International Living

International Living

Looking for Your Just-Right Place Overseas?

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16 Countries Compared, Contrasted, Ranked, and Rated

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Dear Reader,

In the country that takes the #1 spot on our brand-new 2023 Global Retirement Index, you could live a lifestyle that would easily cost you six figures at home...only do it comfortably on a retired teacher’s budget.

The country I’m talking about—the world’s best retirement haven for 2023—has broad appeal...

Cosmopolitan cities sit along a rugged coast...beach towns tuck between golf courses...highland communities boast towering castles and cathedrals...rivers and vineyards provide rural retreats...

The weather is hard to beat. A temperate climate allows plenty of time for outdoor activities—from biking to hiking to water sports. Healthcare, both public and private, is widely available, affordable, and excellent. A couple can live well on $2,494 a month, immersed in history, culture, and eating out often.

“[We] immediately saw our expenses fall to between one-third and one-quarter of what they were back in the U.S.,” says one expat smitten with the experience in this #1 pick for 2023.

“The weather is good, the people are wonderful, and the pace of life is chilled,” says another transplant.

A third put it this way, “What’s life like, really? It’s easier…by magnitudes. People are nicer. The pace is slower. Everyone is quick to help and make you feel welcome. The stress of the daily grind has melted away. Sure, we still work and have busy daily lives, but the pressure and weight of the American lifestyle has been lifted. While we do stay on top of what’s happening in the U.S., we’re focused on diving into [the local] culture and creating our new lives here.”

Great Bang for Your Buck in this #1 European Haven

You may assume that European countries are too expensive to be viable overseas retirement havens, but let me share the good news: This intoxicating country, which takes the top spot in our 2023 Global Retirement Index, offers the best-value living in Western Europe today—pairing low costs with rich cultural offerings and beautiful, historic surrounds anywhere you go. (And beaches...oh, the beaches...)

As one couple who moved there puts it, “We currently rent a house with roof terrace and ocean view for [under $1,000] a month. Only a 10-minute walk from our doorstep, there are five different beaches to choose from. In the States, a property like that would be quadruple the price at least. Same for medical insurance: in the U.S., we’d pay $400 per month, per person. Here, we’ve found great healthcare insurance for both of us for €150 ($158) monthly.”

A lunch at an inexpensive restaurant runs about $13 per person—and that includes a glass of wine and dessert. At a high-end eatery, dinner for two costs in the $50 range. A maid will clean twice a month (about three hours each time) for roughly $60, total. Your internet package—which includes TV and your cell phone plan—will set you back a mere $90.

In the capital city, rent for a two-bedroom place would typically cost from $800 to $1,800, depending on how close you are to the city center. In secondary cities, you can expect to pay a little less: $700 or less outside the center and $1,000 or more in the thick of things.

One writer described this country’s lively capital as “Istanbul meets San Francisco, with its pastel-colored buildings and the wide river running right under a Golden Gate look-alike and sweeping out to the ocean.”

“We selected [this city] because, first of all, it is warm,” says a contented transplant from the cold Midwest. “After living in Chicago for a few years, we knew we definitely did not want any more freezing cold winters.”

He and his wife had spent many years in Los Angeles, and, he says, their cost of living now is about 65% of what it was there.

Another plus? “We have been surprised at how easy it is to make new friends. In Los Angeles, we were always rather isolated, either at home or in a car. If you wanted to see someone, you had to make an appointment.

“Here [we] have made many new friends. As an added bonus, the people we meet here tend to be very interesting and smart. They are, by definition, international.”

And history is everywhere. With its Old World feel, this is a country that does a wonderful job of offering modern amenities—good wifi, efficient electricity, well-connected public transportation—while maintaining its historic charms. Life is lived among cobblestone alleys, medieval town walls, and crenelated castles on hilltops—all sound-tracked by the toll of church bells. Yet you have all the modern conveniences.

Europe Can Be Less Expensive
Than You Likely Imagine

“As we sipped wine at the corner café with friends, my husband turned to me with a big smile on his face and exclaimed, ‘We really live in Europe. Can you believe it?’ Just then the waitress came over with the check, which our friend took. ‘I’ve got this one,’ he said. Two wines, one beer, and a coffee, for a total of just $4.50. ‘Wow,’ our friend said. ‘I’m really going to hate to go back to the U.S., where just one glass of wine costs more than this entire bill.’” That’s how low costs can be in our #1 retirement haven for 2023!

Excellent Healthcare, Low Cost

This #1 retirement haven for 2023 is a place that offers excellent healthcare at a small fraction of what you’d expect to pay. The medical education is well-respected within this country, and many locally trained physicians take on additional studies and residencies in the U.K. and other European countries and speak English.

In bigger cities, the care is excellent and easily accessible. But even in small towns, it’s very good.

As one recent transplant put it, “I’ve found the healthcare facilities, hospitals, and doctors’ offices are cleaner, more modern, and filled with more state-of-the-art equipment than anywhere I’ve gone for medical care in the U.S. And the cost for private healthcare here is almost comical compared to the egregious costs we pay in the U.S. for insurance.

“For example, our family’s health insurance in the U.S. cost $715 a month for the three of us…we had no pre-existing conditions. [Here], we pay $225 a month for premium health insurance. When we first arrived, I needed to get seven x-rays done for my new osteopath. I walked into a local lab with the lab order (but without an appointment), waited only 20 minutes, got the x-rays, and my total bill (without insurance reimbursement or being in the public-health system yet) was only €52 (about $60 at the time). That would have cost me thousands without insurance in the U.S.”

Make It Your Part-Time or Full-Time Escape

As an American, you can stay for 90 days in this #1 retirement haven on a tourist visa, which makes visiting or staying part-time easy. But longer stays are straightforward, too. You have several good visa options, which are renewable.

