More of us than ever before are considering moving abroad. But the world is a big place, and deciding on the best possible places to visit can be a challenge in itself. Fortunately a new study aims to reveal the very best places to retire to in 2015 – and it’s arguably the most exhaustive and accurate study of its type ever undertaken.
Well-known lifestyle publisher International Living has just produced their “Best Places to Retire in 2015” report and makes for some fascinating reading. The study aims to rank each potential retirement destination according to a broad range of metrics. These include the cost of living, benefits for retirees and ease of integration. Furthermore, climate, infrastructure and the standards of healthcare are included.
Each of these metrics is rated on a scale of 1-100, and the average of all factors is then taken as their overall score. And having seen the latest rankings, the competition is fierce. The top two destinations both score over 90/100, while you’d have to go down to number 19 on the list to find a score outside of the top 20%.
So who are the winners? Have classic retirement destinations like Spain and Australia won through, or does the index tell us there are even better places to retire?
The overall winner – with a score of 92.7 – is Ecuador. This is one country that seems to have it all. Real estate is some of the best value anywhere in the world and the general costs of living are very low. The country has a very pleasant climate and a wealth of natural beauty to enjoy. A large existing expat community means that integration is generally easy while amenities are almost on par with Western standards.
Coming in a very close second – and a potential winner for next year – is Panama in Central America. Panama is openly courting retiree expats, offering a huge range of discounts on entertainment, dining and utility bills. These discounts can be sizeable and can make an already affordable country downright cheap for those with a Western pension.
According to expats in Panama, while there are fewer hospitals than you might find in the USA or UK, those that do exist should be considered on par with Western medical centres. Panama has an excellent infrastructure which makes getting around and enjoying life simplicity itself. Lastly Panama has a long-standing relationship with the USA, having been a popular holiday and retirement destination for decades. Panama is consequently more “Americanized” than many other countries, and this lends itself to a nation that welcomes and encourages Western expats.
Mexico, which benefits from a similar Americanized culture, comes in with bronze. Many expats say that getting hold of popular US products and services is simplicity itself in Mexico – the only real differences between what you would expect living in the USA as opposed to Mexico is that the climate is better and the prices are lower in Mexico.