7 Best Places to Retire in the World on a Budget

boat sailing on blue ocean

Question: What could possibly make the idea of retiring more tantalizing? Retiring abroad… on a budget! It’s truly a dream come true; you get to choose the culture and climate that really moves you and explore it until you drop. No commitments, no worries, no pricey resorts. Just you and the sound of waves gently lapping up on pristine beaches. If you’re looking for the best places to retire in the world on a budget, you’ve come to the right place! 

best places to retire in the world on a budget
Your cheap place to retire abroad will proooobably look a little like this.

It can seem a little far fetched, right? Retiring in paradise? That’s reserved for billionaires. News flash: The best place to retire in the world on a budget is just a plane ride away, and totally accessible to people from all walks of life. You’ll get the biggest bang for your buck, live like royalty, and embrace freedom abroad! Enjoy a reduced cost of living and reduced stress level. 

Looking for a beautiful, magical, and affordable country to retire in shouldn’t give you any anxiety. Let us help you ease into your next adventure by presenting the 7 cheapest places to retire abroad.

What should I consider when retiring abroad on a budget?

This may seem obvious, but think about your personal budget when retiring abroad. How does the math work out for the country you want to retire in? This list is an idea of the best places to retire in the world on a budget, but not everyone’s budget looks the same.

In terms of rent, are you interested in renting for retirement, or buying a house? What is the healthcare system like? Sometimes “affordable” isn’t enough.

Sure, it’s an exciting life shift, but you still need to take a minute to think about how realistic it is for your lifestyle. Do you want to be close to family and friends? If you’re living in Illinois and decide to move to Indonesia, a quick trip home for Thanksgiving isn’t as realistic.

What kind of community are you looking for? Some of the best countries to retire on social security alone are also major retirement hubs with booming expat communities. It can be nice to connect with people from similar backgrounds when you’re moving to a foreign country.

Ahh more details. Do some visa research before settling on a location. Some countries have specific retirement visa requirements, others have long-term residence permits, and a myriad of other rules and requirements along the way.

A lot of the best places to retire in the world on social security funds have visa programs in place, but they typically require you to be a certain age limit (often 55), show that you have some income/funds to actually survive, and do a health check.

7 cheapest places to retire abroad

*Cost of Living Index from Numbeo is a relative indicator of consumer goods prices, including groceries, restaurants, transportation and utilities, where NYC is 100(%). A COL index of 120 means it costs about 20% more than it does in NYC, while a COL of 50 means it’s half the price!

1. Philippines

best places to retire in the world on a budget
Apart from being one of the cheapest places to retire abroad, the Philippines is downright enchanting.

The Philippines is one of the best countries to retire on social security alone because the cost of living is low. You can comfortably live on $800 to $1,000 a month with eating out and in-country travel. That means any extra funds you raise with FundMyTravel is a bonus that should be immediately applied to an adventure or luxurious pampering in the island nation. 

The Philippines has a well-established expat community in Dumaguete, and most people can carry a conversation in English. This, as well as the warm-hearted locals, make it the best place to retire in the world on a budget.

[6 Essential Money-Saving Tips to Travel on a Budget]

The Philippines really is one of the best places to retire in the world on social security! There are pristine beaches, thousands of islands to explore at your leisure, and amazing food that’s ridiculously cheap. Affordable living + beautiful beaches + welcoming locals = win-win-win situation.

  • Exchange rate: 1 USD = 50.47 Philippine Pesos 
  • Price of a meal: $3 
  • Average monthly rent: $340 
  • Cost of Living index: 36.97

2. Chile

Picture yourself in a beautiful country with the highest standard of living in Latin America. The water is safe, the WiFi is reliable, and the cost of living is somehow extremely affordable. To top it off, the scenery is breathtaking and diverse.

Chile is one of the best places to retire in the world on a budget for people who want variety and class in their life. Sip fine wine in Santiago one day, and explore the Andes the next. But of course, there are caveats to the affordability.

Santiago might not be the best place to retire in the world on a budget if you have a super tight budget. Capital cities tend to be a bit more expensive. That being said, starting a FMT campaign to retire in Chile could make a cosmopolitan crash-pad a reality!

