Where ya gonna go? What ya gonna do when you get there? And, bottom line… how ya gonna pay for it?
Those are the questions a whole bunch of retirees and soon-to-be retirees are asking. These days, options for retirement are growing as rapidly as the number of boomers crossing the employment finish line.
Just when you need it, here’s a little information, food for thought and a few links to click through to help you explore some of this year’s top retirement havens.
Every year the team at International Living, Kathleen Peddicord of Live and Invest Overseas publish their lists of the top places to retire outside of the United States. Creating these lists requires a fair amount of boots on the ground research and data analysis. In the case of International Living, they publish what they call a Global Retirement Index where they measure eight categories: cost of living, real estate, infrastructure, climate, real estate, special retirement benefits, ease of integration, infrastructure, and entertainment and amenities. While they do look at hard numbers like annual rainfall and senior discounts, the cost of utilities and housing, what they provide is mainly a “qualitative” assessment. A lot of this information comes directly from people who have their boots on the ground or their flip-flops in the sand. Then IL analyzes the data and creates a ranking based on a point system with 100 being somewhere close to perfect. From this they determine the top countries. Bear in mind, that they are generally looking at a few specific towns, cities and regions within those countries. While Ecuador (2013’s winner) ranks high as a country, most people live in or near a few specific locations like Cuenca, Cotacochi, Quito or the coast. A few brave souls are blazing trails and leaving the relative safety and comfort of the cities and setting up camp in small towns, but they are giving up some of the ranking benefits of reliable internet, readily available good healthcare, etc. that many retirees feel is essential. These types of reports generally cater to the moderately adventurous newbie and provide a great place to start.
International Living’s Top Ten Retirement Destinations for 2014 are… (drum roll please)
1. Panama – which ranked 100 in special benefits and 91.2 overall
2. Ecuador – which ranked 99 in special benefits, 100 in climate and 91.1 overall
3. Malaysia – No 100’s here but was rated 88.5 overall and a 95 health rating.
4. Costa Rica – Still suffers from infrastructure problems (75) and climate (77). Rated 86.8 overall indicating lots of people like the security and pura vida lifestyle.
5. Spain – This one surprised me, but they ranked in the 90’s for real estate, health, infrastructure and entertainment/amenities. Perhaps these offset the exchange rate. Overall – 85.8
Others in the Top Ten? Colombia – 84.2, Mexico – 84.2, Malta – 84.1, Uruguay – 83.7 and Thailand at 83.5.
According to US News who published Kathleen Peddicord’s list of 2014 top cities/countries, the winners are ~
1. Coronado, Panama
2. Languedoc, France
3. Ambergris Caye, Belize
4. Cuenca, Ecuador
5. Chiang Mai, Thailand
6. Puerto Vallerta, Mexico
7. Granada, Nicaragua
8. Medellin, Columbia
If, like hubs and I, you are looking for a quality retirement lifestyle where your retirement budget stretches farther, perhaps some these places are worth a look and maybe a visit. I’ll be doing more research and reporting back with details so stay tuned.
See you on the road!
P.S. If you are currently living or have lived in any of these locations, I’d love to hear from you. Nothing beats actual experience. Thanks!