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Want to Retire Abroad? The Top 7 Locations you Need to Consider

Posted by on November 9th, 2015. Connect with us on .

You’ve finished your working life, you have money to spend and you want to enjoy yourself. This is the perfect time to realise your dreams of living abroad. You may already have an ideal destination in mind, or you may want to shop around before settling on a new country to call home. Either way, International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index has compiled lots of data to discover the top countries in the world for retirement.

Here’s the overall winner, plus the countries which came out top in other important categories.

Ecuador – Best Overall

An overall score of 92.7 sees Ecuador claim the top spot. The country features a wealth of terrain, from the beaches on the West coast to the capital city, Quito, located in the foothills of the Andes. Retirees will find exploring doesn’t drain the budget much, with up to 50% off public transport for over 65s. You can also get discounts on flights out of Ecuador, meaning it’ll be easier to afford trips back home to visit family and friends. Half price entry to sporting events and movies means that, even without taking into account the impressive scenery, you’ll never be bored when living in Ecuador.

Panama – Best for Benefits and Discounts

Panama may have just missed out on the overall top spot, but its wide range of incentives for pensioners makes it the best country for benefits and discounts. The special Pensionados Visa grants retirees a whole host of benefits, including 50% off movies, concerts, sporting events and theatres, 30% off public transport (train, bus and boat), 25% off flight tickets and monthly energy bills, up to 50% off hotel stays and 15% off bills for trips to the hospital. Visa holders can also benefit from a single exemption on importation duties up to the value of $10,000, lowering the cost of moving your belongings. Changes in the law cannot change your status as a Pensionados resident, either.

You need to have a monthly pension of over $1,000 to qualify, but you don’t have to buy any real estate in the country to be eligible.

Nicaragua and Vietnam – Best for Cost of Living

Ecuador and Panama may offer pensioners a variety of ways to save money, but Nicaragua and Vietnam offer the best overall cost of living.

According to International Living, in 2013 a monthly budget of $900 (£600) could see a couple paying their essentials such as utilities, groceries and internet, cover the cost of health insurance and entertainment and even pay for the hiring of a maid and gardener three times a week. On top of this, a modest apartment can cost just $350 (£233) per month in rent.

In Vietnam, the equivalent of £558 will rent you a three bedroom apartment in the city centre. Monthly bills can be as little as £36 for electric, water, heating and garbage, while two people ordering a three-course meal in a mid-range restaurant can expect to pay just £10.

Malta, Belize, New Zealand and Ireland – Best for Fitting In

If becoming part of the local community is your main concern, there are several countries vying for your attention. It won’t take long for you to pick up the local slang in New Zealand and Ireland, while both Malta and Belize count English as their official language. Making an effort to integrate with the locals will be appreciated and this is made much easier by sharing a common language. In Malta, learning Maltese will likely endear you to the locals, although English is widely spoken.

Belize has a strong expat community, meaning a lot of the resources you might need for making friends, such as expat groups, have already been set up. The small size of Malta makes it easy to connect with other expats too.

Panama, Thailand, Italy, New Zealand, France, Ireland – Best for Entertainment and Amenities

Plenty of countries offer top entertainment and amenities. Thailand, Italy and France are particularly well known for their distinctive cuisine, while New Zealand, Panama and Ireland all boast some impressive landscapes. The countries that came out top in this category cover a wide range of cultures, climates and economies, so even if you make entertainment your top priority, you’ll still have lots of options.

Malaysia – Best for Health Care
Healthcare in Malaysia is remarkably cheap considering the level and quality of service in major cities is comparable to many developed countries. Public healthcare is heavily subsidised by the government, so receiving medical treatment is inexpensive. An appointment to see a doctor might only cost $15, while a consultation with a healthcare specialist may only set you back $30. There are plenty of private clinics available, some of which are open 24 hours a day, offering all kinds of outpatient care, screenings and medication, especially in urban areas such as the capital city, Kuala Lumpur.

Find the Perfect Country for Your Tastes
Researching locations is obviously going to be a big part of relocating. You need to decide what you want to get most out of your retirement. The Annual Global Retirement Index may have reached a common consensus regarding the top countries for particular perks, but it’s worth remembering that many countries missed out by just a few points. As well as using these statistics to give you an idea of where you might like to live, you can also use it to double-check your dream destination and see how it stacks up.

