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The Best Places Around the World to Retire in 2017

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The Best Places Around the World to Retire in 2017

How often do you find yourself saying “Oh, I wish I could retire right now”?

Retirement seems to be a common topic among all of us no matter how old we are.

With improved medical and healthcare services, we live a longer life, but at the same time, we need to spend more money to sustain a longer life. Also, who doesn’t want to rest and relax after many decades of working?

But where should you go after your retirement? Here are 20 best places to retire with low living cost, stunning natural scenery, and large expat communities.

1. Crete, Greece

    ▲ Agios Nikolaos, a coastal town in Crete. Credit: CruiseMapper

    Usually, places with the lowest living cost are in Asia. Crete might come as a surprise. This island is filled with sunshine, beaches, and great hospitality. It is a highly recommended option for retirees.

    • Cost of living: $1,090
    • Major language: Greek
    • Population: 623,065 (2010 stats)
    • Healthcare services: Free medical care and hospital care in public hospitals if you are covered by IKA National Insurance.
    • Entertainment: Hiking, cave tours, water activities, festivals in summer

    2. Barcelona, Spain

      ▲ Casa Mila. Credit: Barcelona.com

      As Spain’s second-largest city, Barcelona offers a low-cost living experience, with a fully developed public transportation system. You can enjoy pre-Roman architectures, art galleries, museums, and also beaches all in this metropolis.

      • Cost of living: $1,183
      • Major language: Spanish
      • Population: 1.602 million (2014 stats)
      • Healthcare services: Healthcare is largely subsidized in public hospitals if you own a Targeta Sanitaria Individual (TSI) health card.
      • Entertainment: Museums, art galleries, monuments, theaters, beach activities

      3. Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

        ▲ Lake Atitlan. Credit: Hop On The Good Foot

        Surrounded by volcanoes, Lake Atitlan is one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Villages around the lake are filled with Mayan traditions,[1] and it is definitely a great cultural experience for retirees.

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        • Cost of living: $700
        • Major language: Spanish
        • Population: 11,142 in Panajachel (in the 2000 census)
        • Healthcare services: Very few funds are allocated to healthcare, while 88% of the population relies on public healthcare system.
        • Entertainment: Hiking, water activities, cultural tours

        4. Santa Fe, Panama

          ▲ Santa Fe de Veraguas. Credit: International Living

          This tiny mountain hideaway is the perfect retirement spot for people from the city. Although English is not commonly spoken like in other more developed cities in Panama, Panamanians still show wonderful hospitality and often lend a helping hand to foreigners.

          • Cost of living: $800-$1,000
          • Major language: Spanish
          • Population: 3,047 (2010 stats)
          • Healthcare services: Panama’s pensionado visa program allows expats and retirees to get discounted healthcare services, like medical check-ups and prescriptions.
          • Entertainment: Hiking

          5. West Des Moines, Iowa, United States

            ▲ West Des Moines City Hall. Credit: RDG Planning & Design

            This might be a shocker for most people. How is a town in the Midwest with snowy winter a possible retirement place? Well, West Des Moines offers excellent healthcare programs, alongside with low living cost and crime rate.

            • Cost of living: $2,230
            • Major language: English
            • Population: 61,255 (2013 stats)
            • Healthcare services: Both the federally funded Medicare and Medicaid programs provide healthcare coverage for retirees, especially those above 65.
            • Entertainment: Music festival, winery and brewery tours, golfing, live horse racing

            6. San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

              ▲ San Juan del Sur. Credit: Expedia

              Now let’s jump back to the tropical, beach life. San Juan del Sur is known for it’s sunny weather and great healthcare, with a perennial temperature of 85 to 95 degrees. Also, the country offers an irresistible retiree program (you don’t need to pay any taxes). Fun fact: Nicaragua produces world-class coffee and chocolate!

