The World’s Best Places to Retire in 2020—

Share Article‘s 2020 Global Retirement Index scores the world’s top 24 retirement destinations across 10 categories, including cost of living, retiree benefits, climate, healthcare, and more. This yearly Index examines safe, good-value destinations beyond the U.S. or Canadian borders—comparing, contrasting, ranking, and rating them to select spots across the globe where a retired couple can live a comfortable, carefree, affordable life.

Portugal Winner Annual Global Retirement 2020

Portugal Winner Annual Global Retirement 2020

“All 24 countries we consider for 2020 are worthy contenders for a retiree seeking a good-value alternative to life in the U.S. In compiling this Index, we consider a vast amount of data. But it’s not meant to be a scientific output. It’s designed to be a useful tool.", the leading authority on global retirement and relocation opportunities, has just released its Annual Global Retirement Index for 2020.

Tapping International Living’s vast network of on-the-ground contacts and correspondents around the world, this annual Index is designed to be a useful tool for potential expats trying to find the place that’s right for them. The Index is constructed of statistics but also of real-world, practical, on-the-ground intelligence, experience, and opinion provided by International Living’s editors and correspondents based around the world.

IL’s Annual Global Retirement Index is not a survey of all the countries in the world — it focuses on those International Living determines to have earned a place on the short list of the best nations for an affordable, high-quality retirement.

“All 24 countries we consider for 2020 are worthy contenders for a retiree seeking a good-value alternative to life in the U.S.,” says Jennifer Stevens, Executive Editor, International Living.

“In compiling this Index, we consider a vast amount of data. But it’s not meant to be a scientific output. It’s designed to be a useful tool.

“We also ask our correspondents to use their well-informed judgement when offering up, for example, an apartment to use for comparison’s sake. We want them to be pricing out one that is attractive and in a desirable neighborhood, something they feel an expat would be quite comfortable living in. That’s a matter of opinion, yes. But that’s more useful to the retiree who’s trying to discern how much housing costs in Portugal versus Ecuador than would be an ‘average’ cost of apartments across entire countries.

“This Index provides a great jumping-off point for somebody who isn’t sure where to start looking overseas—we created it to provide some well-informed direction.”

A huge amount of solid data goes into the Index. International Living employs a worldwide network of experts who live in the locations they write about and the Annual Global Retirement Index brings together all that local knowledge and research into one indispensable document. The scores across the individual categories are then calculated, and a total score is determined for each country.

“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.

“You might want to stay close to friends and family back home, or you might want perfect year-around weather, or you may want the lowest possible cost of living. Maybe you’re looking for great health care, or maybe you want a place you can easily fit in. You’ll find those categories and much more in the Index.”

According to International Living’s 2020 Global Retirement Index, the world’s top 10 retirement destinations this year are:

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

Portugal, the winner of the International Living 2020 Global Retirement Index, has been a constant in the Index, but this year reached the #1 spot—climbing from seventh place to scoop the top prize.

“Whether you are looking for surfing beaches or ancient ruins, fine museums or hiking paths, a place to windsurf or to polish your golf game, you will find it in Portugal,” says Tricia Pimental, International Living’s Portugal correspondent. “I’ve lived in Portugal for six years, and as IL’s Portugal Correspondent, I have shared a lot about what makes this country great.”

“Perhaps the nicest thing about Portugal is the friendly people, who go out of their way to make you feel welcome,” says IL contributor Kevin Casey.

Portugal is the second least expensive country in Europe, after Bulgaria. It’s also rated the third-safest country in the world in the 2019 Global Peace Index. Portugal is not only secure, but beautiful.

“I have absolutely no regrets about moving here,” says U.S. expat Jacira Paolino. “I do know it can be scary picking up and moving to another country. I only really had one friend here when I came—someone I've only known socially for a few years, but I've made new friends and continue to meet new and intriguing people,” Jacira says.

International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index is the most comprehensive and in-depth survey of its kind. International Living editors refine their methodology every year, and this year is no exception. Several categories have been combined for 2020. And the questions asked of correspondents have changed as well in some categories, in an effort to home in on data that’s more useful and more readily comparable across countries.

International Living’s complete 2020 Annual Global Retirement Index, including more information on the winner and the other nine countries that made it in to the top 10—as well as the individual rankings in all 10 categories for all 24 countries included—can be found at: The World's Best Places to Retire in 2020.

Editor's Note: Members of the media have permission to republish the article linked above once credit is given to
Further information, as well as interviews with expert authors for radio, TV or print, is available on request. Photos are also available.

For information about content republishing, source material or to book an interview with one of our experts, contact PR Managing Editor, Marita Kelly, +001 667 312 3532,

Twitter: @inliving —
About International Living

Since 1979, has been the leading authority for anyone looking for global retirement or relocation opportunities. Through its monthly magazine and related e-letters, extensive website, podcasts, online bookstore, and events held around the world, provides information and services to help its readers live better, travel farther, have more fun, save more money, and find better business opportunities when they expand their world beyond their own shores. has more than 200 contributors traveling the globe, investigating the best opportunities for travel, retirement, real estate, and investment.

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