Regardless of how highly a country may score, before you make any plans to move overseas don’t forget to ask yourself the million dollar question: ‘Will I be happy there?

untry to call home. Either way, International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index has compiled lots of data to discover the top countries in the world for retirement.

Here’s the overall winner, plus the countries which came out top in other important categories.

Ecuador – Best Overall

An overall score of 92.7 sees Ecuador claim the top spot. The country features a wealth of terrain, from the beaches on the West coast to the capital city, Quito, located in the foothills of the Andes. Retirees will find exploring doesn’t drain the budget much, with up to 50% off public transport for over 65s. You can also get discounts on flights out of Ecuador, meaning it’ll be easier to afford trips back home to visit family and friends. Half price entry to sporting events and movies means that, even without taking into account the impressive scenery, you’ll never be bored when living in Ecuador.

Panama – Best for Benefits and Discounts

Panama may have just missed out on the overall top spot, but its wide range of incentives for pensioners makes it the best country for benefits and discounts. The special Pensionados Visa grants retirees a whole host of benefits, including 50% off movies, concerts, sporting events and theatres, 30% off public transport (train, bus and boat), 25% off flight tickets and monthly energy bills, up to 50% off hotel stays and 15% off bills for trips to the hospital. Visa holders can also benefit from a single exemption on importation duties up to the value of $10,000, lowering the cost of moving your belongings. Changes in the law cannot change your status as a Pensionados resident, either.

You need to have a monthly pension of over $1,000 to qualify, but you don’t have to buy any real estate in the country to be eligible.

Nicaragua and Vietnam – Best for Cost of Living

Ecuador and Panama may offer pensioners a variety of ways to save money, but Nicaragua and Vietnam offer the best overall cost of living.

According to International Living, in 2013 a monthly budget of $900 (£600) could see a couple paying their essentials such as utilities, groceries and internet, cover the cost of health insurance and entertainment and even pay for the hiring of a maid and gardener three times a week. On top of this, a modest apartment can cost just $350 (£233) per month in rent.

In Vietnam, the equivalent of £558 will rent you a three bedroom apartment in the city centre. Monthly bills can be as little as £36 for electric, water, heating and garbage, while two people ordering a three-course meal in a mid-range restaurant can expect to pay just £10.

Malta, Belize, New Zealand and Ireland – Best for Fitting In

If becoming part of the local community is your main concern, there are several countries vying for your attention. It won’t take long for you to pick up the local slang in New Zealand and Ireland, while both Malta and Belize count English as their official language. Making an effort to integrate with the locals will be appreciated and this is made much easier by sharing a common language. In Malta, learning Maltese will likely endear you to the locals, although English is widely spoken.

Belize has a strong expat community, meaning a lot of the resources you might need for making friends, such as expat groups, have already been set up. The small size of Malta makes it easy to connect with other expats too.

Panama, Thailand, Italy, New Zealand, France, Ireland – Best for Entertainment and Amenities

Plenty of countries offer top entertainment and amenities. Thailand, Italy and France are particularly well known for their distinctive cuisine, while New Zealand, Panama and Ireland all boast some impressive landscapes. The countries that came out top in this category cover a wide range of cultures, climates and economies, so even if you make entertainment your top priority, you’ll still have lots of options.

Malaysia – Best for Health Care
Healthcare in Malaysia is remarkably cheap considering the level and quality of service in major cities is comparable to many developed countries. Public healthcare is heavily subsidised by the government, so receiving medical treatment is inexpensive. An appointment to see a doctor might only cost $15, while a consultation with a healthcare specialist may only set you back $30. There are plenty of private clinics available, some of which are open 24 hours a day, offering all kinds of outpatient care, screenings and medication, especially in urban areas such as the capital city, Kuala Lumpur.

Find the Perfect Country for Your Tastes
Researching locations is obviously going to be a big part of relocating. You need to decide what you want to get most out of your retirement. The Annual Global Retirement Index may have reached a common consensus regarding the top countries for particular perks, but it’s worth remembering that many countries missed out by just a few points. As well as using these statistics to give you an idea of where you might like to live, you can also use it to double-check your dream destination and see how it stacks up.

Regardless of how highly a country may score, before you make any plans to move overseas don’t forget to ask yourself the million dollar question: ‘Will I be happy there?

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