When it comes to planning for retirement, deciding where to live can dramatically impact your financial resources which will also affect how comfortable you are during your Golden Year. Not surprisingly, many retirees decide to move outside of the United States when they retire because their money goes farther. If you are considering retiring abroad, the Los Angeles elder law attorneys at Schomer Law Group, APC discuss the best places to retire abroad.
The Global Retirement Index
Published each year by International Living magazine, the Global Retirement Index provides invaluable objective as well as first-hand information for people thinking about retiring outside the United States. Each country included in the list are ranked in 13 categories, including:
- Buying & Investing. Looks at the value of real estate and how easy it is to buy or rent your dream home overseas.
- Renting. The availability and price of a month’s rent on a range of properties in areas where a retiree would like to live.
- Benefits & Discounts. The beneﬁts and discounts retirees can get in the country are factored into this category.
- Visas & Residence. Things like how easy it is to get permanent residence and if there are any special residence options for retirees.
- Cost of Living. Compares the cost of a comprehensive monthly budget.
- Fitting In. Availability of U.S. comforts, adapting to the culture, and feeling at home.
- Entertainment & Amenities. Are there things such as museums, outdoor activities, movies in English.
- Healthcare. Looks at the cost of healthcare, the availability of medication, and the quality of care.
- Healthy Lifestyle. Things like great weather and an abundance of fresh food.
- Development. Does the country have things such as reliable electricity, quality roads and an efficient public transport network?
- Climate. The climate of each country, factoring in things like rainfall, temperature, and humidity.
- Governance. Does the country respect personal freedom, keep the bureaucracy to a minimum, and offer a stable and safe environment?
- Opportunity. How well the local authorities support small business, whether it’s easy to work remotely, and whether there’s a strong economy.
Top 5 Destinations for 2022
After tabulating the scores in each category, the following countries took the top spots in the 2022 Global Retirement Index:
- Panama. Panama took the number one spot for 2022 – once again. Perfectly positioned between North and South America and between the Pacific and Caribbean Oceans, Panama’s climate is warm and tropical, but completely outside the hurricane belt. Far from the third-world country many people think Panama is, you can expect reliable power, water you can drink straight from the tap, high-speed internet, and excellent cell phone service. Add in excellent and low-cost healthcare and a low-cost of living and you understand why Panama took the number one spot.
- Costa Rica. Another frequent addition to the list, Costa Rica also has a large American ex-pat population. Costa Rica has long been a popular retirement destination because of its democratic government, stability, and peaceful vibe (CR has no army). The country is also known for its environmental policies and liberal stance on issues such as same-sex marriage. There is a private and public healthcare system. Once you are a resident you pay into the public system and healthcare is free or very low-cost. For a couple to live comfortably, expect to pay $2000-$3000 a month.
- Mexico. Because Mexico shares a border with the U.S., many retirees looking to retire abroad consider Mexico as a possible destination. In common ex-pat cities, you will find modern conveniences you are accustomed to, along with familiar stores and restaurants and a low-cost healthcare system that frequently includes healthcare providers trained in the U.S. The sheer size of Mexico offers a variety of climates and cultures; however, if you want to be near Americans, it is easy to find a thriving ex-pat community. A retired couple can live well in Mexico for right around $2,000 a month, including housing, transportation, healthcare, utilities, and food. Finally, it is easy to become a resident of Mexico.
- Portugal. Friendly people, sandy beaches, and Old-World charm make Portugal an attractive retirement option. Because it is taught in schools, many Portuguese speak English; however, the government also offers free Portuguese classes. The healthcare system is excellent, and a couple can live comfortably, but not lavishly, in Portugal on $2,500 per month.
- Columbia. For those close to retirement age, Columbia making the top five may surprise you given it was once known as the cocaine capital of the world, making it a very dangerous country at that time. Today, however, Columbia is considered safe for ex-pats (after the government spent years cleaning up the drug-trafficking problem) and offers a lower cost of living, excellent healthcare, close proximity to the U.S., and as the second most biodiverse country in the world it offers a variety of climate options. Moreover, the World Health Organization ranks Columbia’s healthcare system (22nd) higher than the US (37th) and a couple can live in many cities around Colombia for $2,000 per month or less.
Contact Los Angeles Elder Law Attorneys
For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns about planning for your retirement, contact the experienced Los Angeles elder law attorneys at Schomer Law Group APCby calling (310) 337-7696 to schedule an appointment.
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