When it comes to retirement planning, where you live can significantly impact how far your retirement income stretches. That, in turn, affects how comfortably you live out your retirement years. It is precisely for this reason that a growing number of retirees decide to move outside of the United States when they retire. If you are one of them, you will need to choose your retirement country. To help you decide, the Essex Junction elder law attorneys at Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC discuss some of the best countries for retirement according to International Living magazine’s “Best Places in the World to Retire 2022.”
The Global Retirement Index
Deciding where to retire abroad is a difficult decision. You need information and objective opinions. One excellent source for both is the Global Retirement Index. Published each year by International Living magazine, the Global Retirement Index ranks each country included in the list in 13 categories, including:
- Buying & Investing
- Benefits & Discounts
- Visas & Residence
- Cost of Living
- Fitting In
- Entertainment & Amenities
- Healthy Lifestyle
Top Destinations for 2022
After tabulating the scores in each category, the following countries took the top spots in the 2022 Global Retirement Index:
- #5 – 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, 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.
- #4 – 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.
- #3 – 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.
- #2 – 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.
- #1 – 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.
Contact an Essex Junction Elder Law Attorney
For more information, please attend one of our upcoming FREE webinars. If you have questions or concerns about retirement planning, contact an experienced Essex Junction elder law attorney at Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC by calling 802-879-7133 to schedule your appointment today.