That includes what is arguably the most attractive “Golden Visa” in Europe. If you have the funds, an investment of as little as $370,000 can deliver you resident status and a path to citizenship and a second passport, which can provide you and your family greater flexibility in travel, tax planning, investments, and more.

Lots of Lifestyle Options—Quiet Beaches,
Vibrant Cities, Small Towns

Mellow wines are nurtured in this country’s northern vineyards. Here the coast is warmed by the Gulf Stream, so winters are reasonably mild, with temperatures ranging from about 46-60 degrees Fahrenheit. It does rain up here, though—a little like the U.S. Pacific Northwest.

In this area, you see more local tourists than foreign—and if you’re willing to chance the weather, you’ll be rewarded by white fishing villages that offer simple restaurants serving exquisite seafood, and an interior dominated by sprawling pine forest and lush, rolling vineyards.

Values are excellent here: I just spotted a beautiful two-bedroom apartment a five-minute walk from the beach, close to grocery stores and other shops and businesses: $212,000.

This country’s central coast is one of Europe’s sleeping beauties, with rugged cliffs and coves, and whitewashed windmills, the beaches here resemble broad golden ribbons. Slumbering inland are historic castle towns, abbeys, and pilgrim shrines. Small villages come surrounded by terraced olive groves, citrus orchards, and vineyards.

Completing the picture are salt lagoons, gurgling rivers, and pine forests. White storks build straggly nests on top of church towers…springy-turf cliff-tops are scented with wild herbs…stone walls trail clouds of blue-mauve morning glory blossoms…village houses are draped in wisteria. Yet for all its beauty, it’s not uncommon around here to find seaside village properties listing from under $200,000.

Down in the south—an area once little more than a collection of sleepy fishing villages—is today a golfer’s haven and a vacation destination for sun-seekers. It keeps an average winter temperature of 77 degrees Fahrenheit. You find here yacht-filled marinas and clean, calm waters. And while there are plenty of apartments and villas on offer for $300,000 and much higher, it’s still possible to pick up a studio in a well-maintained building for as little as $145,000.

We’ll Point You to Where Your Dollars Buy You More... So You Can Live Better

The average retiree household in the US spends about $50,000 a year. Yet that doesn’t bankroll a particularly fancy lifestyle. Most folks live carefully—even frugally.

But if you carried that pot of $50,000 to the right spot abroad, you could watch it expand—like rice on a stove.

All of a sudden, you’d have more to play with. You could afford to live better: eat out a few times a week, travel, have a housekeeper to clean and even cook for you. You could, in fact, have all those luxuries—and still keep half of that money in your bank account.

Because in the best-value places, a couple can live quite well on as little as $24,000 a year.

Sure, the US is easy and convenient. But you can find the same niceties elsewhere—and spend much less for them.

Most folks don’t realize it, but life in the States is relatively expensive when you compare it to other places around the world.

Elsewhere, you can enjoy a much higher quality of life—but spend less for it.

Let me show you what I mean...

In the US, a 60-year-old spends on average $1,115 a month on a “silver” health-insurance premium. Yet you could go to Panama and get an international plan for $90 to $250 a month. You pocket the difference.

In the US, housing costs are high and rising with inflation. If you want to live a few minutes’ stroll from the beach, you’ll need deep pockets.

In California—plan on spending around $1 million, at least. Even in a small town like Newport, Oregon, a nice—but hardly extravagant—house with a view a few blocks from the shore will set you back $729,000.

Yet in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, a beautiful, 2-bed condo right in town, a few blocks from the beach could be yours for as little as $225,000. For $625,000 you could have your own furnished three-bed, three-bath villa with a private pool.

But you needn’t spend anywhere near that much to upgrade your life.

In Javea, Spain, for instance—you could own a skillfully renovated 2-story, 2-bedroom, 100-year-old village home with a water-view balcony right in the heart of town and be an easy stroll to the ocean—for just $212,000.

In Playa del Carmen—on Mexico’s Riviera Maya along the Caribbean coast—you could own a chic, fully furnished apartment three blocks from the beach, right in the heart of the tourist action, for just $140,000. Rent it out when you’re not there, and it could quickly pay for itself.

You simply get more bang for your buck in the right spots overseas. And that means you could afford to live a richer, more interesting life. You could afford to relax and enjoy yourself.

Our Global Retirement Index points you to the best places in the world to do it in 2023.

Easy, Low-Stress Lifestyle

Ultimately, this #1 pick for the world’s best place to retire in 2023 isn’t only beautiful and affordable, it’s just plain easy. You can fly there non-stop from Miami, Boston, Chicago, Washington, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and New York.

And it makes an excellent jumping off point for exploring the rest of Europe with cheap and frequent flights around the continent as well as great rail connections.

The cultural offerings are rich and varied—with hilltop castles that date to the 12th century and chapels, cathedrals, and museums chock full of artwork. It’s home to the best-preserved European Knights of the Templar settlement, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Renowned for its inexpensive, high-quality, and fortified wines, this country is a culinary treasure. The locals love their breads and desserts—the custard tarts are unforgettable. And with such a long coastline, fish is ubiquitous. (It’s so beloved, in fact, that it’s said there are 365 ways to prepare it—one for every day of the year.) You’ll find wonderful and varied fresh vegetables and a real appreciation for good ingredients prepared simply.

A café culture is rich and runs deep. From early in the morning until late at night, locals can be found sipping coffee at their local café. They gather to talk, read the paper, watch the ever-present television suspended on the wall, and visit neighbors at all hours. These establishments are magnets for communal watching of important sporting matches.

