Study Finds That Five Of The Most Popular States To Retire In Are Bad Options

Which state do you picture yourself living in while you enjoy your golden years? The location you have in mind might have beautiful views and be centrally-located to the attractions and people you love, but is it really the best option? Bankrate collected data from all 50 states in five categories to determine which could be considered the best and worst to retire in. We’re taking a look at the U.S. states that were ranked the worst, based on affordability, crime, culture, weather, and wellness. Five of the top 10 most popular states to retire in make the list– see why!

Maryland Isn’t An Affordable Option

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VW Pics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
VW Pics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Out of all 50 states, Maryland has been ranked the worst U.S. state to retire in. While it ranks poorly in almost every category except weather, it’s the affordability and culture categories where it really takes a hit.

Although rich with history, the state doesn’t have much to offer in terms of culture and entertainment today. Also, Maryland households are the wealthiest in the country, which drives up the cost of housing and doesn’t make it easy for those retiring on a budget.

New Yorkers Should Move Elsewhere To Retire

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Zoran Milich/Getty Images
Zoran Milich/Getty Images

The state of New York has gorgeous foliage in the fall and plenty of country filled with lakes and peaceful creeks. However, the state ranks among the worst to retire in. While it might be tempting for New Yorkers to remain in the same state, and just move north, affordability is extremely low, as well as the culture that it has to offer.

The median home value in the state is $305,300, but since it’s a hot housing market, home prices are only going to get steeper.

Alaska’s Weather Is A Road Block for Retirement

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Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Some may dream of a retirement that’s out there, far away from traffic, crowds, and over-development. The Last Frontier may sound like a viable option for these reasons, but Alaska isn’t all peaches and cream. The weather is treacherous, which is not something most people enjoy during their golden years.

Most residents split their time between Alaska and somewhere warmer and lighter in the winter, which isn’t a great option in retirement. There isn’t much to do other than hunt, fish, and explore the outdoors when the weather allows. Alaska even ranks low in affordability. Pass on this state.

Wellness Isn’t Well In Illinois

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Brian Bahr/Getty Images
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Illinois is one of the most populated states in the U.S., so it would make sense that those who grew up there or had a career in Chicago might want to retire there as well. It’s a great place to raise a family with low crime, good weather and cultural activities.

However, when it comes to retirement, Illinois shouldn’t be on your list. As far as healthcare and wellness rank, Illinois ranks low. It’s also an expensive state to live in, if you’re not far out in the country. And if you’re far out, there’s not much to do!

Washington Is Great For Many Things, But Not Retirement

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Greg Vaughn /VW PICS/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Greg Vaughn /VW PICS/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Washington state has been getting a lot of praise lately for its high quality of life and healthy economy. It’s a great place to find jobs and enjoy all the outdoors has to offer in the Pacific Northwest. However, Washington doesn’t come out on top when it comes to a retirement option.

The state ranks low in both affordability and wellness. Choosing the right region of Washington to retire in could prove tough too, as the weather is harsher in parts of the state.

Nevada Isn’t Very Safe, And Residents Aren’t Very Healthy

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DAVID BECKER/AFP via Getty Images
DAVID BECKER/AFP via Getty Images

If safety and wellness are among your priorities in retirement, Nevada shouldn’t be on your list of options. This one is surprising, considering it’s one of the top ten most popular states for Americans to retire in.

Many are attracted to the affordable housing, as the median home value in Nevada is $291,800, but this state ranks in the top ten worst states for crime. The state also has very low marks when it comes to wellness, which may be a priority for retirees.

As It Turns Out, People In Oregon Aren’t All That Happy

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JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images
JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images

When it comes to culture, Oregon ranks among the highest of all the states, at number six. So how did it end up on the list of worst states to retire in? Mainly due to wellness and weather. Residents of Oregon have higher rates of reported depression and daily physical pain.

The weather might also have to do with findings that Oregon residents are seeing a decline in being content with their daily life and satisfaction in their standard of living. While crime is relatively low and there are affordable housing options, if you want to live a happy life after retiring, Oregon might not be ideal.

