cd                                 By Ernie J. Zelinski
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The Best Places to Retire

(as well as The Cheapest Places to Retire)

The AARP's Best Places Where to Retire in the U.S. for Healthy Retirement Living

According to the AARP The Magazine, the following are the 10 best places where to retire in the United States if you want to remain healthy:

1. Ann Arbor, Michigan
2. Honolulu, Hawaii
3. Madison, Wisconsin
4. Santa Fe, New Mexico
5. Fargo, North Dakota
6. Boulder, Colorado
7. Charlottesville, Virginia
8. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minnesota
9. San Francisco Bay Area
10. Naples-Marco Island, Florida

Where to Retire Differently?

An alternative choice for one of the best places to retire for some retirees can be a cruise ship. This may be a great choice for retirees who love to travel.

After taking his first vacation on a cruise ship, Brian Jaeger recently made the case in US NEWS for retiring full-time on cruise ships, given that cruisers might be able to live on board for less than $30,000 per year.

Jaeger stated that his latest cruise cost $76 a day per person which included the cruise ticket, applied gratuity, taxes, and port fees. If you add another $15 per day for prosperity spending, Jaeger makes the case that this is still somewhat less than the costs at some full-service retirement communities. Indeed, retirement communities can easily cost more than $125 per day per person.

Choosing a cruise ship as the place to retire can have additional  benefits such as more socialization, better entertainment, more delicious food, and better service than retirement communities that claim to be the best places to retire. 


The AARP's Best Places to Retire in the World

Moving to a new destination is part of many retirees' retirement plan, because relocating adds another dimension to a person's life. A question that arises, however, is, "So where do I move?"

A few years ago AARP The Magazine sent researchers to exotic locations around the world to determine the absolute best places to retire - a home away from home or as a retirement haven for North Americans.

The magazine rated each of the retirement places using 12 categories, ranging from safety and security, the cost of living, the weather, cultural programs, public utilities housing, retirement jobs available, communication, fun things to do when you retire, public health, medical facilities, environment, and political stability.

According to AARP The Magazine:

The Top 15 Best Places Where to Retire in the World

1. Costa Del Sol, Spain
2. The Cinque Terra, Italy
3. Provence, France
4. Boquete, Panama
5. St Vincent & the Grenadines, Caribbean
6. County Lare, Ireland
7. NONG KHAI, Thailand
8. Crete, Greece 
9. Ambergris Caye, Belize
10.Tunis, Tunisia
11. Algarve, Portugal
12. Cayman Islands, Caribbean
13. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
14. Paphos, Cyprus
15. Ubud, Bali, Indonesia 

A [retirement] place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image..
— Joan Didionire

Note: The retirement quotes and sayings on this webpage come from several sources including The Retirement Quotes Cafe and the international bestseller How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free

Retirement Cafe Book

Almost a Third of British Retirees Move to a Different Residence Once They Retire

Almost a third of retired people in Britain are forced to move to a new home, according to research on where to retire conducted by Saga Home Insurance. In other words, they are not necessarily looking for the best places to retire; they are looking for the cheapest places to retire. The researchers at Saga believe that a strong reason behind their findings about retirement places is the soaring cost of living, with food and energy costs rising particularly quickly.

Saga also found that 38 percent of retirees discovered that their actual financial situation was worse than they had expected. In total 31 percent of retired people have moved to a different retirement places at least once after retiring, contrasting a mere 8 percent of retirees who intend to move once they enter retirement.

So where to retire give the new retirement paradigm? Besides looking for a cheap place to retire, the top priorities retired people look for when looking for the best places to retire include a friendly neighbourhood and good shopping facilities.

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Where to Retire?

Mexico Is One of the Best Places to Retire for Americans and Canadians

So where are the best places to retire happy for Canadians and Americans? What many Canadians and Americans have discovered is that Mexico affords them the kind of retirement place that would be beyond their means in Canada and the U.S. Indeed, many Americans who decided to retire to Mexico have a better lifestyle than they would have anywhere in the United States.

Many Americans move from their homes such as Albuquerque, New Mexico., to retire in Mexico in cities such as San Miguel de Allende knowing that it is one of the best affordable places to retire. On top of low prices, the picturesque colonial city of San Miguel de Allende offers music festivals, cinema and cultural events. There are now about 8,000 Americans and Canadians who call San Miguel home and most say that is one of the best places to retire in the world.

