For many people, retiring means spending long, lazy, mellow years in the neighbourhood where you’ve spent most of your life, amongst family and the friends you’ve created long-standing relationships with over many years.
For others, it means a chance to go and explore and even settle long-term in a completely different country. So what’s the big “expat attraction” for people of retirement age?
The dawn of the expat retiree
Reduced living costs
If you are approaching retirement in a country with high living costs, your retirement savings can start to look a little meagre. Reduce expenses are the reason many people choose to retire abroad. There are many destinations around the world where retirees can live on a fraction of their budget and still enjoy a good quality of life.
Popular countries include Ecuador, Nicaragua, Panama and Thailand where retiree expats can live very comfortably for 1000 American dollars or even less.
Cheaper health care
As people get older, their medical needs and costs can escalate – which can eat huge holes into your retirement savings. This is another reason many retirees choose to live abroad. Medical tourism is a booming industry and many countries compare a great lifestyle with great health care, where expats can avail themselves of the facilities at public hospitals for little or no charge at all.
A more appealing climate
It’s no secret why many UK retirees leave to spend their golden years on Spain’s sunny shores. After spending your life working in a country where the weather is less than idyllic, nothing can be more appealing than knowing you have years of sun ahead of you. Retirees who prefer tropical climates tend to head to affordable countries like Belize and Honduras in the Caribbean. While those retirees who prefer seasonal changes, favour countries like Croatia or Uruguay.
The cost of accommodation can also cause a huge dent in retirees’ budgets. Although many people own their own homes by the time they retire, the majority of their retirement capital can be tied up in it, necessitating the sale of their property. Once they’ve released their capital, the last thing they want is to invest it again in high-priced accommodation. This is one of the reasons many people retire in countries with a weaker currency and far lower accommodation costs that will take up a minor portion of their retirement nest egg.
Top expat destinations for retirees
According to International Living the world’s best places to retire in 2016 are:
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