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14 Most Expensive Countries for Retirement

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For Americans leaving the workforce, retirement can be an opportunity to meet new people, learn new things and gain new experiences. But the amount of savings a retiree needs to live their desired lifestyle — their “retirement number” — varies widely from country to country.

In order to live comfortably in retirement, the average American would need to have saved around $600,000, according to calculations by NetCredit, an online lender. But only 14% of those in their 40s and 50s are on track to do so, it said, citing recent research.

There are many reasons for the low savings rate, and the pandemic-induced lockdown has exacerbated many of those.

One option for American retirees of modest means is to retire abroad, NetCredit said. Many countries in the world are much cheaper to live in after retirement than the U.S.

Take Colombia, which is about a third as expensive as the U.S., or India, less than a third as expensive. If you prefer a European venue, Georgia and Armenia are in the same price range.

At the other end of the spectrum, a handful of countries are more expensive places to live than the U.S.

In order to sort out countries by their costliness for retirees, NetCredit researchers figured that to retire at the average age of 64 in America with the average life expectancy of 78.7, one would need about $601,489 in savings.

They applied the same calculations to every country in the world to find out how much a 64-year-old would need to maintain the same quality of life, using these and other assumptions: 

  • One-bedroom rented apartment
  • Moderate clothing and show purchases
  • Going out once a week
  • No smoking
  • Moderate drinking
  • No taxis or rideshares 
  • Two vacations a year.

See the gallery above for the countries that NetCredit found are the most expensive places for a comfortable retirement.

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