consumer goods are U.S.A. imports. This contributes to Panama’s high cost of living for Central America.
- Panama City — $38,350 annually: 22 years of retirement
- Bouquete — $36,200 annually: 24 years of retirement
Stable, beautiful Costa Rica is an established destination for international retirees. Its beachfront towns, like Playa del Coco, are favorites of expats.
- Playa del Coco — $31,600 annually: 26 years of retirement
- San José — $27,400 annually: 30 years of retirement
See Also: Best Places to Live in Costa Rica
Mexico is the #1 destination for Americans looking to retire in a different country. Here are the calculations for three of the best places for expats in Mexico.
- San Miguel de Allende — $29,340 annually: 28 years of retirement
- Mexico City — $25,120 annually: 30 years of retirement
- Mérida — $17,280 annually: 40 years of retirement
See Also: Best Places to Live in Mexico
Most retirees heading for Brazil look no further than the fabled city of Rio de Janeiro. Brazilians themselves favor São Paulo, Brazil’s largest city. Retirees with medical considerations may prefer São Paulo for its well-rated Brazilian hospitals and health care.
- São Paulo — $22,980 annually: 34 years of retirement
- Rio de Janeiro — $14,400 annually: 47 years of retirement
Colombia’s very reasonable cost of living is drawing more global retirees to live there. Even the stunning Caribbean beach town of Cartagena is affordable.
- Cartagena — $17,000 annually: 43 years of retirement
- Medellín — $14,700 annually: 48 years of retirement
Retirement Costs in Asia
Asian nations offer some of the lowest costs of living for retirees. For many Americans, retiring in Asia is a return to their heritage. For others, it brings challenges around language, distance, and time zones – considerations to balance against retirement costs.
Thailand is a global destination, famous for its beauty and amenities. The Thai cost of living reflects that while still being affordable for two retirees with $1 million USD.
- Bangkok — $27,700 annually: 29 years of retirement
- Pattaya — $20,370 annually: 37 years of retirement
Related: Cost of Living in Thailand
More Americans are looking at retiring in the Philippines thanks to the country’s Special Resident Retiree’s Visa (SRRV). This has modest financial requirements and is available for people aged 50 and over.
- Manila — $23,350 annually: 33 years of retirement
- Quezon City — $21,400 annually: 35 years of retirement
Retiring in Vietnam is appealing for many reasons, including the low cost of living. However, non-Vietnamese retirees must renew their visas frequently, and immigrants cite travel to visa offices and visa renewal fees as an important additional expense.
- Ho Chi Minh City — $19,400 annually: 38 years of retirement
- Hanoi — $17,300 annually: 42 years of retirement
The Malaysia My Second Home visa is also available for people aged 50 and over, with easy renewal options.
- Kuala Lumpur — $19,180 annually: 38 years of retirement
- Penang — $17,200 annually: 42 years of retirement
If you expect to need extra care during your retirement, India has an affordable cost of living and excellent assisted retirement residences. Some places, like Pune and Jaipur, are becoming known amongst American and European retirees.
- Mumbai — $17,500 annually: 42 years of retirement
- Pune — $11,850 annually: 55 years of retirement
- Jaipur — $10,500 annually: 60 years of retirement
Tips to Make the Most of Your International Retirement Savings
Retiring overseas comes with expenses above the simple cost of living. Additional costs for expat retirees can include:
- International relocation
- Getting and maintaining visas
- Private health insurance (required as a condition of some retirement visas)
- Visits back to your home country
- Home services or personal care.
Consider how to include these expenses in your budget. Depending on your desired standard of living, you can budget $2500 to $10,000 extra annually for these expenses.
One way to extend your retirement savings is to choose an affordable place to live in your country of choice. You may move there directly if you are familiar with the country. Or, when you first arrive, base yourself temporarily in a larger city, for three to six months, and invest in exploring other places. Then, relocate and make a more affordable venue your home.
Finally, make decisions around overseas retirement based on what matters to you. Is your family in your home country important? If so, retiring somewhere in a very different time zone, accessed by a long, expensive flight, may not be your best choice. Are you planning to travel and explore from your new international base? Choose a place with a lower cost of living so that you have a budget for travel and fun.
With thought and care, you can retire in any country and live well on $1 million USD. Enjoy planning your dream retirement!