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5 countries where your pension pot will last

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Retiring abroad is becoming an increasingly popular choice amongst Brits. We recently carried out a survey1 which revealed that, although the UK voted to leave the European Union in June 2016, almost one in five (17%) future retirees plan to spend their retirement overseas, compared to only one in 20 (5%) current retirees who have chosen to do this. While moving to a foreign country may seem daunting, it certainly has its perks.

The allure of better climates and the search for adventures may be playing a part in these changing retirement horizons. Our survey indicated that a quarter (26%) of unretired Brits plan to reinvent their lives in retirement and be more adventurous, while more than half (54%) see retirement as a chance to do all the things they weren’t able to do during their earlier years. And what better way to feed this appetite for new experiences than by being immersed in another culture?

However, adventure isn’t the only factor influencing people’s retirement decisions. Nearly three quarters (74%) of people in the UK suggest that being financially secure is one of the most important goals for their retirement.

With this in mind, we looked into five countries2 where the average pension pot of £43,000, in addition to the yearly £16,1873 a couple would receive from their state pension, would be more than enough to retire comfortably.


As the cradle of democracy, Greece is a country that boasts an incredibly rich culture and heritage. Although unfortunately finding itself in the clutches of economic instability recently, the visually spectacular nation remains a great place to retire.

Source: Flickr

The relatively low cost of living in Greece means that a couple could retire here for a little as £1,200 a month. This includes rent, which averages £215 for a single bedroom apartment in the city centre, and utility bills, which total around £120. Relocating a little further out of town would see these figures decrease dramatically, meaning the picturesque Mediterranean setting Greece offers can be achieved even with a modest monthly income.

Fun Fact:
Greece has one of the richest varieties of wildlife in Europe, including 116 species of mammals, 18 of amphibians, 59 of reptiles, 240 of bird, and 107 of fish

Rent prices are 68.59% lower than in the UK

Consumer prices are 22.13% lower than in the UK

Grocery prices are 23.23% lower than in the UK

Estimated yearly spend for a couple: £14,400

However, affordability isn’t the only plus. Great weather, readily available healthcare and low crime rates make this a haven for anyone wishing to spend their retirement in comfort. Greece’s safety index stands at 60.08 which, compared to the UK figure of 58.04, makes it statistically safer.


Spain has long been a British favourite, not only as a holiday destination but also as a place to spend our later years. Famous for its sunny coastlines, friendly locals and wonderful cuisine, Spain offers one of the lowest costs of living in western European countries.

Sunny Spanish beach Source: Flickr

A couple would need no more than £1,215 a month to retire comfortably in Spain. The median price for a single bedroom apartment in the city centre is £467.53, with utilities costing around £101 a month.

Fun Fact:
The average Spaniard devotes 16 out of every 24 hours to leisure, eating, drinking, and sleeping

Rent prices are 40.92% lower than in the UK

Consumer prices are 21.37% lower than in the UK

Grocery prices are 21.62% lower than in the UK

Estimated yearly spend for a couple: £14,580

Another bonus of living in Spain is the fact that the country boasts one of the best healthcare systems in the world5. It ranks fifth in Europe, with a healthcare index of 76.55, compared to the UK’s 74.30. In addition to this, the country’s safety index stands at 68.24, making Spain statistically safer than the UK.


Located in central Europe, this stunning country is perfect for countryside and mountain lovers who prefer mild temperatures. Lush landscapes, snow-topped mountains and vast forests make for a green retirement haven.

Home on Slovenian lake Source: Flickr

Although Slovenia is the richest of the ex-Yugoslavian nations, the cost of living here is still relatively low. The average monthly expenditure for a couple is £1,013.91. This includes rent, which is around £316 a month for a single bedroom apartment in the city centre, and utilities, which average around £157.55 a month.

Fun Fact:
Half of Slovenia’s total surface area is forest

Rent prices are 56.13% lower than in the UK

Consumer prices are 26.18% lower than in the UK

Grocery prices are 25.68% lower than in the UK

Estimated yearly spend for a couple: £12,156

The country has a safety index of 75.03, meaning crime levels are extremely low. In addition, Slovenia also has the best healthcare system of any ex-Yugoslavian country, and ranks 19th in Europe.


The Iberian country, famous for its rich history and magnificent weather, often appears on ‘best places to retire’ lists. And it’s easy to see why. Not only is Portugal amongst the most affordable Western European countries for retirees, but with its stunning beaches, charming medieval towns and amazing cuisine, those who retire here will always find ways to fill their days with meaningful experiences.

Source: Flickr

The average monthly costs for a couple retiring in Portugal are around £1,190. This again includes rent on a one bedroom apartment in the town centre which comes to £336 a month, and utilities, which total £73.

Fun Fact:
Portugal is a world leader in renewable energy – by 2013 around 70 percent of its energy came from renewable sources such as wind, hydro and solar power.7

Rent prices are 50.29% lower than in the UK

Consumer prices are 30.79% lower than in the UK

Grocery prices are 31.80% lower than in the UK

Estimated yearly spend for a couple: £14,280

In terms of healthcare, Portugal ranks only four spots behing the UK, placing it amongst the top 15 countries in Europe. With a figure of 66.03, Portugal also scores higher than the UK on the safety index, again making this country statistically safer.


Located on the Adriatic Sea across from Italy, Croatia is home to stunning coastlines and more than 1000 islands. Not as well-known as some of our other entries, Croatia remains one of Europe’s relatively secret treasures.

Boats in Croatian harbour Source: Flickr

With the average rent for a one bedroom apartment in the city centre standing at £242 a month, and utilities totaling £135, a couple would need no more than £1,130 a month for a comfortable retirement.

Fun Fact:
Croatia enjoys 2,715 hours of sunshine a year, even more than Sydney in Australia

Rent prices are 68.34% lower than in the UK

Consumer prices are 31.41% lower than in the UK

Grocery prices are 29.59% lower than in the UK

Estimated yearly spend for a couple: £13,560

Croatians enjoy a good healthcare system and, with a safety index of 72.02, this country ranks amongst the safest in Europe.

Although creating an all-purpose ‘best countries in Europe to spend your retirement’ list is near impossible, as this varies person to person, the five countries above are certainly worth considering. From the spectacular rural landscape of Slovenia, to the sandy beaches of Spain, each country offers its own little patch of paradise. And, most importantly perhaps, you won’t have to win the lottery to be able to retire in style.

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While the future repercussions of the UK leaving the EU, and what this will mean for expats and their pensions, are merely the topic of speculation for the time being, the Government has made it clear that there has been no change as of yet9. If you’re planning to move abroad and claim your pension in a foreign country, visit the Government website for more information.

Additional sources

[3]Jill DuBois, 2003. Greece (Cultures of the World, Second). 2nd ed. Edition. Cavendish Square Publishing.

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