Best Overseas Retirement Options For 2013

The world's top retirement haven? In truth, there's no such thing. There are many appealing options for a new life in retirement overseas. Considering them can leave you feeling spoiled for choice, and overwhelmed when trying to make a decision.

It helps if you can clarify your priorities. When you understand what's most important to you, your best choices will be easier to identify. Here is a guide to the best places to retire overseas in 2013, depending on what you want your retirement life to look like:

Most Affordable Place to Retire Well: Cuenca, Ecuador

Ecuador is the world's best place to retire overseas on a budget. Here you can live better than you do now for less money. The cost of living is low, and the cost of real estate is near rock bottom for Latin America. Specifically, I would recommend Cuenca, a beautiful colonial city with a fresh, spring-like climate 12 months of the year. It's large and growing expat community is one of Latin America's most diverse and well-blended. A couple could retire in Cuenca on a budget of as little as $1,200 per month and invest in a small condo of their own for as little as $40,000.

Also Affordable: Granada, Nicaragua

Geographically, Nicaragua is blessed with two long coastlines and two big lakes, plus volcanoes, highlands, rain forest, and rivers. In this regard, it has everything Costa Rica and Panama have, but it's less discovered and developed and available to adventurers and eco-travelers at bargain rates. Architecturally, Nicaragua is notable for its impressive colonial-era homes, churches, public buildings, and parks. Property values have fallen significantly in this country over the past several years, thanks to Ortega's re-election and then the global recession. As a result, you can buy one of Granada's classic Spanish-colonial haciendas for $50,000 or less. A couple could live comfortably in this city on a budget of $1,200 per month.

Affordable and Exotic: Cebu, Philippines

Manila is too hot and too crowded. However, Cebu, one of the most protected of the 7,000 islands of this archipelago, can be an ideal budget retirement choice. Winter in Cebu (October through February) can be delightful; temperatures are about 75 degrees Fahrenheit and accompanied by gentle breezes.

The two big advantages of the Philippines in general are the cost of living and real estate costs. This is a popular destination among retired U.S. military, because the people are friendly, the health care is good, and a military pension buys a better-than-comfortable standard of living. As throughout Asia, foreign ownership of real estate is restricted, but you can buy a condo in your own name for full- or part-time use, retirement, and rental. The government seems to be on a path to relaxing foreign ownership restrictions.

Expats on Cebu come from all over the world, but the majority are from the U.S., England, and Australia. Some men in their 50s and 60s choose this part of the world as a place to restart their lives with new wives and new families.

Mild Weather Year-Round: Medellin, Colombia

Medellin is one of the world's most misunderstood retirement spots. This is a beautiful and, yes, safe place to be. The Euro-undertones in the city are strong, from the way the women dress to the way people greet you in passing on the street. This is South America, not Central America, and the differences between the two regions can be striking. Medellin is a green city, with trees, plants, and small gardens everywhere. It's architecturally consistent and pleasing. Most buildings are constructed of red brick and topped with red clay roof tiles. The overall effect is delightful, especially when viewed from some elevation (the surrounding mountainsides, for example).

There's no shortage of things to do in this town, both outdoorsy and more cerebral. Medellin is an industrial, economic, and financial center for the country, but also a literary and an artistic one. Newspapers, radio networks, publishing houses, an annual poetry festival, an international jazz festival, an international tango festival, an annual book fair, and, back in 1971, Colombia's answer to Woodstock, the Festival de Ancon, all have chosen Medellin as their base. The main attraction at the Museo de Antioquia is the Botero Collection, which is bolstered by the further collection of 23 monumental sculptures by this artist (a son of Medellin) exhibited in the Plaza Botero, in front of the museum.

Finally, and to the point, the climate in Medellin is about as good as it gets, with moderate temperatures and very low humidity year-round.

Best Place to Escape the World: New Zealand

New Zealand is the world's best place to escape the world. Safe, secure, and remote, this country is also a top pick for part-time retirement overseas. It's not easy to arrange full-time legal residency in New Zealand, but you'll have no problem spending up to six months a year in this beautiful, English-speaking island nation. Six months in New Zealand and six months on the coast of Panama, for example, translates to perpetual summer.

A top lifestyle choice on South Island is this country's garden city, Christchurch, which has showcase botanic gardens, public parks, and nature reserves, as well as community vegetable plots, school planting projects, and well-kept private grounds. The gardens give this city lots of breathing space and provide a backdrop for its many festivals.

