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Robert Irvin of The Oaks Tamarindo Condominiums – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Beach near Tamarindo Condominiums, Costa Rica – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe best reason to retire overseas is to improve and change your lifestyle.
 
Instead of the question, “What are the best reasons to retire overseas?”, the question should be, “What is the best reason to stay where you are, and retire where you’ve worked all your life?” Did you choose that location because you wanted to spend your entire life there? Now that you’re retired, you have freedom. When you have freedom, you should exercise it, and that should take you to new places, new people, new experiences and a new life, but you can always return to your old life.
 
For me, the question is not why you should retire overseas, it’s why you shouldn’t retire overseas. I have had a foot in two countries (the US and Costa Rica) for many years, and it’s the best of all possible lifestyles because when you get tired of the weather in one place or if you want a change of scenery, you can go somewhere else. When you have two homes, you can go from one to the other.
 
One of the most successful retirees I know is my friend Gunther who comes to Costa Rica from Spain every spring. He’s originally from Switzerland and also has a home in Santa Fe, but he lives in Spain because he’s been married to a Spaniard. Gunther just makes a big circle from Switzerland to Spain to Costa Rica to Santa Fe and back. I can’t think of a better way to live. It’s just a question of your tolerance for airplanes as to whether you choose two or three places to live.  
 
(Beach near The Oaks Tamarindo Condominiums, Costa Rica, pictured.)
Ross of Abroad We Go – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Living with the Huaorani indians in the Amazon rainforest, – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe best reasons to retire overseas would include the low cost of living, experiencing different cultures, having a better quality of life, and being in a healthy living environment. In many places abroad, the cost of living is lower than it is in the US or Canada. There are many different kinds of cultures than what people experience in the United States, and we get to see and experience more of that when we retire overseas. 
 
The overall quality of life is also better when living overseas because you get the chance to have a healthier living environment. Everything is less expensive overseas, and the climate is better. If you pick a place where you enjoy the climate, you have the advantage of being active, which is important in maintaining your health. When I’m overseas, I’m a lot more active and healthier in general.
 
As an example, we were in Tulum, Mexico, for three months. It was just a short stint, but I can definitely say that the cost of living in Tulum is extremely low. We rented a one-bedroom apartment in Tulum for US $520 a month, including all the utilities. The apartment we rented in Tulum was a bicycle ride to the beach with all the comforts of home for a third of what it would have cost to rent that same place in Dallas, Texas. In general, rent and meals cost about a third of what it would cost in the United States or in Canada.
 
I spent about a week in the Amazon in Ecuador, living with the tribe of Huaorani Indians, one of the last indigenous groups in the Amazon. Huaorani Indians are still living in the Stone Age- they don’t have metal pans or electricity, for example. 
 
We lived with the Huaorani Indians in the Amazon jungle for about a week and a half, with everything that we ate coming out of the ground or river. These were different types of roots, plantains and fish. Naturally, they didn’t have cooking oil.  Everything was very basic and very filling, because it was all natural. There were absolutely no preservatives, which is always better for us. 
 
Another example is when I lived in Brazil for about a year. There’s a better overall  quality of life in Brazil because you’re more active. Being overseas means that you do not live the American lifestyle of driving and sitting on your behind all day. Living overseas gives you more time for activities such as walking and biking. 
 
(Living with the Huaorani indians in the Amazon rainforest, Equador, pictured.)
John Ohe of Hola Expat Tax Services – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Hospital Roosevelt, Guatemala – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIn the US, the options to be able to stretch your dollars are somewhat more limited than when you go abroad. One of the best reasons to move abroad is that you can live for a fraction of the price it costs to live in the US. You can get a lot more domestic help.
 
You must do some research, but the healthcare system can be much more comfortable and better wherever you're moving than where you are located in the US. 
 
My background is in the healthcare insurance industry in the US. I worked for a health insurance company so I presumably had great health insurance. Two of my three kids have asthma. In New York, when you go to the emergency room, money doesn't do anything. Everyone has insurance. You walk into the emergency room in New York and you get horrible treatment. The wait time is too much. You look around and it's not a comfortable and pleasant experience. 
 
Depending on where you're retiring and the research you've done to make sure there's a good healthcare system in place, private healthcare in many countries abroad is great. In most countries, the private health system is geared towards the rich, but it's not that expensive. 
 
My family is now in Antigua, Guatemala. You go to the best doctors in Antigua and it'll cost you US $30. The doctors are English-speaking. They'll give you the medicine. 
 
