The countries with the highest cumulative average score across all those categories ranked in the top 10, and here they are:. Costa Rica is an ideal choice if you value a healthy, active lifestyle. The cost of living makes Costa Rica highly affordable, even on the smallest retirement budget.
Retirees can get a temporary resident visa, which is good for up to four years, by meeting minimum monthly income or asset requirements or by owning property in Mexico. If you plan to stay long term, you can apply for a permanent resident visa, which has higher income and asset requirements. State Dept. Between majestic mountains and bustling beaches, Panama offers the best of both worlds for retirees.
Virtually everything is less expensive compared to the U. Ecuador has something for everyone, whether you prefer the beach to the mountains or the country to the city. It earned its highest score for its climate, which boasts an average annual temperature of 67 degrees. Like Panama, Ecuador extends a long list of money-saving benefits to expats, including discounts on your electric and water bills, discounts on entertainment and public transportation, and reductions of certain taxes.
Aside from the beautiful landscape, expats are attracted to this Asian locale because of the low cost of living and abundance of amenities. The remaining countries in the top 10 all offer a combination of low costs, great amenities and good weather. All but one are Spanish speaking, and two require a European move. But where are retirees actually flocking, based on where they collect their Social Security checks? The answers just might surprise you. Here, in order of popularity, are the five countries that are seeing the biggest influx of Social Security recipients who prefer retirement on foreign shores.
As for the others: while life in capitals like Tokyo or London can be quite pricey, housing and other fundamental aspects of the cost-of-living in smaller towns and in the countryside is often lower than in the U. Familiarity also explains the popularity of some countries: large numbers of U. Immigration and residency laws vary from country to country. At times, there will be travel warnings and alerts about specific locations — or, rarely, the U.
The information is updated regularly, as needed. As a foreign national, you may encounter travel restrictions in certain countries. Remember that while in a foreign country, you are subject to its laws. Many countries have rules and regulations as to who is permitted to own property, and how the property can be used some countries restrict foreign ownership altogether.
Before you decide on moving to a country, investigate its restrictions in detail and make sure they work with your finances and plans. Your best information source is a local real estate agent. Even if a country does not restrict who buys real estate, it may control what happens when non-citizens sell property. Foreigners are permitted to buy property in Malaysia, for example, but if the property is sold, the proceeds have to be kept in a Malaysian bank account.
Also, be sure that your property rights are protected. In the U. Rules may be less clear in other countries. Living in a country is very different from being a tourist. And visit in more than one season. Also, see whether there is a local American or international association or club you can join to learn more about living in that country or region.
Once you move, start the transition by renting first to make sure the locale is compatible with your vision for retirement. If it works out, let the house-hunting begin. Locating a U. Try to find a property you can afford to buy outright, for cash. Unless you renounce your U. If you decide to move your assets abroad, work with your accountant or attorney to find out if and how they will be taxed. To cover day-to-day expenses, you can open a local bank account to accept regular transfers from your U. Most U. If the country offers subsidized care for citizens, for example, make sure foreign residents have access to the same care and costs.
If not, find out what coverage you will have as a visitor and plan accordingly. Depending on where you plan to live, you may find American or international companies that sell health insurance to Americans living abroad. In some countries, the healthcare may be affordable but not up to the standards you are used to. If you are currently under the care of a physician at home, ask if he or she can recommended a colleague in your new destination.
Having this connection can make it much easier to deal with existing medical conditions and ensure you receive the appropriate care. Depending on where you go, your new country may not recognize your U. Many retirees enjoy volunteer opportunities and part-time jobs.
Others are more entrepreneurial, interested in starting a business abroad. If you plan on working, check ahead of time to make sure the country has no restrictions that could prevent you from either finding a job or starting your own business. Have a plan in place to keep in touch with the people you care about. Modern technology — smart phones and online video-conferencing software such as Skype makes it easy to stay in touch virtually — but having a strong, reliable connection is crucial.
You also need an emergency plan: Leave your contract information and a copy of your passport with family, and carry contact information for your family back home with you when you travel. Also, know how to reach the closest U. It varies, and, reasonably enough, countries with a higher cost of living require a higher income. The U. And that raises the question whether you want to be a permanent resident or a citizen of your adopted country. The benefits and drawbacks vary for each country.
