The best places to retire

Photo: Raul Antonio Alvarez

Retirement is a gift given to one’s self. You spent your whole life working and saving and now it’s time to reap the rewards. Before you go buying that retirement home in Boca Raton you may want to consider setting your sights a bit further away. A growing number of retirees are recognizing the many benefits, added excitement, and pure joy of expatriation.

There are many advantages to a retirement abroad. Financially speaking, retiring to a new country can be much cheaper. The U.S. dollar is strong in many countries, which means your money can go much further than it would here in the states. This means a retiree’s spending power abroad is much greater. Having more money at your disposal can make retirement a lot more fun.

Moving to a new country is not as easy as packing-up and flying away. There will be some serious work that has to be done before you set sail. But don’t fret, you can do a lot of the ground work on your own with some elbow-grease and research, and with the logistics of relocation, which you can not do yourself, can easily  be facilitated through  international movers .

Finding the best place to retire can be a tough choice. There are many things to consider: climate, local entertainment, accessibility, cost of living, healthcare, ease of banking, safety, expat population, local language and customs, the list goes on.  To make you choice a little easier here are the top three best place to retire in 2015.

1. Ecuador

Forbes rates Ecuador as it number one place to retire abroad , and it’s not hard to see why. Ecuador has a very low cost of living, with strong real estate values. Housing is much cheaper than the states so your money will buy you much more.

Ecuador is offer great incentives for expats and retirees, International Living writes, retirees are being enticed to Ecuador  “by the generous array of benefits the government has afforded to retirees. Over-65s get discounts on flights originating in Ecuador as well as up to 50% off entry to movies and sporting events. Discounts are also available on public transport (50%) and utilities, with the option of a free landline if you purchase a property.”

Finances are not the only reason Ecuador is on the top of the list. It’s also stunningly beautiful, and amazingly diverse. Ecuador hosts some of the world’s most beautiful tropical beaches, the famous Galapagos Islands, and the High Peaks of the Andes. You can be sailing the surf in the morning and go rock climbing in the afternoon. Ecuador is also home to lust rain forest and a wide array of exotic wildlife. With all that environmental diversity, Ecuador offers a perfect climate choice for even the most discerning.

2. Columbia

Columbia has come a long way since the days of Pablo Escobar and the drug violence which surrounded his cartel. Columbia continues to grow as an expat destination. The country is beautiful and diverse much like Ecuador. Lush rain forests and crystal clear Caribbean shores put Columbia high on the list.

If solitude is your wish it wouldn’t be hard to find a hidden ocean cove, or Jungle hide-away. If you’re looking for more action and the company of expats big Columbian cities like Bogotá and Medellín are very cosmopolitan, offering great entertainment and amenities. Golf courses, shopping malls, fine dinning and more can all be found in Columbia’s city centers.

The cost of living is very low, slightly edging out its Latin American Neighbor Ecuador by a few hundred dollars a month. Columbia also has some of the world’s best and most affordable healthcare. Colombia Correspondent Michael Evans writes , “You can get health-care treatment comparable to that in the U.S. in any large or mid-sized city. In a 2014 survey, 18 Colombian medical institutions ranked among the top 45 in Latin America. According to the World Health Organization, Colombia actually has better health care than the United States or Canada.”

3. Panama

When looking for the best place to retire abroad Panama should be on everyone’s list. Panama offers some of the world’s best retirement benefits. Panama has been expat friendly for a very long time, so expat communities are well established. This makes Panama attractive for many looking to escape but not disappear completely. The climate is tropical, and Panama offers access to the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean. For those looking to escape the heat, mountain living is cool and temperate. But the country’s natural beauty is not all Panama has to incentivize retirees.

To attract more expats and retirees, Panama issues the Pensionado visa. Jessica Ramesch,  IL ’s Panama Editor writes, “The Pensionado visa is available to anyone with a lifetime pension of over $1,000 a month. Discounts you can get with the visa include 20% off medical services, 50% off entertainment, 25% off restaurant meals, 25% off air fare, and 25% off electricity and phone bills.”

Panama has a strong infrastructure, which means it’s home to some of the regions best roads, strong internet and big airports. This makes it easy to travel into and out of Panama, making it a great home base for those interested in traveling beyond your retirement home.