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Top Countries For Rich Retirees

Investopedia logoInvestopedia 25-06-2015 Amy Fontinelle
If your dream is to retire abroad and you've amassed a substantial nest egg to fund your new life, consider one of these luxurious options. © Thinkstock If your dream is to retire abroad and you've amassed a substantial nest egg to fund your new life, consider one of these luxurious options.

Not everyone who retires overseas does so to save money. With enough cash, people can find a dream retirement almost anywhere in the world. Besides the United States (which isn't so easy to retire in, if you're not already an American or a green card holder – wealthy retirees tend to favor countries that are high on luxury, comfort, scenery and safety. And good medical care, of course. Here, in alphabetical order, are some worth considering. Of course, making the decision will require more than one exploratory trip!

The Bahamas and Curaçao

English is one of the official languages of Curaçao, a nation of about 150,000 people, and it’s not too far from the United States: An eight-hour, nonstop flight will get you to New York City. Outdoor activities like diving, cycling, golfing and sailing are popular here, where the weather is sunny and in the mid-80s year-round. If you get sick or injured, you’ll be in good hands with the island’s healthcare providers. Owning real estate worth at least $255,000 will make you eligible for tax breaks.

Locals also speak English in the Bahamas, where the population is around 400,000. It’s also a good five hours closer to the United States by plane. To be considered an annual resident, you’ll need to purchase a property worth at least a quarter of a million; to join the permanent resident club, that number rises to half a million. Healthcare and leisure are similar to what you’ll find in Curaçao. The weather is a bit more variable, but it’s still warm and sunny year-round. Don’t move here unless you enjoy rain, though. (See Find The Top Caribbean Islands For Retirement to learn more.)


France is one of the most expensive places to live in Europe, according to Movehub, an online resource for people who want to move overseas. That’s especially true of Paris, one of the world’s most expensive cities, where you can lease a luxury apartment in the city center and be surrounded by iconic museums and the height of culture. Aix-en-Provence is another pricey area where you can enjoy nature, the arts, fountains, fine wine and olive oil, and a mild, sunny climate. Buying property in France can be expensive in these areas, at an average of more than $9,000 per square meter for a Paris apartment and $375,000 for a house in Provence. 

The French government will expect you to get a residence permit before you leave home if you want to stay for more than a year. That means proving financial self-sufficiency and showing that you will have medical insurance and a place to live in France. After a few years, you’ll become eligible for a 10-year resident card. The country is a popular destination for U.S., British, German and Dutch expats. The French are known for being less pleased about being asked to speak English than many other Europeans, however, so plan for some language classes if you don't already know French.


Italy is another one of the most expensive places to live in Europe, according to Movehub. That’s especially true if you want to live in Tuscany or Umbria. But there’s no denying the romance of the country’s language, food and wine, historic architecture and winding cobblestone streets, not to mention the beauty of the Amalfi Coast in the southwest and the Alps in the north. The varied geography, climate and city and town sizes mean you can find almost any lifestyle you might want in Italy. In large cities, you can often get by with English. In smaller towns, you might need to know Italian, but if you speak Spanish, you’re already halfway there. Healthcare is generally good, except in rural areas.

Italy’s elective residency visa has low financial barriers to entry: the annual income requirements are well below U.S. poverty levels. After five years, you can get a long-term residency permit. 


The Principality of Monaco, the world’s second-smallest (two square miles on the Mediterranean) independent state, offers world-class entertainment, from the Formula 1 Grand Prix to the Monaco Yacht Show and the Casino de Monte Carlo. It’s not part of the European Union, but it is part of Europe, so you caneasily jet off to Tuscany or drive to the French Riviera. It’s an extremely wealthy country where you’ll be safe, the power won’t randomly go out when it rains and you can get high quality medical care. Getting around the tiny, walkable principality, which has plenty of public transportation, couldn’t be easier. Winters are wet, but mild; summers are warm and dry, and many inhabitants speak English.

To become a full-time resident of Monaco as a US citizen, you’ll need to first get a long-stay visa from France, then get a residence card from Monaco. The usual visa requirements apply, including proving that you have a place to live, a means of financial support and aren’t a criminal. You’ll renew your residence card annually at first, then every three years, then every 10 years. The cost of living is generally reasonable when it comes to items such as food and transportation, but you’ll need plenty of money for housing, and the exchange rate with the euro will affect how far your money goes in Monaco.

New Zealand

New Zealand, like Monaco, has a high proportion of ultra wealthy residents relative to most other countries. The country has a temperate climate, beautiful scenery and outdoor activities for land and water lovers alike. New Zealand has both public and private healthcare providers offering affordable care, and access is convenient, except in some rural areas.

To get a temporary, two-year retirement visa for New Zealand requires a minimum investment of NZ$0.75 million (US$528,472.50 as of June 2015). You’ll also need NZ$0.5 million (US$352,315) in maintenance funds, NZ$60,000 (US$42,277.80) in annual income and comprehensive health and/or travel insurance. Examples of acceptable investments include New Zealand government bonds and New Zealand residential real estate. 

The Bottom Line

If you’ve managed to reach retirement age with a significant nest egg, you've gained the opportunity to retire in style overseas. If none of the countries above appeals to you, consider Singapore, Switzerland, Luxembourg or Norway.

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