9 Best Countries to Retire with $500,000

You don’t need to save millions of dollars to enjoy retirement while living in another country.
Updated May 8, 2024
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senior couple planning for a vacation

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There are plenty of locations that only require $500,000 in savings to make your retiree's life work.

Perhaps you want to live somewhere close to the U.S., or maybe you want to go far away and try a completely different culture. The good thing is that there's an option for you regardless of your specific plans.

Check out these enchanting countries where you can potentially retire early and enjoy your post-work years.

Editor's Note: With each country, you should research the political and social climate when making your decision.

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Alan Smithers/Adobe Sydney Skyline taken from Taronga Zoo

Australia maybe half a world away, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying life Down Under.

The country offers beaches and culture as well as affordable living, depending on where you choose to settle down. Though visa requirements are a bit complicated for foreigners looking to retire in Australia, it could be worth the trouble if you want to live in an English-speaking country with a culture all its own.

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TTstudio/Adobe Lisbon Portugal skyline with Sao Jorge Castle

Located on the west coast of Europe, Portugal offers a comfortable climate and an affordable cost of living. You also may want to check the country’s tax laws, which may be favorable to retirees depending on your circumstances.

Be aware that the official language of Portugal is Portuguese, so you may have to learn another language in order to get around the country on a daily basis.


Mapics/Adobe Park Guell in Barcelona Spain

Nearby Spain is known for its good food, rich history, and unique art. Travel around to major cities like Madrid and Barcelona to see plenty of things that make Spain special for residents and retirees.

A residence visa allows non-European Union citizens to live in Spain, but you cannot work. Spain has a high-quality public health care system, but foreigners likely have to pay for private insurance.

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Duarte/Adobe Tobacco Caye with palm trees and bungalows in the Belize Barrier Reef

Want an option that’s close to the U.S.? Try Belize. The country has affordable housing and a lower cost of living than other areas. Plus, its official language is English, which means you won’t have to learn a new language to live in the country.

You may be required to get a retirement visa which will take some time and a little money, but it could be worth it if you plan to live there for a while.


christian vinces/Adobe panoramic view of Lima from Miraflores

Peru has a lush landscape and affordable housing, which makes this South American country an ideal location for retirement. The capital of Lima may be a great stop with its beautiful architecture and culture.

Retiring in Peru may be easier than in other countries when it comes to visas and immigration, but check the details to become a citizen.


SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

If you want something a little farther from the U.S., check out the Asian nation of Malaysia. The country is home to warm, sandy beaches and lush tropical rainforests, so you’re bound to find something that interests you.

The country also has a low cost of living and most residents speak English as an unofficial second language, making it easy to navigate the country.

Costa Rica

Alexey Stiop/Adobe Arenal Volcano Costa Rica

Costa Rica offers incredibly varied settings, from mountains to rainforests and beach towns to bigger cities. Unsurprisingly, it boasts a thriving expat population.

Retirees in the Central American country have access to active communities, outdoor adventure, and a world-renowned public health care system (with the option to purchase private insurance).

Costa Rican retirement visas require renewal every two years but a relatively low guaranteed income, allowing for a wide range of lifestyles.


Jose Luis Stephens/Adobe Providencia and Las Condes districts with Costanera Center skyscraper

Chile is a modern country with plenty of nature around for you to enjoy as well. It's a great destination if you like exploring the outdoors or enjoying hitting the slopes in the winter. The Andes Mountains have plenty of ski resorts for you to indulge your skiing passion.

When it comes to getting a visa, Chile’s rules may be easier compared with some other countries. You can apply for a retirement visa, which is good for one year, and even allows you to work.


Mariana Ianovska/Adobe blue city of Chefchaouen in the Rif mountains Morocco

The African nation of Morocco sits on the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, giving you plenty of access to warm water and a unique culture.

Enjoy different foods and a stable climate in an area with a low cost of living. Moroccan residency status requires frequent renewals, so you'll want to review the system and factor it into your decision.

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Bottom line

Day Of Victory Stu./Adobe senior couple hugged each other at the beach in the morning

There are plenty of ways seniors waste money, including retiring in a high-cost-of-living area.

But you can get the excitement of living outside the U.S. without a huge price tag depending on where you want to spend your post-work life.

You may want to vacation in various countries to get a feel for the one where you’d be most at home. Be sure to visit the countries you are considering, then study the requirements for retiring there.

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Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.

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