“We found a more relaxed lifestyle [here] than anywhere we lived in the States,” says one expat. “Parks everywhere burst with fragrant, colorful flowers, and it seems there’s a café on every corner in cities, towns, and villages. To sit outdoors and linger over coffee and pastry or a glass of wine without the slightest pressure to pay the check and move on is an emotional breath of fresh air.”

Of course, it won’t suit everybody—no place will.

And that’s’ve got lots of excellent options to consider on the 2023 Global Retirement Index.

Is Going Overseas Right for You?
Well, Consider Where You Are Today: Is This Really What You Want Your Life to Look Like?
(If You’re Ready for a Change, Keep Reading.
We Can Help.)

We’re living in uncertain times.

Inflation is making everyday living more expensive.

The stresses of the violence we’ve seen in our schools, bars, grocery stores, and more takes its toll on our psyche.

The ongoing political vitriol... a Supreme Court that seems entirely out of step with the average American... the war-time news from Ukraine... it can all be overwhelming.

And I don’t blame you one bit if you’ve thought: I need an escape plan.

If you want more peace, more control, more balance, more freedom—you’re in very good company.

And you’ve come to the right place. Because here at International Living, we can help.

Things may seem worrisome at home—but in the right places overseas, you’ll find great opportunity today.

Had It with the Pace, the Politics, the Prices? You Have Better Options Abroad

An early retirement is not only within your reach, it could be lived in style.

You could have a luxury home with a water view, afford to travel, to eat out three or four times a week, to spend your days doing what you want with people whose company you enjoy.

You could live life on your terms. And do it on a budget of as little as $24,000 a year.

Maybe you’re not ready to retire, but you crave a change.

If you’ve got the flexibility of a laptop job—what’s stopping you from taking your work-from-home income to a place where the sun shines year-round, the pace of life is slow and civil, and the cost of living is half—or even less—what you pay today?

We’ll show you the best places to go.

Maybe you’ve always dreamed of heading overseas in retirement—but you’ve been waiting for the timing to be just right.

Stop. Never has there been a better time in history to go overseas. The world is more connected than ever, and your strong dollars are putting some of the best-value locations on sale for you—from Mexico to France to Portugal and beyond.

I’d like to show you how you can embrace a more interesting, more international life starting right now. A life where you can meet new people, explore new cultures, try on new places for size.

And I assure you: That jet-set life doesn’t have to break the bank. Not when you know where to go.

You don’t even have to go overseas full-time to reap the benefits of a more fun, more relaxing, more balanced life.

What if I told you that you could own a condo on a beach or in a historic city that you could visit a few weeks or months a year (and that it could generate income when you’re not using it and pay for itself).

In the right spots abroad—the places we point you to in our 2023 Global Retirement Index—you could secure your own getaway like that for as little as $174,000.

If you have had it at home today with the pace, the priorities, the politics, the prices...the weather...

You should know: In the right spots around the world, you can afford to make the change you dream about.

You can afford to create the life you imagine in your mind's eye.

In fact, we conceived our 2023 Global Retirement Index to help you do exactly that.

We're keeping the winners a surprise.

Our #2 Finisher Offers a Simpler, Easier Life—
Close to Home

The country that takes the #2 spot in our Index this year is a place that offers what is arguably the easiest transition to expat life around.

Low-cost, conveniently close, and full of friendly locals and plenty of expats—it hands you an appealing balance of exotic foreign culture and familiar, First World lifestyle.

And right now, the strong dollar makes it a particular bargain.

“You can be on vacation every day—or at least feel like it—when you live in this country’s west-coast beach towns,” says one expat there.

It’s a place where you can live large—but do it on as little as a Social Security budget.

That’s what Rip does. He lives in the heart of a historic town on the water where he rents a 1-bedroom apartment three blocks from the beach for $800 a month. His monthly electric bill? About $19.

With prices like that, you can see how your nest egg could stretch.

Dwight, who left Santa Fe, New Mexico for an arts-rich town in this colorful, good-value country reports that, “It’s probably 35%-40% cheaper here. And our needs are fewer here, especially since we don’t need a car. Taxis are $2.50 to $3 anywhere in the city, when it’s too far to walk.

“The climate is nearly perfect, so utilities are a fraction. Taxes are a fraction.

“We have full-time housekeeping/gardening help and have become very spoiled.”

This #2 finisher in the 2023 Global Retirement Index is a place where you can trim your costs but watch your lifestyle expand.

A couple can live well—all in—for about $1,890 a month. That’s less than $23,000 a year.

Here you can employ a maid for $3 a hour.

Pamper yourself with a manicure, pedicure, and haircut...and pay less than $60.

You can eat out at a nice restaurant for $15 a person or grab a quick lunch for $5.

Accessible, Easy, and Friendly

Expat Louisa says, “We love our simple, economical lifestyle, but the low cost wasn’t what motivated us to live here.

“The vitality and beauty of the streets, the thrill of learning another language and making [local] friends, the challenge of understanding a culture so different from our own...the list of reasons goes on and on.

“Every time I re-enter after time away, I see the bright colors, and I shiver with anticipation.”

Paula says it’s easy, even as a single person, to find friends and have an active social life. There are dinners out, community groups, get-togethers, and parties.

“Almost every time you go out, you meet people,” she says. “It’s really easy. People give out cards with their name, email, and phone number. I spend a lot of time with people born here, and it’s great. They’re wonderful.”

This #2 pick for 2023, close by and easy to get to, is already home to thousands of Americans.

It provides potential expats with a lot of choice—from vibrant Colonial cites to laid-back beach towns, Pacific-coast resort communities to chilled out Caribbean retreats.

And it’s an excellent option for snow birds who want to spend part of the year someplace warm.

