International Living Retirement Table

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Accurately scoring the world’s top retirement locations is a complex process. So, we’ve broken down each of our categories to give you a “behind the curtain” look at how we put the Index together.

Real Estate: Countries where real estate prices are low and the purchase of real estate is relatively easy received good scores. We have also taken the average purchase price and rental price per square meter into consideration. And we’ve added a “value factor,” based on reports from our contributing editors and from real estate contacts around the world on how much bang for your buck you get when buying real estate in each country.

Special Benefits: This category considers government provisions that make moving to and living in each country easier and more affordable for foreign retirees. Taken into account are discounts on health care, public transport, airfares, entertainment, utilities, whether you can import goods duty free, property rights for foreign residents, and property tax rates.

Cost of Living: This score is based on the first-hand information collected by our editors and contributors. We look at the daily costs a couple encounter in a destination, utilities, groceries, transport…we ask how much a good meal costs, and if the price of a movie ticket or a day trip out of the city is low…

Ease of Integration: In order to score countries in this category, we looked at things like the degree to which English is spoken, the friendliness of the locals, the size of the existing expat community and the availability of home comforts.

Entertainment and Amenities: Here, we looked at the range of activities open to expats. We rated the quality and availability of restaurants, movie theaters, outdoor activities and local music and art. We also ask our in-country contacts to rate the variety of activities on a scale to see how much excitement you can find in a destination.

Health Care: Considered in this category are the cost of health care and the quality. How much a typical visit to a general practitioner tells you a lot, as does cost and the coverage particulars of health insurance. Also considered are the number of people per doctor, the number of hospital beds per 1,000 people, the percentage of the population with access to safe water, the infant mortality rate, life expectancy, and public health expenditure as a percentage of a country’s GDP.

Retirement Infrastructure: We look at the quality of the roads, the availability of good public transport, the number of cell phones, and Internet penetration, and how easy it is to get to and from the U.S. and Canada by plane.

Climate: Countries with temperate weather throughout the year, moderate rainfall and little risk of natural disaster come out on top in this category. This year, we also took the comfort factor into consideration for the first time. We use data representing each country as a whole instead of favoring one region over another.


The detailed information can be found here.

Compare this to my analysis of the Cost Of Retirement By Country.

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