Panama for life

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Living -

ITS prox­im­ity to the United States, the use of Amer­i­can cur­rency, large English-speak­ing pop­u­la­tion and trop­i­cal cli­mate make Panama the world’s best place to re­tire.

It’s the 10th time the coun­try in Cen­tral Amer­ica has topped

In­ter­na­tional Liv­ing’s an­nual Global Re­tire­ment In­dex, which aims to help Amer­i­can re­tirees set­tle down in des­ti­na­tions where their dol­lar stretches fur­ther and which of­fer the best qual­ity of life.

For the first time, Thai­land also cracked the top 10 list while Sri Lanka made its first-ever de­but.

To com­pile the list of top 25 re­tire­ment des­ti­na­tions for Amer­i­cans, ed­i­tors con­sider 13 cri­te­ria: Buy­ing and in­vest­ing, rent­ing, ben­e­fits and se­niors dis­counts, visas and res­i­dence, cost of liv­ing, fit­ting in, en­ter­tain­ment and ameni­ties, health­care, healthy life­style, de­vel­op­ment, cli­mate, op­por­tu­nity and gov­er­nance.

Des­ti­na­tions that made the list de­note places where a re­tired cou­ple can live com­fort­ably for US$1,800 (RM7,560) or un­der, in a month, all in. In­ter­na­tional Liv­ing’s ex­ec­u­tive edi­tor Jen­nifer Stevens points out that re­tirees should con­sider their pri­or­i­ties when shop­ping for a new home.

“Ask your­self, ‘What’s most im­por­tant to me in a haven over­seas?’ Maybe it’s good weather year-round. Maybe it’s prox­im­ity to the US. Maybe it’s a low cost of liv­ing. Maybe it’s the ease with which you can fit in. Maybe it’s ac­cess to top-notch health­care at a low price. Those are among the many qual­i­ties we con­sider when we pro­duce our an­nual in­dex,” she said in a press re­lease.

When it comes to the over­all win­ner, Panama is de­scribed as a “Cen­tral Amer­i­can gem” that packs a lot into a small area – fast­paced eclec­tic cap­i­tal city, beaches and forested val­leys.

The coun­try also of­fers a spe­cial re­tire­ment visa for those with a life­time monthly pen­sion of at least US$1,000 (RM4,200) and grants spe­cial dis­counts to se­niors on ev­ery­thing from med­i­cal con­sul­ta­tions to movie tick­ets.

The cli­mate is also warm and trop­i­cal but lies out­side the hur­ri­cane belt.

Here are the top 10 places to re­tire, ac­cord­ing to In­ter­na­tional Liv­ing:

1. Panama

2. Costa Rica

3. Mex­ico

4. Ecuador

5. Malaysia

6. Colom­bia

7. Por­tu­gal

8. Peru

9. Thai­land

10. Spain

Sun­set at Bo­cas del Toro, Panama, the best coun­try to re­tire for Amer­i­cans.

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