7 Best Places to Retire in the World on a Budget

Question: What could possibly make the idea of retiring more tantalizing? Retiring abroad… on a budget! It’s truly a dream come true; you get to choose the culture and climate that really moves you and explore it until you drop. No commitments, no worries, no pricey resorts. Just you and the sound of waves gently lapping up on pristine beaches. If you’re looking for the best places to retire in the world on a budget, you’ve come to the right place! 

best places to retire in the world on a budget
Your cheap place to retire abroad will proooobably look a little like this.

It can seem a little far fetched, right? Retiring in paradise? That’s reserved for billionaires. News flash: The best place to retire in the world on a budget is just a plane ride away, and totally accessible to people from all walks of life. You’ll get the biggest bang for your buck, live like royalty, and embrace freedom abroad! Enjoy a reduced cost of living and reduced stress level. 

Looking for a beautiful, magical, and affordable country to retire in shouldn’t give you any anxiety. Let us help you ease into your next adventure by presenting the 7 cheapest places to retire abroad.

What should I consider when retiring abroad on a budget?

This may seem obvious, but think about your personal budget when retiring abroad. How does the math work out for the country you want to retire in? This list is an idea of the best places to retire in the world on a budget, but not everyone’s budget looks the same.

In terms of rent, are you interested in renting for retirement, or buying a house? What is the healthcare system like? Sometimes “affordable” isn’t enough.

Sure, it’s an exciting life shift, but you still need to take a minute to think about how realistic it is for your lifestyle. Do you want to be close to family and friends? If you’re living in Illinois and decide to move to Indonesia, a quick trip home for Thanksgiving isn’t as realistic.

What kind of community are you looking for? Some of the best countries to retire on social security alone are also major retirement hubs with booming expat communities. It can be nice to connect with people from similar backgrounds when you’re moving to a foreign country.

Ahh more details. Do some visa research before settling on a location. Some countries have specific retirement visa requirements, others have long-term residence permits, and a myriad of other rules and requirements along the way.

A lot of the best places to retire in the world on social security funds have visa programs in place, but they typically require you to be a certain age limit (often 55), show that you have some income/funds to actually survive, and do a health check.

7 cheapest places to retire abroad

*Cost of Living Index from Numbeo is a relative indicator of consumer goods prices, including groceries, restaurants, transportation and utilities, where NYC is 100(%). A COL index of 120 means it costs about 20% more than it does in NYC, while a COL of 50 means it’s half the price!

1. Philippines

best places to retire in the world on a budget
Apart from being one of the cheapest places to retire abroad, the Philippines is downright enchanting.

The Philippines is one of the best countries to retire on social security alone because the cost of living is low. You can comfortably live on $800 to $1,000 a month with eating out and in-country travel. That means any extra funds you raise with FundMyTravel is a bonus that should be immediately applied to an adventure or luxurious pampering in the island nation. 

The Philippines has a well-established expat community in Dumaguete, and most people can carry a conversation in English. This, as well as the warm-hearted locals, make it the best place to retire in the world on a budget.

[6 Essential Money-Saving Tips to Travel on a Budget]

The Philippines really is one of the best places to retire in the world on social security! There are pristine beaches, thousands of islands to explore at your leisure, and amazing food that’s ridiculously cheap. Affordable living + beautiful beaches + welcoming locals = win-win-win situation.

  • Exchange rate: 1 USD = 50.47 Philippine Pesos 
  • Price of a meal: $3 
  • Average monthly rent: $340 
  • Cost of Living index: 36.97

2. Chile

Picture yourself in a beautiful country with the highest standard of living in Latin America. The water is safe, the WiFi is reliable, and the cost of living is somehow extremely affordable. To top it off, the scenery is breathtaking and diverse.

Chile is one of the best places to retire in the world on a budget for people who want variety and class in their life. Sip fine wine in Santiago one day, and explore the Andes the next. But of course, there are caveats to the affordability.

Santiago might not be the best place to retire in the world on a budget if you have a super tight budget. Capital cities tend to be a bit more expensive. That being said, starting a FMT campaign to retire in Chile could make a cosmopolitan crash-pad a reality!

  • Exchange rate: 1 USD = 742.20 Chilean Pesos
  • Price of a meal: $7.20
  • Average monthly rent: $353 
  • Cost of Living index: 49.15

3. Malaysia

boats on the ocean in malaysia
As a cheap place to retire abroad, Malaysia checks all the boxes.

Not only is Malaysia one of the cheapest places to retire abroad, it’s one of the safest places to live in Southeast Asia! Bonus points on the great health care program and the fact that English is widely spoken.

Oh, we almost forgot to mention the BEACHES. Cerulean waves and snow white beaches might trick you into thinking you literally live in a postcard. Talk about magical!

Retiring abroad on a budget doesn’t mean you need to neglect the finer things in life. Penang is a popular retiree destination for its relaxed island vibes with big city access. Because it’s so sought out, it might be a bit more expensive than a more secluded rural town.

