Retire Like Royalty: Top 15 Spots to Live Comfortably on Social Security

Stephanie Allen

retirement

One of the most challenging decisions retirees have to make is where to live. Most retirees must live on a budget and be mindful of their money. Living in a place with a low cost of living is critical.

Retiring to an area with a low cost of living isn’t the only consideration. It’s essential to choose a place to live that suits your interests. Depending on what you’re looking for, these spots in the United States and abroad may fit the bill for your retirement!

1. Delaware, USA

Delaware
credit: depositphotos

Delaware is an excellent place for retirees if you can stand the East Coast winters. Delaware doesn’t levy taxes on Social Security benefits, estates, or inheritances, and there aren’t local or state sales taxes.

Retired Delaware residents aged 60 and older have the first $12,500 of their income from a qualified retirement plan or pension untaxed. Owning a home there is also advantageous with the state’s low property taxes,

2. Costa Rica

Costa Rica
credit: depositphotos

If a year-round tropical environment is more to your liking, then the Central American country of Costa Rica should be on your shortlist. Real estate is reasonably priced. The cost of living, including housing, utilities, food, transportation, and entertainment, can average $1,600 to $2,000 monthly for one person.

Retired couples can live comfortably on $2,000 to $3,000 a month for the same basics and amenities. Healthcare in the country is a government-run program, with prices based on income. Private care and health insurance are also available at rates much cheaper than in the U.S.

3. Colorado, USA

Aspen
credit: depositphotos

The Rocky Mountain state is legendary for its photogenic scenery, but its tax schedule is also a draw for retirees. Withdrawals from retirement plans, including 401(k) plans, pensions, and IRAs, are only taxed at 4.4 percent.

Residents between the ages of 55 and 64 can deduct up to $20,000 of annuity and pension benefits from their annual taxable income. That amount goes up to $24,000 for anyone aged 65 and older, adding to considerable savings.

4. Colombia

Corners and locations of the old colonial city of Popayan, in Cauca, Colombia
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Colombia has undergone a welcome change in recent decades. What was once known as a dangerous, volatile country has become a prime destination for tourists and expats alike.

Housing costs vary according to where you live, but they’re still more reasonable than what you’d find in many U.S. cities, with inexpensive food, transportation, and healthcare costs. A single person could live in Colombia for $1070 a month, with $1,684 covering the monthly expenses for a couple.

5. Tennessee, USA

Nashville, Tennessee
credit: depositphotos

Tennessee is the state to go for a perfect blend of Southern culture and a low cost of living. Residential property taxes there are lower than in many other states, and there’s no state income tax.

The year-round weather is relatively moderate, reaching highs in the upper 70s during the summer months and temperatures in the lower 40s in winter. The main drawback is limited access to healthcare in rural regions, so it’s best to live close to a more metropolitan area.

6. Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic
credit: depositphotos

One of the more retirement-friendly locations in the Caribbean is the Dominican Republic. Not only are housing costs a fraction of what they are stateside, it’s only a two-hour flight from Miami, Florida.

The island also has a varied geography, including white sand beaches, deserts, rainforests, and mountains. There are plenty of activities to participate in, so no matter your lifestyle, there’s something for everyone.

7. South Carolina, USA

Things to do in Greenville SC
credit: depositphotos

The feeling of Southern hospitality can be found wherever you go in South Carolina. The residents there are so friendly; there’s no such thing as a stranger. The people are as warm as the climate. The state is also a great place forretirees to live. 

Social Security benefits aren’t taxed, residential property taxes are low, and homebuyers get a lot more house for their money. Thanks to the homestead tax exemption, the first $50,000 of a home’s value isn’t subject to local taxes.  

8. Ecuador

Quito Ecuador
credit: depositphotos

Retiring to the South American country of Ecuador may not have been on your bingo card, but it should be. A couple can retire there for $23,000 a year and have a very good life.

Monthly home rental costs range from $300 to $1,300, depending on location. Transportation and food costs are relatively inexpensive, even when dining out frequently. The country also has affordable and high-quality public and private healthcare.

9. Iowa, USA

Iowa
credit: depositphotos

Iowa has been in the spotlight because of the women’s basketball phenomenon Caitlin Clark, but sports only scratch the surface of the state’s appeal. There’s an incredible cultural scene and gorgeous rural scenery. It’s a popular haven for retirees.

