This article is reprinted by permission from NextAvenue.org.
I suspect that when Americans think about retiring abroad, they focus on Latin American countries, due to proximity and because places like Panama, Belize, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic usually show up on Best Places to Retire Abroad lists. Well, you wont find any of those four countries in the Top 10 ofThe Worlds Best Places to Retire in 2017 from Live and Invest Overseas.
What you will find is a preponderance of Europe (six of the Top 10) plus a smattering of Mexico (two places) and Asia (two places, both in Malaysia).
Another surprise: eight of those didnt even make the Top 10 in the 2016 list from Live and Invest Overseas. That surprised me too, said Lief Simon, investment editor at Live and Invest Overseas and husband of the groups founder and publisher, Kathleen Peddicord.
In this years Top 10, the Algarve region of southern Portugal ranked No. 1 (f or the fourth year in a row). Rounding out the list: 2. Valletta, Malta (it was No. 2 last year, too); 3. Mazatl谩n, Mexico; 4. Abruzzo, Italy; 5. Saint-Chinian, France; 6. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; 7. Lisbon, Portugal; 8. Budapest, Hungary; 9. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and 10. George Town, Malaysia.
By contrast, rivalInternational Livings Best Places to Retire Abroad list, which I wrote about earlier this year, had six other countries in its Top 10 for 2017. Only Mexico, Malaysia, Portugal and Malta appeared in both lists. International Living ranks countries; Live and Invest Overseas ranks cities, towns and regions.
Live and Invest Overseas Top 10 list had a seismic shake-up compared with 2016 for two reasons: The strong U.S. dollar has made Europe more affordable (though big cities like Paris, London and Rome are still pricey). And the rankers changed their methodology. As in the past, they combined data with on-the-ground knowledge of their edito rs. But this year, they broadened their list from 21 Best Places to 30 by selecting one winner and onerunner-up in Latin America, Europe and Asia in five broad categories.
So, why wont you find the likes of Panama or Ecuador on this years Live and Invest Overseas Best Places to Retire Abroad list? Simon, who with Peddicord has been living in Panama until recently, said: Part of it is that a lot of the areas weve talked about [in Latin America] have become more expensive. And European destinations do so well on things like infrastructure.
You can learn much more about the Live and Invest Overseas ranking and its winners at the groupssiteor by attending itsRetire Overseas Conferencein Orlando, Fla., Aug. 27 to Aug. 30 ($895 per per person).
1. Portugals Algarve Region Shutterstock Algarve, Portugal
Live and Invest Overseas scored this Old World region especially strong for safety and health care. But the true claims to fame for this expat-friendly area (English is widely spoken) are climate and recreation. Theres year-round sunshine, 100 miles of Atlantic Ocean coastline and 42 golf courses. Live and Invest Overseas also calls The Algarve the best retirement option in Western Europe for the retiree on a budget. The cost of living is about 30 percent lower than on the Continent. An unfurnished, two-bedroom apartment rents for about $720 now.
Lief Simon, the investment editor at Live and Invest Overseas, says Portugal has two residency options that may interest expat retirees: The Golden Visa program, which requires you to stay in the country only one week a year as long as you purchase real estate in the country (there are rules on the minimum value) or what Simon calls the self-sufficiency residency, perm itted if your income is at least roughly $1,300 a month. For that residency, you must spend least half the year in Portugal.
One caveat: Real-estate prices are starting to come up, Simon says. Its still relatively affordable.
2. Valletta, Malta Getty Images Valletta, a fortified town that dates back to the 16th century, is the capital of Malta and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Ranked No. 2 in the Live and Invest Overseas list last year, too, Valletta is the capital of the tiny Mediterranean country due south of Sicily and north of the North African coast. Here, says Simon, you can qualify for residency by renting a house or an apartment exceeding certain thresholds. (Typical monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Valletta currently: $915.) Live and Invest Overseas says Valletta isnt one of the prettiest parts of Malta, but it is quite lively at night.