  • Exchange rate: 1 USD = 742.20 Chilean Pesos
  • Price of a meal: $7.20
  • Average monthly rent: $353 
  • Cost of Living index: 49.15

3. Malaysia

boats on the ocean in malaysia
As a cheap place to retire abroad, Malaysia checks all the boxes.

Not only is Malaysia one of the cheapest places to retire abroad, it’s one of the safest places to live in Southeast Asia! Bonus points on the great health care program and the fact that English is widely spoken.

Oh, we almost forgot to mention the BEACHES. Cerulean waves and snow white beaches might trick you into thinking you literally live in a postcard. Talk about magical!

Retiring abroad on a budget doesn’t mean you need to neglect the finer things in life. Penang is a popular retiree destination for its relaxed island vibes with big city access. Because it’s so sought out, it might be a bit more expensive than a more secluded rural town.

However, you can still get an imported beer for under three bucks! Southeast Asian countries are a great trick for those looking for the best places to retire in the world on social security, because the day-to-day expenses are next to none.

  • Exchange rate: 1 USD = 4.12 Malaysian Ringgits
  • Price of a meal: $2.41
  • Average monthly rent: $398
  • Cost of Living index: 39.56

[8 Cheapest (and Safest) Places to Live in the World]

4. Belize 

Did you know that English is the official national language in Belize, and it’s the only country in Central America where this is the case? If you’re ready to retire, you’re probably ready to relax. Sometimes a language barrier is just not worth the headache.

Belize is the best place to retire in the world on a budget because it’s close to home (if you’re from the US). You can get a ticket for under $600, and it’s only a four-hour flight from Chicago.

It’s one of the cheapest places to retire abroad, so you can indulge in scuba or snorkel adventures, live in a fancy beach house, and eat out almost every day! Due to the ridiculously reasonable cost of living, it’s one of the best countries to retire on social security alone. 

  • Exchange rate: 1 USD = 2.02 Belize Dollars
  • Price of a meal: $5
  • Average monthly rent: $399
  • Cost of Living index: 49.06

5. Spain 

person standing on coast in mallorca
Do you want Europe to be a part of your cheap retirement abroad? Check out Spain!

Spain — or España as you, soon to be local, should call it — is such a treat. Love the sun? Say hello to bright, sunny days in the Mediterranean region with over 3,000 hours of sunshine a year.

Europe can be a little pricier than other places, but it doesn’t need to drain your bank account. Spain may not be one of the best countries to retire on social security alone, but there are ways to live comfortably nonetheless.

It’s still a cheap place to retire abroad when you compare it to the rest of the continent; it actually has one of the lowest costs of living in Western Europe. Besides, we can’t have a list of the best places to retire in the world on a budget without the Euro tour! Tap into that tapas lifestyle and book your ticket to Spain today. 

  • Exchange rate: 1 USD = .91 Euros
  • Price of a meal: $11
  • Average monthly rent: $716
  • Cost of Living index: 54.74

6. Czech Republic 

This may be a surprising addition to the “best place to retire in the world on a budget” list, but bear with us. What CR lacks in tropical beach vibes, it makes up for in culture, healthcare, and diversity.

If you love beer, you need to at least visit this country. Known for hearty, meat-forward cuisine and copious beer consumption, living in the Czech Republic is a great option for those looking for a cheap place to retire abroad. CR may be the dark horse on this list, but we can’t argue with the half a million foreigners living there. 

  • Exchange rate: 1 USD = 23.11 Czech Koruna
  • Price of a meal: $5.84
  • Average monthly rent: $700
  • Cost of Living index: 45.7

7. Indonesia 

rice terraces in indonesia
Indonesia is one of the best places to retire in the world on a budget — and it’ll seem too good to be true.

We’ve all thought about retiring in Bali, right? Indonesia is the best place to retire in the world on a budget because your savings will carry you out onto the gentle ocean and give you a chance to float happily without worries.

Indonesia’s many islands attract people looking for literal paradise, so prepare for everything to seem too good to be true. Learn to surf, wander through vibrant green hills, and explore crashing waterfalls in jungle parks without giving up all the Western amenities you’re used to.

