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Where Should I Retire?

Feb. 1, 2020, 3:59 p.m. EST

This gorgeous country is the No. 1 place to retire abroad — and you can do it on just $2,200 a month

International Living is out with its list of the best places to retire abroad

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By Catey Hill, MarketWatch


iStock
Scene from the Algarve in Portugal.

Picturesque beaches lined with golden sand, charming cobblestone streets, breathtaking medieval castles, fresh and delicious food — these are just some of the perks you’ll enjoy while living in Portugal.

On Thursday, International Living magazine released its 2020 list of the best countries to retire abroad, and Portugal snagged the No. 1 spot, earning high marks for quality health care, a reasonable cost of living and the ease with which you can fit into life there (people are friendly, and, while it’s not an English-speaking country, many locals speak English). It climbed from the No. 7 spot a year prior.

Tricia Pimental, 69, who moved there from Utah, recently told MarketWatch that living in Portugal is “all about family, food and fun” — and the price tag. International Living estimates that a couple could live a good life on $2,200 a month; Tricia’s estimates were about the same. Other perks of this Iberian Peninsula country: It’s one of the most peaceful in the world and, as Travel & Leisure writes , has a “dynamism that feels fresh and distinctive” as well as “year-round temperate weather.”

Panama took the No. 2 spot on the list, with high marks for the benefits/discounts it gives retirees (its pensionado program affords seniors discounts on everything from entertainment to train and bus fares to restaurants and prescriptions) and the ease of getting visas and residency. Panama is also relatively safe , with a low cost of living and decent health care.

When MarketWatch interviewed Mary Taft, 63, who recently moved to the country from Massachusetts, she raved about her experience in the town of Boquete: “It’s a place of indescribable beauty, and the culture is complex and vibrant,” she reported. “It’s not a sleepy town in the mountains; there’s arts and culture, birding, sailing, hiking, restaurants with chefs from around the world — it’s a foodie paradise. There’s so much going on here.”

10 best countries to retire abroad
1. Portugal
2. Panama
3. Costa Rica
4. Mexico
5. Colombia
6. Ecuador
7. Malaysia
8. Spain
9. France
10. Vietnam

To rank these countries, the magazine asked its correspondents and on-the-ground experts living in 24 different countries to rate their countries based on housing, benefits/discounts, visas/residency, ease of fitting in, development, climate, health care, governance, cost of living and other factors.

Catey Hill is MarketWatch's senior content strategist. She writes about how to upgrade your life, and helps readers find great deals on products and services. Follow her on Twitter @CateyHill.

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