- Best Places To Retire In 2021: The Annual Global Retirement Index
- 14. Vietnam
- Why Should I Retire In Vietnam?
- – Hanoi
- – Da Lat
- 13. Indonesia
- Why Should I Retire In Indonesia?
- – Canggu, Bali
- 12. Thailand
- Why Should I Retire In Thailand?
- There’s a lot to in Thailand:
- – Phuket
- – Hua Hin
- Best Cities for Retirement in 2021
- Asheville, NC
- Augusta, GA
- Boise, ID
- Dallas, TX
- Lancaster, PA
- Mesa, AZ
- Port St Lucie, FL
- Richmond, VA
- Santa Fe, NM
- Sarasota, FL
- Sioux Falls, SD
- Here are the world’s best places to retire in 2021
- #1 Costa Rica
- #2 Panama
- #3 Mexico
- #4 Colombia
- #5 Portugal
- #6 Ecuador
- #7 Malaysia
- #8 France
- #9 Malta
- #10 Vietnam
Best Places To Retire In 2021: The Annual Global Retirement Index
This could be one of the most frequently asked question we get every year. Other questions we get are somewhere along these lines:
- Where are the best places in the world for me to live better, reinvent myself, and have a grand adventure?
- With an endless array of choices, from white-sand beaches to mountain living, and from Old World culture to ultra-modern metropolises, how do I decide what’s best for me?
We’re here to provide answers to those questions. We’ve spent the last year compiling the information you need to make an informed decision. Medellín to Mazatlán, Phuket to Paris, our team has scoured the globe to identify the world’s best places to retire overseas in 2021.
Our 2021 Overseas Retirement Index is the most comprehensive, well-researched, data-heavy resource on the world’s top places to spend time. Here’s a sneak peek at the results…
- The cost of living in Vietnam is among the world’s lowest.
- Vietnamese food is some the most delicious and inexpensive in the world.
- Because of its French legacy, Vietnam has a wine culture. About 12 wine producers operate in the country, but the most famous is Vang Dalat.
Why Should I Retire In Vietnam?
Vietnam is arguably the cheapest place on Earth to live well. This is a land of beautiful, world-class beaches, cool mountain retreats, and cities seething with vitality. Many Westerners head to Vietnam and love it. Others complain about the hustle, the noise, and the lack of Western influence, particularly in the northern part of the country.
Vietnam is an emerging market that has only recently moved beyond the dark transition following the war. The population is youthful, and an energy permeates everything. The Vietnam that existed in the 1960s and early 1970s exists only in memories. The country has moved on toward a much brighter future…
Hanoi is Asia’s most up-and-coming metropolis.
It’s a mishmash of cultural and historical influences, with French-colonial architecture sidled up next to Chinese-designed buildings, modern skyscrapers looming over ancient pagodas.
Nicknamed “The Capital of Thousand Years of Civilization,” Hanoi is remarkable in that it’s one of the most ancient capital cities in the world.
Much of Hanoi’s history centers around its Old Quarter, one of city’s most charming neighborhoods.
It’s full of French-colonial buildings interspersed with Buddhist pagodas, museums, parks, and monuments… shops touting knock-off goods and sidewalk food stalls serving hot noodles… men puffing cigarettes on street corners and old ladies pushing bikes loaded with vegetables for sale… The activity never stops on this city’s bustling streets; Hanoi’s eight million people are always in motion.
– Da Lat
Da Lat, a cool-weather destination in Vietnam’s Central Highlands, offers a decidedly different pace of life. This is the resort town that the French carved mountain back when the country was a French colony. all hill stations around the world, it served colonists as an escape from the sweat, grime, and tropical malady of the lowlands.
The French endowed Da Lat with villas, boulevards, golf courses, parks, health complexes, and more.
Architectural and cultural remnants from that era remain today, casting a historic and otherworldly charm over the place.
Something about Da Lat inspires romance… Whether it’s the well-preserved past or its cool weather, misty peaks, and pine forest, love is in the air here in Vietnam’s honeymoon capital.
- Indonesia offers a retirement visa—a rare attribute for a Southeast Asian country.
