Retiring overseas is a trend that’s likely to stay. According to statistics from the US Social Security Administration (SSA) last December 201, more than half a million retirees are living outside the US and collecting social security benefits. Meanwhile, more than a third of Americans are planning to move outside the US upon retirement.

So where are the top countries for retirees? We made a list for you!

5. Malta

Malta is a beautiful city. It features centuries-old cities, sapphire blue waters, white cliffs and pink and gold sunsets. It is a tiny island chain floating in the Mediterranean, between the coasts of North Africa and Sicily. However, Malta offers a luxurious lifestyle.

Malta has a large and welcoming international community of mostly English speakers. A couple can live there comfortably for $2,700 USD per month. A lovely two-bedroom apartment at the heart of the city costs about $800 USD per month. You can also get the same sized apartment for $600 USD a month, if you rent in the countryside of Gozo. A nice dinner at a fancy restaurant can cost as little as $25 USD per person, and that includes a glass of wine.

The quality of healthcare is yet another major factor to consider. The great news is, Malta offers premium healthcare services but with far lower rates than in the US. For example, a generally practitioner costs around $20 USD in Malta while a specialist costs $65 USD.


Spain has miles of beaches, low cost living and real estate, warm climate along its coasts, and a laidback lifestyle. Because of these, Spain continues to climb up the list of the best places in the world to retire.

Spain is one of the European countries that offers low-cost first-world living. A couple can already live comfortably with just $1,900 USD per month, and that already includes rent. There are single- and two-bedroom apartments that can be rented for as little as $500 USD a month. If you want to buy an apartment, you can own one for about $70,000 USD.

Daily living expenses are also minimal in Spain, especially the food. This is despite the fact that Spain offers world-class amenities like museums, concert halls, major hospitals, science and sports facilities, an international airport and universities.


Malaysia offers both great budget holidays and first-class vacations. It is also the only Asian country in this list.

Malaysia is best known for its 878 islands, pristine beaches and untouched forests. Its people tolerates a multi-cultural society because of the strong presences of foreign influences throughout its history.

Malaysia is also home to four UNESCO world heritage sites namely the Lenggong Valley, Kinabalu Park, the Gunung Mulu National Park and the cities of Malacca and George Town.

For the expats, Malaysia offers the best street food, cafes and restaurants in its Asian region. According to several retirees, Malaysian food is world class. Shopping in Kuala Lumpur and Penang is to die for, with state of the art air-conditioned shopping centers to colorful night markets.

In addition, Malaysia is one of the three countries in Asia where expats can buy property freehold.

What about healthcare? Of course, this is an important topic for discussion if you’re considering retirement. Luckily, Malaysia has some of the best-trained doctors and medical procedures only cost a fraction than in the US.


Ecuador has excellent weather conditions because of its geography. It has a mountainous terrain and is positioned right at the equator so climate can change depending on the altitude you choose.

It is also the country of choice because of extremely affordable yet quality healthcare services, affordable real estate to either rent or buy, and amazing retiree benefits. If you are over 65 years old, you get discounts on flights from Ecuador. You will also get 50% off entry to sporting events and movies. There are also retiree discounts on public transport and utilities. You get the option of free landline if you purchase a property too.

Living in Ecuador costs as little as $1,500 USD per month.


Mexico is low-cost, conveniently close to the US, has plenty of expats and a lot of friendly locals.

While mainstream media may bash Mexico for the high incidence of crime and issues on security, it still manages to attract a lot of retirees. Yes, there are parts of Mexico that should be considered “danger zones” but it’s a big country so there’s definitely a piece of heaven there for you.

Living in Mexico costs as little as $1,200 USD a month, and has gotten even better with the peso weakening over the US dollar. You can buy great-value real estate for a bargain.
As for healthcare, first-rate hospitals in Mexico cost a fraction of what it would be in the US. Most doctors practicing in Mexico have received their training in Europe or the US anyway.

After you become a legal Mexican resident, it becomes possible for you to avail of their retiree benefits including discounts on airlines and bus tickets, museum entrance fees, medical care and more.

How to Plan Your Retirement Overseas

There are a number of steps that you’ll have to take to retire overseas. Outlined below are the general requirements. You should still check with the embassy of your country of choice should there be additional documents/steps required.

First, you’ll have to check the VISA and residency requirements of your country of choice. Immigration and residency requirements vary. It is recommended that you check the Department of State’s country information for other requirements like passport validity, currency restrictions, and recommended as well as required vaccinations.

Second, check the US State Department for travel warnings. This information is kept current and up-to-date.

Third, know the rules of foreign ownership. While you are in a foreign country, you become subject to its laws. Check the rules and regulations with regard to property ownership. Investigate its restrictions and ensure that you have enough finances too.

Fourth, visit the country before moving. Reading about the country and actually experiencing it are two different things.

Fifth, prepare your finances for possible all-cash purchases. It’s difficult to find a US-based bank or lender to fund your mortgage of an overseas property. Some local banks may support you, but only after you give a huge down payment.

Lastly, get organized. This means organizing your taxes, healthcare and assets before moving to a different country. Make sure you plan everything, too.

Should you need help, contact an internationalization architect.

Good luck on your big move!