              • Cost of living: $1,000
              • Major language: Spanish
              • Population: 7,790 (2012 stats)
              • Healthcare services: There’s no health insurance, but the Metropolitan hospital offers two packages with discounts to healthcare services. The general rates per month are: 51-65, $61; and over 65, $65.
              • Entertainment: Water and beach activities, art center, religious festivals and celebrations

              7. Algarve, Portugal

                ▲ The town of Lagos in Algarve. Credit: Investopedia

                For 3 years, Algarve has been the most highly-rated place in the world for retirement. Apart from a low cost of living and rent, the region also offers an extensive expat community with more than 100,000 resident foreign retirees. It has amazing food and wine too!

                • Cost of living: $1,500-2,000
                • Major language: Portuguese
                • Population: 451,006 (2010 stats)
                • Healthcare services: Services are available for registered legal foreign residents, and if you are working in Portugal, you are automatically entitled to the publicly funded National Health Service (Serviço Nacional de Saúde, SNS).
                • Entertainment: Golfing, mountain-biking, beach activities

                8. Nha Trang, Vietnam

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                  ▲ Po Nagar Cham Towers. Credit: Vietnam Travel Deals

                  If you are looking for a low-cost, affordable retirement spot in Southeast Asia, Nha Trang would be the best place to stay. This sandy, rural town is fused with historic temples and exotic cuisines that will satisfy foodies.

                  • Cost of living: $650-$800
                  • Major language: Vietnamese
                  • Population: 402,000 (2015 stats)
                  • Healthcare services: Medical costs in Vietnam are low, and there might not have English-speaking doctors, but the healthcare system is developing. Some expats and retirees will seek medical care in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, or Singapore.
                  • Entertainment: Water activities, temple tours

                  9. Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

                    ▲ Tanjung Aru beach. Credit: Nomad is Beautiful

                    Other than Nha Trang, the tranquil Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia is also a great place. It is a small, walkable island with a low cost of living and a high standard of healthcare. You can also travel to nearby islands to explore what nature has in store for you.

                    • Cost of living: $1,200
                    • Major language: Malaysian
                    • Population: 207,214 (2010 stats)
                    • Healthcare services: Foreigners are recommended to look into international health insurance plans. Public hospitals are inexpensive with high medical standards, while private hospitals are more expensive with a shorter wait, but they both provide the same quality of healthcare services.
                    • Entertainment: Water activities

                    10. Vilcabamba, Ecuador

                      ▲ Vilcabamba. Credit: Ancient Origins

                      The hustle and bustle may often bring negative impacts to our health. An alternative to excellent healthcare is living in a stress-free and organic environment. With clean air and constant sunshine, Vilcabamba attracts expats and retirees because of such healthy lifestyle.

                      • Cost of living: $1,100-$1,485
                      • Major language: Spanish
                      • Population: 1,293 (2005 stats)
                      • Healthcare services: Health insurance programs are of low costs, and hospitals and doctors are available even in small towns.
                      • Entertainment: Hiking

                      11. Cayo, Belize

                        ▲ Xunantunich Mayan ruin. Credit: Live and Invest Overseas

                        For those who are adventurous risk-takers, Cayo could be your retirement spot. As Belize is less developed than most countries, the country provides many opportunities for exploration, especially in rainforests and jungles.

                        • Cost of living: $1,100
                        • Major language: English
                        • Population: 73,202 (2010 stats)
                        • Healthcare services: The healthcare program in Belize is less developed, and for more serious medical issues, most retirees choose to leave the country to seek care.
                        • Entertainment: Hiking, nature adventures

                        12. Abruzzo, Italy

                          ▲ Abruzzo. Credit: Paradoxplace

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                          Abruzzo is a secret garden for retirees. It is sparsely populated, with rusty and historical architectures, and also provides entertainments all year round (you can enjoy the beach in summer and ski on the mountains in winter). This secluded town also provides homey, hearty cuisines for you to enjoy.

