The 15 Best Countries To Retire To In 2014

Jan 6 2014, 3:35pm CST | by

The 15 Best Countries To Retire To In 2014
Photo Credit: Forbes Business

If you’re planning to retire abroad—because you want to live better for less, diversify your investments or enjoy a greater degree of adventure—you should consider Panama, Ecuador and Malaysia.

According to a newly-released report from InternationalLiving.com, these are considered the top spots for North American retirees in 2014.

The Annual Global Retirement Index—now in its 23nd year—ranks the best international retirement destinations. To compile the ranking, InternationalLiving.com editors collated data from its team of experts on the ground in the most popular countries among U.S. and Canadian expat retirees. Editors assessed factors ranging from the price of groceries and average temperature, to utility costs and the friendliness of locals.

The information was then used to score each of the top countries out of 100 in categories such as “Real Estate,” “Climate,” “Special Benefits for Retirees,” “Health Care,” “Retirement Infrastructure,” “Entertainment and Amenities,” “Ease of Integration” and “Cost of Living.”

“This Index is designed to be a useful resource for folks considering a move overseas,” says Jennifer Stevens, executive editor of InternationalLiving.com. “We take great pains to bring more than statistics to the table. Most important, really, is the on-the-ground input and judgment that our editors and regular contributors living in these places around the world bring to the Index. It isn’t meant to be a scientific output. It’s designed to be a real-world snapshot of the places we deem most worth a potential-retiree’s attention today.”

More on Forbes: The Cities Where People Earn The Biggest and Smallest Paychecks

Stevens says readers should use the Index as a guide–a way to begin to narrow down the choices that would best suit them. “It doesn’t tell the whole story, of course. You need to keep in mind what’s most important to you as a potential retiree overseas, and then look for the places on the Index where your priorities seem like they’ll be best met. And then go visit. Try a few places on for size.”

Panama ranked No. 1 this year because it offers a “great combination of variety and value,” she says. “No matter what it is you’re hoping to find, Panama is a good place to look for it.”

Stevens says it’s easy to get in and out of the Central American country with flights to just about anywhere; it uses the U.S. dollar, which makes finances simple; and you have access to excellent healthcare. “Not only is it a place where you could ‘trade up’ in retirement and live better, for less – but it also offers a big, vibrant city where you can get anything you need; Pacific-coast beaches where you can swim and surf; tropical islands surrounded by turquoise seas where you can dive, snorkel, and sail; and highland communities where the soil is rich so gardens overflow and the weather is much cooler than it is down on the coast.”

Stevens says foreigners also enjoy the same rights to property that locals do. “And, critically important, there are a lot of visa options for people, including the pensionado, or pensioner residence program, which gives residence to anybody with a pension of at least $1,000 a month.” If you don’t qualify, there are plenty of other accessible ways to gain residence, she explains. “Panama is committed to attracting foreign retirees and offers the world’s best incentive program to do so, making it convenient and easy to get residence there.”

More on Forbes: The 10 Countries Where Students Have The Highest Salary Expectations

In the No. 2 spot is Ecuador, which topped the Index for the past five consecutive years.

Like Panama, the South American country offers great variety in lifestyle options, Stevens says. You have sunny beaches, temperate mountain villages, college towns where there are plenty of cultural offerings, and historic colonial cities. “This country rolls out the red carpet for its seniors, as well—offering benefits like 50% off international airfares and cultural events. Plus, Ecuadorians are welcoming, friendly, and easy-going. It’s a friendly place to launch an adventure in retirement.”

She adds that Ecuador is an “overwhelmingly attractive choice” for retirees overseas today in part because “your dollars really stretch there.” Stevens says you could live comfortably, rent included, for $1,800 a month—and that these values extend to real estate, as well. “A condo right on the coast that might cost you $1 million or more in California would cost you less than $150,000 along Ecuador’s northern Pacific. You can also rent a furnished apartment in the colonial city of Cuenca, for instance – a place right in the heart of things – for $600 or less a month. And it’ll only cost you $2 or $3 to take a taxi across town.”

The No. 3 retirement haven is Malaysia.

In Asia’s top retirement destination, English is widely spoken as the unofficial first language, making it easier for North American retirees to transition. It is also exotic and far away—but “incredibly affordable,” Stevens says. “Talk about a place where you can step up in your lifestyle without blowing your budget! Malaysia is a place where you really can embrace a first world existence for $1,700 a month.”

The country offers a program called “Malaysia My Second Home,” which allows foreigners to stay on a social visa for 10 years, and is renewable. Stevens says if and when you move to Malaysia, a ‘medical tourism’ destination, you can count on excellent care that’ll run you less than half of what you’d pay in the U.S. “Plus, unlike elsewhere in Asia, in Malaysia you can buy property, land, houses and condominiums freehold.”

More on Forbes: The 15 Best Countries To Retire To In 2014

The most attractive retirement havens aren’t just cheap; they’re welcoming places where you can integrate into the community, she adds. “They’re safe. They’re attractive. They provide the diversions you want, which could be anything from snorkeling to the opera, depending on your interests.”

They also offer opportunities to learn a new language, make new friends and reinvent yourself, she adds. “Maybe you’ll launch a tour business or open a restaurant or write a novel, as many expats we know have. Perhaps you find an opportunity to give back–to volunteer at a school or work with women to create new income opportunities.”

But it’s important to remember there’s no one-size-fits-all destination. You really have to think about your own priorities and what you really want. “The beach? Maybe–but it might be too hot. A small village? Perhaps–but if you have health issues to consider, you may want to be in a bigger community,” Stevens says. “Everybody is different, so be honest with yourself.”

