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20 Best Places to Retire in The World for U.S. Citizens

This article takes a look at the 20 best places to retire in the world for U.S. citizens. If you wish to skip our detailed analysis on securing retirement dreams, you may go to the 5 Best Places to Retire in The World for U.S. Citizens.

Securing Retirement Dreams: Unveiling the Fiduciary Dilemma in Corporate America

According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), fiduciaries assume a position of trust concerning retirement plan participants and beneficiaries, with the fundamental responsibility to provide them maximum benefits. However, many companies have been failing to uphold their part of the bargain, costing employees millions of dollars.

To quote an example, General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) has recently agreed to pay $61 million to settle claims for its under-performing retirement plan. The lawsuit alleged that five of the retirement funds managed by General Electric Company (NYSE:GE)'s Asset Management (GEAM) were the only options that retirement plan participants were offered. Since 2011, these funds have under-performed in comparison to other investment options, resulting in employees suffering a loss of $283 million.

As per the plaintiffs, comprising 250,000 employees who invested in one of the five contested mutual funds between Sept. 26, 2011, and Aug. 3, 2023, General Electric Company (NYSE: GE) is alleged to have violated its fiduciary duty and contravened the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). MetLife, Inc. (NYSE:MET) is also due to pay $4.5 million to settle a lawsuit concerning the company's 401(k) plan. The insurance company MetLife, Inc. (NYSE:MET) has been accused of violating its fiduciary duty to plan participants by offering in-house products on the list of 401(k) options instead of superior funds from its competitors.

The settlement applies to participants and beneficiaries of the plan who possessed MetLife, Inc. (NYSE:MET) index funds from July 19, 2015, to Dec. 31, 2021. Even Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) has settled a $30 million lawsuit over its 401(k) plan. All of these incidents represent an increase in retirement plan lawsuit settlements. In the context of choosing the best places to retire in the world, it is increasingly becoming important for individuals to assess the fiduciary practices of their financial institutions before investing in their retirement savings.

Retiring to Your Dream Destination

Once you’ve decided to retire with or without significant retirement savings, the next question on your list is probably where to retire. High inflation and limited budgets may push you to relocate to cheaper areas within the country, or even lead you towards a retirement abroad. Some of the cheapest and safest countries to retire to for budget-constrained retirees are Chile, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Romania. Many areas within these countries are so cheap that you can even retire on $800 a month.

But are these countries easy to retire to? Well, according to our list of the easiest countries to retire to, Chile and Indonesia certainly are. Some other countries where it is easy to retire as a US citizen include Panama, Costa Rica, The Philippines, Colombia, and Nicaragua. Not only is it easy for US citizens to pursue their retirement here, but it is also easy to stretch their retirement dollars and live a better life than they would have back home.

If all this makes you intrigued to find out which place is your dream retirement destination, read on below to discover the best places to retire in the world for U.S. Citizens.

20 Best Places to Retire in The World for U.S. Citizens
20 Best Places to Retire in The World for U.S. Citizens

Methodology

To compile the list of best places to retire in the world for US citizens, we have rounded up 10 tax-free retirement countries for US citizens. Next, we selected the top 5 cities/towns from each country from our previous lists, and individually scored the places on the list based on their cost of living, average rent, and climate. We're evaluating the monthly living expenses for an individual retiree, including the average cost of renting a 1-bedroom apartment in the city or town center.

For places with the same scores, tie-breaking has been done based on the cost of living, with a place with relatively lower cost of living ranking higher. Rents and cost of living have been taken from Nomads List, and climate scoring has been done based on data from Weather Spark. The individual scores were averaged and this final Insider Monkey Score was used to rank the places in ascending order.

Here are the best places to retire in the world for US citizens:

20. Central Valley, Costa Rica

Insider Monkey Score: 4

Cost of Living: $2,500

Average Rent: $500

Retirement Visa: Pensionado visa

Climate: Tropical Savanna 

US citizens seeking the perfect climate and small-town vibe can choose to retire in Central Valley. Home to a sizable expat community, Central Valley can be one of the best places to retire in Costa Rica. US expats enjoy top-notch healthcare, a pleasant climate, and stunning natural landscapes here. Costa Rica stands out as one of the easiest countries to retire to, and seniors can retire through the Pensionado Visa.

19. Boquete, Panama

Insider Monkey Score: 5

Cost of Living: $2,500

Average Rent: $500

Retirement Visa: Panama Pensionado Visa

Climate: Subtropical Highland

Thousands of expats consider Boquete as one of the best retirement destinations in the world. Nestled in the highlands of western Panama, this town exudes an otherworldly charm, presenting awe-inspiring panoramic views in vibrant colors and hues. The town also features different micro-climates, boasting warmer temperatures in the South, and cooler temperatures in the mountainous North.

18. Granada, Nicaragua

Insider Monkey Score: 6

Cost of Living: $1,500

Average Rent: $393

Retirement Visa: Nicaraguan Retirement Visa

Climate: Tropical

US citizens often choose Granada as a retirement destination to stretch their retirement dollars, enjoy the laid-back atmosphere, and socialize with the friendly community. They can secure a Nicaraguan retirement visa by meeting certain criteria, which includes having a steady monthly income of $600. There are both public and private healthcare options available, with expats usually opting for private hospitals and clinics.

17. El Valle de Antón, Panama

Insider Monkey Score: 8

Cost of Living: $2,000

Average Rent: $600

Retirement Visa: Panama Pensionado Visa

Climate: Mild Springtime 

The beautiful mountain town of El Valle de Antón makes it to our list of best places to retire for US citizens due to its friendly locals, mild springtime climate, and serene landscape. The allure of El Valle de Anton extends beyond its relaxed pace of life to embrace nature enthusiasts, who are intrigued by the region's unique flora and fauna.

