Golden destinations for expat retirees golden years

Published:  26 Jan at 6 PM
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Retiring overseas rather than fighting inflation in the home country is now a practical financial option for many pensioners living in first world countries.

Even if there’s no gold-plated pension waiting at the end of your working life, it’s still possible to enjoy a much more satisfying retirement lifestyle by emigrating to a less expensive location overseas. Your choice of destination may well be dependent on your country of origin’s state pension, but choosing carefully will allow you to eke out your monthly cheque without missing out on a comfortable lifestyle.

Annual online surveys give mostly accurate information on costs of living in the vast majority of favoured retirement hubs across the world. They’re useful as a reference, but are often based on average expat wages rather than monthly pension payments. Even so, several destinations come up as part of every study, thus giving a reliable indication of true costs as well as rentals and property prices.

One of the most obvious choices for British expats is Spain, popular with retirees for several decades. At the present time, its future as a getaway hub is slightly shaky due to Brexit, but reliable reports suggest those already in residence prior to March 2019 will keep their benefits including affordable healthcare. Property prices are on the rise after several years in the doldrums, but still represent a bargain for those who’ve sold their UK homes. Risks include unstable exchange rates post-Brexit, but everyday living is far cheaper than in Britain.

Malaysia is gaining in popularity as retirement destination, and has a designated retirement visa for the purpose. The cost of living varies region to region and is relatively high in the capital and larger cities but affordable in rural areas. English is widely spoken, making local integration easier, and Penang is emerging as a popular place to call home. Taking into account nightlife and eating out, around £1,000 a month including a rental apartment is possible.

Mexico, already favoured by American pensioners, is now becoming popular with European retirees for its weather and its delicious, inexpensive local food. Culture and history buffs will love the Aztec and Mayan ruins, and everyone will enjoy its beaches and leisure options. Monthly living costs including rentals are similar to those in Spain, but healthcare costs or private health insurance should be factored in.

Although it’s a comparatively new kid on the block for non-UK expats, Portugal is set to be a premier European retirement destination. Less crowded than Spain and with very affordable living costs, it’s also one of the safest world countries. Locals are friendly and welcoming, and rental apartments and small villas are still easily affordable to rent or buy.
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