Are you asking yourself, where in the world to retire?
How about, Algarve, Portugal. The Street, in their 2015 list of the top 21 places in the world to retire had it coming in at number one.
I did not know this, but it was number one in 2014 as well.
I’m not sure what criteria is used to determine the best. Cost of living is in play. The number for this top pick was $1,414 a month for total living expenses.
Climate, infrastructure and healthcare are on the list of important things. What I don’t know is how are they rated. What makes for a good climate or great infrastructure. Certainly areas of Mexico,(on the list) and Central America have clean water challenges.
How are these issues addressed? Here is what I think. I believe that the creators of lists ask someone who is there, get a answer and run with it. An opinion of one. Okay maybe two, but you get the point.
Lifestyle in Algarve seems to be going to the beach, watching dolphins and exploring caves. Sounds more like a vacation than a place to spend all one’s time.
This is great, but, who lives there, and what questions did they answer to be number one?
I’ve never been to Portugal, but the photo, a standard iStock variety, of Algarve doesn’t even look real, makes the place look really small. Hard to believe one wouldn’t get bored. Have a look here at 21 places in the world to retire.
Where Are They.
Where are your best places in the world to retire.
It’s hard to tell who the experts are when reviewing ideas. There are at least a hundred choices around the world, maybe more.
The list you create begins with desire. What’s important. I know as I read reviews of places in the United States, I got depressed. Cities I would not want to even visit made the list.
I suppose it can also be said about cities in various parts of the world. Some of the intangibles come into play a little more. Especially if you’re moving from the United States or Canada.
Medical care is a big consideration. I was was more than a little surprised to see so many positive comments in places in Central America, like Panama and Costa Rica, Cities in Asia seemed to also fair well.
Speaking of Panama, The 2016 Annual Global Retirement index (yes there is such a thing) published by International Living ranked Panama number one in the world with an overall rating of 93.5.
Malaysia made the list ranking fifth. Culture and food rank high in this choice as do cost of living and healthcare. According to International Living, there is no shortage of things to do in the island nation.
A huge surprise for me, as I went through the list, was Da Nang Viet Nam. International Living has the former deep water port built for the war, ranking 23rd. They were not alone. It ranked 21st in 2015, according to The Street.
Not On The List
The two continents that do not seem to rank in this list are Australia and Africa. I have no idea why. Perhaps it’s an issue with the cost of living.
So here is the secret to rankings. They are subjective. Certainly there is some value to the index. Value has been assigned to several categories. But it has nothing to do with aesthetics, or heart, or peace. And then I ask, who sets the value for the category?
As I write peace I think of what is going on with terrorist worldwide. Istanbul Turkey, the site of several recent terrorist attacks ranked 16th on the list compiled by International Living.
Is that really a place to which people would move to enjoy their golden years?
The Dominican Republic scored in the top places in the world to retire. It is fifteenth. No mention of hurricanes. It is rare for an eastern caribbean hurricane to miss the island. The Dominican Republic occupies the eastern end of the island of Hispaniola. The island is shared with Haiti. Didn’t they have an earthquake?
I had a conversation recently with a man who had lived in Costa Rica for two years. Costa Rica is on the list. The index has it as fourth. My friend said, “Not any more.”
I pressed him. “The cost of living,” He said. He went on to tell me that it is no better now, than living in Florida. And you need a permit to work in Costa Rica. Thinking about a job for extra money? That bartender gig is not open to expats.
There are, as we mentioned earlier, dozens of destinations that might be described as, the best place in the world to retire. It is a personal decision.
The process of deciding should not be done from a list somebody else created. I don’t believe any list is done for that purpose. They are rather, a method for finding options.
Each country will have websites and some form of chamber of commerce. It may not be called that, but it’s there. Ministry of tourism would be an example.
In your research, check the legal points. Can you work? Are you allowed to own real property? Yes it’s true. Some countries will not allow aliens to own real estate. What are the laws regarding visas, and is there a form of legal non resident status to consider.
How about banking laws. Are your deposits at risk? Those living in the United States take such things for granted. Depending on your choice, that might be a huge mistake.
Once you have reviewed the lists, create your own list of must haves, you will then winnow the options to only a few. Two or maybe three destinations.
Making a permanent move to a new country has a form of finality to it. For many, a mistake can be hard to overcome. It will certainly be expensive.
The final step before making the decision should an extended visit to your top choice. Three to six months should give you the information you’ll need to make the change. You’ll not experience all seasons, but many choices don’t have the changes of North America or northern Europe.
When you spend three to six months in your top choice, take the time to learn the housing options, health care choices and facilities and the culture. Is this the place where you really want to spend the rest of your life?
If the answer is anything short of, absolutely, go home and review the other choices from your short list.
Perhaps next year you’ll do the same thing with your second option. And then the third. Eventually you’ll find the best place in the world to retire.
When you do, let me know. I would love to hear your story.
Questions or comments? Leave me a note in the comments section below.