Where are the world’s best places to retire? Here are 10. Words: 1155
So writes Brandon Miller (www.theloop.ca) in edited excerpts from his article* entitled The world’s best places to retire.
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Loll in the lap of inexpensive luxury at any one of International Living’s 10 best places to retire in 2013: North America (1); Central America (2); South America (3); Europe (2); Asia (2)
It might not be South America’s flashiest country, but Ecuador… is the top retirement destination in the world – from a financial perspective, at least. The savings start with your move – you can import household goods duty-free – and continue on to permeate everything from health care to food consumption. According to International Living a dinner out costs only $2.50 (US), an hour-long massage costs $25, and a beer costs $0.85. At that price, you might choose to be drunk for the duration of your golden years! Great hospitals and low costs for procedures, prescription drugs, and doctor visits make Ecuador a practical retirement haven for…the elderly. The fact that a couple can live well on about $900 (before rent) is almost unimaginable to many. Ecuador has great weather, tropical beaches, and opportunities for part-time work. Plus, senior citizens can cut in line at the store – and that’s definitely…[another] reason to move…[to Ecuador]!
The Republic of Panama is just over 75,000 square kilometers full of beautiful people, beaches, and rainforests. There are many English speakers in Panama, and the currency…[there] is the American dollar. Perhaps the best reason to settle in Panama is the discounted living. The pensioner visa – known as the Pensionado – offers a speedy residence to foreigners looking to retire in the country. When they arrive, retirees are entitled to local discounts that make the move worth the cost – 10% to 15% off of doctor consultations and prescription drugs, 25% off at restaurants, and 50% off of admission to movies, theatres, and other entertainment and events.
…There are numerous reasons why one would want to put down roots in this multi-ethnic, multi-religious Southeast Asian nation. According to International Living, a couple can rent a sea-view apartment for $1,000 a month, eat a three-course meal at a restaurant for $10 and have your house cleaned…for a grand total of $12. Sure, it’s far from home, but you’d have plenty of money for airfare if you were living this cheaply. [Read: Retiring? Here are 9 Countries in Asia Worth Considering]
…Retiring in Mexico means leaving the country and living cheaply, but also staying inside North America, which is pretty cool. The…nation offers affordable health care, entertainment options, and rent. International Living reports that retirees can rent a mid-size house for the shockingly low price of $800 a month and a larger colonial home or beachside apartment…[for only] $1,500 in rent… [Read: The 10 Best Places to Retire in Mexico]
5. Costa Rica
…Sometimes referred to as the “Switzerland of Central America,” the country is a fantastic retirement option….Great climate? Check. Cheap health care? Check. Easy entry into the country? Check! To become a pensionado, one needs to receive $1,000 a month from a pension or Social Security.
Good infrastructure, a naturally beautiful landscape, and a low cost of living are just some of the benefits of retiring in Uruguay, a small (about 3.4 million, as of 2011) and friendly South American nation. The country scores particularly high in the area of arts and entertainment, as well as health and climate but, really, it’s the low rent and way of life that have people flocking there. In fact, Uruguay’s capital city, Montevideo, was named the second least expensive city in the world by Mercer HR Consulting a couple of years ago. How does a modern lifestyle for an antiquated price sound to you?
…In April in of 2012, Time magazine ran a cover story declaring “The Colombian Comeback,” and there is no shortage of reasons why one would want to live in this South American nation. The gorgeous ecological makeup of Colombia brings with it opportunities for entertainment, healthier eating options, and consistent year-round beautiful weather. If nature isn’t your bag, the cost of living is extremely affordable. In Medellin, for example, bus fare is 70 cents, a cab costs 3 to 5 dollars, and according to International Living, a modern condo in an upscale neighbourhood can be purchased for as low as $85 per square foot. If you can get over what you may have heard about Colombia in the past, Medellin and its other cities are a fantastic retirement option.
Spain is known for its diverse but moderate climate, its abundance of art and entertainment options, and for reasonably priced accommodations – at least relative to First World nations and it’s not just International Living that puts Spain atop the best retirement spots, either. AARP The Magazine has also declared Spain as one of the best places to retire, citing things like its historic cities, lack of sales tax, and low property tax as reasons. While Spanish health care is good, and cost of living is decent, it is not as cheap to live in Spain as it is to live in some of the other countries on this list. According to AARP, expat couples report living comfortably on about $25,000 US per year.
Depending on where they settle in Thailand, retirees could be surrounded by other expats. In Hua Hin, for example, nearly 20% of permanent residents are from abroad. There’s a bevy of reasons why they might have come – things like the striking beaches, cheap medical procedures, and the abundance of affordable housing (a furnished two-bedroom on the beach will run you $800 – $1,000 a month). English is widespread, crime is low, and, if you’re a golfer, this is probably the locale for you because there are no less than 9 golf courses in Hua Hin. It’s close to Bangkok and big city culture – but without the city lifestyle – and a couple can live comfortably on as little as $1,100 a month. [Read: The 5 Best Retirement Cities in Asia]
Malta is one of only two European countries on this list. Still, if you’re keen on settling in Europe, Malta is a fantastic retirement option. The weather is one draw – the island nation has over 3,100 hours of sunshine a year. Other reasons to consider Malta are the low crime rate, English as a major language, and a lack of property taxes. If you plan on having income in retirement, Malta is a fantastic option [because] income from work undertaken outside of the country is not taxed unless remitted into Malta. The 90-minute ferry service to Sicily makes travelling easy not that anyone would want to leave their home base very often if it were square in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.
Editor’s Note: The author’s views and conclusions are unaltered and no personal comments have been included to maintain the integrity of the original article. Furthermore, the views, conclusions and any recommendations offered in this article are not to be construed as an endorsement of such by the editor.
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