Over the last 10 years, various cities in Australi

Over the last 10 years, various cities in Australia (Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney) and Canada (Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto) have ranked among the best places in the world in which to live or work.  But in-so-far-as retirement is concerned, where do you go?  That answer will ultimately depend on what you, as an individual, value most.  As a 40 year-old American who has lived outside the United States for almost 1/4 of his life, I can share with you what I believe to be some of the most important considerations when trying to determine 'what are the best places in the world to retire' for you!


First and foremost is language.  At retirement, a great many Americans look to move south to warmer weather and consistent climates.  But, unless you speak Spanish or Portuguese, you may not find the lifestyle as enjoyable when ordering at restaurants becomes a nuisance and trying to initiate a conversation over drinks at the beach is problematic.  If you only speak English and have no real desire to learn a foreign language, then your top choices may be anywhere in English speaking Belize or St Kitts & Nevis, or (in and around) Panama City where large numbers of expats reside and tourism demands locals speak your native English language.


Second may arguably be the cost of living.  If you are on a fixed monthly income of say $1,500 (USD) a month, then you will certainly want to stretch every dollar and countries which offer favorable exchange rates will be of tremendous value.  While the Dominican Republic has a (fluctuating) exchange rate of around 40 Peso to 1 Dollar, Chile offers an exchange rate over ten times that amount at around 490 Chilean Peso to 1 Dollar.  Other top favorable (fluctuating) exchange rate countries include the Philippines (42 to 1), Mexico (12 to 1), and South Africa (7.5 to 1).


Jay Butler on a catamaran in the best places in the world to retire – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingLifestyle and medical care might tie for third.  If you live to snorkel or scuba dive, then you might want to live near a barrier reef in Australia or Belize.  If you want hiking, back-packing and related outdoor adventures, then Ecuador, Argentina or Chile might be good possibilities.  Ongoing medical issues could cause you stay within in direct-flight distances to Miami, Florida or Houston, Texas.  Surprising to some, Costa Rica and Panama have excellent medical facilities and often allow for homeopathic remedies (prohibited in the United States) for cancer and age related maladies.


Notwithstanding any of the aforementioned concerns, and depending on which part of the world in which you wish to live, here is my list of the top 3 best places in the world to retire listed alphabetically by region:

  • Africa:  Canary Islands, Republic of Seychelles, South Africa
  • Asia: Thailand, Philippines, Singapore
  • Central America / Caribbean:  Belize, Dominican Republic, Panama
  • Europe:  Estonia or Latvia, Ireland, Switzerland
  • South America:  Argentina, Ecuador, Paraguay


"The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell (or) a hell of heaven."

- John Milton, Paradise Lost


Best Places In The World To Retire