When you’re out and about in the most tourist-friendly communities, you’ll find many of the same brands you’re used to back home—Applebee’s, TGI Fridays, Ruth’s Chris, and others.

If you can’t live without your peanut butter cups or your turkey bacon... don’t worry, you can find them both.

You can shop at Costco, and you can get U.S. television programs.

It’s easy, in other words.

And, as I mentioned, it’s a place where you really do get bang for your buck.

An Oceanview Apartment for Under $700 a Month

In a colonial-era town where Americans have been settling since the 1940s, you’ll find lots of expats in renovated homes that line cobblestone streets.

This tidy city is full of art galleries, restaurants, and shops. Here a new-construction 3-bedroom home a pleasant, 20-minute walk to the main square lists for $167,500.

It’s one of the pricier spots in the country—yet it illustrates the good values you can find.

If you prefer an ocean breeze, palm trees, white-sand beaches, and quiet turquoise can have that, too.

In one town popular with expats, Bob and Nancy rent a fully furnished, multi-level, modern townhouse.

It has three bedrooms, a maid’s quarters, four-and-a-half bathrooms, and comes complete with beautiful landscaping, three swimming pools, and 24-hour security. Their rent comes to just under $700 a month.

“We’re about 200 yards from one of the main public beach entries. It’s beautiful,” says Bob. “Rent on a house like this in the States, so close to the beach, would be four times more than what we pay here. Our overall cost of living is about a third of what our cost of living was in the States.”

If you’re a culture-vulture, you should know: This is a land of riches.

Take advantage of the local arts scene, and you could enjoy a cultural event every night. There’s lots to do—from concerts and gallery exhibits to film series and plays—and they rarely cost more than $5 or $10 each.

Great values, comfortable climates, plenty to do... these are all part of the reason day-to-day living is remarkably easy and convenient in this country.

The lifestyle of one Canadian couple we know shows how that’s true.

Their rent—around $800 a month—includes everything: gas, electric, water, internet, even bicycles to get out and about. The only thing they pay more for is a maid, who charges $25 a day for cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the laundry. She’ll even cater dinner parties or get-togethers, spending the day in the kitchen so this couple doesn’t have to.

“It means,” they say, “that we can get on with the best job ever: Retirement.”

In Escape #3 You Have SO Many Options

But it’s just one of many options you have, frankly. You might like our #3 pick, the appeal of which one happy expat described this way, “It’s a democracy, the water is drinkable, the locals are used to expats…the electrical systems are the same, the driving is on the same side of the street, many doctors are U.S.-educated.”

Judy, another expat in our #3 country, found the draw visceral, saying, “When we saw that we could get a [water] view for less than a quarter of a million dollars, we said right away, ‘We’re in!’ It was like a dream come true.”

A native Californian, she recalls a time when regular folks could afford to live within easy reach of the beach and enjoy it as part of their day-to-day lives. But no more.

“I couldn’t afford a view in Southern California… not even for the weekend,” she says.

So she and her husband left—and upgraded their lifestyle in the process.

“Now, here I am in [the #3 retirement haven for 2023], looking out my bedroom window, and I see miles of shoreline, and mountains, too. This is gold to us…we struck gold.”

You could, too.

Many Lifestyle and Climate Options—All Low-Cost

Like Judy, you could live there on a palm-fringed coast with your own view out over the Pacific.

Or you might choose, instead, a spot tucked into a lush green valley along a stream.

Then again, maybe you’d prefer a fast-paced, eclectic city with all the cosmopolitan offerings of a thriving urban center—jazz festivals, great ethnic restaurants, museums.

Your options are varied—which is one reason we like this country so much.

And whatever might appeal to you, rest assured: It’s a place where your dollars will stretch.

“We live a life we couldn’t have had back home,” says Connie, who has happily settled in our #3 pick with her husband.

“If we were in the U.S., we’d both be working, at least part-time, and constantly worrying.”

Instead, they report, “Our stress level is 10% of what it used to be.”

In part that’s because the cost of living is remarkably low.

“For trash collection we used to pay $17 a we pay $14 a year...our rent is about half what our house payment was in the U.S....a cleaning woman charges about $15 for a day’s work...

“We chose [this country] for many reasons, but primarily because we love the ocean.

“The beaches here tend to be un-crowded—unlike those in Southern California, where I grew up. The water is warm and usually clear. Hearing and seeing the endless ocean always revitalizes me,” Connie says.

In this safe, welcoming, good-value escape, a couple can live very comfortably—even lavishly—on between $1,765 and $2,890 a month, depending on where you’re based.

Slash Your Tax Bill

As expat Roberto puts it, “What I pay for taxes in one year [here] is what I paid in one month in Florida.

“That right there was a good enough reason for me to move.”

His tax bill? $1,100 a year.

Roberto and his wife retired to this country that takes the #3 spot on our Index this year, and he says their four-bedroom home, with a swimming pool and outdoor kitchen in a quiet, gated community, suits them perfectly.

“We’re 10 minutes by car from the beach,” says Roberto.

“There are five grocery stores, there’s a private health clinic, a movie house, banks, good restaurants. We have all the comforts of home.”

But it’s not just the low cost of day-to-day living and small tax bill that are attractive.

The weather is, too.

Endless Summer: Never Shovel Snow Again

From the warmth of the coast to the cooler climate in the hills, it’s easy to find a spot that suits you in our #3 pick for 2023—unless you like snow. There isn’t any snow.

“I’m a Canadian,” says Larke, a part-time transplant to our #3 haven. “I’m used to long, cold winters. But a few years back, my husband Gary and I had had enough.

“I refuse to spend my precious retirement years shoveling snow and huddled in front of my fireplace…not to mention donning layers of clothing from top to toe just to venture outside.

