Many retirees are attracted to the idea of retiring outside of the U.S. Finding a location with a cheaper standard of living allows the pension dollars to stretch further, thus retirees can often enjoy a better standard of living without feeling the pinch. Clement weather is an added bonus, with the ease of travel and communication allowing families to stay in touch. Choosing the best place to retire will depend on individual needs and expectations, but some countries rate consistently high with those who have already made the move.
Central America has proven to be a popular destination choice for retirees with Panama City, Panama, consistently rated highly by International Living magazine’s Global Retirement index. Beaches combined with city life offer a good standard of living, but the best perk is the favorable Panama’s pensionado program that offers retiree perks.
Benefits include discounted dental, optometry and medications; travel and entertainment discounts which offer as much as a 50 percent saving; discounted professional services; tax breaks on real estate; and discounted utility costs. It also offers a good health care system, a point that can be of particular relevance to the older generation concerned about possible health issues as they age.
Costa Rica is also a retirement haven for many international folks. Their national health system and low cost medical services can reduce the cost by more than half. Depending on where one chooses to live in these locations, rental costs vary. Be sure to research actual living costs for international retirees vs. local living costs.
Moving further afield to South America, Uruguay is one of the best choices for retirees. It is a considered a safe place to live, with the capital Montevideo offering a sophisticated lifestyle and a good standard of living. It is often described as being rather European. Real estate is cheap in comparison to the U.S. and coastal towns offer bargain prices, making it an affordable choice. It has cultural appeal combined with beaches. Income from outside Uruguay is not subject to tax, and property taxes are insignificant compared to the U.S.
Nicaragua offers low-cost living and welcomes expatriates to retire there. It has a foreign retiree residency program. The specifics of the program as outlined by Coldwell Banker Nicaragua include no taxes on out of country earnings; exemption from sales tax on the first $50,000 of home construction materials; a vehicle tax exemption of $25,000; and tax exemption of $20,000 worth of household goods.
It is always advisable to visit the country of choice in both the winter and the summer before making a decision, and to rent before buying to get a feel of the locale. Many retirees have successfully relocated to a home in the sun and enjoy a better standard of living. It is worth exploring expatriate forums to communicate with those who have already made the move. Uruguay, Panama and Nicaragua each have benefits to offer those retiring outside the U.S. and would be recommended to be high on the list for those seeking a new lifestyle abroad.