Best Places to Retire

The 10 places Americans are retiring to, and which one is right for you

Each year the experts at International Living (who are the authority on global retirement and relocation opportunities) release their Annual Global Retirement Index. In 2017, their top countries to retire to are:

  1. Mexico
  2. Panama
  3. Ecuador
  4. Costa Rica
  5. Columbia
  6. Malaysia
  7. Spain
  8. Nicaragua
  9. Portugal
  10. Malta

A growing number of Americans are retiring abroad

Retiring to other countries has been a popular choice for Americans since World War One. Although back then people were as likely to go to Paris or Italy as they were to Mexico.

The number of Americans who retire abroad has grown 17% between 2010 and 2015. There are, at a rough estimate, around 400,000 American retirees living overseas. And as the baby boomer generation is close to retirement, it looks like the number of retirees moving overseas is set to increase.

International Livings’ top ten countries

If you look closely at the list, you might notice that six of International Living’s top ten places are (relatively) close by:

  • Mexico in North America
  • Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua in Central America
  • Ecuador and Columbia in South America

Three of the countries are in Europe: Spain, Portugal and a new entry on the top ten list this year Malta. Asia only has one country, Malaysia. The new edition of Malta saw Thailand fall off 2017’s list. In 2016, Thailand was number seven.

How International Living’s rankings work

A lot of data gets analyzed by International Living to come up with their top ten list. Their correspondents, contributors, and contacts around the world collect information on the place as well their own experiences travelling to the locations for 10 categories.

Some of these categories include:

  • Cost of living
  • Fitting in
  • Climate
  • Healthcare
  • Visas and Residence

Of all the categories, cost of living was considered to be the most important factor, according to a survey of retirees. Which makes sense. Pensioners don’t get a lot of money (and will receive even less if Trump has his way) so it’s understandable they want affordable living, affordable healthcare as well as being able to enjoy themselves.

One of the reasons Mexico came out number one was because of cost of living. International Living found you can live there for under $1,200 a month. And once you become a legal resident of Mexico—and are over 60—you are entitled to discounts on medical care, groceries, restaurants and airlines.

Think before you leap

This all sounds lovely, doesn’t it? Affordable living, healthcare, food, and travel in a foreign land. The most important thing to consider however, is you. What sort of retiree lifestyle do you want to live? Is spending the rest of your days in Mexico, or Malta or Spain what you want? Would your body cope?

It’s also important to note that America’s current political climate is ever-changing: where American citizens are welcome today, may not be the same tomorrow.

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