Top Retirement Destinations Around the World

18 June, 2014

People are now living healthier more active lives well into their 70s or beyond and retirees are no longer content to sit back and let the world pass them by. They have the time and means to enjoy extended vacations to exotic destinations, play golf with friends, stroll along beautiful beaches or through stunning countryside, take in shows at local theaters or watch their favorite football team play.

One of the biggest changes over the past decade is that seniors are more prepared than ever to sell-up and relocate to a different part of the country or even to the other side of the world in search of the ideal location for their retirement home. Thanks to technological advances in global communications it is now easier than ever to live many miles from loved ones yet stay in touch on a daily basis. Smartphones and tablet computers make it possible to see and talk to friends and family via Skype and similar VoIP networks wherever you are and at virtually no cost.

What to look for in a retirement destination

Everyone has different tastes and priorities when it comes to choosing a place to live, but for retirees there are a number of considerations to take into account that are common to all; for example, access to good healthcare facilities, the crime rate, cost of living, climate, air quality, local taxes and property prices.

Bearing these basic requirements in mind here is a list of some of the best places to retire in the US and overseas.

Austin, Texas

Austin is located on the Colorado River, 75 miles north of San Antonio, 160 miles northwest of Houston and a similar distance south of Dallas.

Thanks to the influence of the Gulf of Mexico the city enjoys hot summers, with average highs of 90°F and mild winters, averaging 45°F; rainfall is below average. The crime rate is low; the FBI list Austin as being the second safest major city in the country and the cost of living is around the national average, as are property prices. One of the key financial benefits of retiring to Austin is that there are no state taxes.

There’s plenty to do there, with cultural events being held throughout the year, along with museums, theaters, live concerts and the annual Austin Film Festival to check out. There are also parks and lakes where numerous recreational activities can be experienced. Austin is one of the most biker friendly cities in the state, with some 80 miles of cycle lanes.

Bellingham, Washington

Bellingham, which is approximately 90 miles north of Seattle and 50 miles southeast of Vancouver, is a great place if you are into hiking, skiing and the outdoors in general. The North Cascades Mountains and San Juan Islands are both within easy reach. Property prices are slightly above the national average, crime levels are low and air quality is high.

The climate is mild, being influenced by the presence of the Olympic Mountains to the west, which shelter the city from the worst of the rainfall that affects the south of the state, and the Cascades, which prevent the relatively warm oceanic air from escaping to the east. Average temperatures range from average highs of 59°F to lows of 44°F.


The entire state of Florida has long been a favorite with retirees eager to escape the cold wet winters of more northern states. While the south of the region can become hot and humid during the summer months the north stays pleasantly warm for most of the year. If you decide to retire to the area around Orlando you are sure to be popular with any grandchildren thanks to its proximity to the theme parks.

The cost of living is lower than most of the US and there are no state income, inheritance or estate taxes.

The top destinations for retirees are Venice, Key West, Winter Park, Sarasota, Gainesville, Baton Rouge and Vero Beach, each of which offers a host of properties ranging from houses and condos to community villages that provide various levels of sophisticated living options.

Popular overseas retirement destinations

For a number of reasons, the favorites being climate and low cost of living, a growing number of adventurous American seniors are taking the decision to spend their retirement years living beyond the borders of the USA. Thanks in part to their proximity to the US two of the most popular destinations are Panama and Ecuador.

Panama is just a 2.5hr flight from Miami, the currency is the US dollar, almost everyone speaks English and recently introduced immigration laws make it easy to move there. In Ecuador the cost of living is low, there is some superb scenery, an almost perfect climate and English is widely spoken.

Looking further afield, Southeast Asia is known for its rich culture, friendly people, incredible beaches and pristine landscapes. The most popular retirement destination in this region is undoubtedly Malaysia, where the cost of living is incredibly low, temperatures hover around 80°F all year and the standard of healthcare is as good as anywhere in the West. To make the country even more attractive to US retirees, there is a world-class high-speed Internet and cable TV network and your car and household items can be imported duty free.

Zhiqiang & Tingyi

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