World's top retirement havens

For those thinking of retiring abroad, these potential destinations are superior in terms of cost of living, a comfortable lifestyle and many other amenities.

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Mar 2, 2012 7:14AM
Leslee and all;
My wife and I live in Ecuador on the northern Pacific coastal region and love it here. We have owned property here for 4 years and have been living permanently for 1 year now. I have read what many have had to say about different countries and many things that are written are just completely wrong or blown out of proportion. Some things are correct but living somewhere else, outside ones comfort zone might not be for everyone. We found our own family were the ones giving us the worst advice sine they thought they had to "protect" us from our desires to move to South America and in particular Ecuador. Here, we do live a different and much more laid back lifestyle and getting into the mindset of the culture is difficult for some. Things work differently outside of your own country. We researched many different countries for our move outside of the USA, before choosing Ecuador for our destination and we based that on our own research and then coming to look for ourselves. One can not know what it will be like to "live" in a different country until it is experienced from that standpoint. One can visit but you need to live in the culture to experience whether it is right for you. I don't think there is any one place that is perfect, nor perfect for everyone, but you must be able to open your mind and assimilate into the culture, which some can do and others can't. Unfortunately the USA gets a bad rap from other countries for the "Ugly American" syndrome, but from what I have seen from my travels in many different countries we deserve some of that. The biggest complaint I hear from our Ecuadorian friends regarding North Americans is the lack of common courtesy and manners. So I guess the biggest thing is...if you are going to try and make a successful move to another country, you really should learn about it and do your best to embrace the culture along with your new adopted home country's ways of doing things. I would be happy to answer any questions anyone might have if  thinking about Ecuador. For us it is a piece of paradise and we live very comfortably on much less money then it takes in the USA.
Feb 23, 2012 6:35PM

To 5rugrat.

Have you ever been to New Zealand, France, Italy, etc.? Calling them 3rd word countries is a great display of ignorance... however I do hope that people like you stay in the USA and never leave them... not even for vacation... please.

thank you

Apr 9, 2012 3:37PM
People writing about the US having the best medical care don't read or travel much I'd bet.  The US is one of the worst rated countries in nearly all phases of health care with the exception of cost.  I had an ear infection in Honduras.  20 bucks for the doctor who gave me ear drops then 12 bucks for the antibiotics that I bought over the counter at a pharmacy where no one spoke English but they all bent over backwards to figure out what I needed and get it for me.  The person who complained that she had to pay $12 for a meal at Denny's in Costa Rica astounded me.  Why would you eat at Denny's in Costa Rica?
Feb 23, 2012 6:00PM
I moved to a small village near Puerto Vallarta   and lived in a great little house about a 5 minute walk to the beach. We had a great life there wonderful neighbors, ate out often as it cost more to cook . I had a maid 6 days a week and we traveled around by car and bus.
 The only reason we left was our child needed special education in Ca.
 I would live there again in a minute-no it isn`t like here with entire rows of cereals to pick from but the fresh fruits at the market and the  walk to get just one loaf of bread or fresh made tortillas was way better than Safeway any day
Apr 9, 2012 4:42PM

I wonder what moon around Pluto is this writer from?  I've been to a number of the places highlighted in this article and know that if anyone is retired in those locations and living on the budget outlined, they must be living in poverty.  Paris---  cheap with lots of free things???? Dream on!


Be sure and do the research before you start dreaming!


Shame on MSN for accepting this quality of reporting.  this type of article might grab someone's attention, but in the real world, it just illustrates questionable reporting.

