Best Countries to Retire Overseas Where English Is Spoken

Retirement is one of the most important stages in one’s life, so how and where you spend it leaves a significant effect on your life. Some retirees decide to stay where they are, others stay within the country but move to another city, and others spend their retirement abroad.

Previously, we talked about the best cities to retire in Canada for those who prefer to stay in their own country after retirement.

This article addresses the third group, those who wish to leave the country for a change. After reading this article, they will better know which countries they can choose as retirement destinations, where English is widely spoken, so fitting in is quite easy.

The Best Places to Retire Abroad

We have provided this list of the ten best foreign countries in no particular order to help you choose the best destination for your retirement.

To identify the best options for Canadian retirees, we have tried to factor in the most critical questions Canadian retirees can ask themselves, which are:

  • How high are the leaving costs in this country?
  • How good is the healthcare quality there?
  • How safe is this country in general?
  • Is it possible to use only English in this country?

So, without further ado, we present to you some of the best English-speaking countries to retire in:

best places to retire abroad

1- Barbados

Life Expenses: Relatively high

Healthcare Quality: Excellent

Crime Rate: Relatively low

English Proficiency: Official language

In the Caribbean, Barbados is considered to be one of the most developed countries. If you want to spend your time in a place where you can enjoy nature and outdoor activities, Barbados is an excellent choice since the weather is perfect for sailing or any water sport.

Barbados’ official language is English. However, you will frequently hear the locals speak Bajan, a regional mixed language based on English and influenced by West Africa.

best places to retire abroad

2- Mexico

Life Expenses: Low

Healthcare Quality: Adequate

Crime Rate: Average

English Proficiency: 10%

In the past 60 years, many Americans and Canadians have moved to Mexico, especially to retire. Due to this long history, the locals have become accustomed to accepting and welcoming foreigners.

Please note that while a small percentage of locals in Mexico are truly fluent in English, this language is spoken very frequently in popular tourist areas, so you would not have much trouble relying on English. Having a basic knowledge of Spanish, however, will surely help you a lot in communicating.

best places to retire abroad

3- Panama

Life Expenses: Relatively high

Healthcare Quality: Very good

Crime Rate: Low

English Proficiency: 14%

Panama has been a popular destination for retirees because of its sunny and warm weather. The most popular retirement spots in this country are its capital, Panama City, and a town in the mountains with a cool climate, Boquete.

Spanish and English are mixed in some dialects along the Caribbean coast and Panama City. But this has also caused many locals to be bilingual, meaning they can easily communicate with you through English.

best places to retire abroad

4- Costa Rica

Life Expenses: Relatively low

Healthcare Quality: Good

Crime Rate: Low

English Proficiency: 10.7%

Next up on our list, we have another small country in Central America like Panama. Retirees are normally attracted to this country because of the tropical weather and reasonable living costs. Also, since this country has the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea to its west, the beach life there is double fun.

Even though the country’s official language is Spanish, only 11% of its population speaks English. Some locals can speak English, and English is widely spoken in tourist areas.

best places to retire abroad

5- Malaysia

Life Expenses: Low

Healthcare Quality: Adequate, private insurance available

Crime Rate: Average

English Proficiency: 50-60%

You can find cultures from almost all over the world in Malaysia. This country has a higher standard of living than many other Asian countries with low costs, so it is only natural for retirees to be attracted to it.

At least half of Malaysia’s population can talk to you in English. But you should notice that the English language is generally far more common in major cities than in rural areas.

best places to retire abroad

6- Malta

Life Expenses: Reasonable

Healthcare Quality: Excellent and affordable

Crime Rate: Low

English Proficiency: Official language

Malta is probably one of the best destinations for retirees because this country offers retirees a high standard of living, a peaceful lifestyle, plus a warm and sunny climate, which lets them enjoy life and do what retirees do all day without a care.

The two official languages of Malta are Maltese and English. Even though the locals talk to each other in Maltese, most of them (about 88%) have a good English language, so you are unlikely to encounter any problems caused by language barriers.

best places to retire abroad

7- Cyprus

Life Expenses: Relatively high

Healthcare Quality: Excellent

Crime Rate: Relatively low

English Proficiency: 73%

Sunny weather, magnificent beaches, engaging Mediterranean lifestyle, and rich Greek culture, have made this island nation country an attractive destination for retirees.

Among the foreign languages spoken in Cyprus, English is the most popular since it was an official language there for a period. Overall, you are likely to enjoy your time in Cyprus even if you only know English.

best places to retire abroad

8- Scotland

Life Expenses: Moderate

Healthcare Quality: Excellent, with private insurance

Crime Rate: Low

English Proficiency: Official language

It would be wonderful to retire in a friendly, quiet English-speaking country surrounded by beautiful scenery. Many retirees would like to stay in Glasgow, or Inverness, a city up in the highlands.

The only problem is that the country can be strict about allowing retirees from abroad to settle there. But staying in this country as a retiree is still possible.

Scotland is home to a variety of languages, dialects, and accents. Today, however, English continues to be the primary language spoken in this country.

best places to retire abroad

9- Portugal

Life Expenses: Relatively low

Healthcare Quality: Good

Crime Rate: Low

English Proficiency: 32%

Portugal has long been a popular destination for retirement because it serves beach lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, and history buffs all at once. The ability to take part in water sports or visit museums and historical sights tempts retirees to visit this country and maybe stay there for a while.

best places to retire abroad

10- Ireland

Life Expenses: Relatively High

Healthcare Quality: Good

Crime Rate: Relatively low

English Proficiency: 99%

We do not know where the stereotype of seniors socializing only in pubs while drinking beer comes from, but if that is the case, Ireland can be a great spot for retirees with more than 7000 pubs. Even if we put a pin on the pubs, Ireland is known for its friendly welcome, outdoor activities, and lively nightlife, so retirees will likely enjoy staying there.

While living in major cities, like Dublin, can be pretty expensive, living costs in the countryside are reasonable.

Among all the languages spoken by locals, English has won first place. English has dominated Ireland since the late nineteenth century, even passing Irish. Therefore, you are unlikely to run into someone who does not speak English or at least does not have sufficient knowledge of it.

Conclusion

As a Canadian retiree who prefers to leave for a foreign country rather than stay local, the countries we mentioned are the best spots you can consider. English is widely spoken in these countries, so you will be able to fit in and live by it pretty well.

But remember that knowledge of a foreign language can always come in handy, and learning a new language as a senior is never a bad idea.

Spending time in another country can be a wonderful experience for you if you choose the country that suits your interests and personality type. So do your research, choose wisely, and at last, enjoy.

Happy Retirement!

Source Forbes CNBC International Living
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Julia Brown
Julia Brown
11 days ago

I lived for about three years in Costa Rica. I have so many beautiful memories of Coco beach. But I’m not thinking about moving to another county; I don’t want to live away from my children. For those who want to live abroad after retirement: Costa Rica is the best place if you love warm climates and a nice tan!

Joey
Joey
6 days ago

I really like the idea of staying in a country where you can get by with only English, but there is also another language spoken there. This way, we can learn a new language faster since we live in an environment where it is frequently used. The country of Malaysia always had a certain appeal to me. Hopefully, I will be able to see it one day.

Marline
Marline
1 hour ago

Is it a good idea to retire to a foreign country? I love travelling but moving to another country is a lot of change, especially after retirement. My sister did it, she lives in Switzerland and is happy, of course, his son lives there too. Thinking about moving is somehow stressful for me. But thanks for the list; these are great travel ideas for us!