- Indonesia is an archipelago of some 17,000 islands formed by under-sea volcanic activity.
- It’s part of the Coral Triangle, an underwater area that supports a mind-boggling amount of biodiversity.
Why Should I Retire In Indonesia?
Because of Bali, Indonesia is an iconic overseas retirement destination. Bali has an almost-mythical reputation among travelers for its friendly people, astounding natural beauty, and phenomenal beaches. Indonesia is a country that’s rapidly developing, but right now, you can still enjoy life at a discount.
Plus, the country offers an easy route to residency. Those over 55 can stay in Indonesia long-term with the KITAS Retirement Visa, as long as they can prove an income of US$1,500 a month (or US$18,000 per year).
– Canggu, Bali
iStock/I gede wisnu adinata
Bali has long been the choice for retirees to Indonesia. Canggu is the the neighborhood in Bali that you should be paying attention to. A loosely defined area on Bali’s southwest coast, Canggu is quickly becoming Bali’s place to be, offering an eclectic combination of modern lifestyle and traditional culture that’s impossible not to be charmed by…
Just a few years ago, Canggu was little more than a handful of traditional homes, rice paddies, and empty expanses of coastline. Surfers were the first foreigners to turn up here, on the hunt for waves.
They carried the torch for other expats to come here and set up what is now a funky community that’s full of villas and traditional villages, modern restaurants and Indonesian “warungs” (home-style Indonesian restaurants), surf bars, cool cafés, art galleries, and motorcycle shops alongside hundred-year-old temples…
Canggu is a Balinese neighborhood that’s been modernized, staying true to its village roots and offering a residential feel but making space for modern amenities. It’s a really trendy area… some even call it the Brooklyn of Bali because of its unique cultural mashup.
Understandably, people from all over the world are relocating to Canggu, and it’s now home to a huge number of expats from diverse backgrounds, including families with young children. It’s a safe place to live, it has a strong community feel, good health care facilities, and 11 different international schools to choose from.
- Thailand is home to excellent health care and is a major destination for medical tourism.
- It’s a world-renowned golf destination, with high-standard courses found across the country.
Why Should I Retire In Thailand?
Thailand is a well-established expat haven, and thousands of foreigners have settled here. Nowadays, it’s rare to find a town in Thailand that doesn’t have at least a few foreign residents…
There’s a lot to in Thailand:
Breath-taking beaches, friendly locals, and well-established expat communities are just what’s on the surface. Beyond these attractions, Thailand boasts excellent health care (sometimes one-fifth the cost of U.S. health care) and easy retirement visa options.
Phuket is Thailand’s famous jet-set destination that holds a global reputation for its gorgeous beaches… and rightfully so. This island, the third-largest in the country, offers soft, sandy shores separated by rocky headlands and lapped by the warm waters of the Andaman Sea.
Phuket is also home to a substantial expat population of 100,000—about 20% of its permanent population. As a magnet for expats from around the world, including the States, Canada, the U.K., Scandinavia, and more, English is widely spoken and understood in Phuket. Most expats and retirees are attracted here by the pristine beaches, scenic mountain views, and warm tropical climate…
– Hua Hin
Hua Hin is another of our top picks, particularly if you prefer small-town living. It offers easy and elegant expat living in a charming Thai small town.
Hua Hin has major benefits over Thailand’s more-famous expat locales: It’s safer, cleaner, often less expensive, and has better weather year-round.
It needs to be at the top of its game because it has a lofty reputation to uphold: It’s where the Thai royal family s to kick back…
For the modern retiree, Hua Hin fits the bill of a retirement haven. It has miles of clean beaches, excellent recreation opportunities, and a big foreign population. It’s a town of roughly 50,500, and nearly 20% of that number are people who’ve moved here from abroad to make a new life.
Best Cities for Retirement in 2021
Are you relocating for retirement? These 11 U.S. cities, big and small, offer ideal year-round weather, affordable costs of living, and excellent amenities. Whether you’re preparing for retirement or ready for the big move, check out these top places to retire in 2021!