“And so each and every fall, we say goodbye to block heaters…snow shovels…hats, scarves, and outrageous heating bills…and head to warmer climes. We’re now a ‘perpetual summer’ couple and love it.”

Situated outside the hurricane belt, here you’re protected from vicious storms and could have your own warm-weather getaway to enjoy year-round or rent out when you’re not there to cover your costs.

Your Real Estate Dollars Stretch at the Beach, in the Cooler Highlands, and in a Cosmopolitan City

In this nation, you get a lot of bang for your buck on the real estate front.

At the beach—less than an hour from the capital—you could own a 2-bed, 2-bath condo on the 8th floor of a luxury tower on a golf resort for $179,000.

The views are splashy—from the mountains to the ocean—and two generous balconies let you enjoy the fresh ocean air. It’s fully furnished (including granite countertops) and comes with access to the building’s gym, pool, sauna, game room, and green space. And you’re just a few minutes’ walk to the beach.

Up in the mountains, the values are just as good.

In one spot where expats have been settling comfortably for decades—they call it the Valley of Flowers—you’ll find it easy to make friends and enjoy a slow pace of life and mild weather in the 70s all year long. This lush, green region is a tourism mecca with lots of hiking, cycling, birding, coffee-farm tours, and the like.

Here you can own a new, 3-bed, 2-bath home with massive windows in a community about fifteen minutes outside of a tidy little town where expats flock for $178,000. Or own a 3-bed condo on a golf course (fully—and beautifully—furnished) right at the edge of town for $329,000.

If the vibrancy of big-city living is what you’re after—the capital of our #3 pick country will suit you well. It’s cosmopolitan, bustling, and booming. But also full of green spaces and built along a coast so you can enjoy water views for miles.

In the historic center, a palate of pastels lends a tidy vibrancy to restored colonial homes.

And this is a city where you could be out every night if you wanted to be—eating at excellent restaurants, enjoying concerts, going to the cinema.

In the heart of the capital, you can own a nice 3-bedroom, 2-bath apartment in a swank neighborhood for just $200,000.

This Nation Wants You to Come—and Makes It Easy

But perhaps the most compelling reason to consider this top-ranked haven is because it is actively courting folks just like you.

This country wants retirees to come—and they’re making it worth your while.

A special incentive program designed to woo retirees offers qualified folks discounts like 50% off on entertainment like movies, concerts, and theater. You get 30% off on bus, boat, and train fares, and 25% off on airfares (including international ones). You save 15% on hospital bills and that much or more on dental and medical visits...and the list goes on.

Plus, you’re offered tax incentives as well—yet another way to save on top of the already-low cost of living.

Excellent-Quality, Low-Cost Healthcare

Healthcare is another place where our #3 finisher shines. Many doctors speak English and are U.S.-trained. Plus the standard of care—particularly in the capital—is excellent. In fact, people travel from elsewhere to be treated there. And the low costs will blow your mind.

As Linda, an expat there, explains, “When my husband was being discharged from the hospital after a stay last year, I went to the business office to settle the bill.

“Since we have medical insurance through the hospital, the insurance manager came to the office (even though it was a Saturday), reviewed the bill in detail to verify all the insurance would cover (70%), and I paid the balance of 30%.

“This came to $3,263, including the doctors, all medications, a CT scan, and an MRI. I expect it would have been 10 times that much in the U.S.”

Spend Less, Live Better—Our Index Shows You Where

You’ve got lots of excellent options to consider in the 2023 Global Retirement Index, including our third-place pick for this year...

Often people assume they’ll have to endure huge tradeoffs when they go overseas. But in the right places—that’s just not the case.

Naturally, we’re really excited about our #1, #2, and #3 picks this year.

But, in fact, they are just three of the 16 top overseas retirement havens we compare, contrast, rank, and rate in our 2023 Global Retirement Index—our 32nd annual index.

“Spend less, live better” is a philosophy you can embrace all around the globe—when you know where to go. And our Index will show you.

Southeast Asia’s Low-Cost, Luxury Paradise

It’s not only Europe and Latin America that offer great options for safe, friendly, warm-weather, good-value living.

Southeast Asia may surprise you with the options you have there for high-end living at remarkably low prices.

It’s the world’s hidden lap of luxury.

“It’s like Hawaii, only easier,” says Sam, who’s originally from California.

Or, as another resident expat put it, “You can get away from it all…find a quiet beach and enjoy the surf or sunset…or you can join any form of entertainment or adventure, from zip-lining to chartering your own sailboat.”

In a compelling Southeast Asian country that appears on our 2023 Global Retirement Index, lots of new and interesting developments are underway—making this pick even more attractive than ever.

In one spot there that’s worth your attention, expats rave about the low costs and high quality of life.

As Michelle pus it, “[This town] combines the best of everything—beautiful beaches, fantastic food…the seafood is the freshest I’ve ever eaten.

“Best of all? the cheap cost of living... cocktails for $2.28 and mouth-watering dishes for as little as $1.63.

“Everything you need is here, including coffee shops, shopping malls, and all the other necessary Western conveniences.”

Yet it’s an incredibly good-value place to live or spend time. On a monthly budget of between $1,596 and $1,914 (housing included) a couple can live very well.

In fact, prices are so low, you may do a double-take.

I know I did when I saw a gorgeous, furnished 3-bedroom home with a pool and ocean views that rents for just $830 a month.

High-speed internet costs about $30 a month. You can employ a housekeeper to clean for you once a week and pay $64 at the end of the month, total.

And, as I said before, this spot makes more sense today than ever.

For starters, a new visa makes it MUCH easier to go and stay—for as long as a decade at a time.

