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The Top 10 Best International Places to Retire in 2013
Old 01-04-2013, 11:29 AM   #1
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The Top 10 Best International Places to Retire in 2013

I only wish I had the courage to retire abroad or I'd never read these articles, but I'm not kidding myself. Even if I could muster the courage, DW would be waving goodbye as I left (a bad thing). So as a PSA to those more adventurous (I'm jealous)...

1. Ecuador
2. Panama
3. Malaysia
4. Mexico
5. Costa Rica
6. Uruguay
7. Columbia
8. Spain
9. Thailand
10. Malta

There is a persistent annoying pop-up with both links, though it seemed to stop after I closed it several times.

In Pictures: The Top 10 Best Places to Retire in 2013

The World
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Old 01-04-2013, 01:14 PM   #2
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Nicaragua didn't spend very long on the list.
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Old 01-04-2013, 01:48 PM   #3
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Nicaragua and Guatemala have both been on my radar for a while; neither seem to have made this year's top ten.

I am still leaning strongly towards starting in Mexico and possibly working my way south if I need/want something cheaper, get board need new adventures, Mexico changes in ways I do not like, etc.

Thanks in no small part to many who post here, I am also coming around to the idea of my own retirement being the start of a much more interesting journey rather than I nice conclusion to my life's journey.
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Old 01-04-2013, 11:19 PM   #4
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Nicaragua didn't spend very long on the list.
I have a love/hate relationship with Nicaragua. I spent the past few years there on and off. Probably 15 months total. Anyone want to know anything in particular let me know.

I have spent time in each of the other countries listed except for Malta and Uruguay and can give some input about them them also but certainly not to the extent I can Nicaragua. So many pluses and minuses to all locations.

I will say that the Central Highlands of Mexico probably come out on the top of my list for many reasons.
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Old 01-05-2013, 12:29 AM   #5
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IMHO I still think Belize is the ideal place to retire. I like the fact it is English speaking and the money is 1 USD to 2 Belizian Dollars for easy conversion. To me it is like the midwest of my youth in the 1950s. It is slower paced, not greatly technologically advanced, and has downtowns with "mom & pop" stores. People are friendly and welcoming. One day I make make the permanent move.
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Old 01-05-2013, 12:53 AM   #6
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On House Hunters International, a lot of these Latin American countries have bars on the windows and US expats often live in gated communities with a guard at the gate. Sometimes the monthly maintenance fees are several hundred dollars.

Guatemala had death squads in the 80s?

And doesn't Columbia have a lot of violence? Cocaine cartel is gone but isn't kidnapping somewhat common?

I just glanced at the articles and its not clear how accessible these countries are. For instance, Spain could be appealing for health care. But will they let non citizens into their system?
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Old 01-05-2013, 06:33 AM   #7
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I would include Britain and France in the list.
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Old 01-05-2013, 08:54 AM   #8
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This is referring to Mexico:


(Rent a comfortable, mid-sized house in Mexico for about $800 a month, while $1,500 can get you a large colonial or a chic beachside apartment. Looking to buy? You can still find comfortable homes for around $150,000, depending on the town.)


I see things like this about foreign retirement and wonder just what the appeal is. You get these prices in the U.S. for the most part. I don't know about beach side apartment rent though. Never priced it.

You can find comfortable homes in the U.S. for less than 150K. I live in one. There is nothing on my street any higher. Article must be written by a New Yorker or someone in another high cost area. Thinks 150K is real cheap.

I would never retire overseas but I would like to know just how cheap is it really? Then compare to a small midwestern U.S. town. I think many would be surprised.
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Old 01-05-2013, 09:16 AM   #9
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I would include Britain and France in the list.
France has been rated #1 in previous lists on International Living.
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Old 01-05-2013, 09:21 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Lazarus View Post
This is referring to Mexico:


(Rent a comfortable, mid-sized house in Mexico for about $800 a month, while $1,500 can get you a large colonial or a chic beachside apartment. Looking to buy? You can still find comfortable homes for around $150,000, depending on the town.)


I see things like this about foreign retirement and wonder just what the appeal is. You get these prices in the U.S. for the most part.
The US is a more affordable place to live than it once was. Meanwhile prices have risen in many overseas retirement destinations that have been "discovered".
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Old 01-05-2013, 09:33 AM   #11
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I would include Britain and France in the list.
From one of the links above, I found this page, showing rankings on several categories for 22 countries.

Britain and France are nice but very expensive. They can have nice weather in the summer but I can see the appeal of places like Ecuador and Maylasia, where it's perpetual summer or spring.
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Old 01-05-2013, 09:36 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Lazarus View Post
This is referring to Mexico:


(Rent a comfortable, mid-sized house in Mexico for about $800 a month, while $1,500 can get you a large colonial or a chic beachside apartment. Looking to buy? You can still find comfortable homes for around $150,000, depending on the town.)


I see things like this about foreign retirement and wonder just what the appeal is. You get these prices in the U.S. for the most part. I don't know about beach side apartment rent though. Never priced it.

