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Today I thought we could talk about expat-living overseas.
I had a friend return from a three year stay in Sri Lanka two days ago and he has been regaling me with tails of how cheap it is to live there. This got me to wondering, where the best places for retirees to go are if they wish to live overseas, and what are the benefits vs. risks and what information is available to those who are interested?

As with many things these days, if you are on line these questions are not that hard to answer. I quickly found a web article published by MSN, (www.articles.moneycentral.msn.com/RetirementandWills/RetireInStyle/the-worlds-best-places-to-retire.aspxmsn) that focuses on a magazine called International Living. This magazine’s target market appears to be those of retirement age who are or wish to be ex-patriots. Each year International Living publishes an index of the 29 most liveable countries for expatriates each year, with countries rising and falling in the rankings depending on political and economic changes.

The magazine rates each of these countries, deemed the best places to retire to on the following categories: real-estate costs, special benefits offered to retirees, culture, safety and stability, health care, climate, infrastructure and cost of living. Each country is given an overall ranking by number as well as by their place on the list. The best country to move to this year appears to be Ecuador; the least favored of the 29 at the moment is South Africa. On the web page, the editor, Laura Sheridan, is quoted as saying "We look closely at the best opportunities worldwide for retirement living………..Where will the retiree's dollars go farthest? Which country is the safest? Where is the health care best? We give top priority to those things that matter most to anyone planning for retirement, including programs with special benefits for retirees . . . things like tax breaks and discounts, for example, that various governments offer in an effort to attract investment and retirement dollars." The web page even gives a sample budget for the city of Cuenca, in Ecuador, as set out by International Living. It is applicable to a couple living a middle class lifestyle with a luxury two-bedroom apartment, utilities (including internet and cable T.V.), food, a clothing budget, medical care, entertainment and maid service. All that for $1415 American a month, I’d say that’s not bad for two people living on a limited budget.

Regarding International Living magazine, while you can subscribe to it, it is available on line for free at www.internationalliving.com. Also, some on line reviews of this magazine have suggested that it is primarily advertising, so it may not be worth the cost of a subscription. There are also many more cost of living indexes and articles available. For instance, if you go to www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/rankings you can get the cost of living for several categories (housing, food, etc.), as it compares to the cost of living in New York City, as of 2010. If you’re interested in learning more about this subject, there is plenty of information on line that is easily accessible. If you’re not on-line, your local book store or library should have resources and of course there is always the travel agency.

This is my last article for the Lizard, so I just wanted to say thank you for reading me all these years, I have enjoyed my time with all of you, keep reading, Sharon Grant, LAD, BA, SAC, Media Phil Cert, PhD.

Jan. 23, 2015


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