Note that citizenship in any European country gains you certain rights as a citizen of a European Union member nation. The more common choice for a retiree expat is between permanent residency and dual citizenship. Remember that neither dual citizenship nor residency gets you out of filing a U. You may also have to file an income tax return in your country of residence, although most deduct the amount American residents pay to the U.
In , a whopping 3, people did so, and that is an all-time record. According to Forbes. Since a new U. For the rest, the sheer aggravation of filing in two countries every year was a likely factor in their renunciation of U. Today, there are around , American retirees residing outside the United States, with that number expected to grow over the next few years.
Cost of living is often cited as one of the main reasons for the move. Other retirees cite rising health care costs as a contributing factor in their decision to move out of the U. Once you do make the commitment, be sure to brush up on current international banking regulations. Treasury Department, depending on the balances maintained in the account throughout the year. Different countries have different requirements, such as a minimum income requirement, so make sure that you can qualify for the requirements of the country where you wish to retire. While the American dream remains home ownership, chances are that you may not be able to purchase property in the country where you wish to live.
Be aware of crime. Spend some time educating yourself regarding crime statistics, which are readily available. Learn where the high-crime areas are and learn to avoid them when possible. Keep in mind that your move may mean foregoing some of the conveniences that are so prevalent in the U. Things like cheap gasoline, convenience stores on every corner and central air conditioning can be a rare commodity in some areas, so be sure that you can live without those things prior to taking the final plunge.
While not for everyone, retiring outside the U. Cold spells tend to pass surprisingly quickly and on most winter days daytime high temperatures can reach pleasantly-warm degrees centigrade degrees Fahrenheit. By late December, towns and cities situated in the highlands can feel chilly or even cold after sundown. South of Mexico City, colonial cities including Cuernavaca, Puebla, Taxco and Oaxaca tend to enjoy spring-like climates through the winter months, but they too are subject to cold snaps brought by weather fronts causing temporary spells of chilly weather for up to a few days at a time.
Temperatures near the coasts begin their transition back from warm-to-hot during the spring, which is also when the coastal humidity returns. Retiring abroad, and launching a new life in a new country is the adventure of a lifetime. We are here to make that decision a little bit easier for you. We have spent the last year compiling the information you need to make an informed decision. Our editor and writers have travelled to the four corners to enable you to more easily decide which retirement location best suits your needs.
We believe you are never too old to learn, and we never rest on our laurels. This is why we have spent months on-the-ground throughout , ensuring our recommendations are up-to-date and comprehensive. As for the result, we believe this country-by-country comparison is the best we have ever produced.
As with everything we do, it has been written with you in mind. Instead, we give you the information and let you draw your own conclusions and come to your own decisions. After all, the retirement you are seeking is unique to you, with your own personal preferences, lifestyle, and needs.
Our dedicated team has been working overtime this year to compile this report for you. All the data, and all the facts and figures are the work of real people, on the ground in the countries we report on. With you in mind, we have asked the questions you want answering to find the top retirement locations.
Our local experts and expats have helped us to ensure no stone was left unturned in our quest to deliver an index offering true value and practical advice. This year we have 21 destinations, including 10 new entries, covering the spectrum of every lifestyle option. Are you on a budget and concerned with keeping a low cost of living? Or is a warm and sunny climate your top priority? For many people healthcare or moving to and English-speaking destination are the most important things. Whatever your benchmark, we have you covered. Many of these destination are not well-known and not yet on the mainstream radar.
MORE IN LIFE
As ever, we are exploring new locations in our quest to give you the best retirement options. This does mean we have had to pass on some old favorites. Although most remain great options, the rapid rise of some of our new destinations left us with no choice but to leave them out.
For the sake of precision, we concentrate on cities and a couple of regions , rather than countries as a whole. No country is a perfect fit. A vast, diverse country can offer hugely different lifestyles. By concentrating on cities, we can provide the more specific information our readers demand. If the pollution is bad, health care substandard, or cost of living expensive, we will tell you.
Each report in the Overseas Retirement Index is divided into categories which our readers have told us are important to them. The categories are cost of living, climate, health care, entertainment, recreation, whether English is spoken, expat community, infrastructure broken down to include, internet, electricity, and domestic access , international access, environmental factors, crime, affordability of real estate, residency, and taxes.