If my dreams could all come true paradise/retirement would be  in a little bungalow  somewhere by the sea.
 Unknown Retired Person Contemplating Where to Retire

These Canadians and Americans encounter less expense for everything from groceries to labor due to their decision to retire in Mexico. Some of these retirees particularly like Mexico because they can get a housekeeper who cooks and cleans, six days a week for less than a $100 a week.

What's more, some assisted living facilities in Mexico cater to aging American baby boomers. For many, this makes Mexico one of the best places to retire to. With millions of baby boomers facing retirement just as their funds are getting hammered by the economic turmoil, many are facing the prospect of not being able to retire in the manner they had hoped, especially if they need assistance in their later years.

In fact, an emerging industry is designed to cater specifically to aging U.S. retirees who have decided to retire in Mexico. An assisted-living facility in San Miguel de Allende that offers accommodations, food and nursing care can be had for about $1,400 a month.

Javier Godinez, director of the Mexican Association of Retirement Communities predicts that in ten years  more than 4 million people - mostly Americans and Canadians - will come to retire in Mexico.

Where to Retire in the U.S. for Low Taxes?

Recently, U.S. News & World Report searched for the best cities in the best states to retire in the U.S. if you want to pay low taxes. Of course, low taxes can help retirees on fixed incomes better handle the expenses associated with food, gas and utilities. "Lower taxes is a big plus," says David Savageau, author of Retirement Places Rated.

U.S. News & World Report considered more than 2,000 best places to retire that have low taxes but also offer a lot more amenities for retires who don't know where to retire. Other considerations were a reasonable cost of living and fine recreational and cultural choices.

The state and local tax obligations in the United States vary considerably by location: Seven states have no income tax and five states don't have a sales tax whereas two states tax dividend and interest income only. What's more, there can be tax breaks on pension income and property tax breaks for retirees based on age.

There is life after retirement, and it is BETTER.
- Catherine Pulsifer

Interestingly, some of the low-tax retirement havens, such as Billings Montana, have no state sales tax. On the other hand, Sioux Falls, South Dakota has no state income tax. So where to retire for low taxes?

The Top-10 Best Places to Retire in the U.S. for Retirees Looking for Tax Havens:

  1. Billings, Montana
  2. Spokane, Washington
  3. Stafford, Texas
  4. Cheyenne, Wyoming
  5. Doral, Florida
  6. Henderson, Nevada
  7. Nashville, Tennessee
  8. Sioux Falls, South Dakota
  9. Juneau, Alaska
  10. Manchester, New Hampshire

In short, choosing a retirement city with low taxes gives you more cash to spend exploring the surrounding scenic beauty and taking in local night life. You can also save your hard-earned money for future expenses or to give to your heirs.

Note: See also Where to Retire - The Best Cities for Retirement Jobs.

Hate Taxes? Panama Is One of the Best Places to Retire Strictly from a Financial Point of View

Panama is likely the best place in the world where to retire if you hate taxes.

Besides having great weather, Panama is known for its low cost of living,  and amazing discount programs for retirees - with up to half-off everything from doctor's visits, restaurants, and public transport to movies, mortgage rates, electricity, and airfares.

The best part, however, has to be its favorable taxation for expat retirees who may make a decent income from sources abroad.

Former residents of the US and Canada who now reside in Panama pay no taxes on foreign-earned income. 

What's more, Americans and Canadians who buy a new house or build themselves don't have to pay any property taxes for twenty years.

Panama has a lot less red tape than its neighboring retirement havens of Mexico and Costa Rica, and apparently less crime.

Incidentally, Panama has a "pensionado program", which means you may be eligible for one of the best retiree benefit programs anywhere in the world.

The rules for becoming a pensioner in Panama are such that anyone over the age of 18 may apply and can qualify as a pensionado.

What you require is a guaranteed pension income of $600 for a couple or $500 per month for a single person.

Unfortunately, fixed annuities dont' qualify for the program. Your guaranteed retirement income must come from a pension from a government agency such as the Canadian Pension Plan or the American Social Security program. It can also be from a defined-benefit pension from a private company.