We Could Have Guessed California Wasn’t An Easy Option

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Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

So long as affordability comes into play in rankings, we could guess that the state of California wouldn’t be the best option for those on a fixed income in retirement. It’s so bad that even its high rankings in culture, weather, and wellness couldn’t save it from being ranked among the worst.

While California ranks number 13 in weather, and 17 in culture, it’s the second most-expensive state to live in, in the country, and housing prices are always climbing. Keep California on your travel list, but definitely take it off your options for retirement.

South Carolina’s Crime And Lack of Wellness Are Worrisome

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Jeff Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Jeff Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The Palmetto State has so much to offer, from its subtropical beaches to its beautiful islands and unbeatable weather. For these reasons, South Carolina is one of the top four most popular states for Americans to retire. But of course, there’s a downside.

Crime in South Carolina is among the worst in the country, which is not something you want to worry about in retirement. It’s also the worst state in the entire nation for wellness. If you want to keep your health and wealth intact, this state might not be the ideal place to hang up your hat.

Minnesota Is Too Cold. Period.

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Carl D. Walsh/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
Carl D. Walsh/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

It might come as no surprise that Minnesota is one of the worst-ranked states in terms of weather. During the three coldest months the average daily high temperate is below 36°F! However, the state ranks towards the top in wellness and average in culture and affordability.

It’s rough that one category can bring the ranking crashing down for this state, but if you’ve ever experienced a winter in Minnesota, you probably don’t have the state on your list of retirement options.

Virginia Ranks Poorly Across Four Out of Five Categories

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Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The state of Virginia is one of the safest on the list, but it’s the other categories that make this state a less-than-stellar option for retirement. The culture is lacking, wellness is very low compared to other states, and there’s not much going on culturally for retirees to enjoy.

All of this and it’s not too affordable to live in Virginia either. If proximity to family is important and your family is in Virginia, try taking a look at nearby states. It might be the better option in the long-run.

Arizona’s Crime Shouldn’t Be Ignored

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Robert Alexander/Getty Images
Robert Alexander/Getty Images

For folks retiring on the west coast, Arizona is a popular option. While housing still isn’t cheap, it’s much more affordable than its neighbor state, California. But it’s the crime and culture categories that really bring Arizona’s score down in terms of a retirement option.

Arizona’s crime rate is among the worst in the nation, with larceny and theft huge issues. The state also has a high rate of motor vehicle theft and aggravated assault. As far as culture, there’s not much to do, other than explore the national parks. If you’re into food and the arts, this isn’t your state.

There Are A Lot Of Property Crimes In New Mexico

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Robert Alexander/Getty Images
Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Take everything we said about Arizona and apply it to New Mexico, because they basically rank the same in most every category. That is, except for crime; New Mexico is even worse than Arizona! In 2016, law enforcement reported 81,931 property crimes which might make you nervous about securing your home.

The last thing you want to worry about during retirement is your safety, this should be your time to relax! New Mexico’s weather and wellness are both decent, but weighing all categories, it’s not a great option.

Louisiana Has Great Weather But Some Downsides, Too

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Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

What’s going on in Louisiana? The state ranks number 17 in terms of wellness, and third in weather, which is great. It’s the crime and culture categories that bring down the rankings for this state.

Affordability is decent, so if you can find a place in a safe area with some sort of culture, you could be content. You could come to regret retiring in Louisiana if your housing options are limited though. You don’t want to get stuck in a bad neighborhood.

There’s Nothing To Do In Utah

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Brianna Soukup/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
Brianna Soukup/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Utah is an interesting state when it comes to retirement. In most categories, the state ranks somewhere in the middle, making it a viable option. However, it’s the culture category that really tanks the rankings for this state. What are you going to do there?

Utah’s population and development are mainly concentrated in two areas of the state. Otherwise, there aren’t many people and there isn’t much to do. If you plan on hanging around the house, you might be able to buy one affordably and live comfortably. If you like exploring and meeting people, you might grow bored quicker than you grow old in Utah!

