The 10 Cheapest, Safest Retirement Countries in the World

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More people each year choose to retire abroad to find a change of scenery, new experiences and a lower cost of living. Even if staying within a tight budget is your biggest retirement focus, safety is likely to be another top consideration.

To help you find the best of both worlds, below are 10 of the cheapest countries for retirement that scored well on the 2015 Global Peace Index, which ranks 162 nations – covering 99.6% of the world’s population – according to their relative peacefulness.

Our other figure, the Cost of Living Index, an indicator of consumer goods (excluding rent/mortgage) relative to costs in New York City, was developed by Numbeo.com. If a nation has an index of 80, it means that consumer goods there cost 20% less than in N.Y.C.

The listing here is in order of each country’s peacefulness index, from lower to higher.

1. Austria

  • Global Peace Index Rank: 3/162
  • Cost of Living Index: 47.16
  • Retirement Visa: You’ll need a Residence Permit if you’re staying longer than six months, plus proof of sufficient financial means.

Considered by many as the “Swiss alternative,” Austria offers all the stunning natural beauty of Switzerland at a price that’s easier on the budget. Expect an excellent infrastructure and high living standards. (Check out 5 Tips on Moving from the U.S. to Europe for more.)

2. Australia

  • Global Peace Index: 9/162
  • Cost of Living Index: 60.43
  • Retirement Visa: Fast-track Permanent Residency programs require high net worth. Otherwise, apply for a visitor visa and reapply as needed. After four years, you may qualify for a Permanent Residency visa.

Thanks to a strong U.S. dollar, Australia is gaining traction as an affordable retirement destination. Expats enjoy the rugged natural beauty, vibrant cosmopolitan cities and laid-back culture. (For more, see Retire in Australia with $200,000 of Savings?)

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