However, you can still get an imported beer for under three bucks! Southeast Asian countries are a great trick for those looking for the best places to retire in the world on social security, because the day-to-day expenses are next to none.

  • Exchange rate: 1 USD = 4.12 Malaysian Ringgits
  • Price of a meal: $2.41
  • Average monthly rent: $398
  • Cost of Living index: 39.56

[8 Cheapest (and Safest) Places to Live in the World]

4. Belize 

Did you know that English is the official national language in Belize, and it’s the only country in Central America where this is the case? If you’re ready to retire, you’re probably ready to relax. Sometimes a language barrier is just not worth the headache.

Belize is the best place to retire in the world on a budget because it’s close to home (if you’re from the US). You can get a ticket for under $600, and it’s only a four-hour flight from Chicago.

It’s one of the cheapest places to retire abroad, so you can indulge in scuba or snorkel adventures, live in a fancy beach house, and eat out almost every day! Due to the ridiculously reasonable cost of living, it’s one of the best countries to retire on social security alone. 

  • Exchange rate: 1 USD = 2.02 Belize Dollars
  • Price of a meal: $5
  • Average monthly rent: $399
  • Cost of Living index: 49.06

5. Spain 

person standing on coast in mallorca
Do you want Europe to be a part of your cheap retirement abroad? Check out Spain!

Spain — or España as you, soon to be local, should call it — is such a treat. Love the sun? Say hello to bright, sunny days in the Mediterranean region with over 3,000 hours of sunshine a year.

Europe can be a little pricier than other places, but it doesn’t need to drain your bank account. Spain may not be one of the best countries to retire on social security alone, but there are ways to live comfortably nonetheless.

It’s still a cheap place to retire abroad when you compare it to the rest of the continent; it actually has one of the lowest costs of living in Western Europe. Besides, we can’t have a list of the best places to retire in the world on a budget without the Euro tour! Tap into that tapas lifestyle and book your ticket to Spain today. 

  • Exchange rate: 1 USD = .91 Euros
  • Price of a meal: $11
  • Average monthly rent: $716
  • Cost of Living index: 54.74

6. Czech Republic 

This may be a surprising addition to the “best place to retire in the world on a budget” list, but bear with us. What CR lacks in tropical beach vibes, it makes up for in culture, healthcare, and diversity.

If you love beer, you need to at least visit this country. Known for hearty, meat-forward cuisine and copious beer consumption, living in the Czech Republic is a great option for those looking for a cheap place to retire abroad. CR may be the dark horse on this list, but we can’t argue with the half a million foreigners living there. 

  • Exchange rate: 1 USD = 23.11 Czech Koruna
  • Price of a meal: $5.84
  • Average monthly rent: $700
  • Cost of Living index: 45.7

7. Indonesia 

rice terraces in indonesia
Indonesia is one of the best places to retire in the world on a budget — and it’ll seem too good to be true.

We’ve all thought about retiring in Bali, right? Indonesia is the best place to retire in the world on a budget because your savings will carry you out onto the gentle ocean and give you a chance to float happily without worries.

Indonesia’s many islands attract people looking for literal paradise, so prepare for everything to seem too good to be true. Learn to surf, wander through vibrant green hills, and explore crashing waterfalls in jungle parks without giving up all the Western amenities you’re used to.

The country itself is one of the best places to retire in the world on social security, but the people provide a type of security as well. There’s a booming expat community, and the locals are known for their welcoming disposition and fascinating culture. 

  • Exchange rate: 1 USD = 14,009.50 Indonesian Rupiah
  • Price of a meal: $1.78
  • Average monthly rent: $342  
  • Cost of Living index: 36.86

Use FundMyTravel to make retiring abroad on a budget even cheaper!

Retiring abroad on a budget is an attainable goal if you have money set aside. But as soon as those savings start to dwindle it can be a little unsettling. Ease into your retirement abroad with comfort by using FundMyTravel.

Raise money to finance those big ticket items you wouldn’t have to worry about if you retired at home, like a flight and visa costs. That way you won’t have to worry about the actual getting abroad when you’re budgeting out your retirement fund. 

Did you find your cheap place to retire abroad?

hotel room in bali
Retirement abroad is your next great adventure!

You don’t have to reduce your standard of living to have a fulfilling retirement. Your current retirement fund plus whatever you raise with FMT will exceed retirement expectations abroad if you play your cards right.

It all comes down to choosing the right place. Moving somewhere tropical, inviting, and affordable abroad is just as affordable as moving to Florida. Heck, in some cases cheaper!

There’s a myth that living abroad isn’t realistic because of the price. But it’s cheaper to retire in Belize than it is to live in some major US cities! Now that you’re armed with a list of the best places in the world to retire on social security, how close are you to packing your suitcase?

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