Do you think about retirement often?
But aren’t sure where to go to live your life now that the children have left home, eventually and permanently?
Are you now financially secure but afraid of wasting your ‘golden years’ on a life of the mundane?
The world has become a smaller place with its cheaper and convenient air travel – therefore you don’t have to have the big emotional scene saying goodbye to the family forever as you relocate to a new life overseas.
Life expectancy today means that we can expect our retirement to last more than a few decades, so making the right decision where to end your twilight years is more important than ever…
It’s all about personal preference, which finally decides which location appeals the most to us as individuals.
Some retirees prefer English-speaking destinations with a short plane hop from their original destination.
However, other pensioners want more adventure with far-flung countries of the exotic nature with hours of sunshine, a slower pace of life and a lifestyle where their income goes further than they’re used to.
So, once you’ve considered house prices, health care costs, food costs, crime rates, taxation as well as average temperatures with rainfall and hours of sunshine, then you’re finally ready to make that decision.
Retiring abroad really can be a paradise on earth!
Best Retirement Places
If you fancy the idea of beautiful beaches, the bustle of Panama City, bright, cool mountain towns, friendly locals and a stable government then look no further than Panama…
Where exactly is it?
Panama is the southernmost country in Central America.
According to International Living magazine, 2016, this country is ‘hands down the best package of retirement benefits in the world.’
These multitudes of benefits include discounts on transport, entertainment, energy bills, and medicine.
Worried you’ll have to sell your soul for such aid?
Then don’t be, all you need to do to receive these many assistances is to have a Pensionada Visa and to have a pension of at least $1,000 a month to qualify – both private and or social security payments count.
The cost of living in Panama is low compared to many countries, including Europe, North America, and Australasia.
According to numbeo.com, a website which tracks the prices of everyday items, you can enjoy a three-course meal for two in an average Panama restaurant for about $30.00.
Property prices are reasonable, and foreigners have the same rights as the locals.
So, if warm weather, relatively low costs of living and the challenge of learning of a new language is your idea of perfect retirement, then Panama may be the place for you.
A Southeastern Asian country known for its tropical beaches and remote rainforests, perhaps Malaysia is your idea of one of the world’s seven wonders for retirees…
With its mix of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and European influences, this is a country with something to offer for everyone.
It is capital, Kuala Lumpur has everything a modern city has to offer amidst its year-round sunshine.
Home to colonial buildings, skyscrapers including the iconic 451-meter-tall Petronas Twin Towers and various shopping districts, this capital city has an abundance of distraction on offer.
Low-cost living within this generally English-speaking country, ideal accommodation is on average $1,000 a month, you can see its appeal in comparison to the more expensive expat destinations such as Hong Kong and Australia.
Retirees also benefit from their pension, whether private or social security being exempt from Malaysian taxation.
Nestled between Sicily and the North of the African coast, Malta is an archipelago in the center of the Mediterranean.
With its Roman, Moorish, French and British influences with its fortresses, megalithic temples and burial chambers, this country has a culture in abundance for all those expats wanting a bit more than just a tan…
Named after the Maltese word for ‘honey’ this sweet destination has a number of reasons why many pensioners head south to the Mediterranean.
Although one of the smallest (120 square miles) and yet one of the most populated countries in the world (400,000), Malta is country many expats flock to.
With its constant sunshine, culture, excellent free healthcare (ranked 5th in the world by the World Health Organisation), relatively low cost of living – a meal out for two values an average of $55.00 at an average restaurant and reasonable accommodation costs, perhaps Malta is the place of your dreams?
With its abundance of beaches, golf courses, medieval towns and fishing villages, Portugal is a particular country with an all-around appeal for expats.
Its capital, Lisbon, is one of the oldest cities in the world and is seen as a haven for pensioners.
It is ranked as one of the world’s most liveable cities by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
Although popular, Lisbon is not the most popular destination for retirees – this is the role of the Algarve coastline.
The Algarve coastline embraces the Atlantic Ocean and shows off beautiful sapphire-blue waters and stunning countryside.
There’s lots of sunshine with the average temperatures averaging 12C in January to 24C in July.
Portugal offers beneficial tax regimes and like many retiree destinations, offers favorable tax regimes.
What makes it so popular as a home in the sun is the country’s non-habitual resident’s scheme, a foreign-sourced pension income which can be exempt from income tax for a period of up to a decade.
Property prices are also reasonable – average monthly rents for a 350-sq-meter villa in the Algarve are roughly $1,790.
Although hit hard in the recent past by recession, Spain is making a comeback as a place to retire to.
With its magnificent climes, history, culture, entertainment and beaches, Spain has a lot to offer as a retirement destination.
It has five cities which are on the list for the top places to retire to Barcelona, Valencia, Madrid, Grenada, and Malaga.
Obviously, in a city, you’ll be paying more for your cost of living.
Madrid, as Spain’s capital, is probably the highest on the expensive list but if you head for one of the many coastal hotspots, you’ll see far more for your dollar – an average of $200.00 for accommodation cheaper outside the cities.
Unsurprisingly then, many retirees choose to live along the Costa del Sol, the Mediterranean coast of the province of Malaga which is famous for its perfect weather, low-cost living and stress-free lifestyle.
Add in the fact that real estate prices remain down almost 40% from their 2007 high point and the fact that the dollar is stronger than the Euro than it has been for years – it’s a no brainer…
Not surprisingly, this amazing wonder of the world for the expat is also known as ‘The Land of Smiles.’
There are lots to smile about for those of you wanting a low cost of living, a tropical climate, a culture that puts respect for older people on top of their agenda, as well as no tax on retiree income from abroad.
Thailand is a Southeast Asian country which is known for its tropical beaches, magnificent royal palaces, ancient ruins, and decadent Buddhist temples.
A mix of ultramodern cities as well as remote rural communities, it depends on what you desire to live with.
They are ranked by International Living magazine as one of the cheapest in its cost of living index which is buoyed by excellently competitive property prices.
Eating out is outrageously good value with a typical Pad Thai lunch available from just $1.00…
With its generous retirement packages, affordable housing, and its fantastic climate, this spectacular country is creeping its way up the rankings to becoming one of the most desirous places for retirees to escape to.
It has a tremendously diverse landscape as it encompasses the Amazon jungle, the Andean highlands, and the Galapagos Islands with its abundance of wildlife.
Not only is its landscape amazing, in the Andean foothills, at the height of 2850 meters, Quito, its capital, but also has the Spanish decorated palaces such as the ornate Compania de Jesus Church bringing culture and history to this fantastic destination.
Ecuador enjoys 12 hours of daylight, every day due to it sitting on the equator.
Few countries can beat Ecuador for housing costs.
In the colonial city of Cuenca, you can rent a two-bedroomed apartment for less than $500.00 a month.
Spanish is the primary spoken language here for those of you up for the challenge!
There are many retiree perks which include the half-price public transport for over-65s and IVA refunds on many purchases.
The healthcare system is also a major pull for expats – foreign retirees can join the country’s national health care system which is managed by Social Security administration – time, age and pre-existing medical conditions no longer apply.
So, there you have it – a list of the seven wonders of retirement. All you have to do now is to decide which country to opt for – a difficult choice, indeed for those with such little time on their hands due to all that golf that needs playing!!!