- Asheville, NC
- Augusta, GA
- Boise, ID
- Dallas, TX
- Lancaster, PA
- Mesa, AZ
- Port St Lucie, FL
- Richmond, VA
- Santa Fe, NM
- Sarasota, FL
- Sioux Falls, SD
- Population: 87,531
- Home Price: $212,000 median purchase price; $910 median monthly rent
- Cost of Living: 2% above the national average
- Crime Rate: Safer than 3% of U.S. cities
Retiring soon? Consider relocating to Asheville, one of the friendliest U.S. cities and one of the best places to live in the South! With affordable housing and tax exemptions for Social Security retirement benefits, this North Carolina city has a lot to offer retirees.
In addition to veteran services and long-term care, there are many hospitals in the area, including Mission Hospital, which has been recognized as one of the best hospitals in North Carolina.
Asheville is also nestled within the Blue Ridge Mountains, giving residents stunning mountain views and outdoor activities, including road tripping along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
- Population: 196,784
- Home Price: $100,500 median purchase price; $794 median monthly rent
- Cost of Living: 13% below the national average
- Crime Rate: Safer than 9% of U.S. cities
Retirees should check out Augusta for an affordable place to retire in the South! This Georgia city has a low cost of living, budget-friendly housing, and no taxes on Social Security benefits! The weather in Augusta is ideal with warm summers and mild winters, making it a perfect year-round destination. Retirees also have access to state-of-the-art healthcare at Augusta University Health. If you’re looking for things to do in Augusta, The Garden City is home to the Masters Golf Tournament and the Augusta Canal, which provides miles of trails for hikers and cyclists to utilize.
Photo via @visitboise
- Population: 218,677
- Home Price: $191,000 median purchase price; $834 median monthly rent
- Cost of Living: Equal to the national average
- Crime Rate: Safer than 42% of U.S. cities
Boise is an incredible place to retire! Not only is it one of the best places to live in the Pacific Northwest, but it’s also one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. With crime rates 25% lower than the national average, Idaho’s capital city is a safe place to settle down.
Plus, retirees can take advantage of benefits lower medical costs and no state taxation on Social Security.
If you love the outdoors, you’ll enjoy living in Boise, too! Head out on the Boise River Greenbelt, a 25-mile trail perfect for walking, running, and cycling or visit Boise National Forest for weekend camping, hiking, and more!
Photo via @exploredinary
- Population: 1,278,433
- Home Price: $142,600 median purchase price; $888 median monthly rent
- Cost of Living: 1% below the national average
- Crime Rate: Safer than 5% of U.S. cities
Enjoy retirement in Dallas! The largest city in Texas is one of the best places to live in the U.S. and provides residents with affordable, big-city living. There’s no state income tax, which means that Social Security, pensions, and IRAs aren’t taxed at a state level.
On top of that, the Dallas-Fort Worth metro offers nationally ranked hospitals and amazing year-round warm weather.
You’ll also find plenty of things to do in Dallas! You can support professional sports teams the Dallas Cowboys (NFL) and Texas Rangers (MLB), explore nearly 400 parks, or check out the State Fair of Texas!
Photo via @mikeyrob.pics
- Population: 59,341
- Home Price: $109,300 median purchase price; $806 median monthly rent
- Cost of Living: 14% below the national average
- Crime Rate: Safer than 20% of U.S. cities
Want to retire in a city with charming views and tons of affordability? Consider moving to Lancaster! This Pennsylvania city ranks as one of the best U.S.
cities for retirement because it has one of the lowest sales taxes in the country and no state taxes on retirement benefits including 401(k)s and IRAs. Retirees are also able to find great healthcare options through Lancaster General Health.
In addition, Lancaster has tons of historic and cultural experiences to discover at attractions the Lancaster History Museum and the Amish countryside.
- Population: 470,456
- Home Price: $168,500 median purchase price; $907 median monthly rent
- Cost of Living: 5% below the national average
- Crime Rate: Safer than 31% of U.S. cities
If you want to retire to a place where the sun shines all year long, don’t pass on Mesa! You can enjoy your retirement in resort-style, 55+ communities nestled throughout this Phoenix suburb and stay active with all the opportunities for outdoor recreation.
