10 Retirement Abroad Havens Compared
Here are the benefits and drawbacks of a variety of overseas retirement options.
Every potential retirement locale has benefits and drawbacks. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all retirement haven, and no retirement choice is perfect. Here are some of the pluses and the minuses of ten of the world’s top overseas retirement havens.
Pros:This is the hub of the Americas. It's an easy, accessible place to travel to and from.Best infrastructure in Central America.A tax haven.A convenient and tax-efficient place to start a business.A pensionado program of special benefits for retirees.A diversity of lifestyles, including big city, Pacific beaches, mountain highlands, and Caribbean isles.International-standard health care that can be a fraction the cost of comparable care in the U.S.
Cons:As developed as Panama is, this is still a third world country.It’s in the tropics. The weather in Panama City and on the coasts is often hot and sticky.The country is no longer a banking haven.
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Pros:Developed-world living.Excellent health care.Paris is one of the world's most beautiful and romantic cities.Established and eclectic expat communities throughout the country.France can be affordable, especially in the southwest.
Cons:One of the most onerous tax regimes in the world.A difficult place to try to start a business.You'll need to learn to speak at least some French, especially if you want to settle outside Paris.
Pros:This is the only country in Asia that makes foreign residency easy.A diversity of lifestyles.English is commonly spoken.International-standard medical care.Very affordable.A tax haven.The Asian lifestyle is very exotic for many North Americans.
Cons:You won’t be able to return to North America quickly or often.This is a third world country.
Pros:This is probably the most affordable place to live well in the Americas.There is an established expat base in Cuenca.
Cons:Less accessible than other options in the Americas.Less stable than other countries.
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Pros:One of the most affordable places in the world to live or retire.Very exotic to Americans.An established expat base.
Cons:It’s not easy to establish full-time legal residency.It’s halfway around the world from the U.S.
Pros:It’s nearby and accessible.There is a new program of benefits for foreign retirees.The country is very affordable.There is an established expat base in Granada.
Cons:Political instability. Poor infrastructure.
Pros:A stable, peaceful, and relaxed country.A tax haven.Great infrastructure.Easy to establish residency.
Cons:Far away from the U.S.
Pros:This is a country of independent thinkers where you can make your own way.The official language is English.A tax and banking haven.Land values in some regions including the Cayo are one of the world’s great bargains.
Cons:The overall cost-of-living is not super cheap, especially on Ambergris Caye.Health care facilities are limited.
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9. Medellin, Colombia
Pros:Pleasant weather year-round, thanks to the elevation.This is a pretty city with a beautiful surrounding area.There is a more genteel way of life than you'll find in most of Latin America.Real estate values are a bargain.
Cons:Establishing foreign residency and opening a non-resident bank account can be difficult.No tax perks for retirees from abroad.Restrictions on bringing money into the country.
Pros:Real estate in this country is more affordable than it has been in two decades due to the recent market collapse.Everyone speaks English.The Irish are among the most friendly, welcoming, and hospitable people in the world.A relaxed Irish lifestyle.Safe.
Cons:Unpredictable weather.The cost-of-living, while lower than it has been in many years, is not a bargain.
Kathleen Peddicord is the founder of the Live and Invest Overseas publishing group. With more than 25 years experience covering this beat, Kathleen reports daily on current opportunities for living, retiring, and investing overseas in her free e-letter. Her book, How To Retire Overseas—Everything You Need To Know To Live Well Abroad For Less, was recently released by Penguin Books.