The country itself is one of the best places to retire in the world on social security, but the people provide a type of security as well. There’s a booming expat community, and the locals are known for their welcoming disposition and fascinating culture. 

  • Exchange rate: 1 USD = 14,009.50 Indonesian Rupiah
  • Price of a meal: $1.78
  • Average monthly rent: $342  
  • Cost of Living index: 36.86

Use FundMyTravel to make retiring abroad on a budget even cheaper!

Retiring abroad on a budget is an attainable goal if you have money set aside. But as soon as those savings start to dwindle it can be a little unsettling. Ease into your retirement abroad with comfort by using FundMyTravel.

Raise money to finance those big ticket items you wouldn’t have to worry about if you retired at home, like a flight and visa costs. That way you won’t have to worry about the actual getting abroad when you’re budgeting out your retirement fund. 

Did you find your cheap place to retire abroad?

hotel room in bali
Retirement abroad is your next great adventure!

You don’t have to reduce your standard of living to have a fulfilling retirement. Your current retirement fund plus whatever you raise with FMT will exceed retirement expectations abroad if you play your cards right.

It all comes down to choosing the right place. Moving somewhere tropical, inviting, and affordable abroad is just as affordable as moving to Florida. Heck, in some cases cheaper!

There’s a myth that living abroad isn’t realistic because of the price. But it’s cheaper to retire in Belize than it is to live in some major US cities! Now that you’re armed with a list of the best places in the world to retire on social security, how close are you to packing your suitcase?

Looking for more tips on retirement abroad? Sign up for the FundMyTravel Newsletter to receive fundraising advice that’ll help you crush your goals!

Comments (32)

We’re looking for a place to retire that is safe, beautiful, affordable, welcoming to ex pats,

Good morning. You sure check also Puerto Rico.
US Territory.. Taxes are low too. My next spot will be Phillipines. Good luch..

We moved to Puerto Vallarta 7 years ago and it certainly checked all our wish list, which was similar to yours

Ever heard of Croatia, better than all the above!


I am heading to the Philippines ( I have a lady there to become my second wife), than Malaysia if that doesn’t work out, Indonesia all safe , On the island of Palawan rated the most beautiful island in the world 4 years running, crime is almost Zero. And even then very petty not even purse snatchings

Than Belieze, Chile and if none of that works Mexico there are some very safe places in Mexico.
SE Asia is the cheapest, best service and amazing foods, Thailand has some of the best and cheapest medical in the world USA ranks 34 Thailand 22.

How safe is Panama how is the medical care how is the price of living compared to Louisiana . What is the weather like in mountainous regions and is a small coffee Farm viable to make a living along with your Social Security?

You mention farm. I love farm. What come to mind is Puerto Rico.. You could have your own thing.. Sob coffee, tomatoes, vegetable etc.. And have few cows, horse, google PR.. And taxes is very low n yoy may not have to pay taxes iF you pass 180 in PR..a town for you will Aibonito.. Weather is the best.. Get info.. Something to consider.. Good luck, God Bless…

DO MOT BELIEVE THESE ARTICLES! Go straight to the websites for the consulates of these countries. Most countries youd be interested Iin DO NOT WELCOME Anerican retirees. You have to be resident for 5 years in most before you can even apply for permanent status. AND most ei require you to “invest” in a government-approved business…like, invest $300,000! We used to read as ll these articles raving about how Portugal welcomed American retirees. Sure ffg o– because they require you to buy property– a d ZTHEY will tell you what you can buy because they’re using ex-pat money as an urban renewal fund: youre6 forced to buy older properties…and fix them up. AND because there’s a minimum price you must spend on your property-,GUESS whaymt happened? Huge inflation of housing prices! Even the crappiest run, DC own spot in Lisbon is 500,pop dollars now because so many ” retirees” have to SF spend at least that much! DO NOT trust articles like this– go read the ACTUAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS! Youd have to start planning to.move many years in advance…and there are things like coups, junta, fascist regimes, lack of good healthcare- oh sorry, I’m talking about the U S. Now, arent I!?