Apr 9, 2012 3:44PM
I have read so many of these articles about Panama and have responded, but to no avail!  The writers refuse - REFUSE - to go there, check it out, ask people who live there, etc, to determine just what a hype it is.  They ALWAYS use Boquete as an example.  Five hours from the City and the airport, no hospitals of any repute, alone the decrepit Pan American Highway that is FILLED with pot holes and cops waiting to be bribed.  Grocery food is outrageous in Panama.  Medical Care is excellent, but no insurance is accepted by any hospital or doctor, unless you buy from the State, so it is out of pocket. THEN, they hate Americans.  All of their problems are because of us.  THEN, try driving, paying for insurance that is twice what one pays in the States, or having a bank account or trying to sell your home or car.  The Spanish is despicable, the manners are deplorable, and most Americans stay about 2 years and leave, unless they are so poor and can't go back to the States. It is the worst place to live, but better than any other Central American country.  Whoever writes this crap should be sent to his or her room and not allowed out until they can tell the truth!  
Feb 23, 2012 7:31PM
I'm an American living in Guadalajara Mex. and I love it. Crime? Sure, as if that does not exist in the US? I watch American CNN daily and nearly want to gag. The difference? In Mexico they stab you in the the USA watch your back.  Judge me if you want but this country gives me an amazing life (for 2 years now) and 2 more years extended. Corruption is everywhere in all places. I'll likely end up back in the USA (I'm 48 years old now) but for now, the USA is not super appealing. 
Apr 9, 2012 4:20PM
Retirement,hahahahah, retirement. Thats a good one.
Apr 9, 2012 6:58PM
I've been sort of retired sense July 2011 at 57 years old.  Home is paid for no debt either, born and raised in the USA.   I'm staying here for better or worse.  Everyday above ground is a good day.
Apr 9, 2012 3:41PM
And Yukon 42's comment that "FREEDOM" is not available elsewhere proves that he has never been more than a few miles from his mom's house.  If you think about all of the things you can't do in the US you would have to honestly admit that we are not as free as you first thought.  The Patriot Act allows cops now to bust in your door, haul you off, send you anywhere they like for "questioning" and not tell anyone where you are, why you were taken, and even THAT you WERE taken.  That' ain't freedom, Yukon, and you don't know what you are talking about.
Apr 9, 2012 6:15PM
Before you make a decision, do your research well. Money isn't everything. Comfort, lifestyle, food, medical care, people you have something in common with, etc. are important.
Apr 9, 2012 6:06PM
Of course there talking about the top 3 percent of the US population gets to retire. The rest of you get back to work and quit complaining.
Apr 9, 2012 4:19PM
I think it would be tough to get a visa to retire in NZ - very strict immigration requirements.
Feb 28, 2012 8:13AM
Hi I live in Sri Lanka and this country is very nice lots of beautiful places to retire. You have a choice of locations beach front, mountains and so on the weather is lovely all year long and the country is generally very safe. Most properties are well secured and the people are very friendly and have a good literacy rate.  Most locals speak English. Broadband Internet and mobile communications are country wide and are cheep. Healthcare is cheep and doctors are mostly British educated.
I'd say this is the ideal place for retirement. Most of all you can pay as you go.
Mar 23, 2012 5:27PM
Well you can't believe everything you read.  Living in another country is not going to be the same as the US.  It can be quirky, third world where things aren't always available, learning a new language can be difficult as you get older.  Also renting a place can be a problem even thou it can be cheap the area can be a problem.  Banking can be a problem because of the fees banks charge in other countries.  Visas can be costly also.  So if you are going to try it do it on a temporary basis first.  Also it can be very hard to be away from family.
Apr 9, 2012 5:48PM
Not only is retiring in these great places inexpensive and the weather fantastic, you get the added benefit of getting away from the scumbag politicians, police etc. that is becoming more and more restrictive to the people living in the states. The u.s.a. is well on it's way to a police state
Feb 27, 2012 10:04AM
Retirement?????? What the Hell is that?????
 I am not able to do that because Of my savings was wiped out
while being laid off and then working for a less wage then before!
then social security age limit was raised, I figure I have to work
about two years after I die! (I have to pay for the funeral) !!!!!!
Being a Galactic thug just does not pay like it used too!!!!!

Mar 23, 2012 5:41PM
Forgot to mention I live in Panama but like anywhere there is good and bad no matter where you live and how you want to live.  Just like the US costs keep going up too.
Apr 9, 2012 4:25PM

I STRONGLY suggest to anybody thinking of retiring in any of these Countries, to do a little background as to the political situation and safety of American Citizens.  I remember that our friends at MSN had a similar article in months past indicating "Nicaragua" , Venezuela and yes even Cuba as a place to retire.  I know our friends at MSN are extremely " socialist"  but most people know that these are Communist/Socialist countries.  I personally would not even travel as a tourist. 


My reccomendation is to stay here in the US, which offers safety, laws are followed and there are many places that may no be as cheap as third world countries but at least you have peace of mind.  Hopefully  we will vote out this current resident of the white house in November and the political climate will change for the better

Feb 24, 2012 9:52AM
The US gov't pulled out all Peace Corps volunteers from Hondoras because of safety issues.  Folks driving thru Mexico have encountered lots of safety issues.  Wouldn't retire to either. 
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