                          • Cost of living: $1,500-$1,700
                          • Major language: Italian
                          • Population: 1.328 million (2015 stats)
                          • Healthcare services: Servizio Sanitario Nazionale (SSN), the national health service in Italy, provides free or low-cost medical treatment to public facilities. EU nationals can use European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to access public healthcare services.
                          • Entertainment: Beach and water activities, skiing

                          13. Buenos Aires, Argentina

                            ▲ Buenos Aires. Credit: Architectural Digest

                            This vibrant Argentinian city offers endless entertainment with 20 colorful and boisterous festivals every year. It also provides an affordable yet high quality medical healthcare program.

                            • Cost of living: $800-$1,500
                            • Major language: Spanish
                            • Population: 2.891 million (2010 stats)
                            • Healthcare services: Healthcare in Argentina is cheap, and with high quality and standards of medical services due to a surplus of doctors.
                            • Entertainment: Opera, symphonies, theaters, museums, and endless bookstores, and festival celebrations

                            14. Chiang Mai, Thailand

                              ▲ Doi Inthanon. Credit: PlanetWare

                              With abundant health-related services, Chiang Mai is one of the most popular spots for retirees to stay in. And if you still wish to get involved in the community after your retirement, Chiang Mai offers different job opportunities at schools, tourist spots, and medical facilities.

                              • Cost of living: $1,100
                              • Major language: Thai
                              • Population: 148,477 (2008 stats)
                              • Healthcare services: Similar to Vietnam, the quality healthcare services and insurance plans are cheap in Thailand.
                              • Entertainment: Night market, boxing

                              15. Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic

                                ▲ Las Terrenas. Credit: TripAdvisor

                                The Dominican Republic welcomes foreigners, and same as Chiang Mai, it provides many job openings for expats. The country is also known as a cultural melting pot with Afro-Antillean, European, North American, and Latin cultures. If you want to immerse yourself in a diverse culture, Las Terrenas is your pick.

                                • Cost of living: $1,200
                                • Major language: Spanish
                                • Population: 39,221 (2012 stats)
                                • Healthcare services: The medical care is not as well-equipped as other larger cities in the country, but Las Terrenas is improving its services and provides affordable aids at its new hospital.
                                • Entertainment: Beach activities, hiking

                                16. Medellin, Colombia

                                  ▲ Medellin. Credit: Vogue

                                  Medellin has come a long way in terms of its security and safety. As the most progressive city, drugs and crimes are no longer issues in Medellin. The city is both a industrial, financial center, and artistic city with jazz concerts, book fairs, and poetry festivals.

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                                  • Cost of living: $1,755-$2,000
                                  • Major language: Spanish
                                  • Population: 2.464 million (2015 stats)
                                  • Healthcare services: 1/7 of the best hospitals in Latin America are located in Colombia, and there are many insurance plans offered, but some do not provide services for retirees or those above 60.
                                  • Entertainment: Jazz concerts, tango festivals

                                  17. Sarasota, Florida, United States

                                    ▲ Sarasota Opera House. Credit: See Sarasota Live

                                    Sarasota and other cities in Florida on the Gulf of Mexico are great options for an after-retirement life. Apart from its cultural and musical scenes, the decent weather in Sarasota makes it one of the best spots for retirees in the States.

                                    • Cost of living: $2,575
                                    • Major language: English
                                    • Population: 53,326 (2013 stats)
                                    • Healthcare services: Both the federally funded Medicare and Medicaid programs provide healthcare coverage for retirees, especially those above 65.
                                    • Entertainment: Opera, theater, water activities

                                    18. Valletta, Malta

                                      ▲ The skyline of Valletta. Credit: The Independent

                                      For the mentioned places, English might not always been the most common language spoken, but in Valletta (and the rest of Malta), you don’t have to worry about any language barrier.