3. Mazatlan, Mexico Shane Smith/Wikipedia Mazatl谩n
Known for its North American expat community, this Pacific coast beach resort has, according to Live and Invest Overseas, a little bit of everything 20 miles of beaches, world-class fishing, historical attractions, delicious street food and an international airport. Climate? Tropical, with a wet season and a dry season.
4. Abruzzo, Italy Shutterstock Abruzzo, Italy
Live and Invest Overseas calls Abruzzo the most overlooked and undervalued region in Central Italy. The cost of living is 30 to 70% less than in Tuscany or Umbria, the researchers say. A retired couple could live here on about $1,400 a month, including rent, according to the Live and Invest Overseas editors. Theres easy access to beaches in the summer and skiing in the winter.
5. Saint-Chinian, France Guillaume Saint-Chinian
Located in the Languedoc region of southern France, Saint-Chinian may be best known for its red, white and ros茅 wines. Live and Invest Overseas says you can live and retire comfortably here for under 1,800 euros a month, which works out to about $2,100.
6. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia AFP/Getty Images An opera actress backstage before a performance in Kuala Lumpur.
The top-ranked Asian location in the 2017 Best Places to Retire Abroad list from Live and Invest Overseas, the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur has more than seven million people. So, quiet and remote its not. But it is, the researchers say, one of the worlds most affordable, exotic, and at the same time, fully appointed and comfortable places to retire. Monthly rent here: About $560. Travel a bit out of the city and youll hit rural villages, where life is slower. Foreigners are welcome in Kuala Lumpur and almost everyone speaks adequate English, say Live and Invest Overseas editors.
7. Lisbon, Portugal AFP/Getty Images The Alfama neighborhood of Lisbon.
The second of two Portuguese spots in the Top 10 List of Live and Invest Overseas Best Places to Retire Abroad (Portugals Algarve region ranked No. 1), Lisbon offers many of the attractions of costlier European capitals. Plus: beaches! Its an easy plane ride over from the U.S.; there are regular daily flights from Newark, N.J. and Miami. Monthly rent: About $770.
8. Budapest, Hungary AFP/Getty Images The River Danube in Budapest.
The only Eastern European spot in the Top 10 Best Places to Retire Abroad from Live and Invest Overseas, bustling Budapest is becoming trendy with retirees as well as millennials. Its one of the largest and, Live and Invest Overseas says, most metropolitan cities in Europe. The editors also call Budapest one of the best destinations to enjoy a full life of entertainment.
9. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Shutterstock San Miguel de Allende
Dubbed by some locals as the best place in the world to retire, this semidesert valley in central Mexico made the Live and Invest Overseas Top 10 partly because of its large, welcoming expat community. The editors say there are also classes in two to three dozen subjects at any time in this friendly small town. A couple can live and retire here for less than $1,500 a month, according to Live and Invest Overseas.
10. George Town, Malaysia Shutterstock George Town
Smaller and slower than the other Malaysian locale in the Live and Invest Overseas Top 10 Places to Retire Abroad (Kuala Lumpur was No. 6), George Town is the capital of Penang (Island of Pearls), west of the mainland. The editors say the island has excellent medical care and reasonably priced and that locals communicate largely in English. ECA International called George Town the most livable city in Malaysia and a few years back, Lonely Planet dubbed Penang the top food destination in the world dining choices include Chinese, Malay, Indian, Thai and more, often for about $3 a person. A small furnished apartment rents for less than $300 a month; a large villa with an ocean view rents for more like $3,000 a month.
Richard Eisenberg is the Senior Web Editor of the Money & Security and Work & Purpose channels of Next Avenue and Managing Editor for the site. He is the author of How to Avoid a Mid-Life Financial Cr isis and has been a personal finance editor at Money, Yahoo, Good Housekeeping, and CBS Moneywatch. Follow him on Twitter@richeis315.
This article is reprinted by permission from NextAvenue.org, 漏 2017 Twin Cities Public Television, Inc. All rights reserved.