Throughout the year, my team and I scout the best places around the world where folks can live better, invest soundly, retire comfortably and follow their dreams.
That research and expertise come to bear on the day we unveil our annual Overseas Retirement Index, in which we name and rank the top places to retire abroad right now. And this year we’ve expanded to feature 30 destinations — 10 that are brand-new — with more European locations than we’ve ever included previously.
But which of these represent the best places on the planet to live or retire today? Especially since there’s no one way to determine the best place to retire for every person. That’s why we consider 13 categories which represent the most important criteria that retirees must weigh when shopping the globe for the best place to live. These are cost of living, crime and safety, English spoken, entertainment, environmental conditions, expat community, health care, infrastructure, recreation, residency options and taxes, as well as real estate affordability and restrictions on foreign ownership.
So here is the crème de la crème, the Top 10 destinations where you could, right now, reinvent your life, chase adventure, have a great time and most likely reduce your cost of living dramatically.
10. George Town, Malaysia
George Town is the capital of tropical-island Penang, located just west of mainland Malaysia, and offers one of the best overseas retirement opportunities in the world. This is a safe and reasonably priced little island with excellent health care, an interesting and eclectic community from around the world that communicates largely in English, and diverse lifestyle, entertainment and recreational options.
Penang has been featured in the book “1,000 Places to See Before You Die” and has been ranked by Yahoo! Travel as one of the top 10 islands to explore before you die. George Town was named the most livable city in Malaysia and the eighth most livable city in Asia by global consulting firm ECA International. We agree, Penang is one of the top spots in all of Asia for long-term living and retirement.
Retirees will find a lot to like about living here. Whether you’re into roughing it, relaxing on the greens or attending symphonies, there is no need to travel elsewhere. English-speaking locals, exceptionally fine food, internationally accredited medical care and a low cost of living makes this area an appealing choice for almost anyone.
9. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
In 2008, the historic center of San Miguel de Allende (and the close-by Santuario de Atotonilco) gained UNESCO World Heritage Site designation. In 2013, Condé Nast Traveler magazine named San Miguel de Allende as the best city in the world. And just this year, “Travel + Leisure” named San Miguel their “Top City Of 2017.”
Attracting artists, musicians, scholars and bohemians for over half a century, San Miguel has a truly unique lifestyle and community to offer retiring expats. For expats, San Miguel is a social town par excellence. Opportunities to meet other expats abound. Classes in two-to-three dozen subjects are available at all times and the number of charitable organizations is reported to exceed 100. Add to that excellent health care backed by first-rate technology—medical tourism is a fast-growing industry here—and temperate weather throughout the year, and it’s easy to see why tens of thousands of expats call this 18th-century colonial town home.
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