Are you looking for top places to retire overseas?

To relocate overseas can be quite challenging. Before you plunge into it, you should live in the intended-place for a while, to get a first-hand feel of what it’s like becoming a local and to make sure the intended-place is “right” for you.

I’m giving you 5 destinations abroad, which are considered as top places to retire, in terms of cost of living, climate, culture, infrastructure, real estate, safety and special benefits (like discounts) for retirees.

1) Panama City, Panama

I would say Panama City is a retirement haven that combines big-city feel with sandy beaches and warm winters and you fork out less for more of it.

It has a good infrastructure. Its most developed parts look like Miami, with high-rises, malls, and shopping center.

You would benefit living here as the pension program offers a bevy of perks to retirees if you can show evidence of a monthly income of at least $500 ($600 for a couple), received from some forms of government pensions (e.g. Social Security) or from some private pension programs.

You’re also entitled to these perks:

  • Exempted from import duty on a new car every 2 years
  • Attractive discounts, e.g. tickets to movies, concerts, theatres & sports events; bus, train & boat fares; restaurant bills; hotel accommodation……

If you’re keen on buying property here, you get markdowns too from one percentage point less on mortgage rates to 25% off closing costs.

The weather, however, could be your concern because it gets hot in the summer. And language could be a problem too if you don’t speak Spanish (though some residents do speak English).

2) Malta

It’s a land rich in history and cultural heritage, offering you an “old world” charm. Each year, from October to May, you can catch a theater, opera or ballet production at the Manoel Theater in the capital of Malta (touted the second-oldest theater in Europe).

As Malta is an island, you got to brace with the fact of island living where you might not have all the conveniences and product choices you’re used to having in the US.

You would like the mild climate all year round and a low 15% tax for permanent foreign residents and no property tax.

3) New Zealand

New Zealand is famed for its raw natural beauty and picturesque mountains.

It also offers some of the best real estate bargains around, with the average house price hovering at $190,000 and you don’t need to pay capital gains tax.

Its capital Auckland offers you big-city life, shopping, and entertainment on an extremely affordable budget.

The bad bargain is that you may not be able to live there all year-round given that New Zealand’s immigration policy favors more toward young immigrants; hence retirees might find it difficult to qualify for full residency.

You could, however, spend 6 months out of the year there and 6 months in the U.S. or another country. It could fit you as the seasons in New Zealand are reverse of those in the US – when it’s winter in the US, it’s summer over there in New Zealand and vice versa.

You’ll like the low cost of living too.

4) Uruguay

Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo, has a European feel with its architecture, entertainment and culture and you’ve all the things a city can offer – galleries, theatres, shopping malls, restaurants and entertainment hangouts, all at incredibly low prices.

Housing cost is low; with a budget of $30,000, you can easily get a small but decent apartment in this capital city. If you yearn for beautiful, sandy beaches, go to the seaside resorts where your dollars will go further than most resorts elsewhere.

5) Mexico

Mexico is a retirement haven as far as many Americans are concerned because it’s near to the US; you can drive there. And it’s easily accessible. Cost of living is low in many parts of Mexico. You can live on a low budget yet still can get the most out of it.

It’s rich in history and culture. The Spanish culture is deep and rooted here, as a result of the Spanish colonization of Mexico, which lasted for over 300 years.

It’s also a food haven with a great variety of food from its rich cultural background. Mexican cuisine is famous for its intense and varied flavors, colorful decoration, and variety of spices and herbs.

Mexicans are gifted cooks as well and seem to know how to give a dish that extra “flavor” to make it tasty.

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