Many countries overseas provide retirees with special benefits, but the two that have taken the top spots in our Annual Global Retirement Index really take care of their retirees.
For retiree benefits, Panama holds top place of the best places to retire, as our Panama editor, Jessica Ramesch reports in this year’s Retirement Index.
In Panama, retirees are respected. Qualified pensioners get residence fairly quickly. And they are entitled to many local discounts including 10% to 15% off consultations and medication, 25% off at restaurants and 50% off admission to movies and theaters. Nearly every aspect of life comes with a discount.
But that’s not all that Panama has to offer. Besides coming out on top of the “Special Benefits for Retirees” category (with a perfect 100% score), it also comes a close second for the best place to retire in 2013 overall.
The expats here will readily tell you that the discounts and ease of gaining residence are big draws…and so is the excellent health care. Other pluses are that Panama has many English speakers, uses the U.S. dollar as its currency and is located outside the hurricane belt.
Robert Cook, originally from Kansas says, “This is home now and I’ve never regretted the move.” He and many other expats say this because their lives are better than they were before.
Robert’s family was skeptical when he said he was moving to the country’s highlands. “Now they envy me,” he says. “My stress level is way down and I’m much healthier. They can see how happy I am.”
Ecuador comes second in the Special Benefits for Retirees category.
Ecuador, our first-place country overall comes second in the Special Benefits for Retirees category with a vast over-65 program of discounts and perks. The program is open to foreigners and with it you’ll receive discounts which makes a big difference to the bottom line. Like 50% off public and private transportation within the country; 50% off tickets for all cultural and sporting events, including movies; 50% off electric and water bills; free domestic landline phone service and free medical care and drugs from county hospitals. You’ll also get a discount on airfares. And there are tax incentives too.
Ecuador’s senior citizen discount program is intended to help its own citizens, but the country’s constitution guarantees foreign residents the same rights as locals, so you can enjoy the same benefits.
While it is not officially part of the government’s program, one of the most popular discounts for foreign residents is the 50% airfare reduction for international travel offered by airlines such as Taca, Copa Airlines, and Ecuador’s AeroGal. All three offer flights to the U.S. The discount applies to round-trip tickets purchased in Ecuador for flights originating within the country. The discount is available to all citizens and residents over the age of 65.
The cherry on top of retiring to Ecuador is that citizens and residents over 65 never have to stand in line. If you’re a senior citizen, when you make a bank deposit or pay your utility bill, it’s the law that you go directly to the front of the line…so you’ll have more time to relax and enjoy your retirement in Ecuador.