Wyoming Has Horrible Weather

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Getty Images
Getty Images

One of the worst states in terms of weather is Wyoming, according to researchers. Nevertheless, Wyoming has excellent wellness and very low crime. So long as you can weather the storms, this state may be rather pleasant.

The state also ranked well in culture. However, like most good things, it comes at a price. While Wyoming isn’t amongst the most expensive states, it did rank 23rd in affordability. All things considered, this isn’t the place to go if you’re used to Hawaii weather.

Pennsylvania’s Weather Brings Down Its Ranking

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Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

There are a lot of pluses to retiring in Pennsylvania. The state is rich with educated people and culture, and it ranks average in affordability and wellness. Crime is low, too. But, it doesn’t rank high in any category and the weather isn’t the greatest.

Pennsylvania is the fifth-most populous state in the country, which has its perks and downfalls. If you want a quiet retirement in warm weather, you might want to look elsewhere.

New Jersey Is Great Until You Look At The Cost of Living

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New Jersey is ranked the fifth-safest state in the nation. It also ranks high in culture, and decent in weather and wellness. So how did NJ end up on this list? Mainly due to affordability, which ranks the third least affordable state in the nation.

It might be tempting to retire close to all of the cultural attractions, and nearby where you grew up or worked. But overall, financial health is important in retirement, and you don’t want to take that risk to live in New Jersey.

Colorado’s Rankings Are Disappointing

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Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Colorado ranks an impressive number six when it comes to wellness, which is great. The state also has plenty to offer when it comes to the great outdoors. However… it’s cold! The majority of Colorado consists of mountains, foothills, high plains, and desert lands, and the weather is much different than other mountain states.

Colorado has also become a desirable place to move, which raises the housing cost and makes Colorado one of the least affordable states in the nation. Culturally, there are things to do but the crime is above average, too. Take all of these categories into account before considering Colorado.

High Crime, Low Affordability in Delaware

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John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images
John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images

Delaware is one of the more obscure options on this list, as the state is the second smallest and sixth least populous state. If you were thinking about moving there to retire (and boost the population) you might want to consider a few things.

Crime is high in Delaware, and affordability is low. That makes it tough when it comes to finding a safe and affordable place to call home for the long haul. If culture and weather are top priorities, Delaware is decent, but across the board, it doesn’t look good for retirement.

Affordability And Weather Are The Main Concerns With Maine

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Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

It’s not surprising that Maine ranks low when it comes to weather. It’s the northernmost state in New England and sees a lot of snow in the winter. If you’re along the coastline, it’s a bit milder, but you’re still getting dumped on. Are you wanting to shovel snow in retirement?

Culturally, it’s ranked number one, so it’s surprising that the other categories could drag this state so low in the rankings for retirement options. Crime is also very low in Maine. It’s really affordability and the weather that make this state a non-starter.

Connecticut Is High-Price For Low Crime

An elderly couple holds hands while crossing a wet street.
Indranil Aditya/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Indranil Aditya/NurPhoto via Getty Images

In terms of expense, Connecticut was ranked just a few notches lower than California, which is surprising considering the weather. While California is among the best weather states, Connecticut is ranked on the worst half.

What may explain its higher price point is how low the crime rate is in Connecticut. It comes in 7th place for low crime and 5th place for overall wellness. It’s also worth noting that the rankings place it high in culture, as well. However, all of those perks mean little if it’s too unbearable to go outside.

Indiana Proves That You Get What You Pay For

An older couple sits on a bench.
Francis Dean/Corbis via Getty Images
Francis Dean/Corbis via Getty Images

The only good ranking Indiana received was for affordability, where it came in third place. It’s worst ranking? Wellness. It looks like money can’t buy happiness, after all. Indiana is also seriously lacking in culture, according to the study.

When it comes to weather and crime, Indiana ranked right in the middle, coming in at 25th place for weather and 27th for crime. While the state may help you save a few dollars, you’ll probably just end up spending them to move someplace else.

Rhode Island Is Full Of Culture… For A Price

A retired couple dancing outside amongst a crowd.
Robert Alexander/Getty Images
Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Rhode Island ranks among the worst states in terms of affordability. However, it made it to the top five states for culture, and to the top ten for its spectacularly low crime rates.

