5 Best Countries To Retire To

David Bolton

/

September 4, 2020

General Retirement
5 Best Countries To Retire To | Retire Fearless

While there's no one-size-fits-all approach to retirement, many people are becoming ingenious in finding ways to stretch their money and lead a comfortable and even luxurious life in their golden years. For many Americans, one of the best strategies is retiring abroad. But which are the best countries to retire to? Well, let's find out.

There are several things to consider when planning for your retirement. One of the most important things to consider is where you want to retire. For many Americans, retiring abroad is becoming a very popular choice. As the health care costs and costs of living keep rising in the United States, looking to move abroad in your golden years is becoming more attractive. That's why many Americans are looking to retire in countries where the costs of living are not only cheap but the surroundings are gorgeous and enjoyable.

According to a report by the International Living Retirement Index (ILRI), many countries offer low cost of living and affordable health care than the United States. As such, moving to these countries in your retirement will save you big bucks. That's because your nest egg will sustain you for decades longer than it would back at home.    

Many foreign countries offer better standards of living at a lower cost than the United States. You're even likely to find a country offering a slower pace of lifestyle that's more conducive to retirees, favorable weather conditions, and many amenities that will make your golden years much better.

So what are the 5 best countries to retire to? Through its annual retirement index, International Living publishes a yearly list of the best countries to retire to. From the breathtaking medieval castles of Portugal to the sunny and charming beaches of Costa Rica, here are the 5 best countries to retire to.

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Panama

Thanks to its proximity to the United States, it's easy to see why Panama has always been a huge hit with retirees. This is a modern country that is welcome and offers plenty of sun and warmth throughout the year. Better still, it's out of the hurricane belt so you don't have to worry about becoming a hurricane victim.

With a cosmopolitan capital, Panama offers you a great opportunity of easily renting a house with a beachfront view for less than $1,300 a month. The costs will even be more affordable if you venture just outside Panama City. If you prefer living in the beachfront areas, you can consider Bocas Del Toro or Coronado. In short, Panama offers much more than its modern capital city. This country boasts mountain towns that have pine-covered hills, cool climates, and incredible Swiss-style cottages. On the other hand, there are amazing beaches that remain among the best in the Caribbean.

But if you're looking for much cheaper options, move to places like Pedasi, which is located on the tip of Azuero Peninsula in the province of Los Santos on the Pacific Ocean. Your rent in this area will be around $700 a month. This is a great area if you want to live on a budget and can make good use of freshly caught fish, a plethora of local fresh produce, and lots of cheaper restaurants.

In terms of taxes, Panama is famed as one of the tax havens in the world, almost at par with Monaco. Imagine a country where you do not have to pay any income tax on your overseas earnings. In other words, your tax burden will be extremely low if you move to Panama.

What's more, health care can typically cost you almost 65% less than in the United States and you'll still have access to some of the best doctors and caregivers in the world. Most hospitals and clinics in the country charge a minimal fee ranging from $20 to $60 for visitation or consultation. Again, larger hospitals have state-of-the-art equipment and specialists in all the medical fields. You also get the best service given that doctors in Panama work one on one with patients, meaning that you'll deal directly with a doctor. Even more important, prescription drugs in the country are a lot cheaper than in the United States.

There are several discounts and benefits that retirees can enjoy in this idyllic country. For instance, the nation's well-known Pensionado Program is one of the world's best programs for retirees. It doesn't matter whether you're a native or an expatriate, you can qualify for this excellent program as long as you meet the age threshold, which is 60 for men and 55 for women. All you have to do is provide your residency card and you'll be eligible for these amazing discounts and benefits. As a retiree, this program gives you a long list of discounts and benefits. You'll get discounts on entertainment, medical expenses, energy bills, travel, and even hotel stays.

As a senior, you're probably looking for a place where you'll easily fit in and still feel at home. Well, you don't have to study another language. This is because there's a big English-speaking population that will make you feel at home as far as language and communication are concerned.