Before we get into it, it is worth making a special mention to our number one Overseas Retirement option, the Algarve, Portugal. At the risk of contradicting what was said earlier, the Algarve scores highly across the board. For this reason we have it as our standalone winner, the place which will appeal to the most people.
Below you will find a breakout of the categories, as well as the locations we rate best for each. To find out, imagine your ideal lifestyle and make a list of what you want from your new life. Then look at the numbers in that context. Be honest with yourself and move for the right reasons to a place where you will be happy. Although many Americans still associate Vietnam with the stigma of the earlier conflict, a lot has changed.
Vietnam is a forward looking country with a fast growing economy. The people are welcoming and Vietnam offers you the chance to stretch your dollars without much in the way of sacrifice. The food sold in small cafes and food stalls is so good many people simply never cook. Imported goods are hard to come by, and expensive.
By Caribbean standards this is a bargain. This alone would allow you to live well, without the need to count every penny as you might at home. You could afford to spend more on entertainment and have some money for household help. Buying a property in Santo Domingo reduces your monthly living costs even further.
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We enjoy the sea breezes from our comfortable Dominican rocking chairs every day. Da Nang is very cheap by U. Like Da Lat, avoiding imported goods is the key to keeping your costs down. As with many European countries, the public hospitals are better equipped to deal with medical emergencies than the private hospitals. Still, private health care is world class and the Algarve has two large private hospitals.
Faro Hospital, its cardiology unit in particular, has a reputation for excellence. Paying into the French Social Security system covers most of your health care needs. Doctors still make home visits and the feeling of being rushed out the door is not one you will experience in France. Private health care is perhaps slightly better, but most people choose to pay into the Social Security system. It is cheaper and the benefits of going private are negligible.
The Knights Templar opened the first hospital in , it was used to care for the pilgrims making the long voyage to the holy land. Malta has modern public and private facilities. All of the staff are highly trained, and most are fluent in English. These factors have contributed to Malta becoming a popular destination for Medical tourism. Foreign residents are required to have private medical insurance, but premiums are lower in Malta than in the U. No matter how complex the procedure, you will be able to get treatment in Colombia.
Medical tourism draws people from the United States and beyond. Attracted by the low prices and high standards, this medical tourism boom is helping to keep Colombia at the forefront of pioneering medical treatments such as stem cell treatment. In our residency options category, we start off with: Where are the easiest places to become a resident abroad? Why would anyone want to become a legal resident of another country? Where should you do this? How do you do this?
And how much will it all set you back? All of these questions and more we cover in our residency options for retiring overseas. Once you meet the minimum spend threshold for your Real Estate investment, you qualify for a Portuguese Visa. A European Passport is a valuable commodity and investing in Portugal is one of the easiest ways to obtain one.
The visa is easily upgraded into permanent residency and available to anyone over the age of The Belizean government is keen to attract overseas retirees and there are a host of incentives to make Belize attractive. The biggest benefit is the naturalization-through-residency program that has one of the shortest times to a second passport anywhere in the world. A second passport can take up to 10 years or longer in some places. How do you picture spending your time in retirement overseas?
Or perhaps taking dance classes or learning how to fly fish? Or do you prefer a trip to the theatre or opera? From the countless churches and cathedrals, to the dozens of museums and hundreds of galleries, to the universities and varied classes of all kinds you could enroll in… Paris caters to your every cultural need.
There is always something new in town and it is safe to say you will never be stuck for something to do. The April firework festivals which pit the different firework factories against each other in a dazzling display competition are an annual highlight. Is your idea of keeping busy more outdoorsy? Do you long to go hiking in the crisp, cool mountain air, or take a yoga class on the beach under the early morning sun?
Do you want to relax at sea, sailing or surfing? There are several places perfect for paragliding and hang-gliding. The popular seaside town Silvi Marina is just 15 minutes from town. We list some examples here, but if you have a few million dollars invest some, and buy a house , you can go almost anywhere. For a country that does not have an investor visa, an investor may be able to set up a company and have it hire him or her in some management or consulting role.