Luxury Beach Retirement on a Budget: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Puerto Vallarta is more expensive than other places where you might consider living or retiring overseas, but in Puerto Vallarta that's not the point. This isn't developing-world living. This stretch of Mexico's Pacific coastline has already been developed to a high level. In Puerto Vallarta, you can buy a world-class lifestyle in a region with beautiful beaches and ocean views that is supported by world-class golf courses, marinas, restaurants, and shopping. This is a lifestyle that is comparable to the best you could enjoy in southern California, if you could afford it. Here you can afford it even on an average budget.

Real estate options in Puerto Vallarta vary from modest to jet-set, in terms of both products available and price points. You could buy a small apartment outside Puerto Vallarta town for less than $100,000, or you could buy big and fancy for over $1 million. Whatever you buy, you could rent it out when you're not using it. The Puerto Vallarta region, including the emerging Riviera Nayarit that runs north from it along the coast, is a tourist rental market with a track record.

Best Caribbean Lifestyle Bargain: Samana, Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is an internationally popular all-inclusive resort destination that sees big volumes of tourists every year, thanks to its miles of sandy beaches and balmy temperatures. It's also a top Caribbean choice for would-be foreign retirees. The tourist infrastructure amounts to an extensive network of businesses and services that expats can easily plug into. As a retiree on this island, you have many more choices for the kinds of amenities you might be looking for than you'll typically find elsewhere in this part of the world.

The Dominican Republic is also very low cost, making it one of the most affordable lifestyle choices in the Caribbean. The cost of real estate can be a tremendous bargain, as this country was hit hard by the downturn of 2008 and 2009. You might be able to find a brand-new, one-bedroom apartment about a five-minute walk from a Caribbean beach for $100,000 or less. You could also find multimillion-dollar properties, but even these are a bargain, compared with the cost of similar properties in other Caribbean markets.

Best Place to Retire if Budget is No Object: France

France is the world's best example of getting what you pay for. Its food, wine, architecture, history, museums, parks, gardens, and cultural and recreational offerings make it one of the best places to call home. There are reasons France sees more tourists than any other country in the world, almost 80 million of them annually. To accommodate all those tourists, the infrastructure of this country, from the airports and train system to the restaurants and hotels, has to be top notch and it is.

France would never feature on a list of the world's bargain destinations. Still, outside Paris, this country can be more affordable than you might imagine, and even Paris doesn't have to be hyper-expensive. Much of the best it has to offer comes free. But France isn't about cost of living; it's about quality of life. Paris is the most beautiful and romantic city in the world, and France has much to offer beyond its City of Light. It can be possible to own your own piece of French country life for less than $100,000 (especially if you're up for a renovation project).

Best Place to Pursue A Self-Sufficient Retirement: Belize

Warm and welcoming, yet independent and private. Those four perhaps seemingly contradictory adjectives best describe both Belizeans and their country. Belize is also one of the safest countries in the world, despite what you may read about it. Outside Belize City, crime is nearly non-existent.

Expats and retirees in this country like to joke that: The good news from Belize is no news from Belize. This is a sleepy Caribbean nation with just 330,000 people and three highways. Yet, Belize offers a whole lot of what many retirees and investors are looking for--a chance to start over on sandy, sunny shores. Ideal places for the beach life include Placencia, on the southern mainland coast, and Corozal, on the northern mainland coast. Inland, Belize's Cayo District offers Mayan ruins, caves, rivers, waterfalls, and rain forest. In this frontier, self-sufficient communities are emerging and attracting like-minded folks interested in being "independent together."

Belize is a small country with a small population. You'll enjoy it here if you like wide-open spaces and small town living where everyone knows everyone. You won't like it here if you crave regular doses of culture or first world-style amenities and services. With the exception of Ambergris Caye, where the country's biggest expat community is centered and services cater to foreign retirees, life in Belize is best described as back-to-basics.

Kathleen Peddicord is the founder of the Live and Invest Overseas publishing group. With more than 25 years experience covering this beat, Kathleen reports daily on current opportunities for living, retiring, and investing overseas in her free e-letter. Her book, How To Retire Overseas--Everything You Need To Know To Live Well Abroad For Less, was recently released by Penguin Books.

