Author Topic: Top cities for retiring abroad  (Read 12106 times)

EconDiva

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Top cities for retiring abroad
« on: January 15, 2015, 07:00:55 AM »
If you were to retire abroad where would you go and why?

Also, more specifically, where would you retire outside of the US if your most important factors to consider were:

-Cost
-Access to quality healthcare
« Last Edit: January 15, 2015, 07:09:56 AM by EconDiva »

ScroogeMcDutch

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2015, 07:05:14 AM »
With #3 obviously it matters where in the US you'd want to be and what you consider to be a moderatele to short flight time ;)

EconDiva

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2015, 07:10:25 AM »
I axed #3 to open up people's choices.

Kris

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2015, 07:20:10 AM »
If you were to retire abroad where would you go and why?

Also, more specifically, where would you retire outside of the US if your most important factors to consider were:

-Cost
-Access to quality healthcare
Well the two sound inversely correlated to me.

If you have quality healthcare you are like to have a higher tax burden to carry.
Overall though a small to medium sized town in central or northern Europe will be reasonably cheap to live in while giving you access to great healthcare.

Another idea I just had was Cuba, they have excellent healthcare and should be very reasonable in regards to COL.


Compared to the US you will find excellent healthcare in plenty of places around the globe.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Health_Organization_ranking_of_health_systems_in_2000

No necessarily at all.  There are many places in South America that have very good health care, from my research.  Ecuador, Colombia... Google is your friend here.

ScroogeMcDutch

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2015, 08:17:13 AM »
To also answer the OPs original question (I am based in Europe, so answer differ a little):

I do consider retiring abroad. Good healthcare is an important point for me, as well as a better (warmer) climate. Regions I would consider are all the standard regions: Southern Europe, SE Asia, Northern and Southern Africa, Middle & South America, as well as Australia or NZ. Lower COL, better climate and decent healthcare would be criteria, but I haven't looked into it extensively. Distance to Europe matters a little less, as I wouldn't visit more often than twice a year even if it were closer I would expect. My girlfriend is probably completely not on board with this yet, and it is too soon to discuss it extensively anyway as I will be here (or in the US) for quite some time before I retire.

Cookie78

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2015, 09:10:39 AM »
Personally I've been looking at SE Asia and Central or South America.

Why?
Lower COL
Better Climate
Access Health Care
Decent Quality of Life


puglogic

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2015, 09:17:49 AM »
One of these days I'll interpolate  healthcare quality, COL, stable government, and latitude.  I'll have time when I retire!   :)

greaper007

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2015, 09:22:35 AM »
Thailand has excellent, cheap healthcare and you can live like a king for a very small amount.   I had a Thai friend that told me the only expensive thing in Thailand is a car.    Everything else is about half the price it is in the US.

Bob W

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2015, 09:55:29 AM »
I'm thinking Thailand rocks.  The drawback is the distance from the mother ship. (USA)  So Belize, Panama, Ecuador look pretty awesome.    I think I'm leaning Panama.  I wouldn't be too concerned about healthcare as if you live the USA you will be amazed at how much cheaper and better the health industry is in most countries.   

greaper007

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2015, 10:17:59 AM »
I'm thinking Thailand rocks.  The drawback is the distance from the mother ship. (USA)  So Belize, Panama, Ecuador look pretty awesome.    I think I'm leaning Panama.  I wouldn't be too concerned about healthcare as if you live the USA you will be amazed at how much cheaper and better the health industry is in most countries.

That's true but if your only cost is a round trip ticket once a year, I'd say just pick the place you like best (which for me would involve food and beach access).   My dad is retiring with free airfare for life next year.   I keep trying to tell him to winter somewhere like Thailand or Costa Rica.

I agree with Panama, and I've also heard some good things about Nicaragua emerging as a good destination.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2015, 12:18:10 PM by greaper007 »

Scandium

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2015, 11:06:59 AM »
I'm thinking Thailand rocks.  The drawback is the distance from the mother ship. (USA)  So Belize, Panama, Ecuador look pretty awesome.    I think I'm leaning Panama.  I wouldn't be too concerned about healthcare as if you live the USA you will be amazed at how much cheaper and better the health industry is in most countries.