Recently, I had a routine procedure done in a hospital in a city in Guatemala. I get this exam done every five years because there's a history of cancer in my family. It's like a hotel experience. I have local health insurance because I have three kids. In the US, this routine exam I had would have cost around $5,000 to $6,000 and I would have paid $500 to $600 out of pocket. Here in Guatemala, my out of pocket was $100 to $200. When you walk in the hospital, it's like a concierge service. Everything is clean. People speak English. There's a lot of great follow up care. I can't complain.
 
For retirees, if you've got a pre-existing condition or you've got severe health issues, I would think twice about moving to a Third World country because the risk is higher when you have serious health conditions. However, if you're a reasonably healthy retiree and just looking at general healthcare issues, planning is a very important factor, but your healthcare experience could be dramatically better abroad than the United States, especially if you're living in a big city in the US.
 
(Hospital Roosevelt, Guatemala City, Guatemala, pictured. )
 
 
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David Truly of Dr. David Truly Ph. D. – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
David Truly giving the thumbs up in Manzanillo, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe best reason to retire overseas is to have an adventure – to broaden your experience base, to try something new, and to be open to change, new cultures, etc. The most important reason is to feel like you need something different in your life. You want to change the quality of your life.  That is without saying that the quality of your life may not have been good in the States or wherever you came from, but just to say that you want a different quality of life. A life that gives you another purpose and something that gives you a little more enthusiasm about life. You have to really want to retire overseas in order to try something different because you feel like it is going to enhance your life.
 
(David Truly in Manzanillo, Mexico, pictured.)
Neil Flemming – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Passport stamps – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingMoving to another country gives you a new lease on life. When you move to a new country you have new experiences.
 
 I’m a firm believer that everybody in the planet should move overseas for about two years. If they do, they get a broader perspective. They see things. I always find the most narrow-minded people in America are people who rarely traveled or left the town they’ve lived in. Travel broadens the horizons in every way. You become more open to new experiences. It just improves a person; makes you more rounded.
 
(Stamped passport, pictured.)
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Kristin Wilson of Orbis Relocation – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Kristin Wilson with luggage on the ground near the airport – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe best reason to retire abroad is to save money and be able to live within your means. Most of our retirees are maybe not on a livable income if they stayed in the US because of the various problems in the American system and Social Security or it could be the economic collapse affecting people's investments or 401K’s. There are a lot of different factors that can result in people not having as much money as they planned when they were saving for retirement.
 
You can live on a much lower income while maintaining the same quality of life if you move abroad, especially if you're going to a developing country like those in Latin America. You can maintain your lifestyle with less money. You can still have access to quality healthcare, food and properties and everything you need to live, but just at a lower cost. I would say that's a very simple and basic math, but that's what it is.
 
The second best reason to move abroad would be to have a new adventure.  I was very fortunate to be able to this, but I didn't plan to go abroad at the beginning. I just turned 33 recently, so I have spent almost half of my life abroad now.
 
I didn't ever plan it that way. I was just a normal girl in America with a brother and a sister. My parents are still together. I went to high school, I went to college, and then I went to graduate school. I did everything that I was supposed to do in America. Then I started studying abroad in college. The reason I went abroad was because I got a scholarship through the Rotary Foundation in 2002. I didn't even pick where I went. They sent me to Costa Rica. They said, “You're going to Costa Rica and you're going to learn Spanish." I was terrified. I thought, “How am I going to survive these 3 months?”  Those 3 months have turned in to the rest of my life; just falling in love with travel and living in different countries, learning languages and having adventure that nobody ever told me I could do or should do.
 
Before I moved abroad full time in 2005, I asked everybody for their opinion as to if I should do it. I asked my parents. I asked my friends. I asked my peers. I asked my MBA class. Everybody who was my age told me I was crazy. I should take a job in Lockheed Martin or one of the big corporations that were in Orlando, where I was living at the time. They said moving abroad would ruin my resume. Everybody my age was kind of fear mongering. 
 
On the contrary, all of my parent's friends, my grandparents, and any of the elders in my life told me that they wished that they had done something like moving abroad when they were my age. So I decided to take the advice of everybody who was older than me because they probably know more about what life is about than the 20 something year olds in my classes.  So I went, and thank God I did.
 
I now notice that my clients who are retirees did everything right, according to the rules.  They got a job, they got a house, they had kids, they had a dog, and didn’t have time to do anything outside of that. So they were really just starting their adventures at the time of their retirement, as opposed to me.  I kind of eschewed and skipped the normal life I was supposed to have early. 
 
