Every year, respected publications publish their “best of” indexes for living overseas.
This year, Live & Invest Overseas has done a phenomenal job. The index is robust, at more than 300 pages, and it zeros in, not on countries, but on specific cities and towns.
Best of all, this resource is free for you if you subscribe to their magazine. (By itself, the Overseas Retirement Index costs $47 — and if you’re seriously planning an overseas move, totally worth it!)
Note that “overseas retirement index” may be a little misleading. . . These recommendations are very helpful for retirees. They’re equally helpful for anyone with a portable career who wants to live abroad, so if you’re not yet retired, mentally substitute the word “living” for “retirement.”
Let’s take a look at why I think this year’s index is so terrific.
#1. It Breaks Out Results According to What’s Important to You
There are sections devoted to the best types of places to live:
- Beach / Island destinations
- Small town
- “The best of the rest,” including best LGBTQ, best for single women, best for kids, best for millennials, and best to find romance
This structure makes it super easy for you to find what you’re looking for.
#2. Recommendations are Graded
Grades are based on important factors, with clear explanations for how each grade was arrived at. They include:
- Cost of living
- Health care
- English spoken
- Expat community
- Infrastructure, including important things like:
- domestic access (roads, public transportation)
- international access (airports, direct flights to US and Canada)
- Environment, including pollution, drinking water, litter, etc.
- Affordability of real estate
- Real estate restrictions
#3. “Best of” Specified for Each Region
You’ll find the best beach and island communities in Latin America, Europe, and Asia. Ditto for the best small towns, cities, etc. So if you already know you want to enjoy the Old World, for example, you can skip directly to the European choices.
#4. Best of the Best
Finally, you’ll find the best overall picks for each region.
These include a monthly budget breakdown in the local currency, with the total translated into US dollars. It also includes a summary of the grades awarded.
This page is suitable for printing so you can take it with you and study it!
This series of tables makes it very easy to directly compare several locations of interest.
#5. Even More Information
As if that all weren’t enough, you’ll also find helpful information about some of the most vexing questions, like
- How to move your pets overseas (I’ve done it, and it’s a very detailed and time-sensitive process)
- How to get mail abroad
- Smartphone apps to install before you go
- Best golf courses where you’re going
- Best fishing spots
There’s even a corruption index, so you know in advance where you’re mostly likely to be asked for a bribe if you’re the subject of a traffic stop.
There are lots more extras, too, including graphics that show clearly the differences in internet speeds, or climates, in the various recommended locations.
I’ve been reading these “best of” indexes for years, and this one is the most thorough and interesting of any I’ve seen. Hats off to the staff of Live & Invest Overseas for producing such a great resource.
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