I also like the looks of central america. Nicaragua, Costa Rica also options. But I looked into houses for sale there a while back and found prices to be high-ish. Or comparable to many places in the US. Also seen a couple of those HGTV house hunters shows there and tiny (vacation) homes are often $300K+. Maybe this is only in the most touristy areas?

My boss has offered cheap rent at his place in Costa rica so we should really take the trip down at some point.

Cookie78

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2015, 11:15:42 AM »
I'm thinking Thailand rocks.  The drawback is the distance from the mother ship. (USA)  So Belize, Panama, Ecuador look pretty awesome.    I think I'm leaning Panama.  I wouldn't be too concerned about healthcare as if you live the USA you will be amazed at how much cheaper and better the health industry is in most countries.

I also like the looks of central america. Nicaragua, Costa Rica also options. But I looked into houses for sale there a while back and found prices to be high-ish. Or comparable to many places in the US. Also seen a couple of those HGTV house hunters shows there and tiny (vacation) homes are often $300K+. Maybe this is only in the most touristy areas?

My boss has offered cheap rent at his place in Costa rica so we should really take the trip down at some point.

Costa Rica is the most expensive country in Central America. Did you look at places for sale in Nicaragua also or just Costa Rica.

Scandium

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2015, 11:29:31 AM »
I'm thinking Thailand rocks.  The drawback is the distance from the mother ship. (USA)  So Belize, Panama, Ecuador look pretty awesome.    I think I'm leaning Panama.  I wouldn't be too concerned about healthcare as if you live the USA you will be amazed at how much cheaper and better the health industry is in most countries.

I also like the looks of central america. Nicaragua, Costa Rica also options. But I looked into houses for sale there a while back and found prices to be high-ish. Or comparable to many places in the US. Also seen a couple of those HGTV house hunters shows there and tiny (vacation) homes are often $300K+. Maybe this is only in the most touristy areas?

My boss has offered cheap rent at his place in Costa rica so we should really take the trip down at some point.

Costa Rica is the most expensive country in Central America. Did you look at places for sale in Nicaragua also or just Costa Rica.
It was a while ago so don't remember exactly. May have been Cost Rica to surprised me. Googled around about Nicaragua and see that people say it's much cheaper than CR and Panama (for now..).

A site I found with real estate in Nicaragua has places from $90k to $700K.. So yeah. Need to learn more about locations to figure out what a reasonable place costs.

Cookie78

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2015, 11:36:40 AM »
I'm thinking Thailand rocks.  The drawback is the distance from the mother ship. (USA)  So Belize, Panama, Ecuador look pretty awesome.    I think I'm leaning Panama.  I wouldn't be too concerned about healthcare as if you live the USA you will be amazed at how much cheaper and better the health industry is in most countries.

I also like the looks of central america. Nicaragua, Costa Rica also options. But I looked into houses for sale there a while back and found prices to be high-ish. Or comparable to many places in the US. Also seen a couple of those HGTV house hunters shows there and tiny (vacation) homes are often $300K+. Maybe this is only in the most touristy areas?

My boss has offered cheap rent at his place in Costa rica so we should really take the trip down at some point.

Costa Rica is the most expensive country in Central America. Did you look at places for sale in Nicaragua also or just Costa Rica.
It was a while ago so don't remember exactly. May have been Cost Rica to surprised me. Googled around about Nicaragua and see that people say it's much cheaper than CR and Panama (for now..).

A site I found with real estate in Nicaragua has places from $90k to $700K.. So yeah. Need to learn more about locations to figure out what a reasonable place costs.

:D yeah... lol. I haven't done any research yet myself, so I'm curious what you find out. I'm a long way from buying additional property anywhere just yet, but hoping to check out the area in a few years. :)

chowtime

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2015, 05:26:36 PM »
I've recently started looking into Taipei, Taiwan.  Very modern city with excellent public transportation, low cost of living, low cost of healthcare and low taxes.  I'm planning a vacation for later this year to check it out.

brooklynmoney

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2015, 08:34:13 PM »
I fully plan to retire for at least part of the time in Central America. I've traveled many times to El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras and Panama and I love them all (I'm a surfer). Panama, CR and Nicaragua are probably the best bets for retirement. I've also heard good things about Ecuador and plan to get down there someday to check it out. I adore South America (I lived in Chile), but it's too far for my taste. Would also love to live in the Caribbean, but I find it more expensive.