However, even the wealthier retirees who love to get out may have a problem with moving here. That’s because it ranks low in terms of the weather, which may be a deal-breaker for anyone planning on spending a large chunk of their earnings on a place to live.

Ohio Is Not Well

A elderly couple sits on a bench near a lake.
Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Of all of the fifty states, Ohia ranks 47th in wellness. That’s pretty astounding considering that all of the other categories are more or less average. Its next-lowest rank after wellness is culture, which came in 29th place.

Weather and crime are similarly unimpressive, leaving only affordability as a pro to this state. Our best guess is that all of the cons add up to create disappointment from all sides, which explains why so few residences feel well.

West Virginia Is Just Okay

A retired couple dances in the street.
Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images
Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images

West Virginia is one of the few states to rank nearly the same in every category, and that’s not a good thing. Its affordability and its crime are tied at 18th place, while culture and weather are both ranked in the mid-20s.

The one category that the state does spike in is wellness, coming in 39th place. Everything about this score screams mediocre. If you’re going to choose a place to retire, it doesn’t make any sense to fly to a state that scores a C in every way.

Michigan Proves Weather And Wellness Can Be Closely Tied

An older couple smiles at one another.
Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Michigan ranks number one in affordability, but as we’ve already established, sometimes the cheapest places are the most difficult to live in. In Michigan’s case, it’s not crime that explains the correlation in low prices and its low rank overall.

Rather, its weather that’s Michigan’s ultimate downfall. Both weather and wellness rank in the 40s for this state. Similarly, culture ranks in 35th place. It’s to be expected that the culture ranking may be low if it’s unbearable to go outside. But if New York can manage, any state can.

Massachusetts Is Surprisingly Expensive

An elderly couple smiles and pose close together.
Joe McNally/Getty Images
Joe McNally/Getty Images

Considering that Massachusetts is ranked among the lowest in weather, yet the highest in wellness, it’s clear that this state is a bit of a conundrum. Adding to the confusion is the fact that this state is also among the least affordable.

So what’s so great about Massachusetts to cause it to be expensive and full of happy people? Low crime and high culture. Still– and we probably sound like a broken record at this point– a high price for a place with less than ideal weather can be a dealbreaker.

Tennessee Has A Ton Of Crime

A couple overlooks a hillside.
Francis Dean/Corbis via Getty Images
Francis Dean/Corbis via Getty Images

With all of its gorgeous country landscapes and country music charm, it may come as a surprise that Tennessee ranked among the worst states in the department of crime. That would explain why it also ranked terribly in wellness.

Where Tennessee does rank well is in affordability and weather, two things that rarely go hand-in-hand here in the states. The ultimate outlier, Tennessee proves that sunny weather doesn’t always make for a happy state.

Oklahoma Is Lacking In Culture, But Not In Crime

An elderly couple enjoys a festival.
Getty Images
Getty Images

Like Tennessee, Oklahoma ranked well in both affordability and weather, landing at 11th place for both. However, that doesn’t mean it’s the ideal place to retire. In fact, it may be one of the worst places to retire.

That’s because it ranked among the worst states in both crime and culture. So the thing you want a lot of there’s almost none of, and the thing you want almost none of there’s a lot of. That explains the low wellness levels that researchers found in this state.

Mississippi Ranks Second To Lowest In Culture

David Mark/Pixabay
David Mark/Pixabay

The thing that may attract retirees to Mississippi is its affordability and weather, both of which rank 6th out of all the other states. In terms of crime, it’s about halfway down the list, coming in at 24th place.

What may give some people pause is the low wellness score, which we’re willing to bet has something to do with its second-to-lowest rank in culture. So, this may not be the state for those trying to spend their free time enjoying activities that are unique to their hometown.

Idaho Can Be Cold And Dry

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David Mark/Pixabay
David Mark/Pixabay

If you suffer from severely dry and cracked skin, or have an ailment that is aggravated in cold weather, then Idaho may not be the place for you to retire. With lows down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit and a year-round dry season, it’s no wonder the state is ranked 42 in weather.

