Best Countries for American Expats To Retire

As the cost of living in the United States seems to increase every year, many Americans spend their final working years exploring affordable places to retire. While Florida and North Carolina may seem like the most affordable options, research shows that exploring overseas options can save even more – while also providing retirees with the ability to explore a new country and learn about a new culture. The team of expat tax lawyers at Evolution Tax and Legal is breaking down some of the best countries to Americans to retire, and some of the most compelling reasons to explore them.

5. Colombia

Whether you are interested in swimming and sunning yourself on the beach, hiking the Andes mountains or exploring the natural beauty and exotic wildlife in the rainforest, Colombia has something to offer everyone. The country has a mix of cosmopolitan living and a slower, more rural pace of life, for however you envision spending your retirement. Retirement visas are easy to acquire, with proof of retirement funds, and can be renewed every 3 years for Americans who choose to make their home in this beautiful country.

Colombia is easily accessible, with direct flights to almost all cities in Florida. The healthcare in Colombia is reported to be high quality yet low cost, with insurance premiums averaging 70% less than those in the United States. The cost of living is lower as well, allowing you to make the most of your retirement savings by settling in the country. Retirees who have settled in Colombia say that while they have access to the bustling cities of the country, they feel they have been able to become part of the Colombian community and have been welcomed by the locals.

4. Portugal

Portugal is a beautiful, coastal country that has many islands to explore, and beach towns that will make retirement feel like a permanent vacation. English is taught in Portuguese schools, which makes the locals easy to communicate with, and the country easier to navigate for Americans who don’t speak Portuguese or Spanish. Portugal has a low cost of living, especially compared to other European countries, but it is still easy to take a trip around the continent if you desire. There is also much to explore within the country, including hundreds of beautiful islands.

Portugal has a bustling restaurant scene, which makes this a dream locale for any foodie or adventurous eater. Portugal has been rated very high for housing within the country, and has an appealing warm yet mild climate throughout the year. The healthcare system is also considered to be high quality, yet lower cost than typical American healthcare. Portugal is one of the few European countries that is considered to be well-suited for an American expat looking to retire overseas, and it is worth exploring if you desire a low cost of living with accessibility to many other countries around Europe.

3. Costa Rica

Costa Rica is one of the most beautiful countries in Central America, and is known for being extremely welcoming and peace-loving, with some even calling it Central America’s Switzerland. If you like exploring coastal villages, waterfalls and palm-tree lined beaches, Costa Rica may be the perfect spot for you to settle down. Those with an active lifestyle who are looking for a community to be a part of will feel right at home in the welcoming cities and villages of Costa Rica. The local culture is said to place family, friends and quality of life above most other things, and the amazing climate will help you do just that while enjoying the surf and the sunshine throughout the year.

Costa Rica has a low cost healthcare system, and an extremely low cost of living. The low cost of living and low housing prices allow even those with a very small retirement budget to find a place in Costa Rica. If you’re interested in investing in property in the country, you can easily find a cheap house where you’re more than likely to pay a fraction of what you would be paying in U.S property taxes. There’s not shortage of nature to enjoy in Costa Rica, and if you’re looking for natural beauty at a fraction of the cost, look no further than this Central American oasis.

2. Panama

Panama is another beautiful, warm country that is popular among Americans looking to retire overseas. With big-city amenities and a very low cost of living, Panama has plenty of ways to deliver value on your hard-earned retirement savings. The country has any natural beauty you’d like to explore, from beaches to mountains, all accessible from cosmopolitan cities within the country. Everything is less expensive compared to the United States, including groceries, restaurants and rent.

Panama locals have a well-known reputation for being welcoming and friendly, meaning those looking to make friends and build a community in their retirement needn’t worry about their options in this country. There are numerous benefits to acquiring a retirement visa in Panama, which requires you to have $1,000 in monthly income. Benefits include discounts of 25% off power bills, plane fare and restaurant visits, as well as 20% off medication and even discounts of movie tickets, local transportation and hotel stays. The country welcomes retirees with open arms, and has the benefits to prove it. If you’re trying to get the most bang for your buck in retirement, exploring the beautiful locale of Panama may be one of the best options.

1. Mexico

More than one million retired Americans call Mexico home, making it one of the most popular retirement destinations in the world. The country has a rustic feel, combined with the modern amenities many American expats are used to. The close proximity and ease of travel to the United States makes it a great destination for anyone looking to travel back to America often, or welcome friends and family for frequent visits. The country has much to see, from laid-back beach towns to bustling cities with a vibrant and welcoming culture and food-scene. There are plenty of entertainment amenities in the country, and with a million Americans choosing to make Mexico their home in retirement, you’re sure to find a friend wherever you choose to settle within the country.

Mexico also has an easy residency system for retirees, allowing them to obtain a temporary visa which is good for up to four years, by meeting income requirements or by owning property within the country. For those choosing to stay for more than four years, they can apply for a permanent resident visa, which has higher income and property value requirements. Exploring the various states in Mexico that have been deemed safe to travel and live in by the U.S can help you find your perfect retirement locale within close proximity to the U.S.

Other popular countries where many Americans choose to retire include Japan, Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom. While the cost of living may not be low in larger cities within these countries, living in the countryside can help Americans get more value from their retirement savings, and high quality yet affordable healthcare systems within these destinations is something many retirees benefit from.

If you’re hoping to have an adventure in retirement, it is worthwhile to explore retiring overseas. You can get more value out of your retirement savings, while exploring a new country and meeting people of new cultures, and potentially having easy access to even more countries beyond the one you reside in. When you make your decision, it will be helpful to consult an international tax professional to ensure your taxes as an American living abroad are properly filed. The seasoned team at Evolution Tax and Legal is here to help with all your international tax filings and questions about moving abroad. Contact the team today to discuss your retirement abroad and implications for your taxes and retirement savings.

December 6, 2021

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