What do you mean when you talk about Taxes
You make a statement about if you pass 180 ??

While in some ways I agree with Philippines being a great place, I feel as if I should warn you in advance that all those smiling faces are there….for the photoshop. With the current administration in power there and until at least 2022, my advice to you would be….don’t go. Especially to the Southern island of Mindanao. And for Americans thinking they want to escape their current administration, you won’t. Even Duterte is pro china and anti American he still mirrors Trump and Trump mirrors Duterte. Its a lose-lose situation for now….wait till after 2022. Maybe The henchmen of the current admin there will somehow not get elected to succeed him. I just spent 5 years there with two years of it in near hostage situation.

We respectfully disagree! Our company is headquartered on the island of Leyte, and it’s perfectly safe. We do advise against non-essential travel to Mindanao (and further south), as do most embassies. However, northern islands like Leyte, Cebu, and Luzon have tons of affordable and beautiful places to explore (and possibly settle down!).

Irene Fuentes Gallarde

I would also disagree with Frank Allen I have been to Philippines currently after living overseas for 20 years and it is a lot safer! People are really hospitable and respect and assist foreigners what they want to do. The areas of Cebu, Bohol, Negros, Siquijor are definitely places to go and no problem and definitely peaceful. The current administration is the most peaceful people I ever known! You obviously don’t know the real issue.

I also plan to retire in the Philippines in the near not so distant future.
Wants to stay in a cooler climate and not too crowded places.

Frank is one of those who, even if you picked him up by his diapers and dropped him in paradise, would find a bitch and a moan. People like Frank are what I am trying to avoid when living or travelling abroad. Sitting there with a glass of beer there is always a “Frank” to come over and piss on your French fries telling you how bad life is where he left but he isnt too keen on the locals either. I seem to attract them like flies. The whole point of “escaping” is the clue is in the word. I am quite happy wherever I go. After serving my county and working my butt off to retire early ensuring the children were all settled and well I often just set off. Its great to sit with the locals, learn a word or two and mispronounce it on purpose so the local will laugh and you have just made your first friend. Of course you have to be careful as sitting in a bar in Djibouti with white skin and fair hair is highly NOT recommended. Do your research and if you dont possess the wanderlust full blown, try a week where you think will suit you. Get around, ask the locals, go to places of historical interest because you will find English speaking tourist guides who are more than happy to help. Think travel insurance, if you get ill how far to the nearest emergency clinic or doctor? If you rent a home instead of buying do it through a reputable agent – ask what you are liable for and what the owner is liable for. Some slightly unscrupulous owners will have the cheek to make you responsible for virtually everything – if they have multiple properties they get a free live in stooge and they get paid rent too!! If you want cheap living and ridiculously low rents, scenery and marvellous food anywhere across Mid France and below takes some beating but beware – some houses are so beautiful and so cheap but your neighbour could be a mile away and the chance of a freshly baked loaf or a glass of beer in the local bar could well be a 10 minute drive away and then may only consist of a couple of shops, no bank, no bar, no doctor and not much life. If thats what you would like there is not another place on Earth like it.
Apologies for the rant – and dont forget, avoid “Frank” at all costs.
Whatever you decide to do I wish you adieu et bonne chance 😉

Have considered here…is it safe for retiree 68/69 yo lady? They are open but have to have the covid test…will they do it on arrival …can afford to pay for it. I

I also disagree with you , I live here in the USA for over 30 years and go back home to the Philippines almost every year and since Mr Duterte became our President it is safer than before. The government offices are way better in handling all you needs although there’s still some corruption going on. All the negative news that your hearing are just the leftist propaganda. The president is very aware of everything going on with regards to China and US relationship. He is very smart..maybe clever as we say that he won’t let the people down with regard to what your saying that he is pro China.

What happens to US taxes when you move to another country? What State would be the filing state – ie if I live in CA now – could I change mailing address to a non state income tax state prior to moving to another country?