More From US News & World Report


Get stories like this on the Yahoo app and discover more every day.
Download it now.
  • VW's Skoda to ponder U.S. production amid market push Reuters - 7 minutes ago

    Volkswagen's (VOWG_p.DE) Czech division Skoda said it will assess the possibility of building cars in the United States as it considers selling in the world's second largest auto market where its parent continues to grapple with an emissions … More »

  • Bunker-busting bombs close Aleppo underground schools: charity
    Bunker-busting bombs close Aleppo underground schools: charity AFP News - 32 minutes ago

    Bunker-busting bombs are putting children in so much danger in Syria's Aleppo that they won't even be able to return to underground schools when classes resume this weekend, a charity said Friday. The "ferocious assault" on Aleppo could deprive … More »

  • Most Asian Index Futures Drop Amid Bank Rout; Oil, Copper Swing Bloomberg - 40 minutes ago

    Shares in New Zealand fell early Friday with U.S. index futures, as contracts on equity gauges in Japan, Australia and South Korea foreshadowed losses. Financial stocks drove the S&P 500 Index lower last session amid concern over Deutsche Bank AG … More »

  • Elliott Management takes 8.1 percent stake in Mentor Graphics Reuters - 52 minutes ago

    (Reuters) - Activist hedge fund Elliott Management said it picked up an 8.1 percent stake in electronics hardware supplier Mentor Graphics Corp (MENT.O), a few months after Carl Icahn exited the company. ... … More »

  • Obama, Merkel condemn 'barbarous' Russian, Syrian strikes on Aleppo
    Obama, Merkel condemn 'barbarous' Russian, Syrian strikes on Aleppo AFP News - 1 hour 0 minutes ago

    US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned what they called "barbarous" Russian and Syrian regime airstrikes on Aleppo during a phone call Thursday, the White House said. The Syrian government and its ally Russia "bear … More »

  • Deutsche Bank shares sink 7% as hedge funds pull money out AFP - 1 hour 18 minutes ago

    Deutsche Bank shares sank seven percent Thursday after news that a number of hedge funds had pulled money out of the German giant amid worries over its financial strength. The move to sell off the German ... … More »

  • Signoff creates savings funds for private California workers
    Signoff creates savings funds for private California workers Associated Press - 1 hour 21 minutes ago

    Nearly 7 million California workers will be automatically enrolled in a retirement savings account under legislation Gov. Jerry Brown signed Thursday in an attempt to address growing fears that many workers ... … More »

  • Saudi warns of 'disastrous consequences' over US 9/11 law
    Saudi warns of 'disastrous consequences' over US 9/11 law AFP News - 1 hour 24 minutes ago

    Saudi Arabia on Thursday warned of "disastrous consequences" from a United States law allowing 9/11 victims to sue the kingdom, in a major spike in tension between the longstanding allies. The warning came after the US Congress voted overwhelmingly … More »

  • ECB's Nowotny says Europe not facing new banking crisis
    ECB's Nowotny says Europe not facing new banking crisis Reuters - 1 hour 26 minutes ago

    European Central Bank Governing Council member Ewald Nowotny said on Thursday he did not believe that Europe faced a new banking crisis similar to that seen in 2007 and 2008, but the financial sector was clearly in a transitional phase. During the … More »

  • Airbus Group to merge with its jetmaking unit - sources
    Airbus Group to merge with its jetmaking unit - sources Reuters - 1 hour 27 minutes ago

    Airbus Group SAS is likely to merge with its main planemaking unit, Airbus SAS, as part of a corporate restructuring being finalised on Thursday, people familiar with the matter said. A spokesman for Airbus Group (AIR.PA) declined to comment. The … More »

  • Business Highlights Associated Press - 1 hour 28 minutes ago

    ___ House lawmakers heap blistering criticism on Wells Fargo CEO Angry lawmakers heaped another round of blistering criticism on Wells Fargo's CEO, pressing Thursday for details about what senior managers ... … More »

  • The real reason Salesforce is complaining to regulators about the Microsoft-Linkedin deal
    The real reason Salesforce is complaining to regulators about the Microsoft-Linkedin deal Business Insider - 1 hour 32 minutes ago

    Salesforce Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff Salesforce lost its … Continued The post The real reason Salesforce is complaining to regulators about the Microsoft-Linkedin deal appeared first on Business Insider. … More »

  • US hedge fund to pay $400 million in African bribery case Associated Press - 1 hour 35 minutes ago

    A major Wall Street hedge fund has agreed to pay more than $400 million to settle charges accusing it of using a web of brazen middlemen to pay bribes to African officials, authorities said Thursday. The ... … More »

  • Dollar's movements split on forex markets AFP - 1 hour 36 minutes ago

    The dollar fell slightly against the euro on currency markets on Thursday but gained against the yen and the pound. Analysts pointed to rising crude prices but falling stock markets as countervailing pressures ... … More »