In essence, Panama should be top of your list is you are looking for the best country to retire to. From exciting cuisines, unpopulated beaches to some of the best amenities in the world, Panama has everything to attract even the hardest-to-please seniors. The main currency is U.S. dollars and you can comfortably live on less than $2,600 a month.

Portugal

From charming cobblestone streets, picturesque beaches to delicious food and spectacular medieval castles, Portugal remains Europe's best retirement destination. Whether you start looking from north to south or from the Spanish east to the Atlantic Ocean in the west, Portugal is just so appealing. The Portuguese are polite and welcoming, the country's cities are bustling, and the climate is brilliant.

The first thing that many retirees consider when looking for the best place to retire is, of course, affordability. We're talking about a country that's ranked only second to Bulgaria as the least expensive country in Europe. Well, Portugal offers one of the most affordable costs of living in Europe. You can afford to live comfortably in Portugal for about $2,500 a month.

To put it into perspective, the cost of living in Portugal is nearly 30% lower than in the United States. The cost of housing in Portugal is about 46% lower than in the United States. The average rent for a city center apartment in Portugal is about $650 a month and you can expect to spend about $270 per square foot if you want to buy a city center apartment.

Rich in history and culture, Portugal offers some of the best amenities for seniors who are looking to enjoy their golden years. With a warm year-round climate in most areas, you'll find several Caribbean-style beaches, hiking paths, and world-class golf courses, as well as fine museums and ancient ruins. In short, the country's natural beauty and a plethora of architecture from various eras ooze a beautiful sense of longevity, rich culture, and enduring tradition.

One of the best things about Portugal is its friendliness. This may be surprising to many, but the Portuguese are perhaps among the friendliest people you'll ever meet. They're known to make sincere efforts and go out of their way to ensure that expatriates and visitors alike feel welcome. Portuguese is the common language, so learning how to speak some Portuguese will go a long way, especially in cities such as Lisbon and Porto. You'll, however, be good to go in regions such as Algarve and Cascais, which are among the most popular expatriate regions in the country.

In terms of safety, Portugal is the world's third safest country. You do not have to worry about your safety with homicide cases almost non-existent. You can freely walk your dog without fear of being mugged. So if you've been looking for a great place to retire in Europe, Portugal might be your best bet. It's safe, friendly, has an excellent climate, affordable healthcare, and one of the lowest costs of living in Europe.

Costa Rica

If you're looking for a popular, low-stress, and one of the safest places to retire, the Central American country of Costa Rica should be among your best options. With an economy that's growing with double digits. Enticing beaches, and bubbling thermal springs, what more can you ask for in a retirement destination?

There's a reason why Costa Rica is widely known as the "Switzerland of Central America." We're talking about a peace-loving nation that is democratic since it abolished its army in 1948 and pledged the military funds to healthcare and education. This country is widely revered for its neutrality, safety, and superb banking system, especially when compared to its neighbors. Most of the country's governments both past and present have been progressive and uphold LGBT rights.

A common phrase that's associated with Costa Rica is Pura Vida. Loosely translating to "Life is Good," this phrase goes a long way in showing just how Costa Ricans are warm and welcoming to visitors and expatriates. They will make you feel right at home and are always eager to share their magical culture. In addition to superb communities of expatriates, you can easily forge new friendships with locals who are always willing to sincerely help foreigners.

In terms of the cost of living, it's reported that the cost of living in Costa Rica is nearly 23% lower than the cost of living in the United States. Add this to the fact that housing is almost 61% lower than in the U.S. and you'll agree that Costa Rica can be quite affordable for many Americans. For about $2,000 you can live more comfortably in Costa Rica that you would in the United States.

When it comes to healthcare, the country offers a socialized medical program that brings together public healthcare and private healthcare. By paying between 7% and 11% of your monthly income, you can easily access medical care provided that you've already acquired your residency. With that, you can easily seek health in the nation's three JCI accredited hospitals, as well as several private clinics.

We, of course, hope that you haven't forgotten about the climate. Costa Rica is a microclimate country, meaning there are varying weather conditions to suit different individual preferences.