Other countries that do not have a specific investor visa may have special schemes which allow foreigners to obtain permanent residency by investing a large amount of money in a local business. For several countries, a pure investment visa requires a large amount of money but an entrepreneur visa — for someone who intends to start and manage a business in the country — requires much less. However, there are generally additional requirements, such as having relevant experience and providing a detailed and plausible business plan.
For some countries, language requirements are waived for investors. For example, for nearly all classes of visa Canada requires that an immigrant speak English or French. However, there is no such requirement for an investor. For some countries, investment is almost the only way to get in long-term. For example, Chinese permanent residence requires one of four things: investment, four years in a high-level job in China, five years married to a Chinese, or "great and outstanding contributions to China".
It is also possible to be semi-retired but take a job abroad, partly as a way of getting a working visa. This might let you go to countries which do not offer a retirement visa.
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The most common job for this is teaching English. There are possibilities for consulting jobs if you have the right skills, see working abroad. There are also quite a few volunteer posts; someone with a good pension can afford to work for low pay. Some countries which have several aspects desirable for retirees — low cost of living, interesting culture and pleasant climate — do not offer a retirement visa; examples include Vietnam , Laos , Myanmar and Cambodia. Some people retire there nonetheless, generally getting a visa either by working as a part-time volunteer at some NGO or by setting up some sort of business and using a business visa.
Another way to live abroad is to get a student visa ; see studying abroad. Depending on destination, one might profitably spend a few months or years on language study. Anyone with an interest in the history or archaeology of a particular area might also find studying near the primary sources for their field interesting. If you really like travelling and have both a fairly generous budget and a "good" passport getting visas is relatively easy , it is even possible to retire by moving around with a series of tourist visas.
This limits you to a short time in each country; tourist visas are typically only good for 30 to 90 days. It is also expensive; you live in hotels and eat in restaurants a lot, and your transport costs are high. Even if you choose a low-cost region and backpacker-class facilities, the bills mount up. However, some people actually do this, wandering about Southeast Asia or the Caribbean with the occasional trip elsewhere. Others do something similar using cruise ships for both transport and accommodation. To live abroad, you probably need multiple bank accounts, at least one back home and one in the destination.
Ideally, both banks should be chosen partly because they have plenty of international branches; it does you little good, for example, to have a bank account that you cannot draw on in your new home. As a general rule, the major banks are better for this than smaller regional banks, but there are exceptions in both directions.
HSBC is the world's fourth largest bank, and a popular choice for expatriates because they have many international branches and some services specifically designed for expats. They were originally Hong Kong Shanghai Bank, set up in the 19th century to serve the China trade, so they have considerable experience with international banking. Headquarters are in London, but they advertise themselves as "the world's local bank" and have branches in 80 countries.
Major credit cards — MasterCard, Visa and, to a lesser extent, American Express — are widely accepted around the world, as are traveller's cheques from major vendors — American Express or Thomas Cook. However, there are local variations; see country articles for details. Also, if you are moving large amounts or doing many transactions, it pays to check the costs.
You might get five different combinations of exchange rate and service charges moving money in five ways — exchanging cash, exchanging a traveller's cheque, doing an electronic funds transfer, using a credit card, and doing an ATM withdrawal of local currency with a foreign card.
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Which is most advantageous will vary depending on where you are and which bank you use on each end of the transaction. See also our article on money. More generally, be aware of and somewhat cautious about exchange rates. Your planning, either simply for retirement or for investment, needs to take account of this risk. There can be complications. Some countries — Thailand, China and India, for example — have legal restrictions on exchange of foreign currency or on import and export of the local currency.
Some retirement visas, such as the Philippines, require you to exchange a fixed amount monthly at government-approved banks. It is not a problem in the Philippines but in some places the official exchange rate may not be to the traveller's advantage. Pensions can also have complications. Private or corporate pension plans will generally just pay you, wherever you may be. However, conditions for government pensions may depend on how long you have lived in the paying country and where you live when you apply.
Generally the most important consideration is how long you lived there between ages 18 and 65; you get a full pension if you lived there for all that time. If not, each country has a different formula for calculating how much of a reduced pension you will get. Some countries also place restrictions on payment of pensions to non-residents; whether you can collect a government pension at all may depend on where you live.