This nation is taking a decidedly friendly stance toward expats—rolling out the welcome mat.

And it’s hard to beat the benefits once you step across that border.

In big cities you’ll find everything you could want or need—a wonderful mix of old Asia and super-modern Asia.

This country’s medical system ranks among the best in the world.

Plus this nation’s geography offers everything from quiet, secluded island beaches in the south... to mountainous, jungle zones up north... to hilly, central highlands where you can trade summer heat for cooler days.

As one happy expat puts it, “The lifestyle here is vibrant, friendly, and rewarding. There is no way I could afford to get out so much if I didn’t live [here]. I can afford to go out every day, enjoy golf, lunches with other expats, and enjoy many local events. You can’t help but feel very alive here.

So Many Places—and Ways—to Enjoy a More International Life

This year’s Global Retirement Index reveals a tremendous variety of retirement solutions for somebody looking to live better for less overseas. We rank, rate, compare, and contrast 16 countries worth your consideration today.

Maybe you’re in the market for a part-time escape…or maybe you’re looking for a full-time adventure…perhaps you dream about a day when you can see the ocean out your window… or live within sight of the mountains in a place where the sun shines and the weather is cool…

Whatever you dream about…in the destinations profiled in our 2023 Global Retirement Index…you could find a new reality. A lot sooner—and a lot more affordably—than you may imagine.

To that end, let me give you a little assignment...

The decision about where you live is not always readily subject to logical analysis. Ultimately, it’s about where you feel good. It’s about finding the place that’s just, well, a good fit.

What Does Your Ideal Retreat Look Like?

So here’s a little task for you. You start imagining your ideal retreat.

And while you’re busy musing…we’ll sort out for you the “logical” concerns. Like where your dollars buy you most…where the weather is best…where the locals are friendliest…where it’s most comfortable and safe…where the healthcare is both excellent and affordable…and more.

In fact, we’ve just spent the past few months concentrating on exactly this task.

Our staff has been crunching statistics, and talking with our contacts and correspondents around the world…all in the interest of compiling our annual picks for the world’s top retirement havens.

In an era when most news outlets have slashed their budgets and cut their overseas bureaus...and at a time when it’s harder than ever to ferret out the truth...we put our 2023 Global Retirement Index together “the old fashioned way.”

That is to say: We put boots on the ground...just as we have each of the last 32 years we’ve published this country comparison.

We spend, in fact, more than $1 million a year to keep our people in place overseas, reporting back with real-world, up-to-date recommendations and guidance. This is not compiled by Google search, in other words. What we do is real. We take it seriously. We verify.

Is Global Retirement Index subjective? You bet. We rely on the informed judgment and real-world experience of in-country expats…folks just like you who have made the move and learned all their lessons the hard way.

They live in the countries they’re an expert in. And they’ve been there long enough to get under the skin of their host nation and provide us with real understanding about what it’s like to live there.

When it comes right down to it, only you can decide what will make you happy.

But we can point you to the places that are likely to suit you best and save you the trouble, time, frustration, and expense of trying to figure that out on your own.

Here at International Living, we’ve been showing readers where to go for more than 40 years now.

And we’d like to show you, too.

For the next three days, we’ve got a special offer on the table that gives you full access to our 2023 Global Retirement Index—FREE—when you join me as a member of International Living.

One big idea drives everything we do at IL, our belief that you don’t need to be rich to enjoy a pampered retirement…you just need to know where to go.

In our 2023 Global Retirement Index, we show you.

The Best—and Easiest—Way to Target Your Search for the Perfect Paradise
(FREE Today with This Special Offer)

In the 2023 Global Retirement Index, we consider each of the top 16 retirement destinations in a series of categories: housing, visas and benefits, climate, healthcare, cost of living, and more.

And we include a full report on the top picks.

This resource gives you a detailed, well-rounded view of each place.

And we don’t give you just the facts. We share on-the-ground insights, perspective, and context—so you understand what it all means.

And that’s what’s so important. Because everybody is different. And what’s a priority for you might not be for somebody else.

Say you’re of “retirement” age and looking for a place to stretch your savings. You like the idea of a European getaway—combining the cultural offerings with a lower cost of living and a slower pace of life. The availability of good-quality, affordable healthcare might be a top concern. Our #1 pick this year might well be your best bet.

On the other hand, if you’re in your forties with school-aged children, their education and the ease with which you can do business locally might be more important to you. Our #3 pick might make more sense.

Or maybe you’re in the market today for a place you could visit regularly for now and perhaps retire to you’re looking for a spot that’s easy to get in and out of, where the weather is good, and a place where you could easily rent your place out when you’re not there. Our #2 finisher might be just right.

No matter what your own personal priorities are, you can use our 2023 Global Retirement Index to easily home in on the places that make sense for you and your situation.

It is a powerful tool.

And it’s yours, FREE today, when you join me as a member of International Living through this special offer.

Real Estate Can Beat Inflation—But What You Buy Matters

At International Living, we show you how—and where—to find the best buys in markets poised to boom. “Inflation will continue to be a scourge for some time to come. But more than ever, right now there is opportunity to put your money to work in vibrant overseas markets. You can do this by buying undervalued assets and locking in super-strong income and appreciation potential.

“Buying at a low price is step one in locking in incredible yield potential. Buying something with huge appreciation potential is key to building wealth over the long term.

“For me, real estate offers the perfect path to freedom—both financial and personal. Whatever is going on in the world, or however bad inflation may get, it gives you the freedom to go where you want, when you want, and create profit while you do it.” –Ronan McMahon, Global Real Estate Expert and Contributing Editor, International Living 

Guidance and Hand-Holding from Expats and Experts

But out big, annual Retirement Index report is just one benefit.

