The World’s Top Retirement Havens For 2015

Big Year Ahead: Retirement Havens For 2015

We want to do everything we can to help make 2015 your year, the year you get up and get going to make your dreams of a new life in a new land come true. And we realize that we’d better get moving, because, as I write, we’re already midway through January.

A big part of our role in this conversation, as we see it, is to provide options. Around the first of this New Year, I suggested a top 10 list for where to retire in 2015 (which you can read here if you haven’t already).

The 10 destinations that made that short list are a great place to start, but they’re not the only places in the world that might make sense for you. Maybe your ideal Shangri-la overseas isn’t among the world’s top 10, as we recognize them right now.

That’s one question we put to ourselves when we sat down to prepare the 2015 editorial calendar for our Overseas Retirement Letter: Where else, beyond that top 10 list, offers opportunity and lifestyle upside for the would-be retiree overseas this year?Our answer to that question became our Overseas Retirement Letter agenda for this New Year. That is, here’s our ORL line-up for 2015. Subscribers can look forward to detailed and comprehensive reports on what retirement would be like in the following destinations:

George Town, Malaysia:

“Malaysia has a strong retirement-investment program, is English-speaking, and offers luxury living on a low to medium budget,” explained Asia Correspondent Wendy Justice when making her case for why this city should be featured on this year’s ORL calendar. Wendy’s case was so persuasive that we decided to start the year here. That is, Overseas Retirement Letter subscribers can read Wendy’s complete report on retirement in George Town in this month’s issue, in their email inboxes the 15th of this month (last Thursday).

George Town is a busy, thriving city with a large expat community that has managed to retain its colonial charm (it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site). George Town is affordable, has a tropical climate, excellent health care, and an intriguing culture. Last featured in ORL in 2009, Wendy’s feature piece this month brings you up-to-date on the many advantages and benefits from this top option for city living in Asia.


This Caribbean pick is from Correspondent Rob Carry, who writes: “There is no bad place to be in the West Indies, but Barbados offers the most for retirees. First up is the laid-back, fun-loving Bajan way of life. It’s great to watch and a joy to slip into. Barbados also offers a gorgeous beach around every bend of every bay, exquisite seafood, and a climate to die for. Plus it’s all underpinned by well-developed infrastructure, a solid democracy, and an English-speaking population. Although it’s beloved by millionaires and celebrities, Barbados can be surprisingly low cost with the right insight (rents are especially low), and the excellent health care is available at a fraction of the cost of U.S. health care.”


Malta is another pick by globe-trotting Correspondent Rob Carry. Here’s why he argued to include this on our 2015 calendar:

“Malta,” Rob wrote, “is a shining First World jewel in the middle of the Mediterranean. An EU member where English is almost universally spoken by the multilingual population, Malta is close to a complete package. Health care is superb, and all Europe is within an hour or two flying time. The Maltese people are warm and welcoming with an enthralling history, great food, and a culture all their own.”

Bangkok, Thailand:

Bangkok is the pick of Asia Correspondent Wendy Justice, who explains, “Bangkok is overwhelming given the massive size of the city. There are certainly parts of it that I would not recommend, but there are a few neighborhoods that deserve our attention.” Specifically, later this year, Wendy will introduce you to Sukhomvit, a neighborhood that is popular among expats and offers lots of Western-type amenities.

Prague, Czech Republic:

Prague was once the capital of the Holy Roman Empire, meaning plenty of historical and cultural interest. It is also centrally located in Europe, making it a great springboard for driving trips to nearby cities and countries. The city is no longer considered a super-cheap destination among European capitals, but the value is there. You can live well on a reasonable budget. With two-bedroom apartments available for less than US$900 a month in the city center, Prague is our pick for where to embrace city life on the Continent for less than US$2,000 a month.

Vung Tau, Vietnam:

Founded in the 14th century as a port town for European trading ships, Vung Tau means “anchorage.” Nowadays a hub for the oil industry, the city plays a major part in Vietnam‘s economy and is a significant and relatively wealthy city that manages to feel sleepy and removed. For expats, the city offers a bargain cost of living, a good private hospital that caters to foreigners, clean, fresh sea breezes, exquisite seafood, and easy access to Ho Chi Minh City.

Tulum, Mexico:

Mexico Correspondent Mike Anderson will be reporting this year on Tulum, which, as he explains, “offers great beaches and a continuing opportunity for growth for the retiree-investor. Tulum has traction with expats who have created a small hub here in the Quintana Roo province of the Yucatan Peninsula. The area has been developing for the past two decades, and I think it will continue to evolve as a top expat haven in Mexico.”

Bali, Indonesia:

Another pick from Asia Correspondent Wendy Justice’s for 2015 is Bali:

“Seminyak, Indonesia, on the island of Bali, offers residents a low cost of living, a large, well-established expat community, plus, of course, the stunning South Pacific beaches that Bali is so famous for. Indonesia even offers a retirement visa. I look forward to covering Seminyak… it’s the perfect excuse for a return visit to Bali!”


With property prices in Spain struggling to keep from falling further, this is the time to be looking at this part of the world. Specifically, we want to draw your attention to opportunities along the thousands of miles of coastline this country has to offer. The Costa del Sol is the best known of Spain’s costas, but it’s also the most developed. Other coastal spots offer more history and cultural diversity. Our Spanish scouts are looking for the best combination of current property values, cost of living, and culture. Stay tuned for our pick for Spain’s best costa for 2015.

Plus Two Special Expanded Issues:

In addition, we’re planning two special expanded issues for Overseas Retirement Letter subscribers this year. In June, we’ll be publishing a round-up update on long-standing top retire-overseas choices in Ecuador, Belize, Colombia, Panama, Nicaragua, France, Italy, Spain, Thailand, and the Philippines. And, in August, we’ll be producing our annual Retire Overseas Index, which will rate, rank, compare, and contrast the world’s top 21 retirement destinations this year.

Big year.

Your year.

Bon voyage.

Kathleen Peddicord