With so many places in the world available for retirees to live, deciding where to settle down during retirement can be a daunting task. Workers planning on retiring abroad in the future should research what countries best fit their needs and desires for living in order to make the best decision possible.
There are many factors to consider when determining what country to live in as a retired senior. These factors include cost of living, health care availability, transportation, livability, accessibility and safety. Certain countries are known as great places for seniors to retire outside of the U.S., such as Panama, Malaysia, Costa Rica and Portugal. Retirees can read the following information to learn more about these countries and consider whether they fit into their future retirement plan.
There are many benefits to living in Panama, making the country a top destination for retired seniors. Located in Central America, Panama is close to the U.S., allowing retirees to easily travel home to visit family and friends. The Tocumen International Airport is easy to find and a major travel hub, making the country highly accessible for both outgoing and incoming flights.
Living in Panama is extremely cost efficient. Panama has a very low cost of living, so common expenses such as food, housing and transportation are much less expensive than in the U.S. The national currency in Panama uses the U.S. dollar, so retirees do not have to worry about exchanging dollars or an exchange rate. Furthermore, there is no income tax on overseas earnings, so you can enjoy using your retirement income in without having to pay taxes to the government of Panama.
Physically, the geographical diversity of Panama offers something for everyone. The country has mountains, beautiful beaches, cities and a rural countryside. Cities in Panama are comparable to those in the U.S. in size and amenities offered. Seniors can enjoy Panama’s cities at half the cost of living in a typical city in the U.S. Real estate is affordable and easily obtainable.
The food in Panama is plentiful and cheap. Many different types of fruits and vegetables thrive in the climate, and volcanic soil allows for fresher produce. Lastly, the medical system in Panama is highly advanced, yet health care costs are inexpensive. The health care system in the country is more personalized than many coverage plans in the United States.
Another country that is known as a great place to retire is Malaysia. Located in Asia, there are hundreds of islands available in the country for retirees to relax on post-employment. On the mainland, there are major cities that offer similar amenities as those offered in U.S. cities. Housing is readily available, and foreigners can easily buy and own property. Many people speak English and American tourists are common in certain areas.
The cost of living in Malaysia is very low. Retirees will pay much less than they would in the U.S. on food, rent, health care and utilities. Health care, often an important expense for seniors, as surgeries and treatments can cost a fraction of what a U.S. resident might pay.
Malaysia offers retired seniors immersion into a culture filled with welcoming residents, different Asian street foods, customs and practices. Furthermore, the countries close to Malaysia such as Thailand, China and Vietnam are often bucket-list destinations for retirees.
Another country in Central America, Costa Rica is known for its beautiful rainforests, waterfalls, mountains and beaches. Besides being physically beautiful, the country is a popular destination for retirement for various other reasons.
The cost of living in Costa Rica is extremely low, which allows retirees to live comfortably at a much lower price tag than they would pay in the U.S. Housing is cheap and readily available. Medical care in Costa Rica is also low-cost, and the climate makes outdoor exercise possible in every season. Food is fresh, plentiful and inexpensive. Retirees will have access to exotic fruits and vegetables they may not be able to find in the U.S.
Travelling between Costa Rica and the U.S. is an easy process. Because the country is so close to the U.S., making trips home often is feasible for many seniors. Retirees can get around Costa Rica and integrate into the culture smoothly because many residents are bilingual and welcoming of foreign visitors. However, the country is maintains a strong sense of Costa Rican culture, and seniors can experience an immersion into Latin culture. Costa Rica is safe to live in, with a strong sense of community throughout the country and a low crime rate.
Costa Rica is focused on environmental protection in order to preserve the beauty of the country. The government promotes green energy, such as using hydroelectric, wind and geothermal sources as sustainable energy alternatives. The use of green energy could result in an even lower cost of living in the future.
Located in Europe, Portugal is known as Europe’s best retirement destination. Lisbon is major flight hub, making the country easily accessible from the U.S. Portugal boasts beautiful cities, beaches, mountains and a rural countryside.
Portugal is a well-developed country with a large amount of historical sites, culture, beautiful scenery and world-renowned food. The style of living in the country is very relaxed, making it a perfect place for retirement. Natives in Portugal are known for being receptive to foreign visitors and expatriates. Many natives can speak English, making the transition into Portuguese culture easier for many retirees. The expatriate community is large, so seniors can easily connect with other foreigners who have transitioned into the culture. Many organizations for expatriates are available in the country, such as Americans Living in Portugal and International Women in Portugal.
Portugal has an inexpensive cost of living. Housing and food are generally cheaper than in the U.S. The health care offered in the country is a universal system that provides medical services and coverage at little to no cost for residents. The country has an extensive public transportation system, so driving in Portugal is not a necessity.
Living in Portugal allows easy access to other countries within Europe, which are full of rich history, sights and culture. Seniors can take cheap flights or ride the train to cross off bucket-list destinations while living in Europe.