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The Best Places Around the World to Retire in 2017

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

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                                          Frank Yung

                                          Writer. Storyteller. Foodie.

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                                          1 7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory 2 How to Ask for Help When You Need It Most 3 Do You Have to Give Everything Up to Get a Fresh Start? 4 You’ll Only Live Your Best Life Once You Step Out 5 There Is More to Life Than  ____________

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                                          Last Updated on October 17, 2018

                                          7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

                                          7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

                                          How is your memory? Is your cognitive function as strong as you’d like it to be?

                                          If not, then you’re definitely going to be interested in the memory improvement tips I’ll be sharing with you in this article.

                                          Despite what you might think – or have been told – improving your ability to recall information is certainly possible. You just need to know the right ways to do it. (Don’t worry, as you won’t need to make any significant lifestyle changes.)

                                          So how to improve memory? Let’s dive straight into the first of seven easy ways to improve your memory significantly.

                                          1. Meditate

                                          We live in a world of non-stop, 24/7 information. It’s like a waterfall that’s endlessly pouring news, data, facts and figures into our conscious minds.

                                          Unfortunately, our brains are not designed to absorb this tremendous amount of information. It’s no wonder then, that most people struggle to remember information and recall things.

                                          Even if you believe you have a good memory and are comfortable with multi-tasking, you’ll also be aware that there’s only so much information your brain can process at one time. And research suggests that the more information and distractions, the harder it is for you to transfer information to your long-term memory.[1]

                                          Fortunately, meditation can help you out.

                                          Even if you just meditate for 10 minutes per day, you’ll boost your ability to focus, which in turn, will make it easier for you to remember important facts.

                                          If you need help in shifting into a meditative state, I recommend trying an app like Headspace – which can assist you to achieve this in a convenient and structured way.

                                          And don’t forget, meditation doesn’t just have to be closing your eyes and sitting in a lotus position. Some people prefer to simply take a short walk in nature. This clears and calms their mind, and still provides the all-important boost to their focus.

                                          2. Get plenty of sleep

                                          If you’re sleep deprived or have not been sleeping well, then I’m guessing you’re not remembering well either. This is because sleep and memory are intimately connected.

                                          If you have a busy life and regularly find yourself not getting enough sleep, then this will negatively impact your cognitive abilities – including your memory.

                                          How much sleep should you be getting?

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                                          Well, according to the National Sleep Foundation, you need a minimum of seven to nine hours of sleep per night. If you get this amount of sleep regularly, then within just a few days, you’ll see a tangible improvement to your ability to remember and recall things.

                                          Now, I’ll be honest with you, maintaining a proper sleep cycle is not always easy (especially when the latest Netflix series has just been released!). But if you care about improving your short-term and long-term ability to remember things, then it’s critical that you try to get at least the recommended amount of sleep every night.

                                          Are there ways to hack the sleep cycle?

                                          Yes, there are.

                                          Try these three things:

                                          • Have a fixed bedtime (preferably before 10pm)
                                          • Don’t eat too late
                                          • Make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible

                                          Sleeping is a precious activity. It regenerates your body, clears your mind, and helps with the storing and retrieval of information.

                                          However, don’t sleep just yet, as I want to tell you about another great way to increase memory…

                                          3. Challenge your brain

                                          When was the last time you challenged your brain?

                                          I don’t mean challenged in the sense of overeating or undersleeping. I’m referring to stretching your mental capabilities through things like crossword puzzles, Sudoku and memory games.

                                          To expand your memory bank, and to make your recall razor-sharp, you need to continually challenge your brain.

                                          Feedback from Lifehack readers such as yourself, has suggested that brain training apps are a super-effective way of doing this. Used regularly, these apps can enhance your focus, attention span, problem-thinking ability and memory.

                                          There are hundreds of these apps available (most of them for free), but I recommend starting out with one of the big three:

                                          • Peak (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
                                          • Lumosity (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
                                          • Elevate (Android/iOS, free, 5 million+ downloads)

                                          If you normally spend a chunk of your week playing computer games, then instead of shooting and killing your enemies, why not let some of them live – while you put your attention into boosting your brain power!

                                          Challenging your brain will strengthen your neural pathways and enhance your mental abilities. But don’t just take my word for it, try one of the apps above and see the positive benefits for yourself.

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                                          4. Take more breaks

                                          When I think back to my days as a budding entrepreneur, I distinctively remember working all the hours under the sun – and many under the moon too!

