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Ever more of us are opting to retire abroad; to reward ourselves for a lifetime of hard work by moving to a country that offers a healthy climate, great food and reasonable prices.
The problem is quite where the “best” retirement destinations really are.
After all, there are dozens of questions that retirees should be able to answer in order to select the best retirement destinations.
Surely, gathering so much information could be a lifetime’s work in itself. Thank goodness, therefore, for International Living who each year publish their Global Retirement Index.
The goal of the survey is simple; by crunching huge amounts of data from contributors all around the world they aim to highlight those countries who offer the perfect combination of factors for retirees.
Just a few of the questions that International Living asked this year included factors as disparate as the cost of rent, prevalence of English-speakers, ease of access for foreigners and the state of the local healthcare services.
All this data goes into the “blender” using a complex algorithm which has been refined over the the last 24 years to help expats decide on which really are the very best expat retirement destinations.
So which countries really offer the best of all worlds to expats?
In reverse order, ranking at position number five, comes Malaysia. There are a number of reasons for this score, least of all is the very reasonable real estate market there, where houses and apartments can be rented for surprisingly-low sums of money.
In addition Malaysia doesn’t tax foreign income (ideal for those maintaining rental property or a share portfolio in their home country). There are even easy routes into the country, such as the MM2H visa which allows you to open a business and bring your family if you’re able to prove a moderate monthly income.
In fourth place comes Costa Rica, benefitting as it does from top quality healthcare facilities at very reasonable prices. Costa Rica was also praised for its climate and healthy outdoor lifestyle which impressed expats, not to mention the strong existing community of Brits, Germans and Americans who call the country home.
Did you know that around one million Americans live in Mexico, who rank third in this year’s report? This means that speaking English and meeting like-minded retirees is simplicity itself in this stunning country.
Visa requirements for retirees are also relatively generous, simply having to prove a very modest monthly income. Combine that with the stunning beaches, the history and the year-round warmth and it’s no wonder why Mexico is so popular among expats.
In second place is Ecuador with its incredibly low cost of living and one of the most liveable climates in the world. Indeed comparing all the different countries considered, Ecuador topped the charts in this department with year-round warmth but without unpleasant humidity. The native Ecuadoreans themselves are also famed for their friendly attitudes towards foreigners, making integration easy and pleasant.
This year’s winner as the best expat retirement destination is Panama, famed for its top-quality yet low-cost healthcare sector. Don’t think that retiring to Central America means giving up on your modern conveniences either; Panama has invested heavily in infrastructure and now boasts well-maintained roads, plenty of public transport and super-fast internet access across much of the country.
Best of all, Panama offers one of the most impressive retirement visas which promises significant money off a range of services such as cinema tickets, utility bills and restaurants.
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