Croatia is the ‘best country to retire in' as relocation plans surge amid the cost-of-living crisis, according to new research by London-based Penfold, a start-up that offers a pension in a smartphone app.

The analysis compared 12 lifestyle factors including cost of living, world healthcare ranking and population of over 55s to reveal the most desirable countries for Brits to retire in.
•    Croatia, Spain and the Republic of Ireland name the top countries for UK retirees to relocate to for a better quality of life, according to the new index.
•    USA and Australia are the countries with the highest cost of living and rent expenses, while Philippines, Thailand and South Africa have the lowest.
•    New Zealand takes top spot in world healthcare rankings, safety rating, and happiness index score, but is the most expensive country to fly to.
•    Italy has the highest bank balance requirement for a relocation Visa, as Brits are required to have £31,000 in savings to be able to apply.

While the UK's "digital nomads" simply pick up and move to sunnier climes for the winter months, British retirees are quietly making their own plans, the report said. 

Google searches for ‘best country to retire to from the UK' have risen 94.1% in the last 12 months, revealing an increasing demand for pensioners to relocate abroad in search of a better quality of life.

The top countries Brits are already most likely to retire to were each compared against 12 key lifestyle factors, including the current exchange rate, healthcare costs, average flight cost from the UK and the amount of money required to apply for a Visa. 

Top three countries to retire in:
1.    Croatia
Croatia tops the list of the best countries to retire in. The top benefit of moving to Croatia in retirement is a much better cost of living, inclusive of rent, when compared to staying put in the UK. Croatia scores 28.47 within the Cost of Living Index, compared to the UK's 46.42, meaning that rent costs and the price of day-to-day living is nearly half of that of living in the UK.
Croatia also scores highly due to the fact that it only takes an average of 2 hours 5 minutes to get there from the UK, with relatively cheap average flight costs. Friends and family can visit with ease, and flying home to visit is also made convenient. Additionally, financial worries can be eased if any issues relating to healthcare emerge, and it also has one of the lowest bank balance requirements for those who wish to apply for a visa in order to relocate (the Krona equivalent of £2,839 is needed to apply).

2.    Spain
Spain is already well known as one of the most popular countries for British expats to retire in. While retirees from the UK choose Spain for its laid back lifestyle, hot weather, and beautiful beaches, the climate isn't the only factor that influences retirees to settle in their golden years. 
With cheap flight costs and a relatively short flight time to get there, Spain is one of the most ideal destinations to retire in. Spain also ranks highly in terms of happiness, scoring highly on happiness surveys while also being one of the safest countries in the world to settle in, with a score of 83 out of 100 on the World Safety Index. 

3.    Republic of Ireland
The third best country to retire in for Brits might be somewhat surprising. What Ireland lacks in its moderate climate, it makes up for in its phenomenal healthcare, bountiful green spaces and its close proximity to the UK. 

Ireland is also one of the happiest and safest countries to settle in. To relocate to Ireland, pensioners will only require the equivalent of €7000 in their bank accounts, meaning that this country opens up its green gates to a much wider range of people, regardless of their financial position. 

The Cheapest Countries to Retire In

1. Cost of Living

Making the decision to retire abroad doesn't come easily, but there are many reasons Brits may decide to opt to relocate for their retirement, but ultimately, the biggest factor is seeking a better - and often cheaper - quality of life. 

Countries like the Philippines, Thailand and South Africa top the list when it comes to the comparative cost of living, with costs halving that of those retirees can expect to pay in the UK. Of the European countries analysed, France, Italy, and Cyprus all follow the top 3 listed above for a cheaper cost of living, inclusive of rent, than the UK does currently.

2. Healthcare Costs
The quality and costs associated with healthcare are another two important factors to consider when planning a move abroad for retirement. Countries with a combination of an above adequate standard of living and reasonably priced healthcare provide a balanced, superior quality of life when people move abroad in their old age.

While Ireland has some of the best healthcare facilities in the world, ranking more highly than the UK, the cost of said healthcare is also one of the highest. Equally, the Philippines has the lowest costs within the countries listed, yet the worst quality of facilities. Countries such as Spain can offer a combination of good healthcare, at a moderate cost, with facilities ranking number 24 in the world for their quality of care. 

3. Travel Costs
The ability for family and loved ones to be able to visit retirees who decide to settle abroad is an important factor. While countries such as Ireland aren't drastically different to the UK in terms of climate, this is made up for in the short travel time and low cost of flying. Even hotter countries such as Spain can offer flights at an average of £72, with flight times as quick as 2 hours or less.

4. Visa Costs
Many countries require expats to have a certain amount of money in savings to be eligible to apply for a visa. This can make relocating in retirement, but countries such as Canada, the USA and South Africa will allow you to obtain a permanent visa with the equivalent of £10,000 or less in your account. Better still, Thailand, Philippines and the UAE each require less than £1,050 in savings to be able to apply for a relocation visa. 

The Nicest Countries to Retire In

Finding a location that is as safe as it is financially comfortable is another of the most decisive factors when relocating abroad, as is ensuring long-term happiness in the new community; having an active social life is an essential part of retirement, regardless of the country chosen to retire in.

Croatia, Greece, France and Italy have the largest population of citizens over the age of 65 at over one fifth of the population, whereas Spain isn't far off. Combining the enhanced quality of life with a desirable climate and opportunities to enjoy a social life make these countries the most appealing in the world for British expats.

In terms of general niceness, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada all score higher than the UK when it comes to overall happiness ratings, and also have the highest safety ratings of the countries analysed. It's a shame these are some of the furthest countries away from the UK, and in the case of New Zealand, the most expensive to travel to with the average flight costing almost £2,000.

The countries analysed were sourced from:

Analysing the various countries British expats already wish to relocate to in retirement, the following factors were assessed to reveal the top 15 countries in the world to retire in:
•    Exchange Rate
•    Cost of Living Plus Rent Index
•    Healthcare Costs
•    World Healthcare Ranking
•    Environmental Protection Index 
•    Distance of travel from UK
•    Average Flight Cost
•    Safety Index Score
•    Happiness Survey Scores
•    Average Yearly Temperature
•    Population aged 65+
•    Amount of Money Required to Apply for a Visa