Panama, Costa Rica and Ecuador offer the most attractive programs in the world for retirees—wooing foreign pensioners with special visas and significant discounts on everything from airfare to health care, reports InternationalLiving.com.
Panama comes out on top with the best retiree-incentive program in the world, receiving a perfect score of 100 in the Special Benefits for Retirees category on InternationalLiving.com’s just-released 2014 Global Retirement Index, which ranks and rates the top 24 countries in the world for overseas retirement.
Panama’s Pensionado or Pensioner Program allows any adult, of any age, to apply – provided he or she can prove a monthly income of at least $1,000.
Under its Pensionado Program, Panama offers retirees huge savings, including 50% off closing costs for home loans and entertainment; 15% to 25% off at restaurants; 25% off airline tickets; and 10% to 20% off a wide range of medical expenses.
Panama wins overall in the Index as the best place in the world to retire this year.
“Nearly everything about Panama is convenient, particularly if you’re coming from North America,” says Jennifer Stevens, InternationalLiving.com’s executive editor. “The currency is the dollar, English is widely understood, and the international community is large and welcoming.”
“Plus, no matter what you like to do… loll on the beach, golf a championship green, hike the highlands, join special interest clubs…you’ll be busy here. Unless, of course, you choose not to be. Spend as little—or as much—as you like. A good lifestyle is very affordable,” Stevens says.
Ecuador, which places second in the Index in the Special Benefits for Retirees category, offers retirees similar benefits.
Those in the over-65 discount program are entitled to 50% off public and private transportation within the country, 50% off tickets for all cultural and sporting events, 50% off electric and water bills (below certain usage levels), and reductions in a variety of taxes, including income and sales tax. Residence status also allows for importation of household goods duty-free.
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 Ciudadano de Oro, or Gold Citizen, retiree program in Costa Rica is available to those over 65. Members get free bus rides and discounts of up to 50% on eyeglasses, medication, clothing, groceries, and more at thousands of participating retailers throughout the country.
Senior citizens and the disabled get head-of-the-line privileges at banks and government offices by law, and the same is usually extended by custom at stores and other businesses.
The full report on why these countries offer the best retiree benefits in the world, can be read here: Best Places to Retire Overseas and Get Retiree Discounts.
See here for an infographic summarizing what these countries have to offer retirees: Save Big on Benefits in the World’s Best Retirement Havens 2014.
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