Scandium

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2015, 01:29:29 PM »
I fully plan to retire for at least part of the time in Central America. I've traveled many times to El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras and Panama and I love them all (I'm a surfer). Panama, CR and Nicaragua are probably the best bets for retirement. I've also heard good things about Ecuador and plan to get down there someday to check it out. I adore South America (I lived in Chile), but it's too far for my taste. Would also love to live in the Caribbean, but I find it more expensive.
My only problem with central America is that I'm used to, and like four seasons (not the hotel). Think I might go crazy if the only seasons were "summer"  and "rain".

Unlike every American I've met I even like snow!

EconDiva

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2015, 01:53:27 PM »
Hhmmmm...no votes for any cities in Mexico yet..?

Cookie78

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2015, 01:59:39 PM »
Hhmmmm...no votes for any cities in Mexico yet..?

I've considered Mexico, but I don't know enough about specific cities yet.

yyc-phil

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #19 on: January 16, 2015, 02:03:24 PM »
Personally I've been looking at SE Asia and Central or South America.

Why?
Lower COL
Better Climate
Access Health Care
Decent Quality of Life

+1 for Thailand. Our plan is to have a permanent pied-a-terre in Canada (on Gabriola, one of the Gulf Islands), then go somewhere else and rent a small place in the winter months. We plan to do this as long as we are healthy and able to travel. Thailand is at the top of our list for all the reasons you mention as well as for the generally pleasant locals, followed by Ecuador, Mexico (Yucatan more precisely), Spain, Taiwan, and Okinawa where my wife is from. We plan to continue our frugal lifestyle so the once-a-year roundtrip ticket is an easy expense to squeeze in our budget.

yyc-phil

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #20 on: January 16, 2015, 02:05:11 PM »
Hhmmmm...no votes for any cities in Mexico yet..?

I've considered Mexico, but I don't know enough about specific cities yet.

Mexico is on our list, specifically around Merida in Yucatan, and San Miguel de Allende, in Guanajuato in central Mexico. Both places are safe and away from the violence we hear about.

Cookie78

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #21 on: January 16, 2015, 02:09:24 PM »
+1 for Thailand. Our plan is to have a permanent pied-a-terre in Canada (on Gabriola, one of the Gulf Islands), then go somewhere else and rent a small place in the winter months. We plan to do this as long as we are healthy and able to travel. Thailand is at the top of our list for all the reasons you mention as well as for the generally pleasant locals, followed by Ecuador, Mexico (Yucatan more precisely), Spain, Taiwan, and Okinawa where my wife is from. We plan to continue our frugal lifestyle so the once-a-year roundtrip ticket is an easy expense to squeeze in our budget.

:)
This sounds very similar to my rough plan. I want to see all of the places, but keep ties to Canada.

MustardTiger

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #22 on: January 16, 2015, 04:05:59 PM »
I lived in Thailand for almost 4 years, great place.  This is where the wife and I will eventually end up as well.  Lot of quirky things about actually living there that I am not sure I could recommend it to a American/European family that isn't familiar with the language/customs. 

Pros:
Loads of amazing beaches and islands all within easy travel distance
Amazing food, culture, etc
Excellent public transport and terrible roads to the point where owning an automobile in bkk is worthless.
Relatively cheap (especially if you go up north to Chiang Mai, or really anywhere besides bkk or touristy islands

Cons: 
English will only get you so far
Culture so vastly different from the west (could be a positive for some)
Literally rains for several months in a row in the summertime
If you like any western foods/amenities you pay a premium, often more than in America
Visa runs are very annoying

Farang (foreigners) also cannot technically own land.  You either have to rent, buy a condo, or buy a house but have some complicated land rental with a government that has been less than stable.

If anyone is curious about any other details let me know.