Avid golfers will love perfecting their game at one of the 25 golf courses throughout the area, and if you’re a baseball fan, you’ll be able to catch some Major League Baseball Spring Training.
Beyond all that, living in Mesa is affordable—not only is Mesa’s cost of living below the national average, but it’s 4% lower than the Arizona average, too! And retirees can feel comfortable knowing that the award-winning Banner Desert Medical Center is available for healthcare needs.
Port St Lucie, FL
Photo via @aerialartfl1
- Population: 175,652
- Home Price: $149,400 median purchase price; $1,170 median monthly rent
- Cost of Living: 2% above the national average
- Crime Rate: Safer than 69% of U.S. cities
Port St Lucie is a laid-back city in Florida that’s perfect for those wanting to relax in retirement. Located about halfway between Miami and Orlando, Port St Lucie offers retirees affordable housing and no taxes on Social Security, pension, IRA, or 401(k) incomes.
On top of that, there’s fantastic year-round weather that stays between 50 and 90 degrees, making Port St Lucie one of the best places to retire in Florida! PSL also offers great healthcare at St Lucie Medical Center, as well as home services from Interim Healthcare.
Sitting on the St Lucie River, PSL is a haven for those who love boating and fishing, but there are lots of other activities, too.
You can get a day pass to all-inclusive resort Club Med Sandpiper Bay, play 54 holes of championship golf at PGA Village, or stroll through the native Florida plants and vegetation at Port St Lucie Botanical Gardens.
- Population: 216,773
- Home Price: $119,300 median purchase price; $916 median monthly rent
- Cost of Living: Equal to the national average
- Crime Rate: Safer than 16% of U.S. cities
Looking for a safe, affordable city to retire in? Put historic Richmond on your radar! With a cost of living 7% lower than the Virginia average, no taxes on Social Security benefits, and IRAs and 401(k)s being deductible up to $12,000, it’s easy to see why Virginia’s capital city is one of the best places to live in the South! Retirees can become a part of The Commonwealth Society, where they can take short courses, attend lecture series, and take part in travel opportunities. Richmond residents can also catch NASCAR races at Richmond Raceway, wander through the 17th Street Farmers’ Market, or take in views of the river rapids at 550-acre James River Park System. One thing is for sure—you’ll never run things to do in Richmond!
Santa Fe, NM
- Population: 82,927
- Home Price: $259,700 median purchase price; $964 median monthly rent
- Cost of Living: 3% above the national average
- Crime Rate: Safer than 21% of U.S. cities
Santa Fe is one of the best small cities in the U.S. and a top choice for a retirement destination.
In fact, more than 20% of Santa Fe residents are 65 years or older! Sitting in the desert foothills of the Southern Rocky Mountains, the City Different provides retirees with a bit of seclusion, budget-friendly housing, and rich culture.
Santa Fe also has some great amenities to keep you busy! Residents can visit up to 80 different art galleries at Canyon Road Arts District or explore the dining options at Santa Fe Railyard. New Mexico’s capital city is also great for outdoor recreation, thanks to the presence of Santa Fe National Forest!
- Population: 54,425
- Home Price: $190,500 median purchase price; $951 median monthly rent
- Cost of Living: 8% above the national average
- Crime Rate: Safer than 13% of U.S. cities
Have you always dreamed of retiring near the beach? Sarasota will give you just that! Florida retirement provides residents with no state income tax, affordable housing, and beautiful Gulf Coast views and weather.
Residents can spend their days relaxing on one of Sarasota’s stunning beaches in Lido Key, Siesta Key, Longboat Key, and Manasota Key.
Retirees also have access to fantastic healthcare at Sarasota Memorial Hospital! Plus, you can golf at top golf courses in the area University Park Country Club and Tatum Ridge Golf Links or check out other Sarasota attractions the Sarasota Opera and The Ringling!