  • Xi’s $420 Billion China Rail Push Lures First Private Investment Bloomberg - 1 hour 49 minutes ago

    Shanghai Fosun High Technology Co. signed an agreement with the provincial government of Zhejiang in eastern China to buy a controlling stake in a 46.2 billion yuan ($6.9 billion) high-speed project linking the cities of Hangzhou and Taizhou, the … More »

  • Vietnam Sugar Producer Plans $600 Million Singapore Listing Bloomberg - 1 hour 49 minutes ago

    Ahead of the planned share sale, the group’s Thanh Thanh Cong Tay Ninh SC or TTC Sugar, will merge with another sugar company to create a combined entity worth $200 million and Vietnam’s largest sugar company, group officials said in an interview. … More »

  • Deutsche Bank worries hit US stocks
    Deutsche Bank worries hit US stocks AFP News - 1 hour 50 minutes ago

    US stocks tumbled Thursday after a report on withdrawals from Deutsche Bank revived worries about the health of one of the world's largest banks. News of the withdrawals sent a shudder through Wall Street, where trade had been muted earlier in the … More »

  • Senator: Education Dept. mishandling Corinthian student debt
    Senator: Education Dept. mishandling Corinthian student debt Associated Press - 2 hours 3 minutes ago

    The Education Department is pursuing debt collection — rather than debt relief — for nearly 80,000 former students of Corinthian Colleges, despite federal and state findings that the now-defunct for-profit ... … More »

  • 3Q Fund Review: A welcome return to strong, steady returns Associated Press - 2 hours 9 minutes ago

    It was a good summer for fund investors, as calm and strong markets around the world lifted most categories to gains from July into September. The third quarter's smooth ascent was a turnaround from the ... … More »

  • AP Explains: What does OPEC's tentative deal mean for oil?
    AP Explains: What does OPEC's tentative deal mean for oil? Associated Press - 2 hours 15 minutes ago

    OPEC nations have agreed in theory that they need to reduce their production to help boost global oil prices during a meeting in Algeria, but a major disagreement between regional rivals Saudi Arabia and ... … More »

  • MSCI Still Monitoring China A Shares After ‘Positive’ Signs Bloomberg - 2 hours 23 minutes ago

    MSCI said it has seen a “marginal” drop in the number of suspended mainland shares after Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges released stock suspension rules in late May. The announcement comes after MSCI in June cited accessibility issues among the … More »

  • Oil rises close to $50/bbl; doubts on OPEC plan cap gains
    Oil rises close to $50/bbl; doubts on OPEC plan cap gains Reuters - 2 hours 28 minutes ago

    Oil jumped more than 1 percent on Thursday, with Brent nearing $50 a barrel on optimism over OPEC's first planned output cut in eight years, although gains were limited by doubts the reduction would make a substantial dent in the global crude glut. … More »

  • Oil rises close to $50/barrel; doubts on OPEC plan cap gains
    Oil rises close to $50/barrel; doubts on OPEC plan cap gains Reuters - 2 hours 30 minutes ago

    Oil jumped more than 1 percent on Thursday, with Brent nearing $50 (39 pounds) a barrel on optimism over OPEC's first planned output cut in eight years, although gains were limited by doubts the reduction would make a substantial dent in the global … More »

  • Stocks Fall as Deutsche Bank Woes Roil Lenders; Treasuries Climb Bloomberg - 2 hours 32 minutes ago

    Equities erased gains after Bloomberg News reported about 10 hedge funds that do business with the German lender have moved to reduce their financial exposure. Traders pushed down the value of equities after the report on Deutsche Bank rekindled … More »

  • ECB's Lautenschlaeger says bank needs to craft exit from stimulus  Reuters - 2 hours 32 minutes ago

    FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The European Central Bank should not provide further stimulus, including through stock or bond purchases, but needs to carefully craft its exit from asset buys to avoid turbulence, ... … More »

Recent Quotes
Symbol Price Change % Chg 
Your most recently viewed tickers will automatically show up here if you type a ticker in the "Enter symbol/company" at the bottom of this module.
You need to enable your browser cookies to view your most recent quotes.
to view quotes in your portfolios.


  • Most Actives
    Most Actives
    NamePriceChange% Chg
  • % Gainers
    % Gainers
    NamePriceChange% Chg
  • % Losers
    % Losers
    NamePriceChange% Chg

Market Data

  • Currencies
    NamePriceChange% Chg
  • Commodities
    NamePriceChange% Chg
  • Bonds
    TreasuryYield (%)Yield Change