Looking for a safe, affordable place for retirement? With its warm climate, affordable housing and generous benefits, Ecuador was named the best country to retire in by InternationalLiving.com.
Malaysia, the top retirement country in Asia, earned high scores for ease of fitting in, entertainment and amenities, as well as low cost of living. A meal with a bottle of wine can cost as little as US$5 (Bt165) and a visit to the doctor just $15.
Thailand, which won points for low healthcare costs, culture and affordable housing, ranked 10th.
“The world’s top retirement havens for 2015 may dot the landscape from Asia to Latin America to Europe, but they share certain assets,” said Jennifer Stevens, executive editor of InternationalLiving.com.
“They’re safe, offer good value and are places you can settle with relative ease,” she added in the statement announcing the results.
Ecuador scored 92.7 out of 100 points, with top marks for climate, cost of renting or buying property, and discounts on flights, public transport and utilities offered by the government for retirees.
“Although prices have risen slightly in recent years, Ecuador’s real estate is the best value you’ll find anywhere,” said Dan Prescher, senior editor at the website.
Panama is considered the best destination in Central America and offers a Pensionado visa, which is available to anyone with a lifetime pension of more than $1,000. The visa offers discounts on medical services, entertainment, meals, airfares, and electricity and phone bills.
“For under $2,000, a couple can live comfortably in a country with a well-earned reputation for being expat-friendly,” according to the website.
In Europe, sixth-place Spain was the top retirement nation thanks to its warm climate and low cost of living compared with other European countries. Spain scored top marks for infrastructure, a healthcare system recognised by the World Health Organisation as one of the best in the world, and entertainment.
Neighbouring Portugal came in at No 9. Seventh-place Malta and Colombia at No 8 completed the top 10.