When you accept my invitation to join International Living today, you also become part of a community of like-minded people.

You’ll be plugged in alongside me and my colleagues to a network of expats and experts based all over the world.

They’re on the ground in places like Portugal, France, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Belize, Thailand, the Czech Republic, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama, Colombia, Uruguay, and beyond...

And they’re on a mission to help you explore your best options overseas.

I think of International Living as a sort of “underground network” for people like you who are intrigued by the idea of living a more international life and who are ready to explore the opportunities that are waiting in the right places overseas.

For more than four decades now, folks like you have relied on International Living’s guidance and strategies to save money, make money, travel better, retire sooner, live richer, and enjoy life more overseas.

IL Makes Me Feel Prepared

“I love [International Living]! Each month I get in-depth, boots-on-the-ground reports of different cities and countries that are friendly to expats. This sure helps to narrow down the list of places to check out for retirement as all the 'noise' out there can be overwhelming. In addition to the magazine, I signed up for the Lifetime Membership and haven't regretted it - great books, reports and resources available to me. I'm beyond excited for my retirement journey and, with International Living, feel really prepared for my travels/move.” –D.F.

IL Is the Reason I’m Living My Best Life

“International Living is the reason that I am on a wonderful journey overseas, living my best life. It all started when I was laid off at the age of 61 and couldn't find another job. I had no idea what to do, until I read about IL. ... I am so glad I made the move. The information from IL was invaluable in making this happen.” – D.L.

IL Changed My Life

“International Living actually changed my life. Thanks to their publications and information, I am happily living in France realizing my dream. I have attended conferences and met amazing people who are quite enthusiastic about their experiences living abroad...this all thanks to IL!” – A.L.

You Deserve a Better, Earlier Retirement

We’ll Show You How to Get It

You deserve to retire with confidence. Yet that’s something very few folks can do in the States these days.

In the right spots abroad, though, you could.

You could enjoy the peace of mind and comforts that are hard to come by at home today…

You could join the ranks of our members who have taken advantage of the overseas opportunities we’ve shared and, today, have their nest eggs tucked away in a beachfront home or in a cosmopolitan escape in a booming market...

...people retired like royalty on a Social Security income...

...people living comfortably in a beautiful, safe, slow-paced retreat where they’re earning a portable income in the mornings and enjoying a relaxed lifestyle in the afternoons...

I’d like to help you follow in their footsteps.

When you join International Living today, you’ll receive our 2023 Global Retirement Index, FREE.

But that’s just for starters.

I’ll also send you a whole collection of valuable extras via email, including our monthly publication, International Living, delivered online.

It’s the tool we’ve used for the last 43 years to keep in touch with our family of like-minded folks and to share all the great ideas the experts and expats in our network are finding all around the world.

You see, I want you to understand all the possibilities you have for improving your lifestyle overseas—for spending less but getting more.

In the newspapers and on TV, you get lots of political posturing...and lots of discussion about the woes we face…but what you rarely learn is what to do about any of it. I don’t mean “macro” fixes.

I’m talking about what you, personally, can do to improve your life, retire better, retire earlier, save on taxes, gain freedom and control, and travel more…even if you have only a modest nest egg (or no nest egg at all).

Opportunities You Won’t Find Out About Anywhere Else

Each month, in the pages of International Living, we keep you up-to-date on the latest opportunities and we share solutions like...

  • Tax-saving tips for the seasonal U.S. expat… How do U.S. taxes work for people who spend part of the year abroad? We explain what you need to know…
  • How—and where—to get settled as a single overseas and why it’s a lot easier than you might think…
  • Where to get a second passport—and gain the security of greater travel flexibility—without having a pile of money or a parent who can pass citizenship down to you.
  • Property bargains in secret spots and underrated escapes all around the world, like a medieval country village home in Sulmona, Italy (40 minutes from Rome) for $111,000... a renovated colonial gem in the UN World Heritage City of Cuenca, Ecuador for $115,000... or a cute cottage on the Caribbean island of Roatan for just $137,000.
  • An easy way to slash your travel costs by half—or even more. One of our writers used this secret to get seven days in Mexico at a swank resort—for $1! YES, a dollar!
  • Smart escapes for troubled times—safe spots where you can ride out disasters, crises, and pandemics...spots where you can afford to unwind and tune out the real world for a while.
  • How to stay for free overseas—and live the expat lifestyle without ever buying or even renting a home if you don't want to. This is a powerful strategy for lowering your costs and a great way to travel for weeks and months at a time on the cheap.
  • Big trends and real estate opportunities for 2023—how and where you could own (on the cheap) in a place poised to boom and have a property you can enjoy that pays for itself.

... and lots, lots more.

The Authority on Global Retirement

When it comes to overseas guidance like this, you won't find a more well-respected source than International Living.

Forbes said, “International Living (IL) is the go-to source for anyone looking for solid information on retirement relocation in other countries. ... For people who are intrigued by the idea of settling outside the U.S. borders, it is a treasure trove of information.”

The Miami Herald called International Living “the authority on global retirement.”

When you join me as an International Living member today, we’ll give you immediate access to our 2023 Global Retirement Index—FREE—and make sure we keep you up-to-date with the best opportunities from around the world in our monthly magazine.

But that’s not all...

Bonus # 2
5 Smart Ways to Travel the World and Pay Next to Nothing

When you take me up on this special offer today, this second report is yours FREE, too.

5 Smart Ways to Travel the World and Pay Next to Nothing pulls back the curtain and shares travel secrets you just won’t find out about anyplace else.