If you qualify as a resident "pensioner" of Panama under the Tourist Pensionado Visa, these are some of the benefits that you get to enjoy:

  • 50 per cent off movies, theatres, concerts, sporting events, and other entertainment anywhere in the country 
  • 30 per cent off hotel rooms Friday through Sunday and 50 per cent off from Monday through Thursday
  • 25 per cent off airline fares and 30 per cent off boat, bus, and train fares
  • 25 per cent off restaurant meals
  • 20 per cent off doctors' consultations; 10 per cent off prescription medicines and 15 per cent off eye and dental examinations 

Of course, the greatest benefits are not having to pay income taxes on income earned outside Panama and not having to pay property taxes for 20 years if your purchase a new home.

Now, do you see why Panama is one of the best places to retire in the world according to International Living magazine?

The Best Books on Where to Retire 

After You Have Read The World's Best Retirement Book

How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free   .  . . 

Retirement Cafe Book

  • Choose Costa Rica for Retirement 8th: Information for Travel, Retirement, Investment, and Affordable Living by John Howells
  • 50 Fabulous Places to Retire in America by Arthur Griffith(Editor), Mary Griffith (Editor): The best cities and the best states to retire in the U.S.
  • Retirement Without Borders: How to Retire Abroad--in Mexico, France, Italy, Spain, Costa Rica, Panama, and Other Sunny, Foreign Places (And the Secret to Making It Happen Without Stress): Barry Golson knows all about retiring abroad -- he and his wife, Thia, have lived in six different countries. Now they choose expatriate-friendly locales around the world for their low cost and their high quality of living and explain how to investigate and settle in each country with minimum hassle and maximum pleasure. Taking you step-by-step through the process of researching, testing, and finally living abroad, the Golsons' practical how-to guide covers all the major issues, including health care, finances, real estate, taxes, and immigration. Each location is profiled by an expatriate writer who has made that country his or her home and who knows how to answer all the questions about living richly and economically in some of the world's most beautiful places. 
  • America's Best Low-Tax Retirement Towns 3rd Edition: Where to Move to, and From, to Slash Your Taxes in Retirement! by Elizabeth Niven
  • Choose a College Town for Retirement: Retirement Discoveries for Every Budget by Joe Lubow Including the Cheapest Places to Retire 

 British Retirees Want to Spend

Their Retirement Elsewhere

Britons who are retiring are not content to sit at home and relax, according to new research. A survey of people nearing the end of their working life found they had a number of ambitions that they wanted to pursue as soon as they begin their retirement.

Many older people are looking to spend their retirement in a foreign country, another poll has found, and are looking for the best affordable places to retire. Research by found that one in five Britons who are retiring in 2008 intend to purchase a residence abroad, ideally in a sunny location.

Interestingly, the first study found that 19 percent of Britons said that they wanted a new area where to retire as soon as they retire.

He makes his home where the living is best.
— Latin proverb

Of those who want to move, the majority are not satisfied to stay in England or the rest of the UK. Fifty-two percent said they want to look abroad for best places to retire to.

The polls also revealed that more than half of these people intend to live in their new residence full-time. Meanwhile, one in four said they would prefer to divide their time between their foreign property and home in the UK.

Respondents who did not want to live abroad on a permanent basis did, however, state that they would want to spend at least three months of the year overseas.

The findings come after a survey by Prudential found that just 14 percent of respondents want to relax and put their feet up during retirement, while more than half said they would take the opportunity to do all those things they have always wanted to do.

One of the reasons that people want to relocate is that their cost of living can go down, particularly if they choose one of the cheapest places to retire in the world. Indeed, according to a recent poll by NatWest, nine out of ten British expats are financially better off since relocating abroad.

There is no place like home if you haven't got the money to go out.
— Retired Person Speaking about
Houses and Moneyand Knowing the Best Place Where to Retire

One in 10 native-born Brits now lives overseas, according to the Institute for Public Policy Research. Although Britain is an island nation that has a long tradition of moving abroad that goes back to the foundation of colonies, today's Brits abroad are not colonists, however. They are retirees, mostly living in Eurozone countries, who consider these cheap places to retire as the best places to retire to.

