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Why Ecuador is a great place to retire

Posted by on Jan 26, 2012 in Moneyville, Retirement | 0 comments

By Sheryl Smolkin

Read this article and comments at Moneyville.ca 

RRSP season is in full swing and financial institutions are releasing surveys almost daily trying to put a new spin on why and how Canadians should save more for retirement. So when I first read about the  No-savings retirement plan,” I had to know more.

The “No-savings retirement Plan,” is a report prepared by International Living magazine. The premise is that to retire on a modest amount of money you can take advantage of benefits offered by governments and countries outside of Canada and the U.S. where the quality of living is top notch and you can afford first world luxuries at much lower prices.

In December, International Living released its 2012 Global Retirement Index of the top ranked 19 countries for retirees. Rankings are based on eight key categories: real estate, special retirement benefits, cost of living, ease of integration, entertainment and amenities, health care, retirement infrastructure and climate.

The winners and their final scores out of 100 are noted below:
91.1: Ecuador:
90.4: Panama:
89.6  Mexico:
87.7  Malaysia
83.7  Colombia:
83.6  New Zealand:
82.6  Nicaragua:
82.1 Spain:
81.4:Thailand:
80.7: Honduras:
80.4 Uruguay:
80.3 Italy:
80.2 Brazil:
80.2 Ireland:
80.1 France:
80:  Costa Rica:
79.9 Belize:
79.8 Chile:
76.8 Dominican Republic:

International Living says Ecuador was selected as the world’s best retirement haven because it has the cheapest cost of living, the best-value real estate and the most diverse options of any country. You can live in the colonial splendour of its cities for less than $1,000 a month or buy a beachfront condo for about $60,000.

In early January, Dan Prescher, special projects editor for International Living was interviewed for an article published by Reuters. The American who now calls Ecuador home, says he and his wife live comfortably on about $1,300 a month – for everything.

Several countries stand out for the amount and quality of benefits they offer foreign retirees. Panama tops the category with an organized program of discounts and perks called the pensionado. The program is open to foreigners and there’s no minimum age requirement.

With it you have serious discounts like: 20 per cent off any professional services used in Panama; 50 per cent off for movies, theatres and sporting events; 25 per cent off the price of food eaten in sit down restaurants, 25 per cent off domestic flights on COPA airline, and the list goes on.

With the high cost of living in major European cities, it is surprising to see destinations like Ireland, France and Spain on the list, but reporters preparing this report have clearly gone off the beaten track to less traveled locations.

Canadians who are prepared to retire away from major cities in planned retirement communities or places like Elliott Lake that specifically cater to retirees can also live much more economically. But they will still have to contend with winter weather in most of the country. However on the plus side, staying in touch with children, grandchildren and other friends and family is much easier when they are only a few hours away by car.

In Why 90 per cent of why retirees live close to home  I confessed that although when I read moneyville articles like Our 9-acre, 3 br, Florida home cost $360,000  and We bought an Arizona dream home for 60 % off  cashing in our chips and retiring somewhere warm is very alluring, we will probably be among the 90 per cent of Canadians who prefer spending their golden years close to home.

However, many of you might want to further investigate a less costly, more luxurious retirement in a foreign location. To help you get all the facts to consider this huge decision, in the next blog I’ll preview International Living’s 11-step checklist.

For more information see: International Living  and The scores and how our 2012 retirement index works.

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