If you are thinking about retiring overseas, make sure you take time to consider the pros and cons of abroad retirement. Retiring abroad can be attractively affordable and a great decision as long as you pick the correct spot to spend your senior years. Below is a list of places deemed by the AARP as some of the best in the world to retire due to climate, price, health care, and hospitality to Americans of retirement age.
Argentina: In 2002 an economic meltdown in Argentina (home of the tango and Malbec wines) drove the cost of living and real estate down making it a very affordable place to retire. While the economy is on the mend and prices are slowly rising, Argentina offers rich culture and European ambience at a bargain. Buenos Aires is the main city that draws retirees. This capital city is full of cathedrals and opera houses and is close to a world renowned resort and beach area, Punta del Este, Uruguay.
Belize: Belize is the only south of the border country whose official language is English. It also offers a Qualified Retired Persons program, also known as QRP, which presents benefits and a fast track to residency status. Sparsely populated Belize is a Central American paradise with tropical jungle flora, endless white beaches, Mayan ruins, great fishing, some of the world’s best reefs, and even casinos. Most expats settle either on Ambergris Caye, the largest island, or in Corazol Town on the mainland.
Costa Rica: Costa Rica is known as the place to go to live the lush life. In the midst of misty rain forests, great wildlife, active volcanoes, and amazing beaches, you can find comforting amenities such as malls, supermarkets, restaurants, and museums. Costa Rica draws a lot of retirees due to the mild climate, prosperity, health care, and fairly stable government. Some people opt to retire in the resort towns on the beaches, but most expats choose to stay near the capital city of San Jose.
France: Many people think France is out of their budget, but you can live affordable if you avoid Paris, the Riviera, and Provence. The Languedoc-Roussillon region in the Southwest is a great place to retire at an affordable price. This area is only about three hours from Paris via a high speed train and is steeped with history. There are medieval towns and castles, ancient olive trees and vineyards, and Roman ruins. Many of the towns in this region offer plentiful museums, festivals, and concerts.
Italy: Italy is incomparable in the culture, art and food departments. While Tuscany used to be the place for expats to settle it is now very expensive. The solution according to the savvy expats is to settle in an area less publicized and pricey. Le Marche is one of these areas that borders the Adriatic Sea. Not only are there beautiful beaches here but also many vineyards and snow-capped mountains. Le Marche cannot match the art treasures of Rome or Florence, but travel to these cities is very easy.
Mexico: Mexico has rich Indian and Spanish culture, spectacular beaches, and charming colonial towns. Due to its proximity to the United States, Mexico becomes a top destination for American retirees. The low cost, laid-back lifestyle is a major draw for retirees. Many expats choose areas like Laka Chapala, San Miguel de Allende, Baja California, and Cancun to retire. However, the Puerto Vallarta region on the Pacific coast is one of the best places in Mexico to retire. Here you can find first class urban amenities and charming palm fringed villages without as much crime that stains some of the other parts of Mexico.
Nicaragua: Although Nicaragua is one of Central American’s poorest countries, the dollar stretches very far here and offers comfortable living on Social Security. Retirees are also drawn to Nicaragua because of its breathtaking beaches, lakes, volcanoes, and pine forests. Expats tend to choose San Juan del Sur on the Pacific Coast or historic Granada to retire. The easy going lifestyle and remarkable housing bargains are great draws for senior retirees.
Panama: Panama not only offers the beauty of great beach towns and cool mountain villages, but also offers an unbeatable package of retiree benefits and discounts. Many retirees settle in Panama City, a fast paced financial hub with a Miami vibe, but many other have gravitated towards the Pacific Coast towns. However, one of the best places in Panama to retire is the mountain town of Boquete. Here you can settle amidst rain forests, coffee plantations, babbling streams, and beautiful flora. Not only is Boquete gringo friendly, but also offers a wide range of back home amenities like golf courses and high end gated communities.
Portugal: The castles, wines, ancient ruins and cobblestoned streets are a major reason expats love Portugal, which has long been overlooked by American retirees. With a plentitude of golf, beaches, resorts, and trendy cafes, Portugal has become one of Europe’s most pleasant surprises. Costs are also lower here than in most other Western European countries, and locals are reserved but friendly. Lisbon draws many retirees, but most expats gravitate towards the resort towns of Estoril and Cascais on the Atlantic Coast.
Spain: Spain with snowy mountains, a beautiful Mediterranean coastline, ancient hilltop towns, fantastic food, and great weather offers a mix of attractions that are hard to match. Another great reason to consider retirement in Spain is the economic slump that has slashed housing prices in many areas. The Costa del Sol region draws many tourists, but can also be great for retirees in the quaint villages and near the quiet, undeveloped beaches. Many expats report that they can live in Spain more affordably than in the United States.