Race to Retirement: The 5 Best Countries for Retirees in 2022

When planning out your retirement, there are many things to consider. These range from getting your finances to deciding where you want to live. If you’re an Australian looking to retire overseas, hiring the best SMSF accountant can help you maximize your available funds. If you’re a US citizen, it might make more sense to work with a fiduciary ex-pat advisor. 

While these financial moves can be tedious, the fun part lies in selecting the country in which you’ll retire. To help you in this endeavor, we’ve narrowed down the five countries that provide the most attractive mix of benefits for retirees in 2022.

1. Panama

Situated between Central America and South America, Panama is safe, affordable, and supported by excellent medical care.

Although humid and wet at times, it lies outside the hurricane belt, so you don’t have to worry about extreme weather. Panamanian landscapes range from beaches to mountains to grassy highlands. The country is also home to a large ex-pat community, so you should find it easy to make friends and stay active.

2. Costa Rica

Just north of Panama lies Costa Rica, an eco-tourism hotspot known for its “pura vida” lifestyle that promotes kindness, community values, and healthy living. You’ll find plenty of amiable Ticos (native Costa Ricans) and ex-pats with whom to strike up friendships. Indeed, the Guanacaste region is a blue zone, meaning it has a high percentage of centenarians.

Although Costa Rica isn’t the cheapest place to retire, it’s certainly affordable when compared to the US, the UK, and Australia. Legal residents pay a small percentage of their monthly income to get top-quality healthcare, including access to a range of world-class hospitals.

3. Mexico

Mexico has a long history as a retirement hotspot. It boasts incredible food and friendly locals who’re quite likely to invite you to gatherings and festivals. There’s a well-established ex-pat network that can help you find healthcare, rentals, and anything else you may need.

Medical care itself is low-cost and high-quality (which is why it’s a medical tourism hotspot). Once you’re a resident – which is very straightforward – you gain access to public healthcare and can complement that with affordable private care if you choose. The cost of living changes from state to state and town to town. However, it’s generally quite affordable.

4. Portugal

Portugal is known for its friendly people (who’ll greet you with double-cheek kisses) and its old-world charm (especially in Lisbon). Mix that with very low crime rates, and it’s easy to see why Portugal is such an attractive option for retirees.

Whether you choose quaint seaside towns centered around fishing or the “Queen’s Bath” city of Caldas da Rainha (loved for its thermal springs), you’re bound to find affordable options all around the country. Transportation between places is fast, efficient, and affordable.

If you’re worried about language barriers, rest assured that basic English is widely spoken, and the government offers free Portuguese classes as well.

5. Spain

Just next door to Portugal lies Spain, which offers 300+ days of sunshine per year. On top of that, fruits, veggies, and fish are fresh and affordable. Whether you choose to reside in a small town or a densely populated city, public transport is extensive and efficient. Unless you’re in a very remote location, you probably won’t need a car.

The process of moving to Spain is marvelously straightforward, the crime rate is very low, and the healthcare is world-class, making it a top choice for retirees.

While everyone’s needs will be different, the above five countries are a great starting point when planning where you want to spend your golden years.

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