If you have planned properly, retirement can open up a wide set of new possibilities. You can take up new pastimes, travel to foreign lands – and perhaps even retire there. There are many countries with reasonable costs of living, expat communities that would be happy to welcome you, and friendly locals if you want to completely immerse yourself in a new language and culture.
International Living magazine has released its annual Global Retirement Index for 2018, indicating the top international retirement destinations in the world. Weighted values are assigned for variables such as cost-of-living, healthcare, entertainment and amenities, infrastructure, climate, and fitting in with the environment.
International Living's top five retirement destinations are listed below. Do any of these strike you as your perfect retirement home?
1. Costa Rica – While Costa Rica doesn't have the lowest cost-of-living within the index, it does provide great value to go with its beautiful scenery. Costa Rica is a stable country with a low crime rate, perfect for a relaxing and healthy lifestyle. In addition, Costa Rica offers affordable real estate and a modern system of nationalized healthcare with reasonable rates for expats ($95 per month on average for a retired couple).
2. Mexico – The winner of last year's International Living award for the top retirement destination, Mexico offers a low cost-of-living, close and inexpensive access to the US, and a wide variety of suitable retirement locations with modern amenities. Everything from laid-back beaches to lively festivals can help you stay active and engaged. The healthcare system is good quality and generally inexpensive.
3. Panama – Panama tops the Global Retirement index in the category of benefits and discounts, as well as the ease of acquiring visas and residency. The cost-of-living is low, and the options are plentiful. From scenic mountain towns to impressive beaches, you can find a place that fits your preferred lifestyle and budget – and, as with the other top entries, excellent healthcare is available at a reasonable cost.
4. Ecuador – This small South American country offers some of the greatest lifestyle diversity within an affordable framework. Ecuador's climate was ranked only behind Costa Rica in the study. Public transportation is readily available, allowing you to easily explore the whole country without blowing the budget.
5. Malaysia – Is Central America still too close for you? Consider Malaysia, where English is widely spoken, the costs are low, and the culture and activities are diverse. Explore everything from rainforests to metropolitan areas, and then relax on some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Excellent healthcare is available at a fraction of the American rate.
Europe, South America, and Central America share the next five top destinations. In descending order, they are Colombia, Portugal, Nicaragua, Spain and Peru. All offer outstanding potential for retirees looking for an overseas destination to call home.
If you are intrigued by one of these destinations – or having trouble choosing between the possibilities – check out the details on the Global Retirement Index and see how their observations and conclusions compare with similar lists. Look for expats already living in your preferred areas so you can get a first-hand account.
Your dream retirement lifestyle may be waiting for you in a foreign land. Why not check out your options? With a bit of research, you may find an overseas home for your golden years that has exactly what you are looking for at a fraction of the US price.
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