In planning a budget, remember that prices on many things will be different from the ones in your current location. In particular, your everyday dinner may be considered exotic foreign food locally and, even in a generally low-cost country, the cost of these and other luxury goods may be high—if you can find them. If you really want to go out for a good steak or a nice glass of a single malt, for example, it will very likely cost at least as much in Bangkok as in London or New York, and will certainly be harder to find.
In Back-of-beyond-istan, neither steaks nor good whiskey are likely to be available; the only pseudo-Western choice might be expensive low quality coffee or hamburgers. Doing your own cooking or employing a cook helps, but some ingredients may be hard to find or expensive. Clothing can also be a problem, especially if you are a different size or shape than the locals. Most low-cost countries have good cheap tailors, which solves part of the problem rather nicely.
However there are things the tailors cannot do; for example, Westerners in Asia often cannot buy shoes or brassieres where they live. If you have children who are still of school age when you retire, the need to educate them may affect both your budget and your choice of destination. There are international schools in many places, mainly for the children of expatriate employees of government and large corporations. These are usually quite good but they are not available in all destinations and they tend to be very expensive; most parents do not care because an employer foots the bill, and the employers do not care much since it is a necessary business expense.
There are other educational choices — the local schools where you are, boarding schools at home or abroad Tatler magazine does an annual guide for those in the UK , home schooling, or hiring a tutor. For younger kids, Montessori schools are also widespread and popular with expat parents. Some kids may be best off left in their current schools with their current friends; you might have them move in with relatives, into a university residence, or even into an apartment. You also need to budget for shipping costs and for travel costs for visiting home or seeing the region. You may need communications services like high-speed Internet, satellite TV, perhaps satellite phone.
Ordering such things abroad raises other questions: how reliable is the postal service, and will Customs officials apply censorship? Travel insurance is generally designed for shorter trips, not for people living abroad, but it may be worth considering for retirees. Obtaining other types of insurance locally, such as fire and theft protection for a residence or insurance on vehicles, is also often worthwhile. Some people only partly retire and continue to work, usually either by setting up a business at the destination or doing digital nomad work via the Internet.
Taxation is often complicated, so for anyone with substantial assets or income getting professional advice is almost certain to be well worth the cost. An investor will likely need accountants in both home and destination countries plus at least one lawyer. This section tries to cover the basics, but it should definitely not be your only information source.
In most cases, people on retirement visas enjoy a tax exemption in the destination country. Investors, however, are generally not exempt and must plan accordingly. Taxation by the home country may be an issue. American citizens and resident aliens are required to file and are taxable by the US on worldwide income even if living abroad. In many expatriate communities there are some mostly-retired accountants who supplement their income by helping Americans with this, and a company called Bright Tax offers US expat tax services worldwide.
Other countries generally do not tax on worldwide income if you do not reside in that country, but most will apply tax if you have an income in the country. As for most taxation, enforcement on these can be draconian; should an expatriate fail to pay these taxes, his or her agent in Canada becomes legally liable for the entire amount and both the expat's and the agent's bank accounts can be seized. Depending on a whole complex of factors, it may be advantageous to have some of your money in a tax haven, which need not be either your home country or the one you live in.
For example, an Englishman living in Thailand might have a Channel Islands account, and the Canadian in the example above might consider selling the house and investing the proceeds through a Hong Kong stockbroker. On the other hand, it might be better to mortgage the house and do something clever with the proceeds, since the mortgage interest would be a deductible expense for the taxation. In some cases it may be advantageous to set up a company for taxation or other reasons. For example, an employee of a Hong Kong company has an easier time with Chinese visas than an individual foreigner and a foreign company can own land in the Philippines whereas an individual foreigner cannot.
Of course this requires expert local advice, at least a lawyer and often others. This section covers buying a home; buying a business is generally more complicated and the rules vary by country, so we do not attempt to cover that. When choosing a place, you may need to allow space for whatever visitors you expect and to consider getting furniture that gives you flexibility in accommodating visitors, such as a couch that folds out into a bed. Or perhaps just choose a place with a good cheap hotel nearby. Remember that over the long term your plans can change for many unpredicatable reasons so always consider how easy it would be to sell the property.
In some countries particular types of property might mainly appeal to e. In some countries, there are legal restrictions on foreigners buying property. For example, in Thailand or the Philippines, a foreigner cannot own land but can own a condominium.
