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The Happiest Countries For Retirement


Retirement is a big part of life for so many. It should be an opportunity to enjoy life freely without work commitments and be as happy as one can be.  But how much does it cost to retire in the countries that have the highest happiness levels? Which benefits do these countries offer? Is it worth moving there for retirement?



Our Life Plan has taken the 95 happiest countries from across the world, according to the World Happiness Report, and has ranked them across six categories, including the number of sunshine hours and the cost of living, to reveal what place is most likely to ensure a happy retirement!


The United Arab Emirates claim the top spot for the happiest place to retire

The study reveals that the United Arab Emirates is the happiest place to retire with an overall score of 7.76. It comes as no surprise that with the average yearly temperature being 27 degrees and 3,508 hours of sunshine, they came out on top. A medium cost of living and a high average monthly salary of more than £2,000 also contributed to this.

Following the Emirates in second place is Australia. Scoring an impressive 7.137 on the happiness index category and with an overall score of 7.51, Australia is a great option if you’re looking to retire further afield.


Top 10 happiest countries to retire in!

Europe offers sunny destinations for those who enjoy the beach

If you’re looking to retire in Europe, then Cyprus is a great choice. With sun all year round, average yearly temperatures of 19.6 degrees (temperatures reach 35 degrees in the summer months), and a happiness index score of 6.26, it’s the right option for retirees to enjoy whilst soaking up the sunshine. Cyprus is well-known for its combination of stunning beaches, seaside restaurants, cafes, and Old Towns.

Other good options in Europe include Spain and Malta. Spain is known to be a popular choice for retirees, especially the British, with thousands of over 65s moving there to enjoy the Mediterranean sun, beautiful beaches, and rural Spanish towns.

Our Life Plan gave Spain an overall score of 6.79, naming it the second happiest country in Europe to retire to and the 7th worldwide. Very close behind Spain is Malta, who scored 6.74.


Retiring further afield

The study reveals that outside of Europe, the United Arab Emirates and Australia are the best places for a happy retirement. However, other good options include Bahrain, Thailand, and Egypt.

With the cost of living being low, meaning your pension and retirement savings can go further, Thailand is a popular destination for retirees. The country is thriving with culture, delicious cuisine, stunning beaches, and friendly people. The weather is sunny for the majority of the year and there’s plenty of options for both active retirees and those wanting to relax, with numerous hikes and temples to visit as well as several beaches to lay back on, scoring 6.68 points and landing the 10th position in the ranking.

Egypt is another warm, sunny option for people to retire in. Similar to Thailand, Egypt has one of the lowest costs of living (£29.14). Out of the 95 countries, Egypt is the third country that has the most hours of sunshine throughout the year (3,541.8 hours), so if you’re looking for somewhere that has substantial sunshine and warmth, Egypt is the place. The first options belong to Namibia (3,605 sunshine hours) and Jordan (3,602 sunshine hours)

As well as a low cost of living and sunshine, Egypt is perfect for retirees who are interested in culture and history. The country has no shortage of picturesque sights and it’s known for its pyramids, the Nile, and Egyptian villages. Egypt scored 6.49 on the overall score.

Bahrain ranks 4th overall, coming just after the United Arab Emirates, Australia, and Israel. It offers an average yearly temperature of 28.23 degrees, high living standards, no taxes, an excellent healthcare system, and plenty of places to drink wine and dine.


The least happy places to retire

Among the 95 countries that were researched, we can reveal the least happy places to retire. These countries include Russia and African countries like Zimbabwe or Ivory Coast. Many of the countries that scored lower have low salaries and a lower life expectancy when compared to the other countries. Russia, for example, has an average monthly salary of only £461.4, a life expectancy of 72.99 years old, and an average yearly temperature of -5.16 degrees.

According to research, Mauritius is the country with the least amount of sunshine hours at 999 hours per year. Although warm throughout the entire year, the lack of sunshine has resulted in Mauritius ranking 86th out of the 95 countries.

There is a science behind sunlight and happiness and it is thought that exposure to sunlight releases serotonin, a hormone associated with boosting mood and helping people feel relaxed.

But, of course, the cost of living is an important factor when it comes to guaranteeing our happiness. Iceland has an exceptional happiness index of 7.575. However, the cost of living is also one of the highest, thus having a negative impact on their overall score. As a retiree, the further your pension and savings go, the better.

Six tips for ensuring a happy retirement! 

  • Ensure your finances are in order – Track down all pensions, not forgetting those ones from old jobs. Budget your money so you’re aware of how much you’ll have every month and know what day of the month you’ll be getting paid your pension. Our Life Plan Founder, Ian Wright, says: “It may be useful to begin reducing your spending in preparation for retirement – perhaps a few months before – as this will enable you to get used to what you have to spend.” As well as being aware of how much you’re getting, be sure to know what benefits you can claim and don’t forget to claim your state pension!
  • Have a good routine – Work is a huge part of a person’s routine, so after retirement, it may be easy to slip into not having a regular one. But it may be beneficial for your well-being to get up and go to bed around the same time, most days.
  • Do physical activity – Making exercise part of your routine is essential. It’s been proven to benefit the mind, body, and soul. Walking, swimming and aqua aerobics are all great ways to stay fit and healthy.
  • Exercise your mind – As well as staying physically active, mental stimulation is vital as we grow older. Ian says: “Use this free time to challenge yourself. Perhaps learn a new language, learn to play an instrument, or sign up to a charity event and work towards completing that. There have been studies that show how learning new things later in life helps people remain independent and strengthen the mind.”
  • Be social – For many, the people you work with are a large part of your social life – with Christmas work do’s and after-work drinks, it’s easy to remain sociable when you’re surrounded by people. When you’re retired, it’s common to feel slightly isolated and lonely, so don’t forget the importance of staying in contact with people and being social. Join different clubs or volunteer at your local charity shop as this will allow you to connect with people and make new friends.
  • Travel – You now have a lot of free time, so take that trip you’ve always wanted to, move to the country you’ve always dreamt of, or do that adventurous activity you’ve been meaning to do. There’s plenty of exciting places to see, do and visit, all varying in price.


Follow this link to see the research.