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10 Most Affordable Places to Retire in 2023

by Roberto
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Retirement is a significant life event that requires careful planning, especially when it comes to financial stability. But who says it has to be boring?

Retirement is meant to be a period of enjoyment and rest, allowing individuals to unwind from their years of hard work and pursue their passions and interests.

For many people, this includes the opportunity to pack up and move to a new location to live out their golden years in a new and exciting environment. And with so many affordable places to retire, it’s no wonder why this option is becoming increasingly popular.

The Most Affordable Places To Retire To

A huge key question for many people is, which are the most affordable places to retire to?

Choosing the right country to retire in can be a daunting task, especially if you are on a bit of a budget. 

When considering ‘new homes,’ it’s important to take into account the cost of living, including expenses such as rent and utilities, groceries, and transport.

To help you make an informed decision, we have compiled a list of 10 affordable countries to retire in, along with the latest information on the cost of living in each country. 

The costs may vary depending on the location within each country and the exchange rate fluctuations, so these are approximate values.

Please also keep in mind that this is the top 10 list, and many countries are not on this list of the most affordable places to retire to. You can check out International Living for more!

For example, I live in Guatemala and am slightly surprised it did not make the list of the most affordable places to retire, but then neither did Honduras or Nicaragua.

(this post may contain affiliate links, so if you make a purchase, I may make a small commission – affiliate disclosure here)

1. Panama

The cost of living in Panama is significantly lower than in many Western countries, and on average, it is 34.5% lower than the cost of living in the United States. Coupled with a warm tropical climate that provides a welcome escape from cold winters or hot summers, Panama is quite a popular choice for retirees.

There’s no wonder this lovely country makes it to the top of the list of the most affordable places to retire almost every year.

The country is also conveniently located just a short flight away from many major US cities, making it easy for retirees to stay connected with loved ones back home. In terms of healthcare, they have a modern healthcare system with many hospitals and clinics offering high-quality care at a fraction of the cost of similar services in the US.

Beyond the practicalities of everyday life, Panama also offers stunning natural scenery perfect for anyone who enjoys the outdoors. From beautiful beaches to lush rainforests and majestic mountains, there is no shortage of things to see and explore.

Another bonus is that Panama offers tax incentives for retirees, including exemptions on income tax for retirement income earned outside of the country.

  • Rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $500-$800 per month
  • Utilities: $90 – $95
  • Internet: $45
  • Weekly grocery shopping: $50-$75
  • Dinner out at a restaurant, three-course meal) for two people: US$50
  • Public transport: $30 monthly pass

2. Costa Rica

Coming in at the second spot for most affordable places to retire is magnificent Costa Rica.

With friendly locals and relatively low crime rates, Costa Rica is a safe and welcoming place for retirees to settle down and enjoy their Golden Years.

In terms of lifestyle, Costa Rica offers a relaxed pace of life and has a focus on outdoor activities, including hiking and birdwatching. With beautiful natural scenery, stunning beaches, lush rainforests, and volcanoes, this is perfect for retirees who love nature.

Costa Rica is a popular destination for ex-pats, which means there are plenty of opportunities for retirees to socialize and make new friends. The country also offers a range of housing options, from apartments in the city to beachfront villas, so retirees can find a home that fits their needs and budget.

  • Rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $400-$600 per month
  • Utilities:$70
  • Internet: $52
  • Weekly grocery shopping: $50-$60
  • Dinner out at a restaurant, three-course meal) for two people: US$55
  • Public transport: $40 monthly pass
most affordable places to live-costa rica

3. Portugal

Portugal has a gorgeous, sunny Mediterranean climate, with over 300 days of sunshine per year.

In terms of lifestyle, Portugal offers a rich cultural heritage, with a range of historic cities and towns to explore. It is also known for its excellent cuisine and wine, making it a foodie’s paradise.

Portugal has a high-quality healthcare system, with many hospitals and clinics offering world-class care at a fraction of the cost of similar services in the US, making this the 3rd most affordable places to retire to.

The country offers tax incentives for retirees, including exemptions on income tax for retirement income earned outside of Portugal.

  • Rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $650-$900 per month
  • Utilities: $125
  • Internet: $40
  • Weekly grocery shopping: $40 – $50
  • Dinner out at a restaurant, three-course meal) for two people: US$50
  • Public transport: $45 monthly pass
most affordable places to retire - portugal

4. Mexico

Coming in at the 4th spot of the most affordable places to retire is Mexico.

Besides having a low cost of living, especially outside of the major tourist areas, Mexico offers a sunny, laidback lifestyle, perfect for those who don’t want to go too far from family and friends living in the States.

The country boasts a range of activities and attractions, including ancient ruins, vibrant cities, and stunning natural scenery, including deserts, mountains, and beaches. 

Mexico is also known for its excellent cuisine, music, and art, making it a great destination for retirees who want to explore new cultures and experiences.

Many doctors and healthcare professionals in Mexico speak English, making it easier for retirees to communicate their healthcare needs.

