Wednesday, February 2, 2011

2010 World’s Top Retirement Destinations from International Living

International Living magazine has just released its annual Retirement Index of the world’s best places to retire in its September 2010 issue.

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Ecuador ranked #1 on the 2010 index, with the U.S. coming in at #15, up from #22 in 2009.

The countries that came out on top of the U.S. as offering the best value in lifestyle, health care, culture, and cost of living with points out of a possible 100 are:
  1. Ecuador - 81
  2. Panama - 80
  3. Mexico - 79
  4. France - 78
  5. Italy - 78
  6. Uruguay - 77
  7. Malta - 76
  8. Chile - 76
  9. Spain - 75
  10. Costa Rica – 75
  11. Brazil - 74
  12. Argentina - 74
  13. Columbia - 73
  14. New Zealand – 73
  15. U.S. -  73
  16. Portugal – 72
  17.  Australia – 71
  18. Belize – 70
  19. Malaysia – 69
  20. Ireland – 68
  21. Nicaragua – 67
  22. U.K. -  67
  23. Honduras – 64
  24. Dom Rep – 63
  25. Thailand - 61

To determine the Annual Retirement Index, International Living managing editor Eoin Bassett says 25 countries are analyzed and ranked in categories including real estate costs, special benefits offered to retirees, culture, safety and stability, health care, climate, infrastructure, and cost of living.

“We give top priority to those things that matter most to retirees, such as special retiree benefit programs that include tax breaks and discounts,” says Bassett.

Total score for the U.S. was hurt by relatively high cost of living and high carrying costs for real estate such as taxes and insurance. The United Kingdom comes in at #22 this year, and Thailand takes #25.

Bassett says that to determine the index rankings, data is analyzed in eight categories including real estate, special retiree benefits, cost of living, culture, health care, infrastructure, safety/stability, and climate.

“Then we run the results past our in-country experts for their judgments based on their first-hand experience,” says Bassett. “So it’s not a purely by-the-numbers, scientific call… it’s more nuanced. We’ve crunched the numbers, but we’ve also made adjustments based on what we know to be the reality on the ground.”

“No place gets a perfect score,” says Bassett. “Every place has pros and cons, pockets where living is easier, or cheaper, than another. But all of the countries in our Index have something to offer. Even if they score poorly in a specific category, they’re still the best places in the world to retire that we’ve found.”

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