                                      • Cost of living: $1,290
                                      • Major language: Maltese, English
                                      • Population: 5,721 (2013 stats)
                                      • Healthcare services: The service in Malta is excellent, and all international visitors should have their own personal medical insurance policy.
                                      • Entertainment: Maltese cultural festivals, historical sightseeing, water activities

                                      19. Playa del Carmen, Mexico

                                        ▲ Playa del Carmen’s Central Square. Credit: Pinterest

                                        If you want a strong, well-established expat community, you should consider Playa del Carmen. The Mexican town is home to more than 10,000 foreigners, who are mainly North Americans.

                                        • Cost of living: $700-$1,300
                                        • Major language: Spanish
                                        • Population: 149,923 (2010 stats)
                                        • Healthcare services: Basic medical care is inexpensive and the line is fast, but for retirees, you don’t get the local medical coverage IMSS unless you work.
                                        • Entertainment: Beach activities, night bars and clubs

                                        20. Paris, France

                                          ▲ Eiffel Tower. Credit: Eiffel Tower

                                          This might be the most surprising spot in the whole list. Paris, really? Yes. You are probably thinking how could a place with the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and Luxembourg Gardens be affordable to retirees. Well, public transportation is cheap, and necessities are not as expensive as you think.

                                          • Cost of living: $1,290-$1,930
                                          • Major language: French
                                          • Population: 2.244 million (2010 stats)
                                          • Healthcare services: Medical care in Paris is considered one of the best, yet one of the cheapest in the entire Europe, and services are provided to everyone.
                                          • Entertainment: Museums, monuments, jazz night, shopping

                                          Reference

                                          [1] adventurouskate: The Towns of Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

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                                          Frank Yung

                                          Writer. Storyteller. Foodie.

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                                          Last Updated on September 9, 2021

                                          10 Best Productivity Planners To Get More Done in 2021

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                                          10 Best Productivity Planners To Get More Done in 2021

                                          Productivity planners and journals are tools of a trade. There’s an art to productivity. Just like art is very personal to the artist, productivity is very personal to the person. What works for you may not work for me. This is an important distinction if you really want get more done in less time.

                                          Too many of us dabble in productivity hacks only to move on to the next tool or trend when it didn’t workout for us, missing the lesson of what worked and didn’t work about that tool or trend.

                                          We put the tool on a pedestal and miss the art. It’s worshipping the paint brush rather than the process and act of painting. We miss the art of our own productivity when the tool overshadows the treasure.

                                          As an artist, you have many brushes to choose from. You’re looking for a brush that feels best in your hand. You want a brush that doesn’t distract you from your art but partners with you to create the many things you see in your mind to create. Finding a brush like this may take some experimenting, but when you understand that the role of the brush is to bring life to your vision, it’s easier to find the right brush.

                                          Planners are the same way. You want a productivity journal that supports you in the creation of your vision, not one that bogs you down or steals your energy.

                                          Let’s dive into the 10 best productivity planners and journals to help you get more done in less time.

                                          1. The One Thing Planner

                                          The NY Times best selling book, The One Thing, just released their new planner. If you loved this book, you’ll love this planner.

                                          As the founder of the world’s largest real estate company Keller Williams Realty, Gary Keller, has mastered the art of focus. The One Thing planner has its roots in industry changing productivity. If you’re out to put a dent in the universe, this may be the planner for you.

                                          Get the planner here!

                                          2. The Full Life Planner

                                          The Full Life Planner is Lifehacks’ ultimate planning system to get results across all your core life aspects including work, health and relationships. This smart planner is 15 years of Lifehack’s best practices and proven success formulas by top performers.

                                          With the Full Life Planner, you can align your actions to long term milestones every day, week, and month consistently. This will help you to get more done and achieve your goals.

                                          Get the planner here!

                                          3. The Freedom Journal

                                          Creator of one of the most prolific podcasts ever, Entrepreneur on Fire, John Lee Dumas released his productivity journal in 2016. This hard-cover journal focuses on accomplishing SMART goals in 100 days.

