12.56 AM Friday, 1 December 2023
  • City Fajr Shuruq Duhr Asr Magrib Isha
  • Dubai 05:24 06:42 12:10 15:09 17:32 18:50
01 December 2023

UAE Expat Alert: Top 10 places to retire in the world

By Parag Deulgaonkar

Countries all over the world are offering friendly, good-value cities, beaches, highland retreats, historic colonial enclaves and lakeside getaways, making it hard for a person to choose the place of his retirement home.

Not merely cheapest of accommodation, food and health cost, people who tend to retire look for a safe, stable and friendly country with the government somewhat paying for their retirement.

In fact, International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2016 has released a list of places to help navigate the best destinations for retiring overseas.

The index compiles, weighs, ranks, and rates a series of criteria including cost of living, infrastructure, healthcare, fitting in, real estate, special benefits, climate, etc. with the qualitative assessment based on real-world data gathered on the ground.

Here’s their take on the 10 best options to retire this year.

#10 Portugal

Portugal is one of Europe’s best-kept secrets. The relatively low cost of living is a big draw for those who choose to live here and compared with other European nations, goods and services are still bargains. The locals are warm and welcoming to foreigners making living here very enjoyable.

A two-bedroom house on The Silver Coast can be bought for $96,000, while the same price could get you a three-bedroom house with a yard among the olive groves. Rental properties vary from $190 to $918 a month depending on where you plan to live. In cosmopolitan Lisbon expect to pay on average $900 for a one-bedroom property, while in the small town of Estremoz $200 will get you a two-bedroom home.

Utilities usually run from between $110 and $150 a month including water and garbage. One can get a coffee for 75 cents and a three-course meal at lunchtime for around $12.

#9 Spain

Beaches, mountains, fabulous cities, festivals and, of course, guaranteed sunshine makes Spain the most popular country for Europeans seeking a home overseas.

Many retirees flock to southern Spain’s beach towns, while the Costa Blanca and Costa del Sol have large expat communities with English-speaking services that cater to them.  Remember, English isn’t widely spoken in all of the country’s 17 regions.

#8 Nicaragua

Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America and the most sparsely populated.  Depending on where you want to live, you can find lots for $3,000 and up. Established towns and beach areas will cost more.  But the real attraction of this land comes from the magnetism of the Nicaraguan people, states the index.

#7 Thailand

Thailand has a lot of options with some foreign retirees electing to live in Bangkok. Some live in the north of Thailand where life is quiet, peaceful, and very inexpensive. Others choose the south for its beautiful beaches. Living in Thailand is cheap. There are many places where you can dine well and leave the table with change from $5.

You can rent a good place just about anywhere in the country for just $500 a month. A full check-up in a modern hospital by an American-trained doctor will cost you less than $40.

#6 Colombia

Located at the tip of South America, Colombia is where the Pacific and the Caribbean collide with the Andes and the Amazon. It offers a low cost of living, inexpensive properties, and a colorful and diverse culture.  

#5 Malaysia

Beyond the lofty skyscrapers of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s dramatic canvas is embroidered with tropical beaches, mountains, dense rainforest, and vividly green tea plantations. The country’s diverse ethnic mix makes being a stranger here easy.

The country has both public and private health care with medical expertise on a par with western countries. Most hospitals and health care facilities are staffed by English speaking professionals with international qualifications. Internet coverage is on a par with services in France and Italy. Overall, the cost of living is cheap.

#4 Costa Rica

The country has just over 4 million population tucked between Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the south, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and the Caribbean Sea to the east. It has got top-quality, affordable health care and is known as one of Latin America’s most peaceful nations.

The country has a wide variety of inexpensive housing.

#3 Mexico

Mexico is one of the world’s top destinations for those dreaming of a relaxed and romantic new life abroad. Wherever you go, the people will charm you and the remarkably affordable cost of living will attract you to stay.

#2 Ecuador

From snow-capped volcanoes to dense Amazon jungle, sun-drenched Pacific beaches to the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador offers something for everyone and at prices unheard of in North America and Europe.   There are so many benefits to living - low cost of living but with no lifestyle sacrifices, affordable real estate, good-quality, inexpensive healthcare, and a quality of life that’s hard to beat.

#1 Panama

When it comes to attractive retirement destinations, Panama tops the list. It offers a comfortable retirement solution, in part because the nation is much more developed than most visitors expect.  

The country is safe, stable, and friendly. It has the best health care and infrastructure in Central America. Its climate is unrivalled in the world, with tropical rain forests, temperate mountains, and warm, tropical white-sand beaches.  

The Pensionado Program has helped put Panama on the map as a retirement destination. Regardless of age, you just need a government or corporate pension of at least $1,000 per month and residence here is yours. This government-backed program virtually pays for your retirement. It helps subsidize hospital visits and medicine, sales tax on your car, and property tax on your house. It provides for heavily discounted travel, while food is cheaper in restaurants.