16. Ambergris Caye, Belize

Insider Monkey Score: 9

Cost of Living: $2,000

Average Rent: $750

Retirement Visa: Belize Qualified Retirement Program

Climate: Tropical

Ambergris Caye, the largest island in Belize, is a tropical English-speaking paradise for US citizens. Also known as Isla Bonita, expats love it for its pristine beaches and laid-back atmosphere. Some popular items to try here include beans, fresh fish, and street food such as chicken tacos.

15. Placencia, Belize

Insider Monkey Score: 9 Cost of Living: $1,750 Average Rent: $600 Retirement Visa: Belize Qualified Retirement Program Climate: Tropical Rainforest

Sitting in front of the Caribbean Sea, the seaside town of Placencia is a nice place for retirees to call home. The region is also known for its scenic beauty, idyllic lifestyle, and picturesque Caribbean beaches. Retirees love to engage in water-based activities, such as snorkeling and fishing.

14. Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Insider Monkey Score: 10

Cost of Living: $2,767

Average Rent: $1,335

Retirement Visa: Pensionado visa

Climate: Tropical

Costa Rica is one of the easiest countries to retire as a US citizen. In particular, the Pacific coastal town of Tamarindo is a popular place to retire in the world for US citizens. The region offers retirees the best of amenities, over 50 grocery stores, shopping, and medical care. There are stunning beaches, beautiful landscapes, and a diverse expat community as well.

13. Valetta, Malta

Insider Monkey Score: 11

Cost of Living: $2,000

Average Rent: $1,062

Retirement Visa: Malta Retirement Program (MRP)

Climate:  Mediterranean 

Valetta, in Malta, is favored amongst retirees for its Mediterranean charm, vibrant cultural scene, and rich history. The climate here is pleasant year-round, allowing retirees to get the most out of the outdoors. The city life is quite bustling, and there are modern amenities available too.

12. Cotacahi, Ecuador

Insider Monkey Score: 11

Cost of Living: $1,000

Average Rent: $400

Retirement Visa: Jubilado Visa

Climate: Warm-summer Mediterranean

Cotacachi is one of the best places to retire in Ecuador, offering an affordable yet comfortable retirement. Nestled in the Andes Mountains, the town experiences a mild and pleasant climate, earning it the title of “Land of Eternal Spring”. US citizens can retire through the Jubilado Visa, which is a temporary visa that can be renewed.

11. Cebu City, The Philippines

Insider Monkey Score: 11 Cost of Living: $851 Average Rent: $367 Retirement Visa: Special Resident Retiree's Visa (SRRV) Climate: Tropical Wet and Dry  Cebu City offers an ideal balance between vibrant city living and a tropical paradise. There are beautiful coastal areas on Cebu Island, numerous cultural attractions, and a delectable culinary scene as well. Retirees feel welcomed by the friendly locals and enjoy a range of recreational opportunities. Cherry on top, it is possible to retire on $800 a month.

10. Lisbon, Portugal

Insider Monkey Score: 12

Cost of Living: $2,319

Average Rent: $1,358

Retirement Visa: Portugal D7 Visa

Climate:  Mild Mediterranean 

Portugal, one of the best expat retirement countries, is home to numerous appealing retirement destinations. The city of Lisbon has a well-regarded healthcare system, and it is also known for its scenic beauty and cultural richness. The cost of living is quite affordable compared to other Western cities. Non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens who have a reasonable net regular passive income can apply for residency through the Portugal D7 visa.

9. Crete, Greece

Insider Monkey Score: 12

Cost of Living: $1,845

Average Rent: $820

Retirement Visa: Financially Independent Person Permit (FIP)

Climate:  Mediterranean 

Crete is another best place to retire internationally for US citizens. Besides the island living lifestyle that it offers retirees, Crete is also revered for its pristine beaches and beautiful landscapes. Retirees get to hike in the White Mountains, take a dip in the waters, and even explore ancient trails.

8. Sintra, Portugal

Insider Monkey Score: 12

Cost of Living: $1,500

Average Rent: $711

Retirement Visa: Portugal D7 Visa

Climate:  Hot-Summer Mediterranean 

The beautiful town of Sintra allows retirees to live a high-quality life at a relaxed pace. Its location amidst the Sintra Mountains offers breathtaking landscapes, helping retirees relish the diverse flora and fauna, and take in the pristine views of the Atlantic Ocean. Traditional Portuguese dishes are a highlight of this town, offering a unique culinary experience.

7. Charlestown, Saint Kitts and Nevis

Insider Monkey Score: 12

Cost of Living: $1,100

Average Rent: $600

Retirement Visa: Citizenship by Investment Program

Climate:  Tropical 

Embracing lush landscapes and picturesque beaches of the Caribbean Sea, Charlestown is another vibrant and exciting place to retire to. This city is no less than a tropical paradise, motivating retirees to enjoy the water, explore nature trails, and even go hiking. The lifestyle here is relaxed and stress-free, and there are numerous culinary delights offered in Caribbean flavors. However, the level of healthcare here is basic.

6. San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Insider Monkey Score: 12

Cost of Living: $925

Average Rent: $410

Retirement Visa: Nicaraguan Retirement Visa

Climate:  Tropical 

San Juan del Sur is no less than a beach paradise for retirees. Besides the affordable cost of living, the town has a growing expat community that makes it easy to integrate into the community. The natural beauty is also quite stunning, characterized by lush hills, forests, and other scenic viewpoints. There are various schools and learning centers where retirees can learn Spanish.

Click to continue reading and see the 5 Best Places to Retire in The World for U.S. Citizens.

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Disclosure: None. 20 Best Places to Retire in The World for U.S. Citizens is originally published on Insider Monkey.

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