Top Places to Retire ~ 2014

 Where ya gonna go?  What ya gonna do when you get there?  And, bottom line… how  ya gonna pay for it?

No work, no money, no worries.

No work, no money, no worries.

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!








Female Nomads ~ retired women are taking to the open road

My friend Lois is a nomad.  She’s also single and pretty much retired.  Lois doesn’t have a huge income or the security of a well-stocked trust fund.  And yet, Lois has one of the richest, fullest lives of anyone I know.  This delightful, spirited woman lives in a 10 foot 1965 vintage Aloha trailer that she pulls with her aging Mercury Montero.  Freedom?  Oh my! She’s got that in spades.  A couple of weeks ago, Lois waved goodbye to Portland’s rainy winters and headed south with “Li’l Homey”.   She shares her travels and nomad lifestyle on her blog Playing a New Game.  Thank you Lois for  inspiring the gypsy hiding in me.Lil Homey

These days more and more senior single women are taking up life on the road.  They are firing up the RV or hitching up the trailer to explore the highways and back roads all across the country.  They are creating new communities and making friends as they go.  And, while there are are some very interesting challenges in this lifestyle, these gals are rising to the challenge and loving their new home on the road.

If you are feeling the call of the open road as a retirement option, check out these very informative links for more information and a some stories that are guaranteed to make you smile

Unlikely Nomads ~  the Christian Science Monitor

Happy End of the Road for RVers – Assisted Living on Wheels ~ AOL Real Estate

And, finally, if you are not sure the RV life is for you, perhaps you like to give it a try for a night or two in one of the beautiful vintage trailers at the Shady Dell Resort in Arizona or one of the eight cuties available in Bend, Oregon at Cowgirl Cabins.

Who’s in for a Wild Women’s Weekend this summer at Cowgirl Cabins?  Sounds like fun, doesn’t it.

See you on the road.