Meanwhile, their summer months can approach 90 degrees Fahrenheit! Idaho ranks 30 in terms of culture, but has very low crime rates and is decent in terms of wellness and affordability.

Texas Is Ranked Lowest In Culture

Erich Schlegel/Getty Images
Erich Schlegel/Getty Images

Those who love the term “everything’s bigger in Texas” may be dumbfounded at how the state got the lowest ranking in terms of culture. Considering how large the state is, it could be that it’s too varied to have one uniting characteristic, other than having big things.

Texas also has low marks for crime and is about halfway on the list for affordability. Its best rankings were for weather and wellness, the latter of which we would guess has something to do with comfort food.

Alabama Has Equally Poor Crime And Culture

Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Alabama’s highest rankings were in weather and affordability, but its lowest were tied at 44th place in both crime and culture. That means that the song “Sweet Home Alabama” may be about as much heritage as you get out there.

The high weather marks have be explained by the state’s average temperature of 64 degrees. That’s a breath of fresh are for those who run warm, but may be a bit chilly for those who get cold easily. The state also ranked on the lower side in wellness.

New Hampshire Is Cloudy Year Round

Joshua Woroneicki/Pixabay
Joshua Woroneicki/Pixabay

New Hampshire’s lowest score is in weather, which makes sense considering its year-round cloudiness and rainfall and low of 10 degrees Fahrenheit! On the bright side (literally), the temperature doesn’t typically exceed the low 80s in the summer.

Since weather and affordability are often negatively relating, it may be shocking to hear that the state is also considered relatively unaffordable! That can only be explained by its top ranking in crime and excellent culture and wellness marks.

Vermont Has Humid Summers And Freezing Winters

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Mark Martins/Pixabay
Mark Martins/Pixabay

Vermont’s worst ranking was in the weather, which makes sense considering their summers are hot and humid and their winters can drop down to a mere couple of degrees. Right behind that is low affordability.

The high costs make sense when you consider the amount of air conditioning and heating you’ll need all year. Where Vermont wins is in terms of crime and wellness, both of which are top-ranked. The state also has plenty of culture.

North Dakota Has The Second-To-Worst Weather

skeeze/Pixabay
skeeze/Pixabay

North Dakota is ranked the second to worst state in terms of weather, namely because it’s very cold year-round. The average temperature is only 37 degrees, which is bad news for seniors with conditions that are amplified in freezing temperatures.

The state is middle of the road in terms of affordability, crime, and culture. Where it excels is its wellness ranking, which is shocking considering all of the other factors. In essence, those who love, and we mean LOVE, cold weather will do fine in this state.

Wisconsin Has Rainy Summers

Suzy Turbenson/Unsplash
Suzy Turbenson/Unsplash

As with many states on this list, Wisconsin’s lowest rank is its weather. With hot and rainy summers, and cold and dry winters, don’t bank on being able to comfortably lounge on the front porch in this state.

It comes in 20th place for affordability, which isn’t terrible but also isn’t astounding enough to makeup for the weather. Crime and culture have descent marks, but where the state really shines is in its 7th place wellness ranking.

Arkansas Has One Of The Worst Crime Rankings

Mike Goad/Pixabay
Mike Goad/Pixabay

The thing that lands Arkansas on this list is without a doubt its overall crime rate, which comes in 46th place compared to the rest of the country. Not too far behind that is a low culture rating.

Between the high crime and low culture, it’s no wonder that Arkansas has a low wellness ranking to top it all off. It’s also a no-brainer that the state comes in high in terms of affordability, given the other unimpressive aspects.

Hawaii Is Very Unaffordable

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Free-Photos/Pixabay
Free-Photos/Pixabay

After all of the other states we’ve seen that have notably bad weather, it may be shocking to see Hawaii on this list. Indeed, the gorgeous spot has a near perfect climate, and is thus ranked number one in the country in that aspect.

At the same time, paradise doesn’t come cheap. It’s one of the worst states in affordability, and is only middle of the road in terms of crime. That being said, it’s in the top ten for culture and wellness, so it’s worth the price if you don’t mind paying an arm and a leg.

