22 Top Places For Retirement In 2014

World’s Best 22 Places To Retire

At last week’s Retire Overseas Conference in Nashville, we introduced those in attendance to the world’s top 22 retirement havens right now, including…

The World’s Cheapest Places To Retire Well

If you’re in the market for a simple but comfortable lifestyle on a modest budget, here’s where you should be focusing your attention, the world’s eight cheapest places to retire, places where you could retire well on your Social Security income alone (with, indicated in parentheses, our total monthly budget amount in each case):

  • Nha Trang, Vietnam (US$680)
  • Dumaguete, Philippines (US$910)
  • Chiang Mai, Thailand (US$920)
  • Cuenca, Ecuador (US$1,010)
  • Granada, Nicaragua (US$1,040)
  • Istanbul, Turkey (US$1,045)
  • George Town, Malaysia (US$1,070)
  • Samana, Dominican Republic (US$1,155)

Easiest Residency

Eight of the 22 countries featured at last week’s event offer user-friendly choices for establishing full-time residency as a foreign retiree, as follows:

  • Belize
  • Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • Malaysia
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Philippines
  • Thailand

In Latin America, retiree residency programs are typically referred to as pensionado visas. To qualify, you need to prove a minimum amount of regular monthly income from some defined source. The minimum amount required varies country to country, from a bargain US$600 (in Nicaragua) to US$2,000 (in Belize) per month. Some countries (including Panama and Colombia, for example) stipulate that the income must be pension income (Social Security qualifies); others (such as Belize and Ecuador) are more flexible. You can qualify for Belize’s version of a pensionado visa program (called the Qualified Retired Persons program) by showing reliable income of at least US$2,000 per month from any source.

Common benefits of being a pensionado retiree include exemptions from duty when importing personal belongings, household goods, and, usually, your car into the country with you. In addition, Panama, for example, offers pensionados discounts on almost everything they buy while in the country, from hotel rooms, restaurant meals, and in-country flights to doctor visits, prescription drugs, even closing costs when purchasing real estate.

Best Weather

Of the 22 destinations featured during last week’s conference, the following have “ideal” climates:

  • Algarve, Portugal (which enjoys one of the most stable climates in the world)
  • Cuenca, Ecuador (one of a number of places worldwide that bills itself as a “land of eternal springtime”)

If you appreciate seasonal variety, consider the following six locations, in each of which you could enjoy spring, yes, but summer, fall, and winter, too:

  • Abruzzo, Italy
  • Buenos Aires, Argentine
  • Istria, Croatia
  • La Serena, Chile
  • Mendoza, Argentina
  • Pau, France

If you prefer it hot and humid, consider:

  • Dumaguete, Philippines
  • George Town, Malaysia
  • Granada, Nicaragua

Also tropical but less sultry and therefore, generally speaking, more pleasant are:

  • Ambergris Caye, Belize
  • Cayo, Belize
  • Nha Trang, Vietnam
  • Panama City Beaches (though not Panama City proper, which is unrelentingly humid all year-round…and which also does not appear on Live and Invest Overseas’ list of top 22 choices)
  • Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Best Options For English Only

In Belize and Ireland, the people speak English. All of them.

These were the only countries on our top choices list for last week’s event where the language question is so cut and dried. Anywhere in the world you go these days, you’re going to find folks who speak English. It’s the global language. But where among the world’s top retirement havens (aside from Belize) could you live as a retiree and not have to learn a new language?

  • Dumaguete, Philippines
  • George Town, Malaysia
  • Panama City Beaches, Panama
  • Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Kathleen Peddicord

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