5 Best Places to Retire for Less in 2021

5 places to retire in 2021

Retirement doesn’t always mean settling down.

In fact, for many people it means fresh adventures, exciting locales and maybe even a new place to call home. If you’re nearing the end of your working career, chances are you’ve found yourself daydreaming about retiring in paradise.

But a destination retirement doesn’t have to just be an expensive dream. In the right place, it can actually be a smart move.

We’ve compiled a list of the 5 best places to retire for less in 2021. In each of these dreamy places, you can spend less money and get a whole lot more.


Bay in Ha Long, Vietnam.

You might not originally place Vietnam high on your travel list, but there’s a reason it’s becoming increasingly popular with retirees.

Once the site of conflict, Vietnam is now better known for coastal cities and stunning beaches. You can follow the forests to get lost in scenic mountains. Or enjoy all the comforts of modern cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

No matter where you visit, you’ll see that Vietnam has held onto its culture and traditions. Be sure to visit its pagodas or take part in vibrant festivals.

Cost of living:
Vietnam has remained one of the least expensive countries on earth. Many expats rave about being able to live well on a budget of $1,000 a month.

Things to consider:
Though many consider Vietnamese difficult to learn, most locals speak excellent English.

Vietnam is also a travel hub, with both regional and international airports.


River going through town of Marsaxlokk, Malta

Malta is actually a set of three small islands. Together they stretch just 122-square miles and house half a million people.

But while the country is tiny, it has much to offer.

Retirees love the warmth and sunshine. Malta receives more sunshine than almost any other place in Europe and boasts an average temperature of 72 degrees.

First-World infrastructure makes it easy to access the Mediterranean Sea and the nation’s stunning architectural and historic gems.

Cost of living:
Malta is cheaper than most places in Europe. A couple can expect to live comfortably on around $2,000 a month.

Things to consider:
Malta is centrally located. It is close to destinations like Italy, Israel, France and Spain.

The country also speaks both English and Maltese.

Americans can also take comfort in Malta’s modern, high-quality healthcare.


Isla Franklin- Cabaña Tubasenika, Panama

Linking Central to South America, Panama offers expats a vibrant lifestyle.

The country is known for its natural beauty. Mountains split it between Caribbean and Pacific coasts. Both sides are home to incredible biodiversity.

Visitors are captivated by Panama’s culture. Many find the locals welcoming and the music and culture appealing.

Since it was formerly a US territory, Panama makes emigration easier for US citizens. The pensionado program, a visa specifically for retirees, gives bearers deep discounts on everything from entertainment to healthcare.

Cost of living:
The cost of living varies depending on whether you choose the countryside or the big city. A First-World lifestyle will generally cost between $1,000 and $2,500 a month.

Things to consider:
Panama’s official currency, the balboa, is interchangeable with the US Dollar.

While the official language is Spanish, many people speak English as well.


Caye Caulker, Belize

Nestled on the coast of the Caribbean, Belize is just a three-hour flight from the US.

Belize is home to the world’s second-largest barrier reef. Tourists and locals alike consider it a diver’s paradise. But if swimming with tropical fish isn’t your thing, the country also offers Mayan ruins and archaeological sites. Discover ancient history and explore vibrant jungles.

People of every age and background settle in Belize, looking for a simpler way of life. Those used to the busyness of the U.S. might need some time to get used to the laid back pace, but many will find it ideal for relaxation.

Cost of living:
While not the cheapest country in Central America, Belize presents opportunities for savings. A couple can live comfortably on about $3,000 a month.

Things to consider:
Under the Qualified Retired Persons (QRP) Program, all income derived from sources outside of Belize is exempt from taxes for qualified retirees.

As a small country Belize will have fewer healthcare specialists and facilities.


Porto, Portugal

Compared to European neighbors like France or Italy, Portugal is generally underappreciated. But on closer inspection, you’ll see it deserves a top spot on this list.

That’s because Portugal has it all.

It boasts over one thousand miles of coastline with water so blue you’ll think you’re in the Caribbean rather than on the Atlantic. But make no mistake, Portugal has the flair and culture of Europe’s best. Expats can enjoy bigger cities like Lisbon and Porto, known for ornate architecture and hilltop vistas. Towns throughout the country will appeal to history enthusiasts and foodies alike. The mild climate will give you plenty of opportunities to explore.

The Algarve region on the southern coast is consistently ranked one of the best places to retire due to its beautiful beaches and affordable cost of living.

Cost of living:
The average cost of living in Portugal is almost 27% lower than in the US. With $1,400 a month you can live comfortably in a small city. More rural areas will be even less expensive, while bigger cities will cost a little more.

A couple’s grocery budget will sit around $200 a month and a dinner out for two, including wine, will start at about $29.

Things to consider:
To retire in Portugal you need to apply for residency. You will need to become a permanent resident in order to qualify for free healthcare.

Many people speak English.

Also note that as in the rest of Europe, the average apartment in Portugal is smaller than what most North Americans are used to.

What are the Best Places to Retire for You?

While each of these beautiful countries has much to offer, finding the best places to retire ultimately depends on what you’re looking for.

Some countries offer the comforts you’re used to, while others will transport you to a whole other world with their differences in lifestyle.

We recommend you visit any country a few times before deciding to settle down there. And to make sure your retirement brings you joy instead of stress, follow a financial plan that takes care of you and your family. Talk to your financial advisor today to see how to make sure you’re ready for your dream retirement.

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