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #23 on: January 16, 2015, 04:20:35 PM »
I've recently started looking into Taipei, Taiwan.  Very modern city with excellent public transportation, low cost of living, low cost of healthcare and low taxes.  I'm planning a vacation for later this year to check it out.
I too like Taipei. I have visited there quite a number of times on business. But summers can get really hot and it is extremely humid in the city. Excellent transit system and good cheap food. I have heard from friends that rents are reasonable as long as you don't go very high end. But owning is very expensive especially in the city. I have never had to experience any health care there but I believe costs are not very high. You can get by with English, but would be much better off if you learned a little Mandarin.

zataks

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #24 on: January 16, 2015, 05:42:21 PM »
We're vacationing in Nicaragua at the end of April mostly for surfing/general tourism but will be keeping eyes on things to judge for the prospect of of retirement.  Wife has also mentioned Panama and Ecuador too. 

Not sure if these locations will be quite so desirable for expats in retirement by the time we get there, 15-20 years, but we're always looking!

chouchouu

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #25 on: January 17, 2015, 02:18:37 AM »
I would like to retire in Brussels. DH will be inheriting a condo in Poland so we will probably spend some time there each year as well as their summer house and we will probably keep a place in Sydney. I enjoyed how easy Brussels is to live in and close to London and Paris. Very bikeable city, cheap markets for food and great healthcare and amenities.

daymare

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #26 on: January 17, 2015, 04:50:53 PM »
I actually was reading (yesterday) Kathleen Peddicord's 'How to Retire Overseas: Everything You Need to Know to Live Well (for Less) Abroad.  Her recommendations for best health care (that are warm places) are Panama City, Panama & Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  Some cities that are good for cheap living (according to her) are Cuenca, Ecuador; Chiang Mai, Thailand; and Leon, Nicaragua.  But definitely would encourage you to also think about whether you want an expat community, how much you want to spend, whether you need reliable internet, whether you want a city or more rural, whether you care about being on/near the beach, whether you know/are willing to learn a new language, whether you'll have a business, and consider tax implications.

Left

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #27 on: January 17, 2015, 05:21:37 PM »
Taiwan for me, but because my family is there aside from mother and sister here in the US. I plan to spend my winters in Taipei then summers back in the US and avoid the hot/humid Taipei summer and US winters :)

Seoul looks nice as well to me. But so does Spain and France and Italy. Hmm... how many ways can I divide up the year? It's looking like my retirement will be 6 ways between the places I want. Maybe I'll just cruise from US to Spain then move onto France then Italy then the Trans-Siberia railroad over to as east as I can go then fly to Taiwan, then another cruise back to the US? My retirement seems like it's going to be very taxing on my future body.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2015, 05:24:50 PM by eyem »

NinetyFour

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #28 on: January 17, 2015, 06:53:58 PM »
Our plan is to have a permanent pied-a-terre in Canada (on Gabriola, one of the Gulf Islands), then go somewhere else and rent a small place in the winter months.

Will you need a housesitter at your place in Canada while you are gone during the winter months?  :)

Jeremy

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #29 on: January 18, 2015, 12:24:41 AM »
I've recently started looking into Taipei, Taiwan.  Very modern city with excellent public transportation, low cost of living, low cost of healthcare and low taxes.  I'm planning a vacation for later this year to check it out.

We are in Taipei now

There are a few posts on my blog about the apartments we've had here, examples of different low/mid/high end meals out, and you can see our detailed cost of living

Rents start around $300/mo, unlimited cell phone plan ~$15, a cheap meal out ~$2-$3, bus ride $0.50, free public bikes


Drop us a message when you head this way, would be glad to meet up and make some suggestions

Jeremy

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #30 on: January 18, 2015, 12:27:38 AM »
Hhmmmm...no votes for any cities in Mexico yet..?

I've considered Mexico, but I don't know enough about specific cities yet.