Mexico is also home to a large ex-pat community, which means there are plenty of opportunities for retirees to socialize and make new friends.

  • Rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $300-$500 per month
  • Utilities: $60
  • Internet: $30
  • Weekly grocery shopping: $45 – $60
  • Dinner out at a restaurant, three-course meal) for two people: US$35
  • Public transport: $20 monthly pass
most affordable places to retire - mexico

5. Spain

Spain making the list of the most affordable places to retire may surprise you but Spain has tons to offer all to fit a retiree’s budget.

For those wanting to enjoy a comfortable Mediterranean lifestyle, Spain is an excellent choice. It is a perfect place to kick back, relax, and enjoy life.

Spain is known for its delicious food and wine, with a wide variety of regional cuisines and wine regions to explore. Retirees can enjoy leisurely meals in the warm Mediterranean climate, sampling local specialties such as paella, tapas, and cured meats, accompanied by a glass of Spanish wine.

The relaxed pace of life in Spain also allows retirees to fully immerse themselves in the culinary and wine culture, making it an enjoyable destination for food and wine enthusiasts.

Many retirees opt to purchase or rent an apartment in a city or beachfront town, allowing them to enjoy the cultural and recreational activities nearby. Alternatively, retirees may choose to purchase a villa or townhouse in the countryside, where they can enjoy a more relaxed pace of life and stunning natural scenery. 

Retirement communities, known as “residencias,” are also available throughout Spain, offering amenities such as healthcare, dining, and social activities. The availability of affordable housing and the diverse range of options make Spain an attractive destination for retirees looking to downsize or relocate.

  • Rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $650-$850 per month
  • Utilities: $145
  • Internet: $50
  • Weekly grocery shopping: $45 – $60
  • Dinner out at a restaurant, three-course meal) for two people: US$50 – $60
  • Public transport: $45 monthly pass
most affordable places to retire - spain

6. Ecuador

The 6th spot for the most affordable places to retire goes to Ecuador.

Ecuador in South America is close to the Andes Mountains as well as the fascinating Galapagos Islands. The scenery is beautiful, and there is a vibrant culture where the locals are friendly and welcome newcomers graciously.

In terms of lifestyle, Ecuador offers a rich cultural heritage, with a range of historic cities and towns to explore, as well as a vibrant arts and music scene. The country is also known for its excellent cuisine and outdoor activities, including hiking, fishing, and birdwatching.

Ecuador also offers a lower cost of living than many other retirement destinations, and as it uses the US dollar as its official currency, retirees from the US find it easier to manage their finances.

In addition, the country offers a range of retirement incentives, including special visas for retirees and tax exemptions on retirement income earned outside of Ecuador.

  • Rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $250-$400 per month
  • Utilities: $50
  • Internet: $40
  • Weekly grocery shopping: $30 – $50
  • Dinner out at a restaurant, three-course meal) for two people: US$30
  • Public transport: $20 monthly pass
most affordable places to retire - ecuador

7. Malaysia

It should come as no surprise that Malaysia makes the list of the most affordable places to retire.

In terms of lifestyle, Malaysia offers a rich cultural heritage, with a range of historic cities and towns to explore, as well as a vibrant arts and music scene. The country is also known for its excellent cuisine, which draws from a mix of Malay, Chinese, and Indian influences.

The government supports the medical field and, at the same time, makes sure that quality healthcare is a basic right for locals as well as non-citizens who live in the country. Expats do need to take out private health insurance. However, the cost to visit a doctor at a private clinic is low, at approximately US$10.00.

Besides almost every doctor speaking English, the country has a large community of English-speaking ex-pats, making it easier for retirees to navigate their new surroundings.

Malaysia is also a convenient location for travel, with easy access to other destinations in Southeast Asia. It is a technology-savvy country with fast and reliable internet connectivity and a range of transportation options, including modern and efficient public transportation systems.

  • Rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $250-$400 per month
  • Utilities: $50
  • Internet: $30
  • Weekly grocery shopping: $40 – $50
  • Dinner out at a restaurant, three-course meal) for two people: US$20
  • Public transport: $25 monthly pass
most affordable places to retire - malaysia

8. Thailand

Thailand is a popular destination for retirees, especially because the cost of living there is so affordable and the weather is warm, making this one of the best and most affordable places to retire.

The country has gorgeous blue seas, beautiful beaches, and stunning natural scenery, including mountains and forests.

Thailand is also a convenient location for travel, with easy access to other destinations in Southeast Asia. It offers a range of activities and entertainment options, including golf, shopping, and sightseeing. The country also has a lively ex-pat community, with many opportunities for socializing and meeting new people.

  • Rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $250-$400 per month
  • Utilities: $50
  • Internet: $30
  • Weekly grocery shopping: $40 – $50
  • Dinner out at a restaurant, three-course meal) for two people: US$20
  • Public transport: $25 monthly pass
most affordable places to retire in 2023 - thailand

9. Uruguay

Uruguay is a lesser-known but increasingly popular destination for retirees making this the 9th spot for the most affordable places to retire.

