Given all the possibilities, one of the biggest challenges in pursuing a life abroad is the where.
A good place to begin your research is International Living’s annual Best Places to Retire Abroad. Based on input from expats in each country, it grades 25 countries on eight measures, ranging from the cost of living to benefits for retirees—and, yes, of course, climate.
These are International Living’s Top 10 countries based on overall score.
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(Health care is graded on a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 indicating the best quality.)
7. Malta (tie)
7. Spain (tie)
5. Costa Rica
Popular Ex-Pat Cities: Grecia, Tamarindo, Nuevo Arenal, Dominical, Jaco
Estimated Monthly Living Costs: $2,500
Health Care Rating: 89
Retiree-Friendly Factor: As in Panama, a Pensionado visa is yours with evidence of $1,000 in monthly income. That visa gives you access to state-run healthcare with a monthly cost of about 10% of income.
Popular Ex-Pat Cities: Malacca, Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh, Penang, Kota Kinabalu
Estimated Monthly Living Costs: $1,500+
Health Care Rating: 94, the highest rating among the 25 countries rated by International Living
Retiree-Friendly Factor: Nothing retiree-specific. But the cost of living is already low and the healthcare inexpensive; doctors visits can cost as little as $20 or so.
Popular Ex-Pat Cities: San Miguel de Allende, Lake Chapala, Puerto Vallarta, Merida
Estimated Monthly Living Costs: $2,200
Health Care Rating: 84
Retiree-Friendly Factor: Expats at least 60 years old qualify for an INAPAM card—think AARP–that can nab you discounts on airline and bus tickets, entertainment and medical care.