She suggests writing down what you want and where you’re willing to compromise. Ask questions of expats living in the places you’re considering Get informed and go. “You absolutely have to visit. It’s funny how, ultimately, what’s most important is how a place speaks to your heart. It might look ideal on paper but just not turn your crank. Or you may consider an option you don’t think you’ll really like only to discover you fall in love with it once you see it for yourself. On the ground experience is irreplaceable.” And remember: wherever you go, there you are. Crossing a border doesn’t make that any less true. “If you’re a cranky, disgruntled curmudgeon right now, you’re likely to be one overseas as well. As our editors in Ecuador like to put it: ‘Bring your luggage, but leave your baggage at home.’”

Also keep in mind that retiring abroad isn’t for everyone. “The happiest and most successful expats we meet overseas have one thing in common: They brought their sense of adventure with them,” Stevens says. “They went overseas ready to try new things, to be confounded, to be impressed, to be surprised. Living overseas works best when you’re pulled there and not just pushed. If your motivation for going abroad is entirely economic, brace yourself for disappointment.”

And remember that it doesn’t have to be a full-time endeavor. You don’t have to sell everything and upend your life to enjoy an international lifestyle in a good-value haven somewhere exotic in the world, she concludes. “Go for a month, three months, six months. In a good-value destination, you could spend less on the whole of your everyday needs than you would on just heat alone back home.”

More on Forbes:

13 Money Mistakes Retirees Should Avoid

10 Winning Stocks Set For A Slide In 2014

Forbes 30 Under 30: The Brightest Stars In 15 Different Fields

Source: Forbes Business

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Ultriva CEO Explains Lean Manufacturing Requires Supplier Replenishment
Cupertino, CA, April 20, 2014 --(PR.com)-- Often overlooked in lean manufacturing initiatives is the supply chain, in particular supplier replenishment. In the current company blog, Ultriva’s CEO, Narayan...
 
 
Brakes India Limited Selects VIMANA by System Insights to Increase Productivity and Reduce Costs
Brakes India Limited Selects VIMANA by System Insights to Increase Productivity and Reduce Costs
 
 
Jerry List to Present at QC Software Webinar: WCS Versus WMS Picking the Right Solution
Cincinnati, OH, April 20, 2014 --(PR.com)-- Tuesday, June 10th, Jerry List, VP of QC Software, will present a webinar titled, “Warehouse Control Systems (WCS) versus Warehouse Management Systems (WMS)…How...
 
 
TraceGains May 15th Webinar Provides Manufacturers Support with GFSI
Westminster, CO, April 20, 2014 --(PR.com)-- TraceGains is offering a highly requested webinar addressing the impetus for creating the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), its benefits, and basic steps to support...
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Ultriva CEO Explains Lean Manufacturing Requires Supplier Replenishment
Cupertino, CA, April 20, 2014 --(PR.com)-- Often overlooked in lean manufacturing initiatives is the supply chain, in particular supplier replenishment. In the current company blog, Ultriva&#8217;s CEO, Narayan...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Brakes India Limited Selects VIMANA by System Insights to Increase Productivity and Reduce Costs
Berkeley, CA, April 20, 2014 --(PR.com)-- System Insights is rapidly expanding its customer base across discrete and process manufacturing industries including companies in Aerospace, Automotive, Electronics,...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Jerry List to Present at QC Software Webinar: WCS Versus WMS Picking the Right Solution
Cincinnati, OH, April 20, 2014 --(PR.com)-- Tuesday, June 10th, Jerry List, VP of QC Software, will present a webinar titled, &#8220;Warehouse Control Systems (WCS) versus Warehouse Management Systems (WMS)&#8230;How...
Read more on Business Balla
 
TraceGains May 15th Webinar Provides Manufacturers Support with GFSI
Westminster, CO, April 20, 2014 --(PR.com)-- TraceGains is offering a highly requested webinar addressing the impetus for creating the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), its benefits, and basic steps to support...
Read more on Business Balla
 
After Game One Win, Warriors Playoff Tickets Are Now Most Expensive In U.S.
With their dramatic game-one road win against the Clippers, the Warriors have the upper-hand in the battle for California basketball.  If they can advance, it will be the only the third time in the last twenty years...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Enterprises TV to Air Segment on Reducing Business Travel Costs
Coral Springs, FL, April 20, 2014 --(PR.com)-- The producers of Enterprises TV are pleased to announce they are working on a segment focusing on business travel costs and how some companies are reducing them. As...
Read more on TV Balla
 
3 Month BJJ White Belt Fundamentals Course with Master Marco Alvan
Springfield, MA, April 20, 2014 --(PR.com)-- Come and find out how to learn Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in a fun, relaxed environment. Team Link in Ludlow, Massachusetts will be holding 3 month BJJ course designed...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Bcut Productions Presents "The Hilltop Barbershop" Movie Premiere
Springfield, NJ, April 20, 2014 --(PR.com)-- Bobby and his friends take you on a comical ride as the owner of Bobby&#39;s Cut above barbershop. The story takes you into the real world of the barbershop and the...
Read more on Movie Balla
 
Nous Infosystems and SmartBear Software Enter Strategic Partnership
Bangalore, India, April 20, 2014 --(PR.com)-- SmartBear Software, the leading provider of software quality and performance management tools, and Nous Infosystems, a global IT organization offering quality software...
Read more on Business Balla
 
EVO Payments International and PAY.ON Partner on Quick Interface for SME Merchants
Munich, Germany, April 20, 2014 --(PR.com)-- PAY.ON, the world&#39;s leading operator of web-based, omnichannel payment infrastructure systems, and EVO Payments International (EVO), a leading card payment acquirer and...
Read more on Business Balla
 
 
Auto Balla Sexy Balla Sport Balla TV Balla Politics Balla Movie Balla Apple Balla Business Balla Ad Balla Celebrity Balla