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Good Places to Retire Abroad
There are several potential advantages to retiring abroad. You get to really know a different part of the world, immersing yourself in the day-to-day life there. You get outside your comfort zone a little, which can keep you engaged in and enthusiastic about life around you. And your money can go a lot further than it can back home.
Of course, there are potential disadvantages, too. You are a long way from the people you love. You might not have access to the same quality of health care you have in the United States. And if your paradise turns out to be less than you expected, it can be challenging to sell your home abroad and come back.
Of course, you don’t have to sell everything here and start again there. You can take an extended vacation. Rent a house or an apartment so you get a feel for basic tasks like shopping, cooking, doing laundry and getting around. See how much you miss home and the people there. See if you feel like you have found a new home.
Whether you are just getting your toe wet or taking the plunge by selling everything and starting a new life abroad, you need to find the right place. AARP suggests five places that offer a lot of advantages for relatively little money.
Puerto Vallarta region of Mexico
Mexico is the top destination for American retirees, due mainly to its lovely scenery, low cost of living, friendly people and proximity to the United States. Although there is a serious problem with drug-related crime, especially in areas near the U.S. border, AARP says that most of Mexico is fairly safe. Puerta Vallarta is on the Pacific coast, with beautiful beaches and warm winters, though the summers can be rainy and hot. There is an expatriate community of about 50,000, including many Canadians. You can live comfortably for about $2,000 a month, and you have access to good medical care in Puerta Vallarta and Guadalajara, which is three hours away.
This area in the southwest of France includes the historic town of Nimes. It is far away from the hustle and bustle – and high costs – of Paris, but it is only a three-hour journey by high-speed rail from the French capital. It has hot, dry summers and cool winters. AARP estimates that you can live a “comfortably frugal” life on $30,000 a year. And the health care in France is the best in the world, according to the World Health Organization.
Panama has become an increasingly popular retirement choice for Americans, in part because the country welcomes American retirees and its money is tied to the U.S. dollar. Although you can retire in Panama City or on the country’s coast, AARP suggests Boquete, in the highland center of Panama. It has a temperate climate, with a wet season from April to November and a dry season the rest of the year. You can live comfortably on $20,000 a year, in part because Panama offers senior discounts on just about everything. There are private medical clinics in Boquete, but for serious problems you probably need to go to Panama City, which is a one-hour flight. In Panama City, the Hospital Punta Pacifica is affiliated with Johns Hopkins Medicine International.
Cascais is on the Atlantic coast about 15 miles west of the capital, Lisbon. There are lots of activities, including golf, beaches and getting to know the locals, many of whom speak English. Summers are warm, and winters are pleasant. You can live comfortably on $25,000 a year, and medical care includes the British Hospital in Lisbon. Also, if you feel like going back to the States, it’s easy to fly direct from Lisbon.
Le Marche, Italy
Were you inspired by “Under the Tuscan Sun?” Well, Tuscany has become a little pricey, but you can enjoy the beauty, history, culture – and food – of Italy in the Le Marche region, which borders on the Adriatic Sea. The climate is delightful, with warm, dry summers and cool winters, and you can live comfortably for $20,000 a year. The area’s best hospital is in Ancona, the region’s capital.