Sioux Falls, SD
Photo via @inrealtygrp
- Population: 167,884
- Home Price: $161,500 median purchase price; $749 median monthly rent
- Cost of Living: 9% below the national average
- Crime Rate: Safer than 17% of U.S. cities
Known as the Best Little City in America, Sioux Falls offers a quaint place to enjoy retirement in the Midwest! South Dakota has low sales taxes and no state income tax, including no taxes on Social Security income—and Sioux Falls adds another perk of budget-friendly homes! Retirees also have access to affordable healthcare in the area and can stay busy with the city’s many things to do! You can hike or bike along the city’s namesake waterfalls at Falls Park or visit Downtown Sioux Falls, where you can find attractions the Arc of Dreams, Old Courthouse Museum, and lots of unique shopping and dining options.
Relocating for retirement? Extra Space Storage has self storage facilities conveniently located across the U.S. that can help with your transition. Find a storage unit near you!
City statistics from AreaVibes
Here are the world’s best places to retire in 2021
As the pandemic disrupts retirement plans for millions of Americans, many may consider moving abroad for their golden years to capitalize on lower costs of living and cheaper housing, among other factors, according to a new ranking.
Countries ranging from Costa Rica to Vietnam made this year’s list of the world’s best places to retire from International Living, a lifestyle magazine on how to live overseas.
Read more: Where to live in retirement: A full breakdown
“Our choice of countries reflects a huge range of lifestyles and locations — they’re the places we think you’ll find the best combination of factors to suit your overseas retirement,” Jennifer Stevens, the magazine’s executive editor, told Yahoo Money. “We’ve got people on the ground in each of them, reporting facts and figures, and sharing their insights about the places they’re proud to call home.”
International Living used cost of living, housing, healthcare, retiree benefits, among other factors to calculate which countries rank best for retirement. (Graphic credit: David Foster)
The magazine used 10 factors to help calculate which countries rank best for retirement. They are: cost of living, housing, healthcare, retiree benefits, visa/residence, fitting in/entertain, development, climate, governance, and opportunity. The rankings were determined statistics and real-time correspondence from journalists across the globe.
Read more: Working in retirement: Everything you need to know
The magazine purposely leaves the U.S. its ranking because the vast majority of its readers are Americans who are already familiar with life in the U.S.
“They know what they pay at home and how they’d characterize their own quality of life,” said Donal Lucey, an author at International Living. “So we don’t attempt to do that for them.”
Here are the top 10 places to retire this year.
#1 Costa Rica
Beautiful view of the San Lucas national park Church and ruins- in Costa Rica
Claiming first place, Costa Rica tops the list with a cumulative score of 85.2. The country, which claimed high scores across all 10 categories, has the top spot in healthcare. The country’s low cost of living, reflected by a score of 84, also makes it an enticing option for retirees.
“As expats Tom and Diane Brown — originally from Washington State — put it, speaking from their new home in Costa Rica’s Central Valley: ‘We live very comfortably on our two Social Security checks and my pension,’” Stevens said. “‘We can easily live on $3,000 a month here, including a gardener and a maid. We also put away $500 each month for travel.”
The country’s hospitality and people are also a motivating factor for retirees to settle down there.
“Perhaps the #1 best thing about Costa Rica is the people,” Casey Halloran, CEO of Namu Travel, a tourism brand group, told Yahoo Money. “They are just incredibly nice human beings, many speak English, and, in large part, they welcome foreigners.”
Second in line for the best country to retire is Panama, with a cumulative score of 85.2. (Source: Getty Creative)
Second in line for the best country to retire is Panama, with a cumulative score of 85.2. The country ranks first place for the visas/residence and benefits category, scoring 97 and 96, respectively.
“Among the reasons I’d recommend Panama is that it’s an ultra modern city with great shopping, affordable rents, and its dollarized, strong and stable economy,” Halloran said. “It also has affordable health care and Copa Airlines is a major hub that flies all over the world.”
Mexico holds the top score for the fitting in/entertain category. (Source: Getty Creative)
The magazine ranked Mexico as its third-place winner, awarding a cumulative ranking of 83.5. The country holds the top score for the fitting in/entertain category.
“Reading this list gives me wanderlust,” said Marguerita Cheng, co-founder of Blue Ocean Global Wealth, a financial advisory firm. “Mexico has not only a temperate climate, but a great quality of life and friendly locals.”