You can find comfortable homes in the U.S. for less than 150K. I live in one. There is nothing on my street any higher. Article must be written by a New Yorker or someone in another high cost area. Thinks 150K is real cheap.

I would never retire overseas but I would like to know just how cheap is it really? Then compare to a small midwestern U.S. town. I think many would be surprised.
But the cheap areas in the US would be mostly rural areas, where the weather can be pretty tough at times?

AZ, FL and NV all suffered from the housing bust so there is cheap housing available in all those states. But these states have extremes of weather and unless you golf and gamble, may have limited appeal.

Then the upper Midwest may have affordable housing but brutal winters.
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Old 01-05-2013, 10:01 AM   #13
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I would question the results as Columbia is only a "International Destination" for Non US retiree's.
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Old 01-05-2013, 10:08 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazarus View Post
This is referring to Mexico:


(Rent a comfortable, mid-sized house in Mexico for about $800 a month, while $1,500 can get you a large colonial or a chic beachside apartment. Looking to buy? You can still find comfortable homes for around $150,000, depending on the town.)


I see things like this about foreign retirement and wonder just what the appeal is. You get these prices in the U.S. for the most part. I don't know about beach side apartment rent though. Never priced it.

You can find comfortable homes in the U.S. for less than 150K. I live in one. There is nothing on my street any higher. Article must be written by a New Yorker or someone in another high cost area. Thinks 150K is real cheap.

I would never retire overseas but I would like to know just how cheap is it really? Then compare to a small midwestern U.S. town. I think many would be surprised.
You have to take the prices quoted in articles like that with a big grain of salt, as they usually represent what some writer found on the internet rather than local realities.

We currently live in the Lake Chapala area of Mexico after trying to make it in several low-cost U.S. retirement havens (small towns in Colorado, Washington State and New Mexico). This part of Mexico has the largest concentration of expat retirees in the country which drives rents and real estate prices up, so you could definitely rent a place in many parts of the U.S. for the $700 a month we pay. BUT: combined our monthly gas and electric bill is around $40 (no need for heating or cooling in this climate), food is half of what you'd pay in the U.S. for infinitely fresher produce and meats (albeit less selection of packaged goods), we walk everywhere and fill up our "beater" car less than once a month. The decisive cost difference though is medical and dental care: we forego insurance here and pay out of pocket for care from skilled, often U.S. trained, doctors, where routine office visits are $20 and a specialist $40, dental cleaning $15, etc. We eat lunch out most days (an excellent meal of local food for two runs us $3-6 ).

The expat community here is full of highly educated people from all over the world and there are at least 100 different groups for just about any interest you could imagine - so much going on and so many opportunities to be with like-minded people and expand one's intellectual horizons that many people report that being double-booked or doing too much to feel retired is their main "problem" with life here. This is in sharp contrast to the aforementioned affordable retirement burgs, where nothing much is going on and retirees along with most of the rest of the population seem to spend most of their time hunkered down in front of the big screen TV and computer.

That said we would still prefer to live in the U.S. at least part-time, but as we are years away from SS let alone Medicare eligibility the reality that we can live well here on $1600-1800 a month while trying to pull that off in the U.S. would mean zero travel, penny-pinching and continually waitiing for the next healh insurance premium increase to wipe us out makes living here a no-brainer.

Hope this provides a different perspective.
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Old 01-05-2013, 10:28 AM   #15
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I would include Britain and France in the list.

Me too. Plus Canada and Australia.
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Old 01-05-2013, 10:38 AM   #16
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Ecuador #1? Maybe a lot has changed since I was there 15 years ago, but it was a little scary back then. I'll be retiring to Taiwan which I'm sure is nowhere near their top 10. But I love it there and it's my wife's home.
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Old 01-05-2013, 10:41 AM   #17
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Britain and France are nice but very expensive. They can have nice weather in the summer but I can see the appeal of places like Ecuador and Maylasia, where it's perpetual summer or spring.
France can be expensive but does not have to be. In fact, the average French resident only lives on about 19,000 euros per year (according to the French National Institute of Statistics). There are great regional disparities as well. Paris and the south/east are generally more expensive. The center of the country as well as the north/west are more affordable.
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Old 01-05-2013, 10:47 AM   #18
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France can be expensive but does not have to be. In fact, the average French resident only lives on about 19,000 euros per year (according to the French National Institute of Statistics). There are great regional disparities as well. Paris and the south/east are generally more expensive. The center of the country as well as the north/west are more affordable.
When biking through Perigord and Quercy ~20 years ago, my friends and I realized that it would be possible to live well on modest resources there. Of course, the countryside is absolutely stunning.
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Old 01-05-2013, 10:54 AM   #19
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But it sounds like the French version of the flyover states.
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Old 01-05-2013, 10:58 AM   #20
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But it sounds like the French version of the flyover states.
Since I see nothing wrong with living in flyover country, I can't comment. Remember though that France is a small country. A short train ride gets you to all the good stuff.
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