This Is the Best Country for Americans to Retire in 2020

A Western European hotspot that's safe, cheap and offers outstanding healthcare

Portugal
A typical day in the beautiful town of Porto, Portugal
Nick Karvounis / Unsplash
By Kirk Miller / January 3, 2020 11:17 am

“A safe, friendly European haven, with cosmopolitan cities and many beach towns, internationally acclaimed (and affordable) healthcare, and the lowest cost of living in Western Europe.”

Congratulations, Portugal. International Living magazine just chose this European hotspot as the best place for Americans to retire in their Annual Global Retirement Index.

The Index — which covers five continents and ranks countries across 10 categories, including housing, benefits, visas, cost of living, health care, climate and governance. A final list is tallied using both facts as well as opinions solicited from ex-pats, correspondents and editors.

“Think of the Index as a kind of cheat sheet to help point people toward the spots that might make the most sense for them overseas,” says Dan Prescher, a senior editor for International Living. “If you come to it with some sense for your own priorities — if you ask yourself seriously ‘What’s most important to me in a haven overseas?’ — this index and its categories can really help clarify your decision.”

On the 1-100 scale, Portugal came in slightly ahead of last year’s winner Panama and just above Costa Rica. As IL‘s correspondent Tricia Pimental notes, Portugal is a land of “gracious people, busting capital, brilliant sun, tantalizing beaches and verdant valleys.” It’s also the second most-affordable country in Europe, the third-safest country in the world and the people are extremely friendly to Americans (I visited last year, and I concur. Also, English is prevalent in the cities).

While the country did rank relatively low in the “Visa & Residence” category — meaning it’s not as easy to get permanent residence — it scored the top ranking in climate, healthcare and housing.

The top 10 places for Americans to retire:

  1. Portugal
  2. Panama
  3. Costa Rica
  4. Mexico
  5. Colombia
  6. Ecuador
  7. Malaysia
  8. Spain
  9. France
  10. Vietnam

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