We spent about 9 months in Mexico last year (edit: 2013.)  We really liked Morelia, Oaxaca, Puerto Escondido, and most of all San Miguel de Allende

We almost bought a house in SMA to use as a base, and will probably end up back there


Let me know if you have any questions.  There are blog posts about our housing and cost of living in many of those places

Exprezchef

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #31 on: January 18, 2015, 10:19:11 AM »
As others have mentioned, there are many more factors to consider than just the cost of living and cost of healthcare. I am attaching a link to the 2015 International Living Retirement Global Index. That may help you out in narrowing down your search. You also have to factor in the ease of integration into where you want to live, the possible need to learn a new language, the proximity to you home country if you need to get back home quickly, the safety of the country, the year round climate and the infrastructure of where you are looking at. My wife and I are probably going to retire outside of the good old USA when I retire in a few years. I would prefer Latin America but my wife prefers SE Asia. Once you narrow your choices down to a few locations, get there and put your "boots on the ground" and experience the country as a local, not just as a tourist. Before we decide to buy any property, we plan on renting for at least the first year to experience a year round cycle of the areas we are looking at. It may sound good on paper and you may have had a wonderful two week vacation in the locations you are considering but nothing can make you decide if the choice is right unless you really "experience" where you want to spend your retired years. Good luck with your adventure.

 http://internationalliving.com/2015/01/the-best-places-to-retire-2015/

vagon

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #32 on: January 18, 2015, 09:58:30 PM »
Any good resources out there for reviewing Visa requirements?

capital

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #33 on: January 18, 2015, 10:56:30 PM »
I fully plan to retire for at least part of the time in Central America. I've traveled many times to El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras and Panama and I love them all (I'm a surfer). Panama, CR and Nicaragua are probably the best bets for retirement. I've also heard good things about Ecuador and plan to get down there someday to check it out. I adore South America (I lived in Chile), but it's too far for my taste. Would also love to live in the Caribbean, but I find it more expensive.
My only problem with central America is that I'm used to, and like four seasons (not the hotel). Think I might go crazy if the only seasons were "summer"  and "rain".

Unlike every American I've met I even like snow!
Much of Colombia's population lives at high altitudes, with consistently mild climates at the middle altitudes and snow and glaciers higher up:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_of_Colombia
That and other Andean countries are worth investigating if you want more climatic diversity.

NICE!

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #34 on: January 19, 2015, 01:30:31 AM »
Any good resources out there for reviewing Visa requirements?

State department website for each country. Visa information is laid out pretty clearly there.

roadtofreedom

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #35 on: January 19, 2015, 06:54:08 AM »
Algarve in Portugal is a great place to retire.

Very cheap and excellent beaches and sun.

Malaysia41

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #36 on: January 19, 2015, 06:59:40 AM »
Penang, Malaysia is both low COL and a medical vacation destination.  Medical care is of high quality and reasonably priced. 

We live on Pulau Penang (Penang Island) and get by fine with a super cheap high deductible global health insurance policy and just pay medical expenses out of pocket.  No biggie. 

That said, I'm 42, and I don't see myself living here when I'm in my sixties.  I dunno.  I like it - but I'm not in love with it.   
« Last Edit: January 19, 2015, 07:03:46 AM by Malaysia41 »

Prepube

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #37 on: January 19, 2015, 01:26:39 PM »
I'm headed for Nicaragua in a year or so.  The Pacific coast is gorgeous and the cost of building there is pretty low.

To compare cost of living across locations, look at this website.  http://www.numbeo.com/common/

SunshineAZ

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #38 on: January 19, 2015, 04:12:56 PM »
My fiance, a good friend and I bought close to an acre of property in on the island of Roatan, Honduras in 2003, we moved the small existing house and built a ~1800 sq. ft. house and have been renting the house out full time since it was completed in 2006.  It pays for itself, doesn't give us any profit, but keeps it lived in since we plan to retire there eventually.  (Property manager costs are stupid expensive there and maintenance is a little high due to it being right on the beach.)  And the reef is right in front of the house.  Yay!

I wouldn't live in mainland Honduras, but the island of Roatan is full of expats, tourists and divers so it isn't too bad.  The health care situation is not the greatest, but it is improving and flights can can get you back to the US in a little over 2 hours. 


Kris

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #39 on: January 19, 2015, 08:09:31 PM »
Algarve in Portugal is a great place to retire.

Very cheap and excellent beaches and sun.