Canada Is An Affordable Alternative To The United States

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Manuel Romano/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Manuel Romano/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Retirees who want to live in an English-speaking country similar to the United States should head to Canada. Americans who become permanent residents have access to universal health care, which, although not perfect, is a great alternative to the expensive options in the United States. Prescription drugs are also considerably cheaper.

While major cities have pricey housing, affordable options are available in areas such as Vancouver Island and Prince Edward Island (oceanfront homes can cost as little as $115,000). A stable banking system and Canada’s proximity to the United States also make our neighbor to the north a desirable place to retire.

The U.S. Dollar Is Strong In Ecuador, Which Features Stunning Landscapes

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Rafael Rodriguez/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Rafael Rodriguez/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Retirees on a budget can live well in Ecuador because the U.S. dollar is strong in the South American country, which features Spanish structures, the Amazon, the Andes mountains, and the Galapagos Islands. The U.S. dollar is the official currency and it goes so far there that many retirees can even afford a maid service or a vacation home.

Seniors enjoy discounts on public transportation, utilities, and entertainment, and expats are not required to pay taxes on social security income. Public health care is available, and it’s possible to live in the country for anywhere between $12,000 and $24,000 a year.

Germany Isn’t One Of The Cheapest Options, But It’s Modern & Culturally Diverse

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THOMAS KIENZLE/AFP/Getty Images
THOMAS KIENZLE/AFP/Getty Images

In a nutshell, Germany has great health care, diverse recreational activities, first-world advantages, and exciting cultural events for expats. According to the New York Times, it’s the fourth choice for Americans who want to retire abroad. Many choose the European country due to its high purchasing power and safe environment.

While not as sunny or tropical as other retirement destinations, it’s modern and other countries are easy to visit by taking a train. Overall, it’s 23 percent cheaper to live in Berlin than in Chicago, with rent being 35 percent lower. A one-bedroom apartment is about $750 a month. Its health care is pricey but is one of the best in the world.

Panama Has A Lively Capital City & Laid-Back Atmosphere

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Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images
Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images

More and more people are retiring to Panama due to its stunning natural environment and culturally diverse capital city, which offers modern conveniences and exciting activities. It can cost as little as $500 a month to retire there, although a more comfortable lifestyle would be around $2,000 a month.

Health insurance runs around $145 a month for retirees and covers a large chunk of expenses. The Pensionado Visa also offers discounts for transportation, entertainment, and other services, including utilities. Negatives include diseases such as the Zika virus, poor road conditions and a laid-back atmosphere that may mean delays in getting things that you need.

Portugal Is A Developed Country Within Close Proximity To Other European Destinations

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Pinterest
Pinterest

Portugal welcomes foreigners, and its visa and tax programs make it easy for those earning a minimum of $1,400 a month to retire there. The cost of living is affordable, and the country is located in Europe, making it an easier to adjust to than some Central or South American countries — particularly if one seeks a developed country, not one that’s still developing.

There’s easy access to nearby countries, such as Spain, and culturally diverse activities. Portugal is also very connected when it comes to the internet, making it easy to stay in touch with friends and family at home in the United States.

Foodie Destination Italy Is Affordable If You Know Where To Look

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MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images
MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images

Retired foodies will find heaven on earth in Italy. The European country also features great skiing, hiking, sailing, and swimming, as well as a beautiful coastline. Italy can be costly and tourist places are pricey, but expats can save money by living in the south or in the countryside.

With $200,000 in savings and regular income such as social security or a pension, retirees can find a nice home or apartment while still enjoying dinners out, shopping, and an occasional vacation. Italy’s health care is one of the best in the world, and legal residents can apply for the national plan.

Costa Rica Boasts Beautiful Beaches & A Low Cost Of Living

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Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images
Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images

Costa Rica is a beautiful country with countless natural wonders. What retiree wouldn’t be happy lounging on white sand beaches and exploring tropical forests? Flights between San Jose and New York City cost around $400, so expats can easily visit loved ones back in the states.

