Sophisticated cities with every modern convenience, beach-front hideaways, medieval towns, tropical islands, temperate mountain valleys. International Living has released their 2014 Annual Global Retirement Index, with rankings of the best places in the world to retire, profiling the best destinations for good-value living around the world today. The index scores countries on factors such as cost of living, health care, climate, ease of integration, benefits and quality of infrastructure. From InternationalLiving.com, these are the best places in the world to retire:
Nearly everything about Panama is convenient. The currency is the U.S. dollar, English is widely understood, and the international community is large and welcoming.
The Pensionado, or pensioner residence program — which helped put Panama on the map as a retirement destination in the first place — offers the best retirement program in the world. For anyone with a government or corporate pension, residence is almost a given. Financial benefits of this program are huge — savings of 50% off entertainment; 50% off closing costs for home loans; and 10% to 20% off a wide range of medical expenses are just some of the perks on offer.
With high scores in the real estate category, benefits for retirees, cost of living and climate, Ecuador comes in a close second in this year’s index.
“Most retired couples in Cuenca, the most popular destination for English-speaking retirees in Ecuador, say they live there quite comfortably — all in — for $1,500 to $1,800 a month,” says InternationalLiving.com’s executive editor, Jennifer Stevens. “And that typically includes rent. Two- and three-bedroom apartments can be rented for $300 to $600 and that often includes furnishings.”
Placing third in the Index, Malaysia is the best place to retire in Asia right now. The country has a low cost of living and quality (and affordable) health-care facilities. Plus, the average temperature is 82 F. all year round, and some of the best beaches in the world are there.
Many expats are members of organizations like the American Association of Malaysia, and an active social life is easy to find. With good-quality dining so cheap (dinner for $3, a gin and tonic for $2) most people find themselves out at least a few times a week.
4. Costa Rica
Because of its long history as an expat haven, it’s easier than ever to start a new chapter in your life in Costa Rica.
Anywhere you choose to move there are plenty of services set up to make the transition easy, from getting household goods and pets down to finding a dream home on a tight budget to securing residence.
Spain is arguably the best bargain in Europe, offering a good lifestyle at a cost that can compete with some Latin-American countries.
With the continuing recession, real estate prices in many parts of Spain have plummeted. On much of Spain’s Mediterranean coast, for instance, you can buy a beach condo today for $150,000 or less. Spain has nationalized, public health care as well as private health care and good hospitals.
But Spain’s biggest plus may be the people and the lifestyle. Warm and engaging, Spaniards believe in enjoying life, and they put a high value on friends and family.
If you retire to Colombia you’ll enjoy dramatic Andean peaks and valleys, with hundred-mile views and some of the world’s best weather.
This is a country where you can live a dignified lifestyle on a Social Security check…and a luxury lifestyle on just a bit more.
The U.S.’s southern neighbor consistently makes International Living’s list of the top countries to live in. Mexico scores high in quality of life, natural beauty, modern infrastructure and safety.
Besides the excellent climate, magnificent scenery, warm and friendly people and rich history, retiring in Malta is easy and affordable, and there is a very low crime rate.
The health-care system in Malta is top class, backed up by qualified doctors and professional support staff. English is widely spoken in Malta.
In Uruguay, you can forget about the cost of health care, about sky-high taxes, about crime…or about “doing without.”
That’s because Uruguay is a Latin American country that is rich in natural beauty…with inexpensive properties…without any third-world trade-offs, according to International Living.
From the golden beaches to the fabulous food and friendly people, it’s easy to see why Thailand is known as the Land of Smiles. It’s also the land of affordable living. The country has a lot of options for foreign retirees, some choose to live in the hubbub atmosphere of Bangkok, some live in the north of Thailand where life is quiet, peaceful, and very inexpensive. Others choose the south for its beautiful beaches.