I’m an American who has lived abroad in a variety of other countries for 21 years. I work for a US company and transfer to different countries for work. As soon as I moved abroad, I used my new foreign address for work and my US tax return. State taxes immediately were stopped as soon as I switched to my foreign address. Depending on which country you move to, you may have to start paying taxes in the host country (like I did in the UK) or you may have the choice of US taxes or host country taxes (like I did in France, Germany and Morocco.) Again, I work for a US company, if you work online, or for a local company, it may be different. I currently live in Frankfurt, Germany and pay full US federal, but no state. I can choose to pay Germany taxes, but at my income, that would be almost half my pay check and so I choose US taxes.

Costarica is probably the cheapest and safest country’s in the world to retire to. To know more about why you must retire at this destination give this article a read.

Do some research about Taiwan. Unbeatable healthcare and transportation, low cost of living and very safe.

only 12% cheaper than USA
What are you talking about?

I just oops.. on a site for retirees just looking around at travel destinations! Wow did I sit back.. I decided I want to go somewhere… Belize was talked about yrs passed.but before my husband died suddenly just a few years too.. I’m iin such a rut. Want to do something different for a change.. I can meet every requirement.. for majority of places that strike me.. just TAKING THE STEP.. I truly am interested and would like to experience new surroundings along with friends.

Me, too. I retired on social security a few years ago and now have a modest inheritance making its way through probate. I would love to find an inexpensive and FRIENDLY country with a mild, spring-like climate (English speaking would be nice). I love President Trump and believe he is doing great things for the U.S. and the world, but our “occupy-democrat” leftist news media has been dividing our country with such hate that I would love to escape this mess and settle someplace cheap, normal and friendly, preferably not communist or a dictatorship, with good, cheap healthcare.

Try SE Asia
Excellent climate
You can google the climate of any area I like Palawan in the Philippines. Nice little island decent health care, avg temp 85 day 74 night year round
I am looking for a farm I enjoy organic gardening so a small organic farm, with organic related additions is a start for us,
2 hectares ( 1 hec = 2.4 acres) will provide for a seed garden and lots of produce and fruit for sale as a farm but I am retired
I would also NOT consider costa rica as US are tolerated not accepted or desired, I have spoken with many CR people .
The Philippines are the only country I am aware of that has a federal gov office to help you migrate if you want look int the srrv visa very easy to get and once issued you never need a visa, can join the national health plan I think $80 US a month, you can start and own a business, you can work, you can invest, and more.
Poverty is rampant and sever in the Philippines but give a person as chance and many times they will succeed.
We helped an older couple by email and sent them 100USD was enough to buy a pig , which they sold and bought two more so they are living better
we explained how to do business and helped a single mother of two build her business and helped her she went from 1500 Peso a month to live off to 4000 a month
not much in our minds per month but she is making it much bettter
be prepared for some culture shock but very nice people and north is much better.

Have you looked at Ecuador, specifically Cuenca. I was going to retire there until this last fall. I’ve been six times before and loved it every time. I spent 2 months in Cuenca a couple of years ago with no issues. I have sleep apnea and this past visit in the fall of 2019 my altitude sickness intensified to the point that I decided I can’t retire there sadly. There’s a huge ExPat community. If you don’t suffer from altitude sickness I would highly recommend you at least visit.

God bless you me too, agree with all you have said.let me know we’re you decide.My wife has terminal cancer and am looking to escape this socialists nightmare called America.

Maybe live in Russia. They have a connection with Trump. You may want to check which country is a Democrat run government like Panama, which wouldn’t be for you., because it sounds like you are a Rightist.

Hi I’m to looking for a place to retire travel but not alone maybe we can due together?

Czech does not have a retirement visa. If someone has received a long term visa that is retired, please comment.

For me the best place to live in after retirement would be Thailand. The cost of living is quite low, people are extremely friendly and welcoming. More importantly the country has a world class health care system, and there are plenty of hospital in each state to cater to the need of foreigners. . Health care and health insurance are also much more affordable than in many other countries. Lastly, and most importantly attaining a retirement visa
for Thailand is quite simple and inexpensive.

Trump was the absolute worst president that we have ever known! If he did so much for the United States, why wasn’t he re-elected? Even his own advisors said that the 2020 election was the most honest and fair election ever. Biden and Harris will make America Great again. Pre-trump. Go CNN!

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