Top 10 Retirement Destinations Recommended for 2014

The recent cost of living increases, energy power price hikes, and inclement weather has made retirement in the UK a bleak prospect for many.

If you’d rather be reading on the beach, then snuggled under eight layers of blankets, or trekking on an elephant than riding up the stair lift, then take a look at these top international retirement destinations.

Every year, International Living a website for people considering a new life overseas, compiles a list of the best places in the world to retire. The Global Retirement Index takes into account the cost of living, quality of life, ease of immigration, and availability of health care, as well as feedback provided by expats.

These are the top ten retirement destinations reported in the 2014 Index, along with the reasons they are so attractive to the newly retired.

1. Republic of Panama

Top of the list in 2014, was the Republic of Panama, offering history, scenery, value for money and excellent healthcare. Under the Pensionado scheme anyone with a government or corporate pension of at least $1,00 per month will be granted residency, although the flexible immigration department are generally welcoming to all retirees with their own source of income.

The city of Panama itself offers value for money, but the same high-end luxury you would expect to find in First World cities like New York and London. As a bonus the airport is just a two hour flight from Miami, but out of the hurricane zone.

English is widely spoken throughout the main cities, and there is a thriving and growing international community of various ages.

2. Ecuador

(Image Source: Flickr)

Combining the affordability of a Central America location with all the mod cons you would expect to find in the Western World, Cuenca in Southern Ecuador offers an affordable yet luxurious retirement destination.

Just like baby bear’s porridge, the climate is neither too hot, nor too cold, but just right. With year round temperatures of about 75F properties rarely need heating or air conditioning.

Cuenca is a popular destination for English speaking pensioners, who can live comfortably there for around $1,500 per month, including rent.

The scenery is spectacular across the country, and Cuenca is a World Heritage site so you’ll never run short of places to explore.

3. Malaysia

Enjoy year round temperatures and a ocean-side, luxury lifestyle on a budget of under $1,700 per month. With year round temperatures of 82F, and a low cost of living, your pension will stretch further than you ever imagined. English is widely spoken, the elderly are respected, and modern facilities such as high speed Internet and cable television are widely available. There’s plenty to see and do including stunning beaches to relax on, mountain retreats to explore, and islands to hop.

The healthcare available in Malaysia is excellent, yet cheap. Most health professionals trained in the US or UK so practice in English, and you can hire a live-in maid with nursing skills for as little as $400 per month.

Those retiring to Malaysia can do so on a 10 year ‘Malaysia My Second Home’ visa, which you can renew for another 10 years after the first visa expires, provided you meet certain asset and income requirements. As a rule the older you are, or the shorter your intended stay, the easier it is to get a visa.

4. Costa Rica

(Image Source: Flickr)

Like the other destinations featured on this list, Costa Rica offers affordable health care, a welcoming immigration program for retirees, and is popular with expats. There’s a choice of climates to retire to, with milder temperatures in the Central Valley, and more tropical retreats available two hours drive away along the Pacific Coast beaches.

5. Spain

The first European entrant on the list, Spain is the ideal warm retreat for those who don’t want to travel too far from Blighty. With excellent entertainment and amenities on offer, this remains a fun yet affordable, popular retirement destination.

6. Colombia

(Image Source: Flickr)

In sixth place was Columbia, home to diverse landscapes, from relaxing beach resorts to highland colonial cities. A retirement here offers a low cost of living, and inexpensive properties surrounded by a rich, diverse culture.

7. Mexico

A popular retirement for people from the US, with a great weather and low prices.

8. Malta

(Image Source: Flickr)

Malta is to the British, what Mexico is to the Americans. Nested in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, it’s a small, stable, safe and English-speaking country.

9. Uruguay

Uruguay provides a change in culture and environment but with all the comforts of home. You can even import your own household goods without any duty charge.

10. Thailand

(Image Source: Flickr)

Growing in popularity as an overseas retirement destination, Thailand offers white sandy beaches, tranquil turquoise sea, and magnificent gilded temples. The cost of living is low, but the health care standards are high.

If you are planning an overseas retirement, pay attention to the factors considered by the International Living panel. While a low cost of living will help stretch your pension further, be sure it doesn’t come at the expense of the quality of lifestyle. Even if you are currently enjoying good health, investigate the cost and reputation of local health care and nursing services. Finally consider the journey time back to your home country, as you may find it easier to relax and integrate into your new community, safe in the knowledge that friends and family are just a few hours away.

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