  • Parlay your curiosity about a new place into free room-and-board all over the world. You could help grow flowers and tend chickens in Ireland, attend to horses and olive trees in Greece, make goat cheese in Mexico, save turtles in Costa Rica, lend a hand at a monastery in France, and more.
  • Test-drive life overseas and live like a local—it’s like Airbnb, only free! You have a place to stay at no cost and you can do things like pop into the pub... enjoy dinner with the neighbors... catch a show... shop at the market... try a place on for size, rent-free.
  • Connect with locals and expats on the ground and make new friends from France to Peru, India to Spain—have a coffee with somebody who shares an interest... stay with a local family for a few nights... meet up with somebody on the ground for travel guidance and recommendations—it’s all at no charge.

I said it earlier: You don’t have to be rich or famous to live a jet-set life, you just have to know the secrets. We reveal some of the best of them in this Special Report, delivered immediately via email. It’s yours FREE when you become a member of International Living today.

Plus that’s not all...

Bonus # 3
The Second Passport Report

I’m including a third special bonus for you, too.

It’s a unique resource called The Second Passport Report. You may already qualify for a second passport and not even realize it. In fact, as many as 40% of Americans do.

It’s perfectly legal to hold a second passport. And there are benefits to doing so. If you like the idea of retiring in Europe, for instance, a second passport makes it

 easy—and allows you the flexibility to travel widely and stay there as long as you like. Plus, a second passport can allow you to save significantly on your taxes...

Plus, this report explores pitfalls to watch out for and hands you a how-to guide for getting a second passport of your own. A second passport could, depending on your circumstances, help you avoid that “Yankee go home” mentality, and give you a legacy you could pass to future generations, too.

The Second Passport Report is yours FREE and delivered immediately via email with this special offer.

Save More than 60% When You Join International Living Now

A one-year membership in International Living comes at a regular price of $129.

But when you join right now, I’ll shave off more than 60%, bringing your membership to just $129 $49.

I want to help you take advantage of the opportunities out there in places like Portugal, Costa Rica, Spain, Panama, Thailand, Uruguay, Italy, and well beyond...

And I want to make it easy for you to live a richer, fuller life—while you spend less.

With This Special Offer Today You’ll Receive All of This

So let me recap.

You’ll receive our Global Retirement Index 2023—and more—FREE with your International Living membership today...

  • Bonus # 1: Global Retirement Index (value: $99, yours FREE)
  • Bonus # 2: 5 Smart Ways to Travel the World and Pay Next to (value: $29, yours FREE)
  • Bonus # 3: The Second Passport Report (value: $29, yours FREE)

This digital Retirement Index Bonus Package is valued at $157.

But it’s yours for $157 FREE—with your deeply discounted International Living membership today.

Plus, you’ll also get...

  • International Living magazine delivered digitally for 1 year, 12 monthly issues (value with membership: $129, included)
  • Full access to the members-only website and magazine archive (included)
  • Premium IL Postcards e-letter (included)
  • IL’s weekly Digest e-letter for members only (included)
  • IL’s weekly Podcast: Bigger, Better World (included)

If you’re ready to know the shortcuts and make the connections that can help you enjoy a richer, fuller life...while you spend less—we’re here to show you exactly how it’s done.

Our Good-Will, Good-Value Guarantee

Now, what happens if you sign up today and then decide an overseas retirement isn’t for you, after all?

No problem. We offer a generous guarantee.

I feel confident you'll agree that International Living delivers you a world each month that you just can't find anywhere else.

I know you'll be impressed by the wealth of guidance and helpful connections you’ll gain once you’re plugged into our network of experts.

And I feel sure you’ll appreciate the research and on-the-ground insights we include in all our International Living resources.

But, once you’ve had a chance to look through everything, if you decide the recommendations and solutions we share about how to move out of the US, live better for less overseas, make money, save money, and travel better aren’t for you after all—no problem.

Just let us know you’d like to cancel within 30 days via phone or email, and we’ll immediately take your name off the member list and send you a refund. No fuss.

No matter what you decide, your Global Retirement Index Report—PLUS the rest of the bonuses in this special collection—are yours to keep. Our way of saying thank you for giving the ideas we’re so passionate about your consideration.

Before 2023 Is Out, You Could Be Living Large

An international lifestyle isn’t just for the wealthy and the well-connected.

It’s for anybody willing to take advantage of the best-value opportunities in welcoming communities around the globe.

And it’s our mission at International Living to help you do just that.

With our brand new 2023 Global Retirement Index in hand, we can help you find the place that makes the most sense for you…

Whether you’re looking for a friendly, good-value city…a beach town…a highland retreat…an historic colonial community…or a lakeside getaway…we can point you to your best options on the planet today.

If you rely on the internet for intelligence about retiring, investing, or living in any number of good-value escapes around the world—you’re going to find a lot of information out there. But much of it is outdated, incomplete, or just plain wrong.

That’s why we asked our experts based around the world to help us put our 2023 Global Retirement Index together.

Because what you really need is the full, reliable story. Not just facts and figures, but advice about what to do with them.

And that’s what we deliver.

Click the "Add to Cart" button to activate your membership today with this special, limited-time offer that includes the 2023 Global Retirement Index and your additional bonuses, good for the next three days.


Jennifer Stevens

Jennifer Stevens
Executive Editor, International Living
December 2022

P.S. Seeking out your own dream life overseas in a place where you can live comfortably for little…investing ahead of the crowds and potentially profiting from the upswing…

What those ideas have in common is good value.

Nobody wants to pay more than they have to—for anything.

I know I don’t.

And that’s why we’ve created this specially discounted welcome offer for International Living that includes the 2023 Global Retirement Index—and lots more.

Click the "Add to Cart" button now to take advantage of it, and we’ll help put you on the path toward a place abroad that’s just right for you. But don’t wait. This offer comes off the table in the next three days.

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