Yesterday I asked if you were ready to Retire Abroad in 2011. I laid out some key considerations and a bit of homework for preparing for a life abroad. Today I'd like to suggest a few of my favorite places - my top retirement places - my hot picks, if you will, for where to consider retiring to.
Quality of Life - Quality of Living
When it comes to making a big change like moving abroad the primary motivator is often getting more bang for your pension buck. In other words finding a cheaper place to live - a place where you retirement best egg or pension will go further providing you a better or higher quality of life than it would where you are currently living. As we discussed in the previous post Quality of Life is subjective - everyone has different ideas here and it's important to clearly identify what works for you. What is living a quality life to you? For one the weather is key but another might be willing to live in an igloo as long as they could quickly get to their family and loved ones.
Best Places to Retire Abroad in 2011
For North Americans the traditional 'Hot Spots' for living the expat lifestyle in retirement have been located in Central America. Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico and Belize have been perennial favorites. Recently Americans have been moving even further south with South America coming into their sites. This past year International Living claimed Ecuador as the best place to retire not only that they said it was one of the cheapest places on Earth. Well we know they were exaggerating but it certainly is one cheap place to live that still offers a quality of life.
For Brittons and Europeans France, Spain, Italy and Portugal have always been in the spot light because they satisfy many of those Key Considerations we talked about yesterday.
Today let's look at what places are popping onto the radar as the Best Places to Retire in 2011.
- Cyprus and more specifically Northern Cyprus - yes Cyprus has had a bad wrap in the media over the years but the reasoning is really irrelevant to retirees. So, what's wrong with Cyprus? The same thing that's wrong with Panama or pretty much any other country that offers a low cost of living - the wages are low and it's tough if not impossible even illegal for an expat to work there. But if you're looking for a place to retire than employment prospects are really quite irrelevant aren't they? What is great about Cyprus is the cheap real estate; the economy is stable, in fact they are about to become the presiding country for the EU; the standard of living is good; the weather is almost perfect; the Mediterranean - diet food and drink - is healthy and exceptionally good; and foreigners are accepted here with big smiles and open arms.
- Argentina - speaking of South America (above) this lovely country is world renowned for it's wine and culinary delights. And it's cheap! The quality of living in Argentina is excellent while the real estate prices are low as is pretty much every other necessity of life. There is a definite European flavor to this country and unlike many other expat favorites you won't find them all, gathered in one enclave. Here, as in Panama expats tend to spread out and blend into the local communities.
- Panama - If you've been following this blog or even just surfing around it you know this is am all time fav. This is the place I chose to live for a few years and ended up buying land here. Panama is known to be very safe and exceptionally friendly to all foreigners. This is most likely due to the fact most Panamanians come from foreign lineage. Panama was a small sparsely populated country until the Panama Canal project. Thousands of migrant workers from all over the world came to Panama to build the canal and stayed. This multi-cultural mix makes Panama completely unique when compared to its more homogeneous neighbours of Costa Rica and Columbia. Although Panama would no longer be considered one of the cheapest places to live it is still very reasonable by American and European standards. Whats more Panama has an developed an air of sophistication no doubt a result of that multi-cultural mix and the fact it is one of the largest international banking centers in the world.
- South Africa - If you know your geography you know the African continent is huge! I actually wrote a post about Africa as the Biggest Places in the world. And down, way down on the most Southern tip of this great land mass you find the country of South Africa. Like Panama it has had it's share of social and political turmoil but also like Panama all of that is long past. Today you can enjoy a first world - first class - high quality standard of living on a low budget. South Africa has pretty much everything an expat would want - weather, culture, cuisine, fine wine, and beautiful scenery and wildlife. As an added bonus English is the main language making it universally easy and comfortable for Americans and Europeans alike.