Best Countries to live in 2012
Look at the right places beyond our borders today, and you’ll find you have more good choices than ever for a comfortable—even a pampered—retirement. In any one of our top 19 havens for 2012, a lifestyle well beyond your reach in the States could be yours for pennies on the dollar.
In this, our annual Global Retirement Index, we bring you the top choices available on the planet today. From beachfront hideaways to arts-rich colonial cities, from cosmopolitan capitals to small highland villages, there’s an overseas haven to fit your fantasy…and your budget.
You’ll find our leader board on page 18 of the current issue of IL magazine. Just remember, we measure here only the very best havens. So the country last on our list is still the 19th best in the world.
In each of these destinations, you’ll find thousands of ordinary folks who’ve not simply salvaged their retirements overseas…but upgraded them.
Take Daphne Newman, who lives in a Caribbean location that takes 10th place in the Index. She’s spending just $1,400 a month to live yards from a white-sand beach. Less than a three-hour, non-stop flight from Houston, this English-speaking island with its world-class reef just offshore, is an easy place to make friends and fit in.
Jack Griffin and his wife Margaret have opted, by contrast, for city life in the country that takes seventh place in the Index. When the stock market crashed and the value of their home in the States plummeted by 30%, they began to worry about how to fund their retirement.
The final straw came with a 37% hike in their annual health-insurance premium. At age 60, they felt they deserved the retirement they had worked for all their lives, so they found a new home in this country’s capital city.
Today their international medical insurance costs them 62% less than their policy did back home (yet their local hospital is internationally accredited and the doctors speak English).
Retired now without money worries, they spend their days exploring, horseback riding, going to the beach or gym, and doing yoga. They have a full-time maid and a gardener and, says Jack, “We do it all for less than half the cost of a moderate lifestyle back home in Atlanta, Georgia.”
Chuck and Jamie Bilbe, ready to retire in Florida, found themselves in a situation similar to the Griffins’. “We were concerned that our retirement savings wouldn’t see us through, so we began looking overseas for a place where our ever-shrinking nest egg might last longer,” says Chuck. They settled in a country that comes in as the 16th best place in the world to retire in 2012. Their cost of living is much lower than it was in the States. But that’s not the greatest appeal. What they say they like most is the Old-World lifestyle. “Like Florida in the 1950’s,” they say. “We’re eating better, sleeping better and enjoying social activity much more now than we did before.”
It’s not just destinations south of the States that appeal. Pam Griner Leavy and her husband Jim are just two of the more than 100,000 American expats living in a charming and romantic European city—one of three European destinations that make it on to this year’s Index. “There are so many things for free here, or reasonably priced…big-city life is good,” says Pam.
In Asia you can live comfortably for less than $1,000 a month on a powder-sand beach in the country that comes ninth. Up the budget a bit, and you can afford First-World comforts and conveniences on a colonial island in the fourth-place winner.
Keith Hockton and his wife Lisa live there, where they rent a three-bedroom, sea-view apartment three minutes from the Botanic Gardens for $1,000 a month—it comes with a shared pool and gym. They eat out five nights a week, keep a small sailboat, enjoy mountain biking, have a maid who cleans for them. Their total budget is $1,719 a month.
In the mountain communities of the country that comes second, Karl and Liz Parker need just $2,000 a month to fund their life in a place that provides lavish highland views in a near perfect climate.
This country’s retiree-benefit program provides them discounts on nearly everything, which helps reduce their costs.
In the University City of the country that comes first…the world’s top retirement haven…Douglas Willis, his wife and two children live on just $1,000 a month.
Wherever the community they’ve chosen is—beach, city, highland, valley—these expats all have one thing in common: They’re living the lives they’ve always wanted for much less than they ever dreamed they could. Think about it this way: If you had $20,000 a month to retire on—you could live lavishly pretty much anywhere on the planet. But what we’re interested in here are the places where you can live that lifestyle on one-tenth the budget…
Places where you can have a maid clean for you, hire a gardener, wake up to a view, have great health care, eat well, enjoy the finer things in life—for less than $2,000 a month. You may be surprised how many there are…
This 2012 Retirement Index covers all the bases, revealing a wealth of choice when it comes to comfortable retirement living abroad. Choices you don’t have to be wealthy to take advantage of.