As of 2023, Iowa residents aged 55 and older don’t have to pay state income taxes on retirement benefits on top of no taxes on Social Security payments. The state also has low-cost, high-quality healthcare for seniors.

10. Malta

Valleta harbour Malta.‎
Credit: Depositphotos

The archipelago of Malta is often left out of the discussion of places to retire, but it deserves a spot. It has a lot of overlooked attributes that make it ideal. The Mediterranean location of the island chain means the summers are hot, but the winters are mild.

Malta’s cost of living is reasonably inexpensive, depending on lifestyle. Couples can live quite well on a budget of $3,000 or more a month, but they can also live nicely on $2,500 a month. The European private health system is affordable, and food costs are close to or lower than those in the U.S.

11. Florida, USA

Aerial View of Surfside Beach Florida
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Florida may be an obvious choice as a great retirement location, but there are several reasons why that is. Because of the high number of retirees who relocate to the Sunshine State, there are plenty of activities for that demographic, including golfing, the theater, and relaxing at the beach.

Financially speaking, Florida residency is advantageous for seniors in many respects. There aren’t any income, inheritance, or estate taxes. The state has a high cost of living, especially in metropolitan areas, but there are lessexpensive locations within the state.

12. Malaysia

Malacca, Malaysia
credit: depositphotos

Malaysia has an automatically renewable 10-year visa program called Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H). Visa holders must prove they have a specific amount of money in a Malaysian bank, enough to support themselves each month, be in good health, and not have a criminal record.

If you meet these qualifications, retirement in Malaysia is a beautiful experience. The citizens are warm to expats and visitors, and many speak English. The cost of living is substantially lower than that of countries in Europe or North America, and high-quality medical care is modestly priced.

13. Wyoming, USA

Grand Tetons, Wyoming
credit: depositphotos

Clean air, wide-open spaces, and low crime are some of the main selling points for retiring to Wyoming. It’s also home to the majority of Yellowstone National Park, one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Imagine being able to visit the park at your leisure!

Wyoming offers retirees more money in their pockets. The state’s sales and property taxes are some of the lowest in the U.S., and there are no inheritance or estate taxes and no state income tax on any retirement benefits, including Social Security.

14. Portugal

Porto
Credit: Depositphotos

Retiring in Portugal provides all the benefits of Western culture without the high price tag, especially when living in rural areas and smaller cities. Portugal has a mix of vibrant cities, quaint towns, and relaxing beaches.

Prospective expats can obtain a residency permit that’s good for five years. After five years, you can apply for permanent residency. All forms of income are taxable there, but the country has a program that could exempt new residents from taxes for ten years.

15. Spain

Alicante Spain
credit: depositphotos

Right next to Portugal is another popular place for retirees, Spain. The country, which also boasts ample beaches and a storied history, offers the best of European and Mediterranean climates. The northern regions of Spain are more rainy and cooler than the southern areas.

The private healthcare system is among the best in the world, and the life expectancy exceeds that of the U.S. Spain is also pretty safe during all hours, and the cost of living can be the same or less than stateside, depending on if you live in a big city or less populated area.

15 Retirement Destinations That Are Cheap and Adventurous

Toledo Spain
Credit: sepavone/Depositphotos

For retirees looking for both financial security and exciting new experiences in their golden years, this article provides a unique possibility. With the world becoming a smaller place, this notion investigates the feasibility of retiring abroad or staying close to home while still receiving Social Security payments. The promise of making retirement savings go further due to lower living costs in some countries or states is a major selling point. 

15 Retirement Destinations That Are Cheap and Adventurous

15 Budget-Friendly Gems Where Your Retirement Dreams Will Come True

Barcelona, Spain
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

For retirees looking for both financial security and exciting new experiences in their golden years, this article provides a unique possibility. With the world becoming a smaller place, this notion investigates the feasibility of retiring abroad or staying close to home while still receiving Social Security payments. The promise of making retirement savings go further due to lower living costs in some countries or states is a major selling point. 

15 Budget-Friendly Gems Where Your Retirement Dreams Will Come True

Leave a Comment