In Indonesia, a foreigner can buy a place, but only above a minimum price which varies by region. In some of the retirement visa deals, buying property gets you off the hook on the cash deposit. It is absolutely necessary to be sure you get good unencumbered title to whatever you buy. Without that, you could be forced to move without compensation, or to pay to clear up a problem.
Sometimes title problems occur due to outright fraud, a crook selling a property he or she does not own; be suspicious of anyone who offers an exceptionally fine price and wants to close quickly. Or there may be several people with a legal claim to a property: more than one child for the parents' house once mom and dad are gone, ex-husband and ex-wife, and so on; an unwary buyer may be caught in the crossfire of a family feud.
In some countries aboriginal land claims may conflict with what the settler-dominated government thinks is the case, and again an innocent buyer can be caught in the crossfire. In many countries a contractor who does work on a place and is not paid can register a "mechanic's lien" against the property; no-one can get clear title without paying him or her off. A mortgage lender also has a claim that must be paid before title is transferred. What you need to do about possible title problems varies by country; your first step should be to seek expert local advice.
In many places it is enough to hire a good lawyer to handle your purchase; he or she will check the title as part of standard procedures, and will ensure that all liens or mortgages are paid off before or at closing. In some places you can buy title insurance which protects you if unforeseen problems crop up later, and this is sometimes a very good investment. In planning a move , allow for shipping costs and consider which things might be better bought at the destination than shipped.
As a general rule, furniture and appliances are better bought on site than shipped. This reduces shipping costs, avoids difficulties with different electrical systems , and often means you have a warranty that applies where you are. However, there are plenty of exceptions; you need to work out which of the exceptions apply to you.
Typically, though, they are much less. Paying airline excess baggage fees is one of the most expensive ways to transport stuff and should be avoided if possible. Shop around; there are some good deals out there, though it is necessary to be cautious about cut-rate vendors. Consider companies that serve an immigrant community; many overseas workers send stuff back to the old country and it is generally small loads, so these companies are usually best if you have a small-to-medium load going to a country they serve.
If there is some way to reach your destination overland, and you are confident you can make the trip, you will be able to carry a lot more than the rather low weight limits on airlines. If you live in Britain and want to retire in Southern Spain, loading your car with your stuff and simply driving there using a ferry or the Chunnel is certainly doable. It may even be worth renting a larger vehicle or putting a trailer on the car. If your origin is Japan and the destination Europe, it's probably not worth the trip round the world overland , though.
If you have items of any sort which are small, high-quality and useful — say kitchen pots and knives — by all means bring those; replacing them is likely to be uneconomical, and if you are used to good tools then using lesser ones can be unpleasant. Larger items are a tougher call — a fine sound system may be worth bringing even if the speakers weigh a ton and the voltage is wrong , but again it may not be. If you have good art or craft items — say paintings or carpets — consider bringing them along; they will make the new place feel much more like home. On the other hand, also consider giving or loaning them to family and friends who you know will appreciate them.
Books are heavy so transporting them can be a problem but bringing at least some of them is essential for many travellers, especially when planning for a long-term stay. If you are sending a freight shipment for household goods, then including books in that will be the cheapest way to transport them. If you are travelling light and want to bring books, the post office may be far cheaper than airline excess baggage charges; some countries' post offices have a special cheap rate for mailing books. Acquiring an e-book reader is also an alternative worth considering. In particular, cookbooks may be of great value if you either cook yourself or want to train a cook you hire at the destination.
Of course there are also many cookbooks and recipe collections on-line; one good source is Project Gutenberg. For traditional American dishes see the Whitehouse Cookbook , published in and written by the presidential chef of the time. For British cookery in that era, try Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management. There is also much cooking information on Wikibooks. Also consider import duties , which can be prohibitive in some cases. For example, Singapore is a duty-free port for most things so bringing most electronic items there makes little sense. Other places have high duties on electronics so you might want to bring those, or stop in Singapore or Hong Kong to buy them en route.
Many countries have an exemption so that there is no duty for personal household goods for someone moving there. For example, someone going to Thailand on a retirement visa can bring in personal goods duty-free within six months of issuance of the visa. Some countries, such as Malaysia, even allow a retiree to import a car duty-free.
