Where’s the Best Country to Retire Overseas in 2013?

rainbow over PanamaWhere’s the best country to retire overseas?

I get that question a lot. I wish I had a simple answer, but as long as people are different — with different hopes, wishes, dreams, likes and dislikes — there’s no one-size-fits-all answer.

And sometimes asking “which country” isn’t the right question. Because different parts of a country can be very different. I mean, what do New York City and Podunk, Idaho have in common? Not much.

Fortunately I can give you a place to start.

Here are two lists, from two respected sources, of places that are attractive to expats in terms of cost, climate and general quality of life.

The first list gives you, not just a country, but a specific city or town in the country.

It’s from Kathleen Peddicord, publisher of Live & Invest Overseas. She’s been writing about expat life for over 25 years, and she’s moved her family from the US to Ireland, to France and now to Panama.

  1. Coronado, Panama
  2. Languedoc, France
  3. Ambergris Caye, Belize
  4. Cuenca, Ecuador
  5. Chiang Mai, Thailand
  6. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
  7. County Kerry, Ireland
  8. Granada, Nicaragua
  9. Medellin, Colombia
  10. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Source: Part 1 and Part 2

This list is from International Living’s annual list of the World’s Best Retirement Havens. In putting it together, they consider diverse factors like cost of real estate, special retiree benefits, cost of living, climate, health and more.

I took strong issue with their list in 2011. Usually, though, they’re more on target and I’m comfortable with this list.

  1. Ecuador
  2. Panama
  3. Malaysia
  4. Mexico
  5. Costa Rica
  6. Uruguay
  7. Colombia
  8. Spain
  9. Thailand
  10. Malta
  11. Portugal
  12. Nicaragua
  13. Ireland
  14. France
  15. Phillipines
  16. New Zealand
  17. Italy
  18. Brazil
  19. Chile
  20. Honduras
  21. Belize
  22. Dominican Republic

Choosing where to live involves a lot of complex decision making. How to choose the best country for YOU takes some soul searching, thought, planning and boots-on-the-ground time.

Hopefully these lists of top overseas retirement havens will give you a place to start.

Do you have a question about how to choose an overseas destination? Leave a comment below!


  1. Don Taylor says:

    We are wondering in which countries you could still work if you wanted to. We would like to beable to maybe work a little to enjoying the lifestyle better.

    • FutureExpat says:

      Don, whether you’re allowed to work will depend on the country and your residency status. In general you can work remotely in a freelance type of business — writing, photography and the like — from anywhere but you should check the rules of the country(s) you’re interested in. Getting a job as an employee will be more difficult.

  2. tom stump says:

    Hello and I am living in Cebu Philippines for the past four years and love it, the town of Balamban is my new home place and the only thing that i miss is Windys for a hambuger. The people are verry frindley and the weather is great NO SNOW HERE. As you may have guessed I came here from OHIO.This to give you my two cents on the best places to live.lol Tom

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