By Brooke Cobb | Escape Artist
It’s becoming more popular than ever to travel outside of the United States for retirement. In fact, according to data from the Social Security Administration, more than half a million people are collecting social security funds from abroad. It’s really not that surprising, when you think about the rising cost of living in the United States, and the fact that you can usually find cheaper, more accommodating arrangements in other countries.
So, where should you go? Some countries are better for meeting your overseas retirement needs than others, and it’s important to factor in the essentials when coming to your decision. Based on cost of living, climate, and health care, here are some of the best places to consider for your retirement destination.
According to International Living‘s 2017 rankings of the best places to retire, Mexico wins the number one spot. This may have surprised you, but it actually makes perfect sense. First, Mexico is closer to the United States and Canada than any other country you could consider, so getting home isn’t nearly as much of a hassle as it otherwise could be. It’s also a more affordable flight – you will only spend about $200 round-trip
Mexico has a lot more to offer than location, though. Consider the fact that the dollar is worth much more than the peso (1 dollar is equal to 18.22 pesos, currently), and you’ve got a pretty affordable cost of living on your hands. Many expats say they are able to live comfortably for only $1,200 USD each month in cities like Lake Chapala and the Riviera Maya, where many retired U.S. citizens end up settling.
Finally, health care is affordable and there are even discounts for retired citizens in many areas of the country – health care included. Each city is said to have at least one first-rate hospital, and many of the doctors received their training in the U.S. or Europe. To top it off, English is a common language in many of these areas as well.
Sure, you can choose to go to Mexico for the gorgeous beaches, or even for the more temperate climate that you can find inland, but consider these other points as well. You’ll realize that Mexico truly has a lot to offer!
Panama has plenty to offer U.S. retirees. There’s a low cost of living, good health care, and it even offers a modern way of life. You can find good roads, updated venues, and internet and cable service that’s just as reliable as it is in the States. You don’t even have to worry about the quality of the water – it’s clean and drinkable!
Panama is similar to other Latin American countries in that the cost of living is lower on average than it is for the United States. However, Panama uses the U.S. dollar as its own currency, so there’s no need to worry about an exchange rate. That’s a major plus for this country. It’s also a hub for U.S. retirees, so it has access to many of the world’s banks and ATMs – so drawing money from home isn’t a hassle. Sometimes you don’t know how convenient these things can be until you don’t have them.
You can find shopping choices that you’re used to having in the United States as well, with shopping malls that feature brands like Zara, Tommy Hilfiger, Tiffany, and more.
Thorough health coverage can be had for only $100 per month, and Panama City even has a hospital affiliated with Johns Hopkins. Medicine in this country truly meets American standards.
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If you’re looking for more of a European-style retreat in your retirement abroad, the Maltese archipelago could be right up your alley. With a population of only 400,000, Malta is Europe’s smallest country, but it’s also one of the most affordable places to live.
Located in the Mediterranean Sea, just below Italy, Malta is rich with history dating all the way back to the Neolithic period, which predates the Egyptians. It was later ruled by the Romans and the Byzantines, among others, and everyone has left their own mark. Because of this, the country has an old-world, artistic charm to offer travelers, but there’s no shortage of modern day luxuries, either.
The people of Malta pride themselves on their health care. It’s been ranked by The World Health Organization as the fifth best in the world. English is widely spoken, and the seasons change as they do in the southern part of continental Europe. Malta is a great escape for those who want nicer weather but also enjoy the change of seasons. Life in this country can cost as little as $1,300 per month, making it an ideal place to retire.
When deciding to venture abroad for your retirement, make sure you’ve considered all of these important points. Even if you don’t choose Mexico, Panama, or Malta as your new destination, at least you’ll know what to watch for when making your decision.