Do they say the world is your oyster but is it really?
You might think that in retirement you have a choice of where to finally lay your hat in any part of our globe.
Your right you do, but there may be aspects of living that you want to make sure that particular city can cater for you.
Choosing a city across the world is quite a task, so to narrow down your choices let us appraise some of the aspects you might want to consider.
There are a couple of general global retirement indexes that consider the most desirable places to retire around the world.
If we take their criteria as a baseline let’s first consider the factors to consider.
As we advance in years, the quality and accessibility of healthcare becomes more and more critical.
You might ask yourself are you able to obtain health care as good as in the US abroad.
Sometimes measuring the quality of healthcare is difficult as there are so many factors to consider.
We can compare though on costs of treatment, quality of facility, and quality of healthcare staff.
Another factor to consider is the climate.
You might want to escape harsh winters and gloomy grey rainy days and look for a place where the weather is more temperate and stable.
Are you looking for long hours of sunshine?
Is it clean air and mountain scenery you are craving.
Climate is a crucial factor in picking your global city retirement.
Being able to speak the language and feeling like you fit is also an important decision maker.
If you can integrate well into your new surroundings, it will give you an enhanced feeling of security and safety.
Are there plenty of opportunities to socialize and meet like-minded people.
Are there clubs or groups available that meet your interests and hobbies?
The sense of fit is an important aspect.
Cost Of Living
This can be a significant factor when considering where to relocate to in retirement.
You will need to consider the day to day cost of living, flights back to the US, rent, prices for eating out, gas costs and all the other unseen costs that can sometimes catch you out.
How volatile is the exchange rate of the country you are living in?
This can play a huge part if you are relying on pension or investment income.
Are there opportunities to find some form of part-time work if you need it or want it.
You want to find a country where your dollar is pretty stable and where you can get a lot for your dollar spend.
Taking all these aspects into consideration let’s start exploring some cities that might fit the bill.
Portugal – Lisbon or Porto
Let’s start with a couple of European destinations.
Porto and Lisbon are very multicultural cities with a considerable amount of English speaking ex-pats as residents.
So although it would be useful to speak some Portuguese there are plenty of English speakers to converse with.
One of the attractions of these cities and Portugal as a country is it is very affordable.
After Bulgaria, it is the least expensive place to live in Europe.
Portugal has also rated the fourth safest country in the world and is a safe but beautiful country.
Porto is the second largest city in Portugal with a population of 240,000 people.
As a retiree in Porto, you are surrounded by beautiful parks and elegant fountains and shrouded by exotic plants.
Porto has a fresh, mild climate keeping temperate nearly all the year round.
It has an excellent transport system, so there is no need to have your own transport, the tramway and metro can whisk you to the many sites, including the Atlantic beach.
The cathedral and the rail station are two architectural masterpieces and don’t forget the Cafe Majestic opened in 1921which still retains its old world charm.
Like Portugal as a whole, the cost of living in Porto is acceptable. Coffee will only set you back a $1 and a three-course lunch around $20.
Rent averages around $700 a month, and you could comfortably live on $300 a week.
Porto can offer you a thriving multicultural city with old world charm.
Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in Western Europe.
Located on the Atlantic seaboard, it boasts a large port which brings with it much industry and commerce.
Just outside Lisbon is a string of delectable beaches that are within easy reach and can add a holiday element.
If the climate is essential, Lisbon enjoys the warmest winters of any of the larger cities in Europe.
The summer season is from May to October, where it is beautiful and sunny and warm.
The districts of Lisbon are all slightly different in feel and outlook.
They are known as bairros and some to look out for are Baixa, Bica, Castelo, and Alfama.
Once again the cost of living is on a par with Porto with similar benchmarks for significant living costs such as rent etc.
Healthcare is free to anybody under 18 or over 65. However, for an ex-pat who has residency in Portugal, you must obtain a National Health Service user card.
As another European destination to consider, Spain and in particular Madrid are worth considering.
To retire to a European country, you will need an extended stay visa and the means to support yourself while you are resident.
Madrid is the Spanish capital and with comes everything you would expect from a capital city.
It is vibrant, and diverse, offering everything that Spain as a country has to offer.
Throughout Madrid, there are glorious parks and gardens to enjoy
with the Retiro park being one of the highlights.
Like Portugal, Spain is a very affordable country where the cost of living is in easy reach of most people.
If it’s the culture you are looking for, Madrid has over 60 museums probably led by the Prado Museum of Art.
The Spanish capital certainly has a lot to offer if you are looking for a cultural, vibrant place to enjoy.
Cartegena – Colombia
A really interesting place you might want to consider is Cartegena in Colombia.
You may have heard, seen, or read about Colombia being the drug capital of the world, but it also has an aspect to the country worth looking at as a potential retirement spot.
Firstly, Colombia has a low-income threshold of only 2500 dollars a year to allow you to retire there.
It is also a very cost friendly city where your dollar will stretch a long way.
Your style of living will depend on where you want to live, but you can enjoy a significant lifestyle of eating out and entertaining at a very affordable cost.
In Cartegena, there are fabulous beaches, and the climate is hot and tropical.
The health system in Colombia is ranked 22 in the world, which is better than Canada ranked 30 and the US 37.
Cartegena is also a very safe city to both live in and visit. The city is surrounded on three sides by water, and the police and authorities are very strict, which deters any criminal activity.
Finally, as a retiree, there is also plenty to do here.
There are plenty of physical activities such as gyms and health spas, and of course, cultural events, and eating out is a joy where price if low, but service is high.
Mexico – Cancun
Did you know more Americans have retired to Mexico than any other country?
This might be due to the close proximity to the US as most places in the US are accessible by plane in under 2 hours.
The low cost of living and excellent climate has made Mexico a go-to destination for retiring Americans.
Mexico is a land of warm oceans, fertile, and clear lakes, with quaint villages and sophisticated cities.
One city growing in popularity is Cancun.
Cancun can be described as an ideal tropical retreat with stunning beaches framing the Carribean sea.
A couple living in Cancun can live comfortably on $3,000 a month, and that includes rents.
With over 1 million people in residence, it is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city.
The city is a contrasted between a hotel sector sprawling along the coast, and Mayan ruins tucked away in the foothills.
Once you obtain residency in Mexico, you can sign up for one of the national healthcare plans. The most popular being Seguro Popular, where the annual costs are low.
Many doctors speak , and it is easy to obtain any meds you might need.
The Mexicans are very friendly and welcoming and will try to integrate you as best they can.
Keeping yourself safe is also not as bad as always painted.
The crime rates in Mexico are almost all the same as those in the US.
Cancun was a city that sprung up in the ’70s, now it is an internationally well-known city that could be your ideal retirement retreat.