Are you in Algarve?  We're definitely looking at it.

SunshineAZ

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #40 on: January 20, 2015, 07:26:07 AM »
Algarve in Portugal is a great place to retire.

Very cheap and excellent beaches and sun.

Are you in Algarve?  We're definitely looking at it.

I would recommend anywhere in Portugal.  I had the good fortune to work in Portugal for 2 years, I live in Cascais and worked in several sites scattered around the country.  It is beautiful, the people are wonderful, the wine is awesome and the food is great!  I would go back there in a heartbeat. 

vagon

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #41 on: January 20, 2015, 04:14:09 PM »
Any good resources out there for reviewing Visa requirements?

State department website for each country. Visa information is laid out pretty clearly there.

Heh I am in Australia, but I assume it probably is country specific anyhow. I'll check out some consulate sites.

Villanelle

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #42 on: January 20, 2015, 04:33:32 PM »
Having lived abroad for a while, I hate not being fluent, or at least close to it, in the language of my location.  For that reason, I'd probably nix Asian countries as IME, those languages are much more difficult to learn, and you have to learn a new alphabet (or several!) in addition to learning the words and the grammar. 

That's not something I'd easily discount. Learning Spanish is significantly easier then learning Japanese.  Nihongo Dame Desu, but hablo un poco Espanol.  Even comparing Spanish to German, Spanish is much easier, though that may be in part because having lived in SoCal for a while, I picked up some spanish without being aware of it and without trying. 

So for me, language would be an important factor. 

Jeremy

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #43 on: January 20, 2015, 07:30:33 PM »
Having lived abroad for a while, I hate not being fluent, or at least close to it, in the language of my location.  For that reason, I'd probably nix Asian countries as IME, those languages are much more difficult to learn, and you have to learn a new alphabet (or several!) in addition to learning the words and the grammar. 

That's not something I'd easily discount. Learning Spanish is significantly easier then learning Japanese.  Nihongo Dame Desu, but hablo un poco Espanol.  Even comparing Spanish to German, Spanish is much easier, though that may be in part because having lived in SoCal for a while, I picked up some spanish without being aware of it and without trying. 

So for me, language would be an important factor.

There are many Asian countries with enormous expat communities.  You can travel extensively through Thailand speaking nothing but English, and there are thousands of Westerners living permanently in Chiang Mai.

On the other hand, I've been in Taiwan for the past year and doing intensive Chinese classes 3 hours a day, 3 hours of homework a day, and am still being out communicated by toddlers :)

Villanelle

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Re: Top cities for retiring abroad
« Reply #44 on: January 20, 2015, 07:40:19 PM »
Having lived abroad for a while, I hate not being fluent, or at least close to it, in the language of my location.  For that reason, I'd probably nix Asian countries as IME, those languages are much more difficult to learn, and you have to learn a new alphabet (or several!) in addition to learning the words and the grammar. 

That's not something I'd easily discount. Learning Spanish is significantly easier then learning Japanese.  Nihongo Dame Desu, but hablo un poco Espanol.  Even comparing Spanish to German, Spanish is much easier, though that may be in part because having lived in SoCal for a while, I picked up some spanish without being aware of it and without trying. 

So for me, language would be an important factor.

There are many Asian countries with enormous expat communities.  You can travel extensively through Thailand speaking nothing but English, and there are thousands of Westerners living permanently in Chiang Mai.

On the other hand, I've been in Taiwan for the past year and doing intensive Chinese classes 3 hours a day, 3 hours of homework a day, and am still being out communicated by toddlers :)

Yeah, it's a personal comfort thing.  Living in a place where I don't speak the language, even if the locals speak mine, is uncomfortable for me.  Others may not feel that way.  I've done it twice, first in Japan and then in Germany, and I dislike it, so it would factor heavily in my choice.  YMMV.  In both places, I could/can get by just fine in English, and both have significant Ex-pat communities.  But it's uncomfortable based on my personal preferences.  And it keeps me locked in to the Ex-pat community for social interactions, which is not what I'd want for my home. 

For some, I'm sure it would be fine.  Not so for me.  If I'm living in a place, I want to be as a part of it as I can be.