For a few years now, we have been using our ever-expanding network of ambassadors around the world to provide us with the information and field recommendations we need to put together our destination index. When we started our journey we had focused on Thailnadia, Sardinia, Mexico and Brazil (Nadal). This year we talked to more people than ever and gathered enormous amounts of information to decide the best retirement destinations, but we had to suspend Mexico and Brazil for the time being because some of the safety conditions were not guaranteed.
All these people were once in your shoes. All of them wondered if they could find a better life abroad. Many of them were former International Living readers who took the plunge and now want to share their love of their new home with the world. These are the people we draw on every year to put our index together.
Housing: Review the value of real estate and how easy it is to buy or rent your dream home overseas. In this category, we evaluate things like the price of homes and condominiums in areas an expat retiree would like to live in, how well renters are protected by law, whether expats can get a mortgage locally, and whether there are restrictions on owning property. expatriate property. We also asked correspondents if there are any good opportunities to invest in property as a means of earning a rent or a return on capital.
Benefits and Discounts: In some countries, you as a retiree can get discounts on many things, from electricity and public transport. The benefits and discounts that retirees can get in the country, simply because they are past a certain age, are taken into account in this category.
Visas and living room: If you can’t legally and easily call a country house, it won’t be very useful as a resting place. This category looks at things like how easy it is to obtain permanent residency and whether there are special residency options for retirees.
Cost of Living: A country must be affordable to be a great retirement place. It’s that simple. And to gauge how affordable each country is, we asked our experts to compile a comprehensive budget. Whether it’s the cost of a liter of milk or a bottle of beer, a dental cleaning or a hip operation, a haircut or an elegant meal … it’s all taken into consideration.
Adaptation and Entertainment: It’s not just about making friends with locals and expats. It is also about feeling at home. Can you take your favorite North American comforts when you need them? And how easy is it to adapt to the local culture? Does it have many museums, concerts and exhibitions? Are there many outdoor activities? This category looks at all of these things.
Healthcare: Is health care up to the standard you are used to? We ask our ambassadors if they have access to private hospitals of the highest JCI accredited standard. We also ask if they can easily access an English-speaking doctor, because even the best care is of limited use if you cannot understand what is being discussed. Can you get common medications for things like asthma and diabetes? And do you need a prescription to get a refill? And, while private health insurance costs less abroad, we also asked if expats can enroll in local low-cost (or even free) national health programs. All in all, it gives us a picture of how your health needs will be met from whichever destination you choose.
Development: You wouldn’t want to live in a place where parks have been vandalized, or where sanitation is poor or the standard of living is low. You will want to live in a place where the water is clean, the health system is well funded, and people have a decent standard of living. You’ll also need quality roads and well-maintained public areas. These are just some of the factors that fuel the Development category.
Climate: Moving abroad gives you the chance to escape extreme weather conditions at home. You can find places abroad where the weather is perfect for you. In this category, we evaluate the climate of each country, taking into account things like rainfall, temperature and humidity. We also rate each country based on how varied the climate is, because not everyone likes the same type of climate and it’s good to have a choice.
Governance: the world can be scary and our fate uncertain. So knowing your new home respects personal freedom, minimizes bureaucracy, and provides a stable and safe environment in which enjoying retirement is a good feeling. You will also appreciate an efficient banking system.
Opportunity: Retirement doesn’t need to be a drag. Perhaps you have a business project that you would like to try, or perhaps you have thought about supplementing your income with a freelance job or an online job. We looked at how well local authorities support small businesses, whether it is easy to work remotely and whether there is a strong economy in each country.
While we’ve been more rigorous than ever in putting our destinations together, what makes a perfect retirement place is ultimately subjective. It all depends on you and your instinctive reaction to a place. How do you measure the friendliness of the locals? How do you judge the comfort of a climate? A perfect retirement place for one person may be less than perfect for another, regardless of their index score. And that’s why we always recommend renting a place for a couple of months to try it out. Make sure it’s right for you before committing to a definitive move.