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5 of the Best Places in the World to Retire

5 of the Best Places in the World to Retire

If you’re settling down and looking for a place to retire, you don’t have to just head down to Florida like everyone else. Retirement can be a big opportunity to try living in a new place and experiencing new cultures, without having to worry about the burdensome question of finding work in a foreign land.

But if you want to use your golden years as an opportunity to explore the world, there are some factors that any retiree should think about before picking a country or city. Access to good healthcare, a low cost of living, and a pristine environment are just a few things to consider. And most importantly of all, any country you pick has to be one where you will have minimal visa issues and can let you return to your home country quickly and easily.

1. Belize

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    DSC_0289 by mcassidy129 via Flickr

    Want to head south but don’t feel very confident in your Spanish skills? Then head to sunny Belize, an English-speaking country that is one of the most welcoming countries for retirees in the world.

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    Belize offers a Qualified Retirement Program which allows foreigners to become full-time residents of Belize providing that they can transfer $2,000 per month in income. It also offers additional incentives such as an exemption from Belizan taxes and import duties. And once you are in Belize, you can see wildlife sanctuaries, the Belize Barrier Reef, or otherwise enjoy life in pleasant Cayo with its mixture of English and Spanish culture.

    There are some downsides. While Belize offers a low cost of living, the catch is that its infrastructure is not that well-developed and the CDC does recommend that travelers to Belize should receive vaccinations for typhoid and Hepatitis A. But overall, Belize offers a new culture and land that is highly welcoming towards foreign retirees.

    2. Canada

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      Maclean Creek Kananaskis Alberta Canada by Thank you for visiting my page via Flickr

      If you don’t want to move too far away, then there is Canada. Canada’s culture is obviously similar to the United States, and it boasts the best infrastructure and healthcare out of this list. Don’t forget that like the United States, Canada is a massive country where you can see a huge variety in cultures and cities.

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      The biggest challenge with moving to Canada will be getting a visa. Canada does not offer a retirement visa, and permanent residency visas are more biased towards those who work. But if you are well-educated and have plenty of savings, then you should still be able to get a visa without significant trouble.

      3. Ireland

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        St. Anne’s Park & Rose Gardens by William Murphy via Flickr

        Given the importance of Irish culture to the United States, it would be little surprise to see that many American retirees are interested in moving back to their ancestral homeland. Ireland has the advantages of both being a European nation while not being as expensive as the major European nations. It combines urbane civilization along with the beauty of the Emerald Isle and a chance to take a short jaunt to London or Paris.

        If your grandparents emigrated from Ireland, then you can become an Irish citizen. Otherwise, you can apply for a “permission to remain” for three months and can then re-apply for longer periods of time. Like Canada, retiring to Ireland likely requires a strong savings account in order to be let in.

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        4. Thailand

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          Khao Lak Bayfront Resort by Kullez via Flickr

          Thailand is probably the biggest challenge on this list. It is a truly exotic culture where you really will need to try and learn the Thai language to get the most out of living in this Southeast Asian nation. The Huffington Post has just a few examples of some of the cultural concepts which you should understand.

          But Thailand is an incredibly cheap country that accepts expatriates from all over the world. If you want to live someplace that may feel more like home, then the city of Chiang Mai is a great location. You can meet both young foreign workers, retirees, and Thais mixed together in a city that offers a unique culture and can give you a new perspective on the world.

          5. Costa Rica

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            Parque Nacional Corcovado-121 by Christian Haugen via Flickr

            This Caribbean island is repeatedly cited by experts as one of the best places in the world to retire, and for good reason. Like Belize, Costa Rica offers a retirement program designed to attract retirees. Even a mere Social Security check can be enough to qualify for permanent residence and a chance to settle down in Costa Rica.

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            In addition to its retirement package, Costa Rica offers a rich natural heritage unmatched by any other country in the world. The country just announced that it produced all of its electricity using renewable sources for 76 straight days, and it has one of the highest standards of living in the Caribbean. Costa Rica is more expensive than other countries in the region, but it is still far cheaper than the Western world.

            Costa Rica may no longer be a hidden gem as over 20,000 American expatriates are enjoying life on the island. But that just shows what a fantastic spot it is.

            Featured photo credit: Hector Alejandro via flickr.com

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            Last Updated on August 16, 2018

            The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

            The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

            No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

            Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

            Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system”.

            A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

            Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

            In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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            The power of habit

            A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

            For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

            This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

            The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

            That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being six hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

            Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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            The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

            Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

            But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

            The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

            The wonderful thing about triggers (reminders)

            A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

            For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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            But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

            If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

            For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

            These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

            For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

            How to make a reminder works for you

            Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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            Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

            Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

            My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

            Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

            I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

            Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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