The elevated Medellin Metro is in motion as it rushes into the Parque Berrio Station in front of the illuminated Palace of Culture in Plaza Botero in Medellin, Colombia.
The City of Eternal Spring is located in the Aburra Valley, a central region of the Andes Mountains in South America.
Colombia follows Mexico closely with a cumulative score of 83.
3, according to the ranking, with high scores in Visa/Residence and Healthcare.
“The pros of living in Colombia include it’s a giant, diverse country with a fascinating culture and fast-growing economy,” Halloran said. “There’s a great airport with connecting routes all over the world.”
As the fifth place winner and first European nation on the list, Portugal has a cumulative score of 83.2. (Source: Getty Creative)
As the fifth place winner and first European nation on the list, Portugal has a cumulative score of 83.2, with high scores in healthcare (95) and development (88). The country also has a high life expectancy of 82.29 years, ten years higher than in the US.
A couple can live comfortably, but not lavishly in Portugal on $2,500 per month, according to the site. But in costlier cities such as Lisbon, that number may inch up to $3,000 per month.
Quito, Ecuador – May 27th, 2019: View of the historical colonial district of Quito and the 45 meters tall monument of “Virgin of El Panecillo” on top of the hill overlooking downtown Quito.
The monument was designed by the Spanish artist Agustín de la Herrán Matorras.
Bringing home a cumulative score of 83, Ecuador, home of the Galapagos Islands, ranks number sixth.
The country has high scores in cost of living (93) and benefits (95).
“Ecuador has an affordable cost of living coupled with downright cheap healthcare,” Hallaron said. “The cons include a lack of political stability.”
A woman tourist is sightseeing at Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
A melting pot of Malay, Chinese, Indian and European cultures, Malaysia takes home the seventh spot with a ranking of 79.8. The country has high scores for cost of living (91) and development categories (92).
Internationalliving.com cites that a $2,500-a-month budget allow syou to rent a modern high-rise well equipped with everything from a pool to a covered car space.
Home to one of the world’s fashion capitals and the second European country in the top 10, France takes the eighth spot on International Living’s list.
(Source: Getty Creative)
Home to one of the world’s fashion capitals and the second European country in the top 10, France takes the eighth spot on International Living’s list. The country carries a cumulative score of 76.
4, but holds the top spot in the development category with a score of 96.
“It’s not surprising that France is the world’s favorite destination, receiving approximately 80 million foreign visitors each year,” the International Living staff cites in their 30th Annual Global Retirement Index report.
The country holds a score of 76, with a score of 90 in the fitting in/entertain category. (Source: Getty Creative)
Malta, a small archipelago in the middle of the Mediterranean region, breaks into the top 10 at the ninth spot. The country holds a score of 76, with a score of 90 in the fitting in/entertain category.
“Over the centuries, Malta has been conquered by 12 nations and each left behind their language, food, religion, knowledge, and traditions,” wrote International Living’s contributor Mary Charlebois. “As a result, the Maltese are open and accepting of all cultures, nationalities, races, creeds, and economic statuses.”
Known for its natural beauty including beaches and rivers, Vietnam holds a cumulative score of 75.5, but has the number one spot in the cost of living category with a near perfect score of 99.
(Source: Getty Creative)
Vietnam rounds out the top 10 places to retire on the list. Known for its natural beauty including beaches and rivers, Vietnam holds a cumulative score of 75.
5, but has the number one spot in the cost of living category with a near perfect score of 99.
“A bag of veggies at the local market might set you back $3. A glass of a local beer goes for about 55 cents,” Stevens said. “It’s a place where a couple could live well for as little as $1,400 a month and it’s remarkably diverse, with 2,000 miles of coastline and beach, modern cities, and pristine mountains, and that makes for great lifestyle options.”
The remaining 15 top countries on International Living’s list include:
“The real takeaway should be that many of these countries come out, when compared, ranking very, very close to one another.
We’re splitting hairs and what that means for the reader — for the potential retiree — is that these are all good options,” Lucey said.
“And depending on what a person is looking for, depending on somebody’s preferences and priorities — that might point them to one place over another.”
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Dhara Singh is a reporter at Cashay and Yahoo Finance. Follow her on at @Dsinghx.
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