If you love what's referred to as "eternal spring," the climate of the country's capital, San Jose, can be ideal for you. But if you want to kick back and relax while rollicking in some of the best beaches in Central America, the warm beaches of Guanacaste will serve you just right. Either way, Costa Rica remains the best and safest place to retire to in Central America.

Mexico

Located just next door to the United States, Mexico should be an obvious choice if you're looking for a great place to retire. Forget about the negativity that's always portrayed in the biased media, Mexico has something amazing for everyone. The tropical climate is warm, the beaches are beautiful, the farmlands are fertile, the cities are sophisticated, and even the country's deserts are captivating.

And whether you're looking to retire in a beachfront house or an extravagant colonial-style home, Mexico is known for having one of the most affordable housings in the world. To put it into perspective, the cost of housing in Mexico is nearly 70% lower than in the United States. This is a nation where a modern one-bedroom city apartment will set you back around $350 a month. And even if you are looking to own your home, a city center apartment will cost you just about $125 per square foot.

The cost of living in Mexico is exceedingly low. This country has very many incredible places where you can comfortably afford to live for the price of a single Social Security monthly check. In short, your cost of living in Mexico can be anywhere between $1,500 and $3,000.

In terms of healthcare, you can easily apply for the national healthcare plan once your residency status is approved. The newest healthcare plan is inclusive and has no restrictions for expatriates. As long as you have a residency visa, you can be eligible for the new national healthcare plan. While the details are not yet available, health experts say that it's one of the best, especially for seniors.

When it comes to climate, Mexico is one of the most geographically diverse countries in North America. While the general climate is warm, you can choose spring-like temperatures or even choose to live in the colder regions, especially in the rural mountains. What's more; you'll instantly fall in love with the country's vibrant life, culture, and delicious cuisines.

We, however, have to admit that your safety can be a problem in Mexico and so you have to be very careful when moving around, especially in poverty-stricken regions. There are high rates of crimes and kidnappings. That being said, some of the regions that you should avoid include Sinaloa, Michoacán, Guerrero, Tamaulipas, and Colima. Despite that, Mexico is generally one of the best places to retire, especially if you want to stay close to the United States.

Malaysia

If you're looking to move to a country that's far away from the United States, Malaysia can be an ideal choice. Malaysia has been, for many years, ranked as the best country to retire to in Asia and it's easy to see why. With over 870 islands, this is a paradise in southeastern Asia. It's also an English-speaking first world country so you can expect to find the best in terms of housing, healthcare, and general infrastructure.

Known for its low cost of living, you can comfortably live in Kuala Lumpur for $1,500 a month. If anything, you can lead a luxurious lifestyle if you can afford to spend $2,500 a month. After all, the cost of living in Malaysia is nearly 45% lower than the cost of living in the United States. In terms of housing, rent in Malaysia is about 70% lower than in the United States. This means that a one-bedroom city center apartment can cost you around $350 a month, which is quite low, compared to the same apartment in any of the biggest cities in the United States.

Malaysia was a colony of Britain. This means that many laws in the country are based on the British system and that's why English is one of the most common languages. As such, you shouldn't have any problem in terms of language and communication. In short, you don't have to worry about learning another language, and getting around is quite easy as many road signs are both in Malay and English.

As for healthcare, Malaysia offers one of the most affordable healthcare systems not just in Asia but around the world. And it doesn't matter whether you are a local or an expatriate, you can easily access medical care with any hitches as long as you're able to pay for it.

Malaysia is also one of the best-ranked countries in terms of entertainment, the outdoor lifestyle, and amenities. This country is famous not just for its street food craze but also for its heavenly beaches. There are just so many islands to at least offer something for everyone. This country is also home to the most pristine if not ancient rainforests in the world.

If you're thinking about how to travel in and out of Malaysia, keep in mind that there are daily direct flights from Penang's International Airport to the rest of Asia. This means that jetting in and out of the country is as is easy as it comes.

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About Us

We love planning for retirement. It's somewhat of a hobby, and we want to share what we've learned with you.

Over the years we've found the best ways to live, how to travel, take on new hobbies and give back.

Happiness in retirement is the main goal, and having the right information allows us (and you) to achieve that.

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