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                                          From their site:

                                          “The Freedom Journal is an accountability partner that won’t let you fail. John Lee Dumas has interviewed over 2000 successful Entrepreneurs and has created a unique step-by-step process that will guide you in SETTING and ACCOMPLISHING your #1 goal in 100 days.”

                                          Get the planner here!

                                          4. Full Focus Planner

                                          Michael Hyatt, author of Platform and host of the podcast “This is Your Life”, also has his own planner called the Full Focus Planner.

                                          From the site:

                                          “Built for a 90-day achievement cycle, the Full Focus Planner® gives you a quarter of a year’s content so you aren’t overwhelmed by planning (and tracking) 12 months at a time.”

                                          This productivity planner includes a place for annual goals, a monthly calendar, quarterly planning, the ideal week, daily pages, a place for rituals, weekly preview and quarterly previews. It also comes with a Quickstart lessons to help you master the use of the planner.

                                          Get the planner here!

                                          5. Passion Planner

                                          They call themselves the #pashfam and think of their planner as a “paper life coach”. Their formats include dated, academic and undated in hardbound journals with assorted colors. With over 600,000 users they have a track record for effective planners.

                                          From the site:

                                          “An appointment calendar, goal setting guide, journal, sketchbook, gratitude log & personal and work to-do lists all in one notebook.”

                                          They have a get-one give-one program. For every Passion Planner that is bought they will donate one to a student or someone in need.

                                          They also provide free PDF downloads of their planners. This is a great way to test drive if their planner is right for you.

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                                          Get the planner here!

                                          6. Desire Map Planners

                                          If you’re looking for a more spiritually oriented planner, Danielle LaPorte, author of The Desire Map, created the Desire Map Planners. With Daily planners, Weekly planners and Undated planners you can find the right fit for you.

                                          Behind this planner is the Desire Map Planner Program including 3 workbooks that not only support you in using the planners but guide you in your thought process about your life and intentions you’re using the planner to help you fulfill.

                                          Get the planner here!

                                          7. Franklin Covey Planners

                                          The grandfather of all planners, Franklin Covey, has the most options when it comes to layouts, binders, and accessories. With over 30 years in the productivity planner business, they not only provide a ton of planner layouts, they also have been teaching productivity and planning from the beginning.

                                          From the site:

                                          “Achieve what matters most with innovative, high quality planners and binders tailored to your personal style. Our paper planning system guides you to identify values, create successful habits, and track and achieve your goals.”

                                          Get the planner here!

                                          8. Productivity Planner

                                          From the makers of the best selling journal backed by Tim Ferriss, “The Five Minute Journal”, comes the Productivity Planner.

                                          Combining the Ivy Lee method which made Charles Schwab millions with the Pomodoro Technique to stay focused in the moment, the Productivity Planner is both intelligent and effective.

                                          It allows for six months of planning, 5-day daily pages, weekly planning and weekly review, a prioritized task list, Pomodoro time tracking, and extra space for notes.

                                          From the site:

                                          “Do you often find yourself busy, while more important tasks get procrastinated on? The Productivity Planner helps you prioritize and accomplish the vital few tasks that make your day satisfying. Quality over quantity. Combined with the Pomodoro Technique to help you avoid distractions, the Productivity Planner assists you to get better work done in less time.”

                                          Get the planner here!

                                          9. Self Journal

                                          Endorsed by Daymond John of Shark Tank, the Self Journal takes a 13 week approach and combines Monthly, Weekly and Daily planning to help you stay focused on the things that really matter.

                                          Self Journal includes additional tools to help you produce with their Weekly Action Pad, Project Action Pad, the Sidekick pocket journal to capture your ideas on the go and their SmartMarks bookmarks that act as a notepad while you’re reading.

                                          Get the planner here!