So the second best reason to live abroad is to get out of your comfort zone and have an adventure, to do something different.  I think a lot of people regretted not doing that sooner. I was able to see both perspectives. Now, all of my friends are still working at Procter & Gamble and all of these big companies, and my life is completely different than theirs.  I'm definitely glad that I took this tac. I get a lot of support from my clients and people who are older, who agree with me. Maybe my friends will change their perspective once they get older. They're still pretty young. They're in their thirties and they haven't gotten the larger perspective.  Maybe they will become my clients, 20-30 years from now, once they go abroad to do something different.
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Lourdes Townshend of Multimodal  & Logistic Transports Magazine – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Cultivating corn in Los Santos,  Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingReasons to retire overseas?
 
We can mention a few, but most of all, the way you feel about the overall situation, is the most important issue.
 
For example, if you have very close family, especially children and grandchildren that, leaving them behind, would be a tremendous impact on your health, then by all means, never consider this possibility. Once you're established in your new destination, it is difficult to go back.
 
Let's take Panamá as an example.
 
With the new modern technology, which Panamá is privileged to have, it is easy to connect with family and friends on a daily basis.  And you can always visit them in your original country.
 
Analyzing some of the reasons why a retiree should consider moving out of their country, what might be in first place is their financial situation.  Some countries are getting so expensive that when a person reaches retirement age it is very difficult to cope with expenses that they are used to having when they worked and had salary income.  Taxes goes up almost every year, and so does health insurance.  These are facts that are important to consider for a retiree, especially if you only have Social Security income.
 
After you consider above mentioned facts, then we can talk about the great benefits Panamá offers as a great destination to retire.
  • Health insurance.  Panamá has great medical care, with all kind of professionals at all budgets, from walk-inn clinics at US $15.00 per office visit, to "expensive" surgeries and treatments; some of them as particular as reconstruction, dental implants, plastic surgeries or even organ transplants.  Panamá offers all that, and more.  Panamá Is connected with recognized hospitals in the United States like the John Hopkins that work hand-in-hand with Hospital Punta Pacífica, situated in the city of Panamá.
  • Medical care. Complicated X-Rays, trauma procedures, thermal mammograms, or surgeries guided by a radiologist  through computer, among others, are specific medical services offered in Panamá, as well as all kinds of natural, homeopathic or other kinds of alternative medicine.  And talking about spas... make your choice.  Spread out within the city and the "interior" (countryside) you just have to pick one in the many little towns, or the modern resorts.
  • Lower taxes is another great benefit.  Not only property taxes, but sales taxes, and, best of all, great discounts for legal resident retirees for airline tickets, restaurants, medications, movies, metro, among others.
  • Investing in Panamá is a plus.  With the worldwide crisis, Panamá´s growth is the envy of many countries, even those much larger and considered within the major developed world.
  • Weather, for many is an  extremely important issue.  While there are all this crazy snow storms in the past years breaking records, and Panamá has beautiful sunshine all year round.  Also, Panamá has no earthquakes, no tornados, no tsunamis, or those kind of natural disaster. Panamá is truly blessed.
  • Another issue to consider is nutrition.  Panamá offers a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, full of vitamins.  Grocery prices, in general, are very inexpensive.  Food prices are especially low if you have the ability to grow your very own in your back yard, or go to the various "public fairs" where grocery prices are ridiculously low, for example, a bag of 20 pounds of white rice is $6.50, or a bunch of beautiful celery is 75 cents.  What a delighted life!
  • And last, but not least, is the overall environment.  Very friendly people, beautiful beaches, mountains, excellent social life (no matter what your budget is), rivers,fishing, golfing, relaxation, restaurants in every corner, and on and on. And if you like shopping, by all means, this is your place.  Panamá has the most modern malls with merchandise from all over the world, at prices that you never imagine.
  • Negative things...?  Absolutely.  No country is perfect.  But if you are willing to change your way of thinking, in order to live a better quality life, and take the time to try to understand the language... your retirement  in Panamá will be the best decision you ever made.
​​(Cultivating corn in Los Santos, Panama, pictured.)
      
    
 
Jennifer Moloney Jones of The Visitor – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Guandu-in-store lower cost of living best reasons to retire overseas – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingGenerally, a lot of countries where you might retire overseas have a lower cost of living, so your money will go further.
 
Also, there are many countries that provide good healthcare, which are up to American standards, especially in Central America, with the caveat that this is true in the cities in Central American countries, but not necessarily in the countryside. Health insurance can be cheaper abroad. It is slightly different for retirees, so if you are retiring overseas, you have to check that first because obviously when you get older, you insurance premiums go up as well. 
 
