The Best Places to Retire in the World
Thinking about moving to another state or country when you retire? You are not alone; this is why we are going to explore the best places to retire in the world.
Relocating is a growing trend among older Americans. The number of checks the U.S. Social Security Administration sends out of the country has increased by 40% over the last decade.
The promise of a happier and healthier lifestyle is the main reason for deciding to relocate after retirement, but what exactly this involves will differ from person to person.
How do You Choose Where to Settle?
Here we will talk about the best places to retire in the world. A lower cost of living and being able to afford those extras, is a frequent consideration. For others a different climate or culture, a more leisurely pace, or a close-knit community, might be at the top of the list. Some might want to move to where they can indulge in their favorite leisure or sporting activities with ease.
Further important factors to consider include tax rates, the quality of health services, political stability, ease of obtaining permanent residence, distance from the U.S. if you plan to visit regularly and whether English is widely spoken.
The places we suggest are only a handful of the most popular retirement spots around the world. We have included two in the U.S. and six in foreign countries.
The United States
Fort Myers, Florida
Florida State offers low taxes and affordable housing. Happiness and desirability ratings are high. A handful of Florida cities made it to the U.S. News and World Report on the 25 best places to retire in the U.S. and Fort Myers won top stop.
The city is a popular retirement location with 34% of its population aged 60 or older. Besides a low cost of living, it offers and mild climate, a variety of attractions and entertainment in the city, and also beaches, fishing and boating.
Colorado Springs, Colorado
The cost of living in Colorado is below the national average and the state offers great tax benefits on retirement income. Health care is excellent and housing prices are below average. The countryside offers abundant opportunities for a healthy and active lifestyle.
Colorado Springs has become a popular retirement destination with all the modern amenities of a metropolitan city. However, being nestled in the Rocky Mountains, its greatest attraction is the pristine mountain air, hiking trails and winter sports.
Europe currently offers great value for the dollar. Americans can enjoy a much better lifestyle on their retirement income than would be possible in their home country.
Algarve Region, Portugal
The 2020 International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index rated Portugal as the number one country for retirement. It is the second least expensive country in Europe and the third safest country in the world. Portugal has quality health services, excellent food and wine and friendly people.
Algarve is a popular retirement destination with a large expat community, so English is widely spoken. Hugging the Southernmost Coast of Portugal, it offers sunny weather and splendid beaches while also being close to the capital city of Lisbon.
Obtaining permanent residence, which is based on annual income or investment, is relatively easy.
France is listed as number nine on International Living’s retirement index. Outside the major cities the cost of living is cheaper than in the U.S. France offers excellent health care and a pleasant climate. Many are attracted to this country for its culture, cuisine, unspoiled countryside and a relaxed lifestyle.
Pau is an old city with spectacular views of the Pyrenees Mountains. Within an hour you can be at the nearest ski resort or beach and it is only a few miles away from the Spanish border. Property prices are reasonable compared to the U.S. It has a mild climate and is known for its sporting facilities.
Obtaining permanent residence in France is fairly easy.
George Town, Malaysia
Malaysia’s drawcards for retirees are a low cost of living, warm climate and exceptionally beautiful scenery with beaches and ancient rainforests. As it was a British Colony, English is widely spoken and even road signs are in both languages. Health care is excellent and very reasonably priced, although one does need private insurance.
George Town is the capital of Penang, a tropical island off the Malaysian coast. Home to people from many different cultures, the cuisine is varied and excellent. A top destination for retirees for many years, George Town offers stunning beaches, cultural experiences and modern shopping centers.
Malaysia’s My Second Home program makes obtaining residence fairly easy. One drawback is that a plane trip back to the U.S can take up to 19 hours.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
With a very low cost of living, tropical climate and exotic culture, this makes Thailand an attractive retirement destination. The health services are excellent and low priced, underlined by the fact that it is a health care tourism destination. English is widely spoken and the crime rate is low.
Chang Mai is a city in Northern Thailand and one of the country’s cultural hubs. The highest mountain in Thailand and a number of national parks are within short driving distance. The city boasts a multitude of street markets for fresh produce, and also modern malls. Residential options include modern trendy areas, the older gated city, or the nearby countryside.
Obtaining a retirement visa requires an annual income of $22,000, but you will not be allowed to work. A trip back to the U.S takes about 24 hours.
There are five Central and South American countries are in the top 10 of International Travel’s Global Retirement Index.
Central Valley, Costa Rica
Costa Rica is a popular retirement option with a year-round pleasant climate and low cost of living, including inexpensive housing. It is one of the cleanest and greenest countries in the world and there is an abundance of locally grown food produce. The politics are stable, the crime rate is low and health services are good and reasonably priced.
The Central Valley is a plateau with weather described as “eternal spring”. Villages are dotted amongst farms, forests and mountains. The area boasts a wide range of clubs, sports and cultural activities. From the Central Valley you can get to either San Jose, the capital, or the tropical beaches along the Pacific in about an hour.
Retirees are welcomed and residence requires only a minimal income from the States. English is widely understood, but some knowledge of Spanish will be useful.
Panama City, Panama
Panama is a retirement haven, described as Florida on the cheap, with its sunny and warm climate. In 2019 it was ranked as International Living’s top retirement spot. Health care is excellent and much cheaper than in the U.S.
Panama City is a large metropolis situated on a bay. It offers everything one would expect in a first-world city, but all for less. The lifestyle in its residential neighborhoods is similar to that of small towns and you could probably even afford home help. The weather is warm and breezy, and the beaches and mountains are only about an hour’s drive away.
Panama actively encourages retirees and you can qualify for its Pensionado visa, on showing an annual income of around $12,000. This visa also provides for various discounts, including on flights, public transport, utilities and restaurants.
Do Your Homework
With so many things to consider, it is not easy to decide where you want to spend your golden years. We suggest that you list all your requirements, prioritize them and then research different places to find the one that meets most of needs and desires.
Furthermore, the real-life experience of in a location can be quite different from what you read. Find an online ex-pat community where you can get your questions answered. Then go and live there in rental accommodation for a few months before making a final commitment.