Retirement in the U.S. Territories

Retirement in the U.S. Territories



Do you want to live outside of the United States without actually leaving the country? Consider retiring to one of the United States territories! Never too far from home, you will enjoy the benefits of citizenship while immersed in unique local cultures.

Puerto Rico

Located in the Caribbean, Puerto Rico is perfect for retirees looking for the quintessential island life among the U.S. Territories. Boasting a warm tropical climate all year round, Puerto Rico is home to gorgeous beaches and lush forests that are just waiting to be explored!

Before making the move, it might be best to brush up on some Spanish – Puerto Rico is a primarily Spanish-dialect speaking territory, with only about half of all residents being moderately fluent in English. Puerto Rico also operates on a different currency system than the mainland, so exchanging the U.S. dollar into Puerto Rican pesos is a must.

In terms of cost of living, Puerto Rico is roughly on par with most of the United States. Prices in the city of San Juan are higher than in most of the United States, but outside of the city center prices on just about everything are comparable to those on the mainland. The only service that is higher in cost across the board in Puerto Rico is electricity, so keep your electric usage in mind when thinking of moving!

Health care costs and coverage in Puerto Rico are similar to the rest of the United States – if you are over 65 you may qualify for Medicare, and insurance companies cannot put a dollar limit on lifetime health coverage. Voting rights in Puerto Rico are slightly different for United States citizens – no citizen on Puerto Rico may vote in a presidential election, but both major parties hold primary elections in which citizens may contribute a vote to choose the party’s candidate. Besides voting, many other rights remain intact for United States citizens.

U.S. Virgin Islands

The U.S. Virgin Islands is a gorgeous territory located in the heart of the Caribbean. If you are prepared to tackle a high cost of living that is comparable to that in San Diego, the Virgin Islands have much to offer by way of local culture and ecological beauty.

The climate in the Virgin Islands is tropical, with rotating wet and dry seasons. Local flora and fauna abound, and the waters along the main beaches on the islands are crystal blue. The warm climate is truly Caribbean – perfect beach weather all year round!

The U.S. Virgin Islands use the United States dollar, and the primary language on all the islands is English, closely followed by Spanish and Creole. Money conversion and language are not something to worry about when moving to the islands. As mentioned, however, the cost of living on the Virgin Islands can be relatively high. Prices for basic services, goods, and other needs are moderately more expensive than their counterparts on the mainland of the United States. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that United States citizens are not required to pay income taxes on any revenue generated on the islands!

The U.S. Virgin Islands have the same health care policies as those found in Puerto Rico – if over 65, you may qualify for Medicare, and there is no lifetime limit on coverage.

United States citizens residing on the Islands are not eligible to vote in presidential elections, but may openly and actively participate in the Islands thriving local government.

In all, the Virgin Islands are a slightly more expensive option, but if the price is right, it might just be the perfect place for you!


Located in the western Pacific Ocean, Guam is the furthest territory from the mainland of any territory on this list. With spectacular landscapes and a year-round tropical climate, Guam is the perfect for those who want something new but can’t quite let go of their American roots.

As mentioned, Guam’s climate is tropical year-round, with little seasonal variation over the course of the year. The mean high temperature is a comfortable 86°. Beware, though – Guam is located in what is sometimes referred to as “Typhoon Alley.” Be prepared to bunker down or evacuate when the time comes!

The U.S. dollar is the primary currency used in Guam, and the primary languages spoken are English and Chamorro, a language derived from indigenous roots. The cost of living on Guam is relatively moderate, especially compared to many of the other United States territories. Costs across the board are similar to those found on the mainland of the United States.

Health care policies in Guam are similar to those on the rest of the United States territories – private insurance is the primary option, and those over 65 may qualify for Medicare. For those over 65 who do not qualify for Medicare or Medicaid, there are local programs in place that may be able to assist with certain health care costs!

As with many of the other territories, citizens may not directly vote in presidential elections. However, delegates from the major parties are sent to Guam and in voting for delegates citizens of the United States in Guam do have some say in mainland politics. Citizens are free to vote in local elections.

Though Guam is the furthest from the mainland, it boasts the lowest cost of living of any territory on this list. Relatively low prices will get you access to beautiful landscapes and a thriving local culture!


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  • Greg PR

    The article above says that Puerto Rico operates on a different currency system than the rest of the U.S. That is incorrect, PR uses the same dollar system.

    Locals do use the word ‘peso’ when referring to currency, but it’s still the same dollars and nickels.

  • A-Roc

    WTF is a “Puerto Rican peso?”

    They ONLY accept USD in P.R. The person who wrote this article has clearly never been there.

    • Youppi

      Yeah, I think the Puerto Rican peso ended with the Spanish-American War, so this article’s only about 116 years behind on that info.

  • efraciso

    is Spanish a dialect?

  • Henre

    After one hundred years of use of the United States monetary system, Puerto Ricans still refer to the dollar, as the “peso”; to “quarter” (25 cents), as “peseta”; to “nickel” (5 cents), as “vellon” or “ficha” and to the cent, as “chavo” or “perrita”

  • guest

    “Spanish dialect”, “PR peso”?? WTF, we speak Spanish and USD in PR. The idiot who wrote this does not know anything about what s/he’s writing….

  • Cortes

    What a faux pas!

    I was looking for advise on relocation but after reading “Puerto Rico also operates on a different currency system than the mainland, so exchanging the U.S. dollar into Puerto Rican pesos is a must” how can you trust what is written in this article. Shame on the author…what an embarrassing shame.