Health concerns are important, especially with advancing age; availability and cost of good care are always factors in choosing a destination. In some cases, they may be the deciding factors; see medical tourism. While the cost of healthcare is often lower in developing countries than in developed ones, the standard of care will sometimes not be up to what you are used to at home. On the other hand, it may sometimes be better; for example, lower labour costs might allow a hospital to have a better ratio of nurses to patients.
Also, while professional fees and costs for common medicines are generally lower, costs for things that need to be imported, such as dental implants and some drugs, may be higher than at home. You may need vaccinations or other precautions such as anti- malaria medication. Consult a doctor with expertise in travel medicine, or visit a travel medicine clinic, well before your planned departure. Health insurance should be part of your plan and budget. In some countries, people on a retirement visa are eligible for, or even required to enroll in, the destination country's health insurance scheme; this may be useful, but you might need other insurance as well.
If you live abroad, you will probably no longer be covered by your home country's government health insurance system and if you have a private plan, it may not cover everything you need abroad. Whatever insurance you have, or will get in the new country, it is a good idea to review it when moving to see if you need to make additional arrangements. In particular, many policies do not cover evacuation in an emergency or problems that may crop up while you are outside your country of residence.
Insurance coverage may not be restored immediately if you return to the home country. For example, Canada has "universal" health insurance, but you must be resident in a province for three months before you are covered.
Without other insurance, a sick person might be unable to go home because he could neither afford to pay for treatment himself nor survive three months without it. An exception is that if you are employed abroad , then you can keep the Canadian insurance valid for up to five years, but this requires an actual job in the destination country; it does not apply if you are retired or working over the net.
There are a wide variety of plans that be comprehensive or bare bones. Benefits can include inpatient care, outpatient care, medical evacuation, health and wellness checks, vision, dental, and more. If you are retiring abroad, you should check to make sure your plan will continue on for your lifetime some plans are terminated when you reach a certain age.
See also travel insurance , stay healthy , medical tourism and perhaps tropical diseases. It is also worth considering the possibility of dying abroad. In the worst case — local friends have no idea how to contact family, there is no will, and there's an apartment full of stuff that should probably go to the local lover but he or she has no legal status to claim it — this can create a real mess, but various simple measures can make the aftermath much easier. These can also help in non-fatal emergencies such as being arrested or injured, or becoming seriously ill.
Choose a local friend and a family member back home and give them each other's contact details. If your country's passports have an emergency contact section, fill it out. Register with your embassy or consulate and give them emergency contact information,. Write a will and ensure your named contacts can access it. As a will isn't read until after death, you'll likely need separate documents to indicate who is to make medical decisions, or have power of attorney for other matters, if you are alive but incapacitated.
In some cases a spouse may be eligible for a pension from the home country. Consider a Canadian guy with a girlfriend in some low-income country. If he dies and the Canadian government considers her his wife — he either legally married her or lived with for a year then filled out paperwork at a consulate to acknowledge her as a common-law wife — then she almost automatically gets half his CPP pension for life; this will typically be only a few hundred dollars a month, but may make a large difference in her life. With neither a legal marriage nor registration of a common-law relationship, she might still try to get the pension but would not be likely to succeed.
The rules for this vary by country and by type of pension and are often fairly complex, but if you have both a pension and a Significant Other then it is worth investigating what rules apply in your case. Communications become vitally important when you live overseas. Low-quality, expensive or unreliable communications systems are a problem in some areas, and censorship is a major difficulty in others. Consider having a backup communication system to use if other things fail. For example, both phone and Internet connections might stop working if an earthquake took out an undersea cable or the government went into a panic about some unrest in the country.
If that is a risk where you are going and communications are critical for your life or business, be prepared. Depending on your exact situation, it might be enough to have a short wave radio or satellite TV to get international news broadcasts. Others might need two-way communication as with a ham radio set-up or a satellite phone.
On the other hand, some may be fine with nothing at all. If your retirement plans include a vehicle, perhaps an SUV or a sailboat , consider equipping it with a communications system that can double as backup for your home system. Wikipedia has a list of countries by Internet speeds. See also Internet access , Telephone service and the "Connect" sections of country articles for more information.
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This article covers moving abroad to retire. There are other ways to manage retirement; we try to list most of them in this section, but make no other attempt to cover them:. Seasonal migration works well for birds, and sometimes for people.