Another of the best reasons for retiring abroad would be the improved weather, which actually helps with aches and pains as you get older. In addition to that, I have friends here in Panama who are in their late 70s or 80s, who are very mobile and who have help at home to do the more strenuous activities, such as getting their groceries. They certainly have a great quality of life here in Panama. They are always out dining and socializing.
Robert Adams of Retirement Wave – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Typically for most Americans, Canadians and Europeans, the best reasons to retire involve having a less expensive lifestyle, and to do something different. They happen to be older, they want to see new things, to be able to experience new things, and they’re excited to be part of an adventure. Sometimes these two reasons come together in the same person. 
 
Moving overseas is an adventure. Whenever you move anywhere new, you’re learning new things. As far as the cost of living is concerned, I tell people that it is up to you. You can live inexpensively here in Panama, but if you want, you can also spend too much money. It really, really depends on the individual. If you have to have some sort of special food that has to be frozen or flown in from the United States, it’s going to be expensive. As an example, ice cream, brought down from the US.  We have plenty of it here but I don’t buy it. I buy local ice cream or ice cream from neighboring countries because it’s good and it’s a lot cheaper.
 
A lot of how much of an adventure you’re going to have and how inexpensively you live really depends on your willingness to try new things and look around.  For example, we have a lot of agricultural places to buy fruits and vegetables that are much cheaper than the big supermarkets in the city, but you have to find them and go visit them in order to take advantage of those lower prices.  If you don’t want to do that and you just want to go to the supermarket, your experience will be just like in the US, and you’re going to pay higher prices.
 
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Mike Cobb of ECI Development – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The best reasons to retire overseas are numerousGolphers at Gran Pacifica Nicaragua – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living but break into to main categories, the practical and philosophical.
 
The cost of living overseas can be significantly less depending on location chosen.  The paradox is that the quality of life overseas can also be higher, even when it costs less to live.  I know.  My family and I experience this every day and have for the last 11 years.
 
On the philosophical level, living overseas gives a freedom not found any more in the US.   It seems like we have a law for everything now in the US.  Living outside the US means I don’t have to worry about all the "nanny state" nonsense.    It's refreshingly wonderful.
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Valeria Espinoza of Gran Pacifica – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
One very good reason to retire overseas, basedretirees enjoying at Gran Pacifica, Nicaragua – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living on my experience working with retirees moving to Nicaragua for the past 9 years, is to have a lower cost of living and a great quality of life "south of the border". 
Al Mulaire of Planet Telecom Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Personally, I think the most compelling reason to retire overseas is that life here is so much more interesting.  Everything is different, so the mundane is actually a source of novelty.
 
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Sarah Booth of Panama Holiday Homes &  Buyer's Consultant with My Panama Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
While the lower cost of living is a great reason to retire overseas, it should not be the only reason. The adventure, lifestyle and social aspects of living overseas is what drew me to Panama. Of course, the cost of living is a bonus, as well as tax advantages and affordable healthcare - but it doesn't end there. Climate is a major factor for me as I have vowed never to shovel myself out of a snowbank ever again!  As well, I believe warm weather breeds a more active and fun social life since we live outside year round.  Vitamin D seems to do wonders for attitudes and pleasure! Learning a new language, slowing your pace of life, expanding your horizons and circle of friends are all wonderful reasons to retire overseas.
 
 
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Nitzia Chifundo of Panama Sol Realty – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Retiring overseas may definitely sometimes be a difficult decision but once you have found the right place, its totally worth it.
 
Many small countries but with developing economies like Panama can offer you a combination of things, such as: good and affordable health care, safety, good economy with a lot of investment opportunities, friendly people, good weather and beautiful places to go.
Allen Rosen – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The best reasons to retire overseas have nothing to do with saving money, although that is often a side-benefit.
 
Nor do they have to do with moving from a horrible, frigid climate (like Canada, my home country) to a beautiful place that is warm and sunny 12 months a year (Panama), although, again, that is a side-benefit.
 
Nor is the slower, more relaxed pace of life (in places like Panama) one of the most important reasons for moving overseas, although it is definitely a selling point.
 
No, the main reasons you should consider retiring overseas are different, and may surprise you:
 
You have probably lived all your life in the same country, indeed the same state or province, or city. This is a big world. Learn more about it. Expand your horizons. Move somewhere new and discover what it is like to adapt to a different culture. Stretch your mental universe. You will learn lots about your new country -- and  about yourself.
 
If you come from a wealthy and well-organized city like Toronto, as I do, you will be shocked at all of the unmet needs in poorer regions such as Panama. You will see starving dogs on the roads. You will see impoverished indigenous peoples in the countryside, often living in dirt-floor shacks with leaky, thatched roofs. You can react in two ways to these sights: either 1) feel appalled or 2) think of them as opportunities to do something useful with your life, as opportunities to make a contribution. You will be amazed at how much better you will feel about your own life when you start to make a positive contribution to others.

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