It has a rich cultural heritage with influences from Europe, Africa, and indigenous communities and due to this, the country has a diverse range of traditions, music, and art that reflect its unique cultural identity.

Uruguayans are proud of their cultural heritage and celebrate it through various festivals and events held throughout the year. The Carnival in Montevideo is one of the most important cultural events in Uruguay, featuring lively parades, music, and dance performances.

Additionally, Uruguay has a rich literary tradition, with many famous writers and poets hailing from the country, such as Mario Benedetti and Juan Carlos Onetti. The country also has a thriving music scene, with styles ranging from classical and folk music to tango and rock.

Many cities and towns have well-preserved colonial architecture, such as Colonia del Sacramento, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Retirees in Uruguay can also visit wineries and vineyards in regions such as Carmelo, Canelones, and Maldonado, known for producing high-quality wines. The country has several national parks and natural reserves, such as Quebrada de los Cuervos, offering opportunities for hiking trails, waterfalls, and scenic views. 

Uruguayans are passionate about sports, particularly soccer, and retirees can support a team of their choice and attend matches. The country also offers opportunities for fishing, golfing, and horseback riding, making it an excellent destination for those seeking an active and fulfilling retirement.

  • Rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $440-$560 per month
  • Utilities: $135
  • Internet: $40
  • Weekly grocery shopping: $50 – $60
  • Dinner out at a restaurant, three-course meal) for two people: US$55
  • Public transport: $50 monthly pass
most affordable places to retire in 2023 - uruguay

10. Italy

Although it may be more expensive than some other options on this list, Italy offers a rich cultural experience, beautiful scenery, and a high quality of life, as well as excellent healthcare.

Tuscany is one of the most popular regions, known for its rolling hills, vineyards, and historic cities such as Florence and Siena. The Amalfi Coast, located in the southern part of the country, is also a popular destination, with its stunning coastline and charming towns such as Positano and Sorrento.

The Lakes Region, located in northern Italy, is also a popular destination for retirees. The area is known for its stunning scenery, including Lake Como, Lake Maggiore, and Lake Garda. The region is also home to several picturesque towns, such as Bellagio and Stresa.

Additionally, the Umbria region in central Italy is gaining popularity among retirees due to its affordable cost of living, beautiful countryside, and charming medieval towns such as Assisi and Perugia. 

The country is also known for its delicious cuisine, which features a mix of Mediterranean and regional specialties. 

Italy is also a convenient location for travel, with easy access to other destinations in Europe. 

  • Rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $550-$750 per month
  • Utilities: $200
  • Internet: $35
  • Weekly grocery shopping: $60 – $80
  • Dinner out at a restaurant, three-course meal) for two people: US$70
  • Public transport: $40 monthly pass
most affordable places to retire in 2023 - italy


The cost of living can vary greatly depending on individual lifestyle choices and spending habits.

While these places are definitely some of the most affordable places to retire in 2023, there is still so much more to take into account.

Things to Consider Before Moving to a New Country

Moving to a new country can be an exciting and life-changing experience, but it also requires careful planning and research to ensure a smooth transition. There is more to moving to one of the most affordable places to retire than just packing your bags and going.

Here are some important things to consider before making the move:

Legal Requirements:

One of the first things to consider is the legal requirements for entering and staying in the new country. Check if you need a visa or other legal documentation, and research the different types of visas available and how to obtain them.

If you plan to work in the new country, you may need to obtain a work permit or other authorization. You should also research the tax system of the new country and how it will affect your income and savings.

There are international companies who can assist you with this; however, they do charge fees, and they don’t come cheap! But – they will take away that ghastly paperwork headache!

Customs & Culture:

Another important aspect to consider is the customs and culture of the new country. 

Research the language and cultural norms, and consider taking language classes to help you communicate with locals. Download free apps on your phone, such as Duolingo that can teach the basics in just a few minutes a day. 

Ask around and look online at the availability of ex-pat communities and social groups to help you adjust and feel at home.

Cost of Living:

Consider the cost of living in the new country, including housing, food, healthcare, transportation, wifi, and other basic necessities. Research the average prices and compare them to your current location. If you are retiring to a new country, make sure to factor in the cost of taxes and healthcare.

But, as with all countries, some areas are a little more affordable than others. Join Facebook groups and find out from the people already living there. Who knows, you might even make a lifelong friend too!

While this article does list 10 of the most affordable places to retire, they may not be too enticing for you or still too expensive. Do some research before you make a final decision.

Healthcare & Safety:

Look into the details of the healthcare system of the new country, including access to doctors and hospitals, the cost of medical treatments, and the availability of health insurance. 

Consider the safety and security of the new country, including the crime rate, political stability, and overall safety.

Making Friends:

Making new friends in a new country can be challenging, but it’s also essential for adjusting to your new life. Look into the availability of ex-pat communities and social groups, and consider joining clubs or organizations that align with your interests. You can also volunteer or take part in local events to meet new people.

Overall, moving to a new country requires careful planning and research, but with the right mindset and preparation, it can be a rewarding and enriching experience.

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