The overwhelming majority of British retirees living overseas live in Spain, which has become the Florida of Europe. Three-quarters of a million Britons live in Spain year-round, the number swelling to a million at holiday times when those with second homes descend on the country.

Money Magazine's Top-10 Places to Live (and Retire) in the U.S. in 2007 

 Best Places to Retire Image AA

Here are Money Magazine's top-ten places to live in 2007. Criteria used include economic opportunity, good schools, safe streets, things to do and a sense of community.

  • Middleton, WI
  • Papillion, NE
  • Hanover, NH
  • Milton, MA
  • Louisville, CO
  • Chaska, MN
  • Lake Mary, FL
  • Nether Providence, PA
  • Claremont, CA
  • Suwanee, GA

More Great Books on Where to Retire 

After You Have Read The World's Best Retirement Book

How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free   .  . . 

Retirement Cafe Book  

  • Retirement Places Rated: What You Need to Know to Plan the Retirement You Deserve by David Savageau
  • Where to Retire, 6th: America's Best Places to Retire and Cheapest Places to Retire by John Howells
  • Choose Panama . . . the Perfect Retirement Haven (Second Edition): Panama is a desirable and affordable retirement option for the 76,000,000 people in he U.S. who will be retiring in the next five years. Choose Panama gives details on visiting Panama (transportation, lodging, places to visit, immigration, recreation, cost of living, currency, housing, etc.) - as well as details on customs, people, and affordable housing. 
  • America's 100 Best Places to Retire Fourth Edition: The Only Guide You Need to Today's Top Retirement Towns by Elizabeth Armstrong
  • Retire in Style: 60 Outstanding Places to Retire Across the USA and Canada by Warren R. Bland  

Money Magazine's Top-10 Places to Live (and Retire) in the U.S. in 2008 

Here are Money Magazine's top-10 places to retire to and live in 2008. Criteria used included plentiful jobs, excellent schools, affordable housing

1. Plymouth, MN
2. Fort Collins, Colorado
3. Naperville, Illinois
4. Irvine, California
5. Franklin Township, New Jersey
6. Norman, Oklahoma
7. Round Rock, Texas
8. Columbia/Ellicott City, Maryland
9. Overland Park, Kansas
10. Fishers, Indiana

Where to Retire Criteria Image
Some Important Criteria for

Choosing Where  to Retire

Here are the criteria used by AARP for Choosing 15 Best Places to Retire:

  • Availability of jobs, since many in this group will work beyond age 65.
  • Affordable housing-many cities have costs on par with or below the national median price of $161,600.
  • Culture and entertainment (from museums and opera to shopping and sports events).
  • Access to outdoor recreation, from skiing and biking to walking and hiking.
  • Safety-personal and property safety, and a generally secure feeling.
  • Colleges or universities (for continuing education and a multi generational vibe).
  • Sense of community (often places with a vital and walkable downtown).
  • Proximity to comprehensive, well-regarded health care facilities.
  • Good public high schools, since many boomers still have teens at home.
  • Ease of getting around (public transportation, traffic, access to an airport).

Here are the criteria used by others for choosing where to retire:

  • Affordable housing (for retirees searching for cheap places to retire)
  • Plentiful leisure activities
  • Plentiful cultural options
  • Job growth (for retirees looking for retirement jobs)
  • Sunny weather
  • Short commute time (for retirees looking for retirement jobs)
  • Good health care access 


Quotes from Readers of

How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free   .  . . 

Retirement Cafe Book


A truly upbeat read! The author, who semi-retired at age 30 and in debt, claims you are never too young to retire. He paints a picture that is so appealing you will wish you had retired years ago. He hits topics such as lifelong learning, relocation, the importance of friendships, and creative travel options. His seven-page list of "Activities for Your Get-a-Life Tree" will help you start and keep you active for a very long time.

 Life Planning Network



How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free is optimistic, practical,
humorous, and provocative AND comprehensively addresses the
many issues impacting individuals as they think about their retirement.

Nancy Conroy
Association of Retirement Planners



Ernie has done it again. Easy to read, well laid out. Emphasis on simple living, and preparing for retirement long before you retire.

Mary Anne Fields, Life Coach and Trainer
Life Unfolds, Houston, Texas Logo

Retirement's #1 Retirement Book  . . . 

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