One secret dream that many of us harbour is to live out our twilight years in the sun. Retiring abroad may be popular, yet surprisingly only a very small percentage of potential expats ever make the move after retiring. As it turns out, only 3.4% of British expats are aged over 60. It seems that it’s an entirely different matter to talk about retiring abroad and actually going ahead and taking the leap of faith.
One of the major problems when it comes to retiring abroad is simply where to go. When your options are open it can a muddling world out there. The ‘paralysis of analysis’ in seeking the ‘best’ place to retire prevents many people from ever living the dream they’ve held so dear for much of their working life.
Of course there are other factors worthy of consideration. While lifespan continues to increase, and many retirees are enjoying decades of healthful living, it makes sense to consider the practicalities of health care if before leaving British shores. After all, while we all hope for a long and healthy retirement, statistically we’re most likely to need regular medical care in our twilight years.
As well as ensuring the standards of health care are able to live up your expectations it’s also important to consider the costs of such care for non-nationals. While some countries offer free healthcare on reciprocal arrangements with the UK, others will require some form of payment more akin to the US system. In these cases, it is wise to investigate expatriate healthcare policies
for seniors in order to facilitate more cost-effective treatment overseas should it be necessary.
The good news is that a new study has examined a range of overseas for their suitability as retirement destinations. Factors including both climate and healthcare, together with residency options, costs of living and taxation have enabled the publishers to grade retirement destinations in a uniform manner.
For those considering their options in retirement, and considering expat life, the newly published Retire Overseas Index helps to provide guidance on those destinations that offer the very best mix of quality healthcare, agreeable climate and value-for-money.
So who actually wins? What really are the best places to retire to?
In pole position is the Algarve in Portugal, with its 3,300 hours of annual sunshine and enviably warm climate. Relatively low costs of living for Western standards, international-grade healthcare and a great quality of life also help to make the Algarve such a draw for retirees. And with its 35 golf clubs and miles of stunning countryside, not to mention numerous world-class restaurants, there’s enough to keep anyone occupied.
Further down the list though there are some surprises. Cuenca in Ecuador ranks number two, with George Town in Malaysia and Chiang Mai, Thailand bringing up the rear. These suggestions are a long way from the more common retirement destinations – such as Australia or the Spanish coastline.
The take home point is really to do your research before deciding on a final retirement destination. There are some surprises awaiting you if only you’re willing to broaden your search and consider every opportunity that presents itself.