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Monthly Wrap: 5 Best Countries to Retire to Without a Language Barrier

currency-newsMonthly Wrap: 5 Best Countries to Retire to Without a Language Barrier
Moving to another country can be daunting, even moreso if you are unable to speak the native language.

If you are planning to retire abroad you may be looking to spend your free time soaking up the sun rather than learning a new language

Ignoring major English speaking nations like the US, Canada and Australia, we have compiled a shortlist of countries which offer a relaxing lifestyle, excellent retirement opportunities, and a minimal language barrier.


The Caribbean island of Barbados has long been popular with tourists; turquoise waters, white sand, year-round sun, it’s easy to see why. But not just a location for holidays, Barbados makes for a perfect retirement destination thanks to its relaxing lifestyle and of course English is the country’s first language.

Established as an English colony, and gaining independence in 1966, Barbados remains a Commonwealth country. Warm and sunny all year, with average daily temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius, Barbados remains a retirement dream. An excellent standard of living, English speaking locals, good healthcare, left-hand driving, and not to mention that cricket is the national sport, Barbados really can be a home away from home.


Another former British colony, Belize is the only English-speaking country in Central America. Perched between Mexico and Guatemala, swathes of jungle to the west meet golden sands and the Caribbean Sea to the east. A low cost of living can be enjoyed in Belize, ensuring your retirement funds go further than a lot of the other countries on this list.

A range of varied lifestyle options offer up a truly remarkable destination for your retirement. With well-established expat communities dotted throughout the country, you’ll find it easy to fit in. A warm, year-round climate offers extensive outdoor-oriented activities, including fishing and diving. Belize’s coral reef is the world’s second largest and home to more than 400 species of fish.


The only European destination on this list, and once again a former British colony, Malta has a long and storied history. Its stunning architecture is a culmination of more than 7000 years of history and culture and is home to some of the oldest temples in the world. The Mediterranean archipelago nation has seen a wide array of settlers throughout history, including the Romans, Phoenicians, and the Moors. Napoleon and the British Empire vied for control of the islands at one point!

English is the official language of Malta, despite its proximity between northern Africa and Sicily, and continues to attract British expats. Malta boasts a stunning coastline across its three main islands replete with caves, lagoons, crystal clear water and golden sands, with a year-round warm climate. Balancing the natural beauty is a very modern European capital with great shopping and restaurants, making Malta an ideal all-round destination to retire.


The tiny island nation sits in the Indian Ocean, 2000km off the East coast of Africa, with Madagascar in the middle, Mauritius offers the perfect retirement destination. Stunning beaches, luscious rainforests, underwater waterfalls, and crystal-clear water for endless snorkelling. If the laid-back island lifestyle is for you, Mauritius has it all.

With English being one of two official languages, the other being French, Mauritius makes it easy for expats to settle in quickly. With temperatures never dropping below 17 degrees or topping 31 degrees, the year-round warm climate makes for relaxing living. A melting pot of culture and cuisine, the island nation has served as a sponge for influences ranging from French pastries to Indian curries.


The climate, cost of living, and culture might just make Malaysia the top destination for those seeking to retire abroad. English is known to be the de facto official language, as it is so widely spoken in the major areas, that settling in Malaysia is one of the easiest to do so in Asia. Large expat communities can easily be found in Malaysia, with the most popular being the capital Kuala Lumpur and the little-known George Town.

Kula Lumpur has everything a major city needs, and more. With healthy economic growth, excellent infrastructure, as well as first-rate medical facilities, the city has everything you need for a comfortable living.

George Town, situated on the scenic island of Penang, has all the amenities of the capital, with the added bonus of the natural wonders only a tropical island can offer. A slower pace of life and a captivating mix of British colonial architecture mixed with traditional Chinese shopfronts, George Town regularly tops lists for best cities to retire to.

How we can help you save money when retiring abroad

If you are planning to retire overseas you should put serious thought into how you will transfer your funds abroad.

While you can move money through your high street bank you may find it is more cost effective to use a reputable currency provider likely Currencies Direct. Not only do we not tack on any extra transfer fees but you may find we offer more competitive exchange rates than your bank.

We also offer a range of additional services which can help you save both time and money.

One handy service for retirees is our Regular Transfers. These allow let you automate monthly or quarterly payments, you can send from as little as £150 a quarter and there are no charges whatsoever. It’s the ideal tool for people who want to focus on enjoying their retirement rather than moving money abroad.

Get in touch online or by phone at +44 (0) 20 7847 9400, and find out how much you could save with our great exchange rates, no fees and five-star customer service.
Philip McHugh

Philip McHugh

Joining the corporate trading desk in 2007, Phil now over sees all of Currencies Direct’s corporate dealing activity. Having gained experience working with hundreds of businesses to optimise international payments processes and execute comprehensive risk management strategies, Phil currently works with a portfolio of corporate clients whilst managing Currencies Direct’s overall market exposure

Phil has FCA approval and has completed the Certificate in International Treasury Management (CertiTM)

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