The 10 Best Countries For Retirement

Deciding on a retirement destination is a big step. Though it isn't something young workers are thinking much about, if at all, there are many things to be considered and it's worth keeping some optio

Deciding on a retirement destination is a big step. Though it isn't something young workers are thinking much about, if at all, there are many things to be considered and it's worth keeping some options in mind. Retirees should aim for countries that have a lot to offer, but value for money should not be overlooked. This year, International Living compiled their 23rd Annual Global Retirement Index. The world's top and up-and-coming retirement destinations were assessed on factors such as real estate costs, cost of living and health care. This index measures social issues as well as financial issues; things such as the friendliness of locals and the level of difficulty in integrating into the community are taken into account. This combination of factors provides a concise list of the countries that are truly worthy of a retiree's notice.

In 2014, a large number of Central American and South American countries have made the top 10. This part of the world has long been praised for its potential as a retirement destination, due to its growing economy and agreeable climate. Central American and South American countries also have a lot of unexpected benefits to offer retirees: In Latin America, for example, doctor visits cost just $15-25, and prescription medications on average cost a whopping 75% less than in the USA. Asian countries are also becoming very popular with retirees.

Whatever the destination, nowhere is guaranteed to be perfect- but the following ten are quite close! Take a look at 2014's Top 10 Countries to Retire To and open your mind to a laid back life in an exciting new culture. The only things that truly holds us back, after all, are our own inhibitions...

10 Thailand

Thailand is one of the world's most visited tourist destination s- but did you ever think about retiring here? There are many reasons why Thailand may be the perfect place to retire. The dominant reason is a low cost of living. While $1500 a month won't get you a huge amount in any major US or European city, in Thailand you can live a very comfortable life. Healthy Thai food is also a strong point in the country's favour. However, Thailand is not perfect: Problems include a strong language barrier with locals, and poor medical care.

9 Uruguay

Uruguay is a beautiful part of the world, and many retirees have their eye on it this year because of its easy going laws regarding residency and property ownership. Legal residency in Uruguay is simple to obtain, if you have quite a bit of patience - the application will take a while to process, but you don't have to sit and wait. While it is being processed, you can import all of your belongings tax-free. You can even bring your pets! Uruguay also boasts a solid healthcare system to which international residents are entitled.

8 Malta

Despite the fact that Europe regularly tops the polls on a liveability scale, Malta is only one of two European cities that have made it into the top ten. The country has an established history of taking in a large number of British and European retirees. Europeans turn to Malta because it can offer a sense of both escape and familiarity. While the sunshine is welcomed (particularly by British and Scandinavian retirees) its close proximity to other European countries is attractive, as it's a convenient location from which to visit relatives. However, don't expect a cheap cost of living in Malta - it is on par with most European cities.

7 Mexico

Mexico is the destination for retirees who don't want life to slow down. Those who retire here (the vast majority are Americans and Canadians) will be more than able to pursue or continue their hobbies and interests. Sports fans will love Mexico, particularly golfers, as three of the ten best golf courses on earth are found here. Mexico also has many familiarities for retirees to enjoy- as the country has become somewhat Americanised, retirees often find this comforting. The downsides are the level of violence and the poor health care. If you're looking to cut the cost of your health care, Mexico isn’t the right place. Prices are similar to the US and pensioners pay full price.

6 Colombia

Colombia features on the Global Retirement Index for a couple of reasons. Cities such as Medellin - Colombia’s second largest city - offer a cultural experience with the inclusion of familiar things like a reliable internet connection and public transport systems. Frequent garbage collection and street cleaning means that the cities are tidy and attractive. Colombia’s climate is warm, but much cooler than the heat in countries like Thailand. The downside is undeniably the language barrier- if you want to live here and integrate properly, you must learn how to speak Spanish. If you aren't prepared to do this, it's advisable to look elsewhere.

5 Spain

Spain is the second European nation on our list, the ultimate destination for retirees who want to relax in the sun and enjoy reliable Western comforts. Spain is a developed European country and most people speak at least some English, while many business people - like real estate agents and lawyers - speak English very well. Many retirees are attracted to buying real estate in some of Spain’s premier areas, such as Costa Del Sol. Spain's popular with retirees and second-home buyers so don’t move here if you don't like tourists!

4 Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s location is incredible, in close proximity to the Caribbean with a welcomingly temperate climate. It's always summertime in Costa Rica, a nation which offers one of the highest standard of livings in Central America - which is the main reason why the U. S. Department of State reports that more than 20,000 American expats, mainly retirees, have flooded into the country. This high standard of living doesn’t mean high prices either; Costa Rica has a much lower cost of living than the US and Europe. $1000 a month is easily enough to live on here.

3 Malaysia

Malaysia is a country with money pouring into it- the economy has been steadily on the rise for some time, meaning that it's become more developed and liveable. Malaysian people have a reputation for being extremely friendly, and many of them speak English. Malaysia has a competent, well-liked government who have invested a lot of money into their country’s infrastructure. There are a few downsides however; despite a low cost of living, motor tax is through the roof in Malaysia. The distance and cost of a flight home is often a deterrent for prospective retirees too.

2 Ecuador

Ecuador is the reigning champion when it comes to living like a king on a modest budget. Ecuador boasts one of the cheapest costs of living on the planet and uses the US dollar, which many retirees find useful. Ecuador’s natural beauty sweeps many off their feet; over 10% of the world’s plant and animal species are found in this tiny country! Ecuador has all the modern conveniences too; all major cities have top-class internet and cell phone services. The only downside to Ecuador is the fact that it's still a developing country that has a long way to go in global economical terms. Poverty is a common sight here - it's estimated that almost 30% of Ecuadorians live below the poverty line.

1 Panama

Panama has taken first place for a myriad of reasons. The country offers a huge number of benefits to those who retire here: Discounted prices on literally everything- 50% off movie/sports tickets, 30% off public transport, 50% off hotel bookings and a 25% discount off telephone, electricity and water bills to name but a few. Another attractive aspect of Panama is the political state of the country - it is a sound democracy with no military presence. Even if you disregard all these perks, the beaches and the weather alone make this country almost irresistible. Geographically it's  impossible to be more than an hour's drive from a beach while in Panama!

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