Those wishing to spend the last few years of their lives in the Central American country can do so on a budget — spending only $1,300 to $1,600 a month there for a comfortable lifestyle. Housing costs range from $450 to $950 a month depending on what type of dwelling one prefers.

Retiring To Ireland Is Comparable To Retiring In Arizona

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Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Who wouldn’t want to retire in beautiful Ireland? Expats who choose an area such as County Kerry will be pleasantly surprised by its lower costs for products such as fish, vegetables, bread and other groceries. Utility costs can be higher than those in the states, but things such as auto insurance are cheaper.

Health insurance is also considerably less than it is in the United States. A home in County Kerry costs around $125,000. In general, the cost of living is similar to that of Arizona. Those who can afford a budget of about $30,000 a year can live comfortably in certain parts of Ireland.

Mexico Is Warm & Has Affordable Health Care

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Pinterest

Mexico is a great place to retire if you like warm weather and affordable health care ($140 a month). A couple can live comfortably in the country for around $2,175 a month, which covers housing, utilities, groceries, and other necessities. People can save money by shopping where the locals do and avoiding more pricey tourist destinations.

It’s important to keep in mind, however, that certain areas in Mexico are safe while others are less so. It’s also essential when retiring anywhere abroad to adhere to visa and residency requirements as well as tax regulations, which may require an attorney to set things straight.

Spain Is Modern & Historic With An Emphasis On Friends & Family

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David Aliaga/NurPhoto via Getty Images
David Aliaga/NurPhoto via Getty Images

For those seeking a warm climate and beautiful beaches with a European flair, Spain is the place to retire. A couple seeking to live in a developed country with quality private health insurance can reside there comfortably for around $2,100 a month. Spain features modern housing, amenities, public transportation, and broad access to the internet.

Expats can choose between vibrant cities such as Barcelona and Valencia or smaller, coastal or country towns. Spaniards are laid back and put a lot of time and effort in their friends and family. They also value art, architecture, music, and other cultural diversions.

Malaysia Features High-Quality Health Care & Most Citizens Speak English

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Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Aspiring expats don’t typically consider Southeast Asia as a place to retire, but the island nation of Malaysia beckons with an average year-round temperature of 86 degrees and sunny skies. Buying or renting a home is affordable (around $75,000), and many condos and bungalows feature views of the sea.

Nearly all medical professionals are trained in Europe and Australia, making for good, high-quality health care that is relatively lower in price than other countries. Most residents speak English as a second language, and the Malaysian lifestyle is known for being very laid back and open to foreigners.

Sweden Has A Strong Economy & Is Open To Newcomers

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James D. Morgan/Getty Images
James D. Morgan/Getty Images

Ninety percent of residents in Sweden speak English, and the cost of living is cheaper than it is in Chicago, New York City, and other major American cities. Stockholm, comparatively, is quite a bargain. The economy is good, and many Americans already live there.

Sweden is open to foreigners and has accepted many immigrants over the years, including Syrian refugees. The country is doing its best to accommodate newcomers by offering perks such as health care, public services, and a quality education. One caveat is that Swedish is very difficult to learn, and the country can get quite cold during the winter.

Colombia Is The Spot For Those On A Budget

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LUIS ACOSTA/AFP/Getty Images
LUIS ACOSTA/AFP/Getty Images

Expats who choose Colombia for retirement will quickly realize that their money will go twice as far than it does in the United States. For example, a week of groceries for two will cost less than $100. Local beer costs just 40 cents a bottle at the supermarket. A typical lunch for two at a medium-priced restaurant can cost around $12.

Housing is extremely affordable, with apartments outside of the tourist areas costing $450 a month or less. Utilities are also much cheaper than the United States, and taxes are extremely low. And unlike places such as Florida, expats don’t have to worry about natural disasters such as hurricanes.

Nicaragua Is One Of The Cheapest Places To Live

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Jon G. Fuller/VW Pics/UIG via Getty Images
Jon G. Fuller/VW Pics/UIG via Getty Images

While Nicaragua had a bad reputation in the 1980s, it’s emerged as a very safe and stable country. It’s also one of the cheapest places to live for expats. A couple can comfortably reside there for around $1,200 a month. A new condo in Grenada costs about $99,000.

