The Top Countries For Retirement

The prospects for retirement in the U.S. can be bleak. Many Americans don't even have enough saved for emergencies, let alone anything else, and nearly one in five expect to die in debt, as Daily Finance has reported. Even if you are saving money, it's tough to put enough away, particularly as political pressure to reduce Social Security and Medicare costs mount.

For some, the answer may be to look elsewhere for a retirement haven. International Living assembled its annual global retirement index for the top countries for living out your post-working years. Here are the best countries for retirement, according to their list, with some additional information from the CIA World Factbook:


Economic diversity and low real estate prices help stretch your dollar. A doctor's visit is $10 (with "world class" medical facilities) and a restaurant main course can be as little as $2.50. No, the decimal point is not misplaced. Those over 65 get discounts of up to 50 percent on movies, sporting events, transportation, and utilities. If you like the outdoors, you'll love the hiking, zip-lining, rock climbing, fishing, and biking. Castilian Spanish, spoken by 93 percent of the population, is an official language.


The Central American country welcomes retirees with a Pensionado visa, available to anyone with a lifetime pension of more than $1,000 a month. The visa gets you discounts on medical services (20 percent), entertainment (50 percent), restaurant meals (25 percent), airfare (25 percent), and utilities (25 percent). You can live comfortably for less than $2,000 a month and there are expat communities, in case you feel a little homesick. Panama has the best Internet and roads in Central America and the Pacific coast has great beaches. Mornings are cool, warm weather isn't oppressive, and rain doesn't last long. Spanish is the official language, although many people are bilingual and 14 percent of the population speaks English.


Mexico is one of the largest U.S. expat havens in the world. English is widely spoken, although learning Spanish is an excellent idea. U.S. food, products, and sports are popular and often available. Prices are a fraction of what you'll find here, whether groceries, property taxes, or healthcare (which can be as good as in the U.S.). There are great cultural attractions, fabulous beaches, and a range of climates that will let you find something to suit you. However, 92.7 percent of the country speaks only Spanish, so gaining more than a passing acquaintance is advisable, and some areas have seen heavy violence by drug cartels.


Malaysia, like other parts of the greater region, is a cultural melting pot. Real estate prices translate into a 1,600 square foot apartment with pool access for $850 a month. You can live well on a modest amount, and if you like exploring different cuisines, this is a great part of the world to try Chinese, Indonesian, Indian, and more. Cheap airlines can get you to a variety of countries with their cultural, historical, and ecological wealth. English is spoken by many, a result of former colonialism. The population is also highly literate (93.1 percent).

Costa Rica

Living here gets you access to both the Caribbean and Pacific, with cool and breezy weather in the country's central region, two hours away from the beaches. More than 50,000 expats live in the country for access to the beautiful surroundings, theaters, art galleries, fine dining, excellent healthcare, and modern telecommunications. Spanish is the official language, although many people speak English.


If you've longed to live in Europe, Spain in one of your options. There are first world amenities, along with stunning art, architecture, music, and other cultural amenities. You will also find great food and a fun-loving culture that can run to late in the night. It's more expensive than Latin America or parts of Asia, but a couple could manage comfortably in many cities for $2,600 a month. You'll get some of the best summers and beaches in the world or skiing in the Pyrenees. However, the economy continues to suffer under a major recession which has resulted in major government cutbacks and high unemployment.


This tiny island nation -- a tenth the size of Rhode Island -- can give you a home in the Mediterranean and a land soaked in history, meaning architectural and cultural treasures. If you like golf, there are some of the best courses in the world. You'll enjoy a southern European ambiance and activity almost every night. A former British colony, people often speak English fluently. An apartment in a beach area could run $175,000. The country is part of the EU and uses the euro.


The cost of living is low, with $1,200 a month affording comfort. Its healthcare is also one of the best, comparable to the U.S., only at lower prices. There are outdoor recreation facilities even in the smallest towns. There are relatively strong democratic institutions, even after decades of civil unrest and drug-related challenges.

Who else made the list? Click through below to see the top 25 countries for retirement.

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