                                          10. Google Calendar

                                          You may already use Google Calendar for appointments, but with a couple tweaks you can use it as a productivity planner.

                                          Productivity assumes we have time to do the work we intend to do. So blocking time on your Google Calendar and designating it as “busy” will prevent others from filling up those spaces on your calendar. Actually using those blocks of time as you intended is up to you.

                                          If you use a booking tool like Schedule Once or Calendly, you can integrate it with your Google Calendar. For maximum productivity and rhythm, I recommend creating a consistent “available” block of time each day for these kinds of appointments.

                                          Google Calendar is free, web based and to the point. If you’re a bottom line person and easily hold your priorities in your head, this may be a good solution for you.

                                          Get the planner here!

                                          Bonus Advice: Integrate the 4 Building Blocks of Productivity

                                          Just as important to productivity planners as the tool are the principles that we create inside of. There are 4 building blocks of productivity, that when embraced, accelerate your energy and results.

                                          The four building blocks of productivity are desire, strategy, focus and rhythm. When you get these right, having a productivity planner or journal provides the structure to keep you on track.

                                          Block #1: Desire

                                          Somehow in the pursuit of all our goals, we accumulate ideas and To-Do’s we’re not actually passionate about and don’t really want to pursue. They sneak their way in and steal our focus from the things that really matter.

                                          Underneath powerful productivity is desire. Not many little desires, but the overarching mother of desires. The desire you feel in your gut, the desire that comes from your soul, not your logic, is what you need to tap into if you want to level up your productivity.

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                                          A productivity planner is just a distraction if you’re not clear on what it’s all for. With desire, however, your productivity planner provides the guide rails to accomplish your intentions.

                                          Block #2: Strategy

                                          Once you’re clear on your overarching desire, you need to organize your steps to get there. Let’s call this “strategy”. Strategy is like assembling a jigsaw puzzle. You must first turn over all the pieces to see patterns, colors, connections and find borders.

                                          In business and life, we often start trying to put our “puzzle” together without turning over all the pieces. We put many items on our To-Do lists and clog our planners with things that aren’t important to the bigger picture of our puzzle.

                                          Strategy is about taking the time to brain dump all the things in your head related to your goal and then looking for patterns and priorities. As you turn over these puzzle pieces, you’ll begin to see the more important tasks that take care of the less important tasks or make the less important tasks irrelevant.

                                          In the best selling book, The One Thing, the focusing question they teach is:

                                          “What’s the One thing I can do, such that by doing it, everything else is easier or unnecessary?”

                                          This is the heart of strategy and organizing what hits your planner and what doesn’t.

                                          Block #3: Focus

                                          With your priorities identified, now you can focus on the One Thing that makes everything else easier or unnecessary. This is where your productivity planners and journals help you hold the line.

                                          Because you’ve already turned over the puzzle pieces, you aren’t distracted by new shiny objects. If new ideas come along, and they will, you will better see how and where they fit in the big picture of your desire and strategy, allowing you to go back and focus on your One Thing.

                                          Block #4: Rhythm

                                          The final building block of productivity is rhythm. There is a rhythm in life and work that works best for you. When you find this rhythm, time stands still, productivity is easy and your experience of work is joyful.

                                          Some call this flow. As you hone your self-awareness about your ideal rhythm you will find yourself riding flow more often and owning your productivity.

                                          Without these four building blocks of productivity, you’re like a painter with a paintbrush and no idea how to use it to create what’s in your heart to create. But harness these four building blocks and find yourself getting more done in less time.

                                          The Bottom Line

                                          Your life is your art. Everyday you have a chance to create something amazing. By understanding and using the four building blocks of productivity, you will set yourself up for success no matter which planner, or “paintbrush”, you choose to use.

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                                          As you experiment with different planners you will narrow which one is best for you and accelerate your path to putting a dent in the universe.

                                          More Tools to Boost Your Productivity

                                          Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

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