Retiring to Boca Raton might might appeal to some aging Baby Boomers, but what about those planning to retire early – due to sound investments, for instance – or, those who are looking for a little post-career adventure? Whatever your age, retirement should be an opportunity to do all the things that you always wanted to do, but were too busy to try. Perhaps you’ll pursue a neglected hobby or even launch another business but this time from a more exotic locale. From changes in scenery to endless recreation, business tax breaks to huge exchange rate benefits, a number of international locations are well-worth consideration as retirement destinations. For those not yet looking to retire, they make good vacation getaways as well:
Named the best place in the world to retire by International Living, Cuenca, Ecuador has it all for the modern retiree. For starters, the cost of living is quite low. MSN Money offers a useful chart that sketches out an average monthly living expense of $1,415.00. This figure includes rent on a luxury, two-bedroom apartment, maid service, food, auto maintenance and fuel, clothing, entertainment and health care for two. The aesthetics of Cuenca include Renaissance style architecture, terracotta roof tiles, and cathedral-like archways everywhere you look. With its high elevation, (about 8,000 feet) Cuenca retirees rave about its near perfect 60 degree year round temperature, according to EcuadorExplorer.com. The scenery consists of lush greens, luminous flowers and babbling rivers. Cuenca embodies countryside living at its best. Residents even even enjoy half-priced airfare.
Panama offers a quaint retirement haven for your golden years. Most Panama retirees choose the town of Coronado for its gorgeous climate, peaceful neighborhoods and elder-friendly culture. What Coronado lacks in urbanization it makes up for in small-town clubs and organizations such as mahjong clubs, karaoke bars, art classes, yoga classes, golf tournaments and country clubs, miles of pristine beach, and more. The cost of living is very low according to MSN Money, which describes Panama as a paradise for retirees due to affordable real estate. For example, the average cost of a house in a quiet neighborhood is around $185,000, while consultation with English-speaking doctors is priced at around $35.00. MSN also notes that “…residents pay no taxes on foreign-earned income.” With the retiree population on the rise, demand for entertainment, services and restaurants here is at an all-time high. This means anyone with dreams of opening their own business will find opportunity in Panama.
San José, Costa Rica
RetireInCostaRica.net ranks Costa Rica as one of the top five emerging real estate markets in the world, meaning that housing can be had at a big discount, and the government offers substantial tax breaks to all new home owners. And the place to be, is San José. Costa Rica utilizes a rare type of retirement structure that does not tax retirement income. As mentioned earlier, many retirees choose to go into business for themselves; if this sounds like you, Costa Rica makes an ideal spot to set up shop due to its famous “Free Zones.” Free Zone is quite literally a zoned area in Costa Rica that allows certain kinds of businesses (especially import/export focused companies) to operate with 100% tax exemption, according to WestNet. Aside from the financial benefits, Costa Rica offers a sunny, tropical climate with gorgeous scenery. In addition, quality of life is superb, and many people can afford to live on $1,500 a month (excluding rent payments).
Koh Samui, Thailand
Looking to retire like a king and live lavishly on your average means? Look no further than Koh Samui, a wonderful island in Southwest Thailand. Here, the exchange rate allows anyone with a decent retirement fund to enjoy high-class luxuries. One Thai Baht is equal to roughly three cents USD, according to BKKPages. Rental properties in Thailand can readily be found for between 3,000 to 10,000 Baht per month, which equals about $90.00 to $300.00 USD. Temperatures generally range from around 80-90 degrees in the winter and from 90-100 during the summer months. Thailand is home to beaches with crystal water, which in Koh Samui, would likely be within walking distance of your property. Golf is also big in Thailand, and numerous rolling courses complete with palm tree decor can be found in the countryside.
Vienna, Austria, home to 1.7 million, is ideal for those who enjoy the changing of the seasons and looks forward to snow-covered winter months. Known ’round the world for its winter charm, Austria is a popular place to retire, attracting those who wish to get out of the urbanized west and live amongst pristine wilderness. Residents enjoy walking the endless trails of Alps, fishing the countless lakes and river, and skiing the various mountainsides. Most retirees fall in love with the slower and more traditional Austrian culture. Hardly anyone is in much of a hurry to get rich or climb any corporate ladders. Instead, they spend their enjoying the pleasures of nature, raising animals and relaxing with friends among the scenery. Austria remains the cheapest European country to live in according to Best Places to Retire, making it an obvious choice for many retirees looking to get the most bang for their buck. The country also remains a tax haven, as the Austria Times noted in March of 2009 that the EU’s demands to stop offering secret accounts to foreigners fell flat on the nation’s finance ministry.
Capetown, South Africa
Over the past decade, South Africa has grown in popularity as an exotic place to retire. Specifically, the historic city of Cape Town has received a five star rating on eOpinions.com. More than most countries in the area, the climate in South Africa is varied. In the summer months, temperatures can reach 90 to 100 degrees during the day, and can fall close to freezing by night. South Africa is another place where the exchange rate allows those with average savings to live large. One South African Rand (ZAD) is worth about $0.13 USD according to Exchange-Rates.org. Real estate is entirely open to foreign buyers, and the market is currently expanding at blistering rates, opening up opportunities and discounts for most buyers. Generally speaking, rent in South Africa should ran between $300 – $700 USD, allowing for a very low cost of living. If you have more than a few thousand a month to spare, this country is a viable option.
Merida, Mexico offers some of the best of what International Living calls, the 4 C’s: comfort, convenience, cost and culture. Though the summers may get hot, almost all residential areas are within walking or very brief driving distance of sun soaked beaches. During the rest of the year, the climate is said to be “paradise.” Concerning convenience, Merida is almost entirely flat. This lay of the land makes long walks or bike rides very enjoyable, allowing you to stay in-shape all throughout retirement. In addition, flying to and from Merida to the US is quite reasonable, and a number of direct flights are available via major cities. Nicely accommodated apartments can be had for around $500.00 USD per month. Health care is also very inexpensive thanks to generous government subsidies. As far as culture goes, Merida is a hot bed of activity, and much of it is free of cost. Free dances, free concerts, free plays and stage shows, for example. And, for the explorer, some breath-taking Mayan ruins lie only 90 minutes outside of the city.
Billed by EscapeArtist as having, “…one of the lowest costs of living in the world”, Uruguay has something to accommodate any retiree. Many are taken by the friendly locals and the seductive scenery. Uruguay is one of the few countries where you can have your quiet retirement retreat without giving up the conveniences of the modern world. Look no further than Montevideo, said to be an, “…old-world European style city with fine restaurants, colorful markets, sycamore-lined streets and a cultural scene second to none.” Communication services are excellent and shopping centers are plentiful. In addition, the highways are fresh and safe, so if you must travel far you can do so with ease. Uruguay is less urbanized than much of the western world and features some of the best natural beauty your eyes can take in. Prospective entrepreneurs will be pleased to know that Uruguay offers some of the, “…highest rental returns in Latin America.”
For many, Calitri is the place to retire. Calitri is unspoiled Italy at its finest – overflowing with classic building designs, fine wines and delicious food. The cost of living in Calitri is amazingly affordable. For only $15,000 USD, you can purchase a small, unrestored apartment complete with kitchen and bathroom accommodations according to International Living. Unrestored, classic homes in Calitri can be purchased for as little as $42,000 USD. Those looking to live modern in classic Italy can opt for the restored “luxury” models for around $64,000. The town of Calitri is surrounded by lush green fields and forests along rolling hillsides, offering great opportunities to wander off and take in the untouched scenery. What’s more, you can also receive free health care if you become a European citizen as part of your move to Calitri – although this may take some strategic marrying.