Our Expat's Manual was last updated on Tuesday 4th June 2013.
Everyone has their own opinion about which are the best places to retire in the world. Where you choose to retire to will depend on many factors, which include how much money you have, how far you want to travel and which culture interests you the most. The following is an overview of the most popular destinations that retirees move to:
Latin America is a very popular place for retirees to relocate to; especially those from North America. Countries such as Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, Brazil and Bolivia offer stunning scenery, good year-round weather, a cheaper cost of living and a close proximity to the United States.
It is very easy for American citizens to get a retirement visa for Latin America and once there, there are no strict laws regarding property ownership or investment. In fact, foreign investment is welcomed. It is a very safe destination in which to invest, which will ensure that you get even more value for your money. In addition to this, the low cost of living means that your money will go very far and your pension/social security will certainly last much longer than if you were to stay in your home country.
Everyone suffers from aches and pains, but as we get older, these seem to become more frequent. Such symptoms of old age are often impeded by cold weather and if you live in a country which suffers harsh winters, you may notice that you suffer more. Latin America enjoys warm temperatures the whole year round which is a bonus from anyone suffering from joint pain or who is inclined to suffer from annual colds and flu. There is nothing more pleasing than waking up to sunshine every morning and not having to worry about getting snowed in.
Most developed Latin American countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Costa Rica have excellent medical facilities – they are actually so good that medical tourism has significantly improved the economy in these areas. People now travel to hospitals in South America from all over the world because of the cheap price, high standards of care and range of treatments.
Finally, the scenery in Much of Latin America is truly breathtaking. You can enjoy pristine beaches, imposing mountains, beautiful countryside and historically important sites. It is a continent brimming with culture, history, beauty and best of all; it opens its arms to foreigners.
For further information about expat destinations in Latin America please see the relevant Expat Info Desk relocation guide.
Europe is commonly perceived as being a romantic retreat which boasts a rich history, beautiful scenery and a number of different countries and cultures to choose from. Popular destinations for retirees (in Western Europe) include the UK, Southern Ireland, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Germany.
In comparison to many other popular expat retirement destinations Europe is a relatively expensive place in which to retire and the strength of the Euro and Pound currencies may mean that you get very little for your money. Of the popular retirement destinations in Europe, London, Paris, Rome, Barcelona and Dublin are among the most expensive. Smaller areas in countries such as Greece and the more remote areas of France and Italy will offer you much more for your money. Western Europe is however one of the most developed regions in the world and boasts very high standards of medical care, exceptional standards of living and a wealth of opportunities.
Eastern Europe has recently opened its doors to tourists and expats. Countries such as Croatia, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic have developed infrastructures for expats and they are far cheaper than Western Europe; however, medical facilities and general standards of care generally fall short of those in the neighboring west.
Visa regulations differ for each country. Some countries are far stricter than others. If you are from a country within the EU, you will have no problem retiring to other countries within the EU. If you are not, you will have to apply for a retirement visa in advance from your nearest foreign embassy. Detailed information pertaining to the visa requirements for retirees in popular European cities can be found in the city guides.
For further information about expat destinations in Europe please see our Expat Info Desk relocation guide.
Canada in commonly considered as one of the best expat retirement destinations in the world and it is extremely popular with retirees from the United States. It is a great place for lovers of the great outdoors to relocate to and it offers a peaceful and tranquil location within which to retire. It is a developed country with a culture very similar to the US and the UK. Medical facilities are very good and visas are generally very easy to get hold of if you are a UK or US citizen.
Canada experiences very harsh winters, so it is not the ideal destination for anyone hoping to escape the cold. However, if you are partial to a bit of snow, it is a beautiful country with plenty of space and beautiful countryside which is virtually untouched. Further information can be found in our destination guide for Canada.
For further information about expat destinations in Canada please our guide to living in Canada.
Australia is a popular destination for anyone looking to really get away from it all. However, despite being the other side of the word, it boasts a very western culture and as English is the first language there will be no communication problems at all.
The weather is good throughout the year and there are some beautiful cities, beaches, countryside and vineyards to take advantage of. It is cheaper than many countries in the west and the way of life is very relaxed – perfect for someone who is looking to retire.
You need to be over 55 to retire here and you are also required to prove that you have the financial means to support yourself. There are retirement visas available and if you qualify it is very simple to renew the visa every subsequent year.
For further information about expat destinations in Australia please see our guide to living in Australia.
Asia is growing in popularity, largely because most countries within this are offer a very cheap standard of living. The weather is also another draw for retired expats; it is warm all year round. Without doubt, the most popular places for retirees are Thailand and Malaysia.
The cultures in both countries are very different to that found in the West and may take some getting used to. Once you are used to it, you will understand why so many people are drawn to this part of the world. English is not a first language anywhere in the majority of places in Asia but in the more developed countries you will find that many people speak a relatively good level of English.
Retirement visas are generally very easy to obtain for Asia – as long as you are of age and can prove that you have your pension/social security being paid into a bank each month you should not have a problem.
For further information about expat destinations in Asia please see our international relocation guide.
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