The Best Destinations for Retiring Abroad

December 27th, 2018 by Holly Godbey | Comments Off on The Best Destinations for Retiring Abroad

Forget retiring to Florida. Why not head even further out? More and more professionals are choosing to retire abroad for a variety of reasons. For one, you can get more for your money in retirement in many international countries, while simultaneously living a more enjoyable life. 

Think about it; for a fraction of the price you’d pay to stay in your New England suburban home, you could have a downsized, but still comfortable, beach house in Central America, where there’s no snow, no bothersome neighbors, and more free beach than you know what to do with. 

But once you’ve made the decision to retire abroad, how do you actually go about picking a singular place when the entire world is laid at your feet?

As successful businesspeople often do, you look at the data. The Global Retirement Index is published each year by International Living and looks at every measurable fact and piece of hard data that could potentially impact your expat lifestyle and international retirement experience. First produced nearly three decades ago, it has become an industry standard for information on retiring abroad. 

So, as of the latest data, where should you retire abroad? 

If you envision your retirement including lots of leisurely days on the beach or possibly a more rigorous hike up a volcano, Costa Rica has you covered.

The number one pick, which is no surprise given its appearance on many similar lists, is Costa Rica. The comfortable climate and inexpensive cost of living, combined with good healthcare access, make it ideal. If you envision your retirement including lots of leisurely days on the beach or possibly a more rigorous hike up a volcano, Costa Rica has you covered. What does the expat community look like? You can find thousands of Americans and Canadians living there either full- or part-time. Even without these expat communities, you’ll see that foreign languages and safety are hardly issues to add to your list of concerns. Likewise, general life satisfaction levels are high in Costa Rica. Stress is low. It’s the perfect escape for those retiring from a hectic, tumultuous lifestyle. 

Nearby Panama is also a top choice. It has been featured as a top destination for retiring abroad on the Global Retirement Index for many years, and for a multitude of reasons. Panama City offers the sand-and-palm trees getaway that you’ll enjoy in Costa Rica, but with a lively culture that will keep you busy, if that’s what you’re looking for. Be it live music, food, spirits or sports, if you have an interest or hobby, it won’t be difficult to find in Panama City. It’s also easy to obtain residence status and take advantage of available government benefits. 

The expat community in Malaysia is extensive and very welcoming to retirees, in part thanks to its history as a former British colony.

Perhaps you’ve heard Asia calling your name. If that’s the case, there are comparable destinations in the Pacific Rim that make excellent retirement choices. The expat community in Malaysia is extensive and very welcoming to retirees, in part thanks to its history as a former British colony. In fact, the expat community here has thrived since the 1700s, so you’ll be in good company. The cost of living is low for just about everything, whether you want to live simply or extravagantly. Many U.S. and Canadian expats find they can afford a whole other level of living in Malaysia than they could at home. Similarly to Panama, Malaysia offers a lovely climate combined with the excitement of a city, Kuala Lumpur, that offers nearly everything one could want. 

Europe offers its own preferred retirement destinations. A country topping several lists for the past few years is Portugal. The small nation eagerly welcomes expats with its affordable living, high level of safety, and broad range of living experiences. If you prefer the convenience and activity of an urban lifestyle, you can find it in Lisbon (which is also a great choice if you want to speak primarily English and even if you want to ditch owning an automobile, as the public transportation is quite good). If you want a more leisurely pace, there are plenty of expat communities along the Portuguese coast, where history and culture abound. 

You’ll find all the amenities of home there for the taking in Spain.

Next door, Spain is an attractive option for expatriates looking to retire in Europe. Like Portugal, there is plenty on offer for city enthusiasts and beach aficionados. The year-round comfortable climate pairs nicely with one of the lowest costs of living you’ll find on the continent. However, unlike some more remote destinations, you’ll find all the amenities of home there for the taking in Spain. 

Jason Hartman, globetrotter and host of the Jetsetter Show, has said, “After spending the majority of my life visiting dozens of countries, I’ve met many members of the world’s expat communities who are extremely pleased with their choice to retire abroad. Making the decision to do so isn’t easy, especially when there are so many amazing destinations to choose from, but some countries offer better perks than others.”

“Whether you’re seeking a laid-back beach lifestyle like what you might find in Costa Rica, or if you want to stay active in a bustling city like Lisbon, there’s a retirement destination out there to fit your dreams, while still offering the safety, low cost of living and healthcare provisions that you need.”  

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