Thursday August 1 2019

The most difficult countries to retire in

James Patefield

JAMES PATEFIELD | Outreach PR Executive

The most difficult countries to retire in

Retirement should form some of the happiest and most relaxed years of your life. You’ve worked hard, and now, you get to unwind with all the free time in the world. But if you’ve set your sights overseas as your retirement treat, be sure to check which countries are best equipped to support not only retirees, but generally happy lives!

Retirement goals

According to research by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, living abroad is one of the top 10 retirement goals, along with traveling in general.

There are a few ‘classic’ countries that many people dream of retiring to: a little home in the south of France sounds ideal, or maybe moving to a log cabin in Canada, or sunning it up forever more in Spain. But are these dream destinations destined to remain dreams? In this guide, Stairlifts California (providers of straight stairlifts in long beach) explore the options…


Who doesn’t want to sun themselves in Spain for their golden years? Well, sadly, Spain fares worse than France in terms of retirement readiness, ranking at number two (ARRI score: 5.0). Many Spaniards expect their government to provide 64 per cent of their retirement income, and 27 per cent stating they had not saved much money for retirement. While you might have your own pension sorted before arriving, it’s certainly worth considering whether or not a country is ready to support its own people before being able to support further new citizens.

Like France, one respondent said that “the money ran out very quickly”.

Perhaps more worryingly, Spain ranks poorly on the Misery Index 2018 too, sitting at rank 36 for the major contributing factor of unemployment. It does, however, rank seventh in the world for its healthcare system.


Let’s take a look at France. For many retirees, it’s the idyllic location, but it may be worth checking twice before committing to this particular ambition. France actually ranks as the fifth worst country in terms of retirement readiness for its own people , with an ARRI (Aegon Retirement Readiness Index) score of 5.3. One survey respondent noted the issue was in “the very substantial drop in my income”.

Expats may find the country isn’t really built to support retirees, but then again, it does sit at a modest rank of 55 in Hanke’s Annual Misery Index, putting France little over the halfway mark in terms of happiness  (with rank 1 being the unhappiest, and rank 95 being the happiest country).

France does have an important redeeming factor for retirees to consider though: it ranked number one for healthcare in the world, according to the World Health Organization.


With an ARRI score: 5.89, which has been steadily dropping from 2014 and 2015, Canada is firmly in the low-rank territory of this indexing system. One survey respondent commented that retirement in Canada had been expensive: “How quickly the savings disappear! Having to watch my money much more closely than when employed.” As with the previous countries mentioned, taking into account how a country deals with its own retirees is a good reflection on how expats may find life there as a retiree themselves.

Plus, it may come as a surprise to know Canada, while featuring on the “happier” half of the Misery Index still only manages to come in at rank 53, with a major contributing factor to its misery being unemployment.


Retirement can be a fantastic opportunity to achieve those lifelong goals of living abroad, but be sure to cement your choices based on current information and not wayward dreams. Your smooth and happy retirement depends on it!










"How quickly the savings disappear! Having to watch my money much more closely than when employed"
Survey respondent

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