Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Best Places to Retire

The Best Places for Retirees

People often dream of an exciting life in an exotic, foreign country. The worries of life, however, such as job, family and other responsibilities prevent most people of living that dream. But now that you are no longer tied down to a job, and the kids are grown and out of the house, you can now think seriously about moving to that dream location.

But what about the cost of living the life that you deserve? As baby boomers get older, they flock to all the traditional retirement locations, driving up the prices in the process. A couple of decades ago, Ashville, North Carolina was an affordable city and a popular area for retirement. Since then, the population of Ashville has grown 25%, and the cost of living is higher than the national average. Ashville is not alone. Other retiree-friendly areas have seen a meteoric increase in real estate prices, despite the housing collapse occurring in the rest of the nation. The result is that most of the traditional spots where people once chose to retire are now prohibitively expensive.

In the meantime, savings have shrunk, and retiree income is stagnant. Social Security recipients saw no raise in benefits last year, and they will receive none this year. Treasury bond yields are at a low and certificates of deposit are yielding a mere 0.55 percent. Many people are actually seeing a decrease in their income.

The economic picture looks bleak for those nearing retirement age, but it’s not as terrible as one might think. Most people who can no longer afford Florida or California are finding that they can afford to live an exiting life in an exotic, foreign land. Not only is it cheaper to move to a tropical paradise than it is to move to Florida, you can lead the life that you never thought possible.

The Best Retirement Places in the World

Panama could be the best place in the world to retire. The cost of living is small with rent for an apartment starting at $200, while groceries will cost you about half of what they cost in the United States. There is plenty of fascinating things to do and see in Panama. The people are friendly, and the weather is fantastic. It’s a small country covering about the same area as South Carolina, and Panama has no taxes on foreign income and they offer outstanding programs for retirees.

One of the things that make Panama so popular for retirees is that, except for the spoken language, it’s not much different than the United States. In contrast, Thailand is quite different. It’s an exotic land with a totally different culture than in the US. Industrialization is new to Thailand, and it’s a popular tourist destination. Thailand has a tropical climate and a remarkably low cost of living. In some parts of the country, a single-bedroom apartment will rent for less than $100 per month, and groceries are considerably cheaper than in the United States. As a matter of fact, some people are able to live comfortably on about $500 per month.

When one thinks of a place in South America in which to retire, Argentina usually doesn’t come to mind. This may be a mistake because Argentina is one of the best locations in the world to retire. It has beautiful landscapes, large cities and a rich culture. If you love nature, you can cross the Patagonian Steppe, conquer South America’s highest mountain, take a stroll among thousands of penguins or experience the world’s most stunning waterfalls. The cost of living in Argentina is cheaper than in the United States. An apartment rents for about $300 per month and can be found even cheaper. Groceries are extremely affordable, and basic utilities cost approximately $50 per month.

Top Retirement Cities

Americans love Ajijic, Mexico. This quiet, Mexican Village is nestled between lush green mountains and a crystal clear lake. Ajijic has spring-like weather all year, and since many Americans live there, it has all the amenities that you can get at home. There are dozens of English speaking clubs for retirees to join from the Lake Chapala Society, with its extensive library of English-language books, to the American Legion. Housing is affordable with a one bedroom apartment renting for an average of $220. Groceries cost only half of what they cost in the United States.

The city of Cuenca is found in southern Ecuador and is a favorite for knowledgeable American retirees. Cuenca is at the top of International Living’s list of best places to retire and is Ecuadors third largest city. Located in the Andes, more than 7500 feet above sea level, it has one of Central America’s best climates, and its proximity to the equator ensures that the temperature remains about the same throughout the year.

The best part of Cuenca is the cost. Compared to living in the United States, Ecuador is a bargain. $150 is all it takes to rent a one bedroom apartment, and utilities average $45 per month. $3 will buy a meal in an inexpensive restaurant, while $9 buys a three course dinner for two.

Deadwood, South Dakota is perfect for retirees wanting the raw nature of the Black Hills. The Black Hills have beautiful scenery and breathtaking national parks. You can find Mount Rushmore near the Old West town of Deadwood. This historic town came to the forefront in 1876 when gold was discovered in the Black Hills. Though not as cheap as Mexico or Ecuador, living in Deadwood costs roughly 20 percent less than the national average. Those who wish to retire in Deadwood will not be alone. Almost half the population is over 45 years of age, and 17 percent are over 65.

The Best Places to Live

Choosing a place to retire demands a lot of research and planning. The Internet has a number of resources available to help you find the perfect place. Big-city amenities, such as health care, are important. Most retirement-aged individuals experience increased health care needs, so it’s essential to choose a location with adequate health care facilities.

Moving to an area where prices are significantly lower than where you currently live will give your savings and retirement income a boost. There are a multitude of cheap places to live all over the world. It’s not hard finding places where you can retire for under $1000 per month. If you want to work part-time to supplement your income, or to keep yourself busy, you need to find a place where unemployment is low, and the economy is growing.

Recreation is another relevant consideration. You’ve worked for your entire adult life, and now you deserve some relaxation. If you enjoy golf, having a quality golf course nearby is a definite plus. Others might enjoy having some lakes for fishing or trails to hike. Fans of the arts might choose life near the large city where they have easy access to concerts, opera and the theatre.

The social structure of the place where you want to move is a vital consideration. Atheists may be uncomfortable in the deep rural areas of the US Bible Belt where the whole social structure centers on the church. Many foreign locations have hundreds, or even thousands, of expatriates with their own social structure. Living in an area with pockets of people with similar backgrounds as you can make your new home a more comfortable place to live. Proper research and planning will ensure that you choose the perfect location to spend the best years of your life.

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