It has a stunning coastline (making it one of the world’s best-surfing destinations) and a tropical rainforest. The government offers a retiree benefits program for those over age 45 who have a monthly income of at least $600. Property taxes are low, and there are great real estate investment opportunities.

Malta’s Natural & Historic Beauty Make It Very Desirable

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Geography Photos/UIG via Getty Images
Geography Photos/UIG via Getty Images

Malta is a tiny chain of islands in the Mediterranean with stunning cliffs, beautiful sunsets, and sun nearly year round. While tiny, it’s very welcoming to foreigners and features a sizable English-speaking community. Slightly more costly than other retirement destination spots, it runs around $2,700 a month for a couple to reside there.

A two-bedroom apartment in Sliema costs around $800 a month, but other spots can cost as little as $600 a month. A dinner out is about $25, including wine. Private health care is considerably cheaper than the United States. But what’s most appealing are its historic sites, festivals, and natural beauty.

Peru Is Less Popular But Just As Beautiful As Mexico And Costa Rica

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ERNESTO BENAVIDES/AFP/Getty Images
ERNESTO BENAVIDES/AFP/Getty Images

Most expats who seek to retire abroad do so to save money and have a good quality of life. Peru is a great alternative to popular spots such as Mexico and Costa Rica but offers similar benefits. It is culturally diverse, geographically beautiful, and features a low cost of living.

The U.S. dollar is strong in Peru, and retirees can live in a three-bedroom unit in central Lima for around $900 a month. Those willing to reside 20 minutes outside of the city can spend half as much on accommodations. But what’s even more appealing are the Andes mountains, quaint fishing villages, and breathtaking scenery.

Vietnam Has A Low Cost Of Living & A Varied Climate

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Joaquin Gomez Sastre/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Joaquin Gomez Sastre/NurPhoto via Getty Images

One of the reasons Vietnam is a desirable retirement destination is due to its climate — the south is warm all year round, while the north has four seasons and even some snowfall now and again. Popular spots include Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, and Da Nang. Food is inexpensive, and the cost of living is low.

Expats can live comfortably for about $2,000 a month, while it costs less than half that amount in smaller cities. Unfortunately, the country does not offer retiree visas and permanent resident visas are limited. New hospitals in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City offer decent medical care.

Expats Can Live Comfortably In Thailand If They Budget Well

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Frank Bienewald/LightRocket via Getty Images
Frank Bienewald/LightRocket via Getty Images

Thailand is an appealing option for expats due to its affordable health care, low cost of living, friendly people, exotic cuisine, and beautiful landscapes. Those with $25,000 in savings and an income of $2,000 a month can obtain a retirement visa and live comfortably, though it’s possible to live on quite a bit less.

Retirees who have more to spend can live quite well in Thailand. But there is no public health insurance, and private health care can be expensive. Those who live like the locals do can find inexpensive dwellings and save money by eating local food and produce and avoiding the purchase of alcohol and international foods.

Retirees In Cambodia Live Well On Very Little

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AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images

Cambodia offers a mix of both modern and historic buildings and markets. A city like Phnom Penh is developing but still holds on to its distinctly Asian characteristics. The people are friendly, and the cost of living is low. A retiree can live comfortably on about $1,000 a month and still dine out at nice restaurants and spend time on entertainment.

Phnom Penh offers unlimited wi-fi for under $20 a month, and local shopping markets sell fresh groceries as well as Western food. About 80,000 expats live in the city, and many have enough money to travel to nearby Bali, Hong Kong, and other exotic destinations.

Switzerland Is Safe & Secure With Lower Taxes & Ample Travel Opportunities

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FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images
FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images

One great reason to retire to Switzerland is the government has set up a special retirement residency program for expats who fulfill certain requirements. There’s virtually no crime, and the country is politically and financially secure. Taxes are also lower than they are in the states.

The Swiss value leisure time and often close businesses early in the day (few are open on Sundays). The country is also centrally located, making it easy to travel to other European destinations. One downside is that it is cold nine months of the year, but summers are pleasant and not too hot.