                                          At that time, I believed that breaks were for the weak, and to become wealthy and successful, I needed to shed blood, sweat and tears.

                                          However, I was wrong.

                                          Taking regular breaks is the best way to keep yourself productive, creative and alive to opportunities. It’s also the best way to learn new information.

                                          Let me explain.

                                          Typically, when studying lots of new information, most people will spend hours reading it – in an attempt to learn and remember the content as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, they’ve overlooked something.

                                          Namely, extended study sessions are rarely a good thing, as your ability to retain information naturally declines after a certain period of time.

                                          It’s similar to physical exercise. You wouldn’t attempt to train vigorously for four hours in a row. Instead, you’d take regular breaks to give your lungs, heart and muscles adequate time to recover. Failing to do this will result in muscle cramps and overexertion.

                                          It’s the same with your brain. If you overload it with information, you’ll suffer from mental fatigue.

                                          What’s the answer?

                                          Make sure you take regular breaks when learning new information. I recommend at least a 10-minute break every hour. (You may also want to take a look at the Pomodoro Method.)

                                          If you don’t want to be as regimented as that, then take breaks as soon as you find yourself losing the ability to focus on the new material. Your brain will thank you – and your learning aptitude will move up a level.

                                          5. Learn a new skill

                                          I love this quote, as it’s 100% true – but frequently overlooked:

                                          “Learning never exhausts the mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci

                                          From my experience of helping to develop the careers of dozens of Lifehack employees, I can definitively say that participating in meaningful and purposeful activities stimulates the mind. It also reduces stress and enhances health and well-being.

                                          Let me give you an example of this:

                                          Imagine you work for a global financial institution in one of their call centers. You take over 100 calls a day – many of them complaints. When you started the job a few months back, you were excited to be in full-time employment and working for a household name.

                                          Unfortunately, your initial enthusiasm quickly turned into frustration.

                                          The endless complaint calls began to take their toll on you. And the supervisors irritated you too, as they were far too interested in micro-managing you – rather than letting you work in your own way.

                                          Now, in the story above, the ending could be that you put up with a job you didn’t like, and led a dull and frustrated working life for years and years. However, an alternative ending is this: you channeled your dissatisfaction in to learning a new skill (computer coding). It took you a year or two to get up to speed, but it allowed you to successfully upgrade your career – and the ongoing learning made the call centre job much more bearable.

                                          Clearly, learning new skills gives you impetus, focus and something to aim for. Your brain loves to learn, and you should tap into this by always seeking our new information. And when learning becomes a habit, you’ll find your ability to remember and recall things effortlessly, becomes a habit too.

                                          6. Start working out

                                          If you’re not already working out regularly, then here’s another reason to do so:

                                          Exercising for 20-30 minutes three times a week will improve your long-term memory.

                                          Regular exercise increases blood flow in your body and supplies the brain with extra oxygen and nutrients. And a well-nourished brain is a well-functioning brain!

                                          “But I just don’t have the time?,” I hear you say.

                                          Not a problem.

                                          A research has shown that a daily burst of 60 seconds of high-intensity exercise, offered many of the benefits of the longer exercise routines.[2] So, if you’re short on time – now you know what to do.

                                          Interested in getting started?

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                                          Here are five different ways that will help you work out:

                                          • Join a gym
                                          • Join a sports team
                                          • Buy a bike
                                          • Take up hiking
                                          • Dance to your favorite music

                                          7. Eat healthier foods

                                          I’m sure you’ve heard the expression: “You are what you eat.”

                                          This applies to your brain too.

                                          The food that you eat helps determine your brain’s capacity to store and recall information. A poor diet (think junk food + soda!) harms not just your physical health, but your mental health too.

                                          Fortunately, there are several foods that are especially good for your brain and your memory. These include: blueberries, celery and dark chocolate. But anything high in antioxidants will have a positive effect on your brain and memory.

                                          Conversely, highly-processed foods and those loaded with sugar will have a negative impact on your memory. This is due to them providing insufficient nutrients for your brain – leading you to easily suffer from mental fatigue.

                                          Want to be mentally healthy? Then eat and drink an abundance of these for brain health:

                                          • Turmeric – helps new brain cells grown
                                          • Broccoli – protects the brain against damage
                                          • Nuts – improves memory
                                          • Green tea – enhances brain performance, memory and focus[3]
                                          • Fish oilfish oil supplements can increase your brain power

                                          Here’re more brain food options that improve memory!

                                          Final thoughts

                                          I sincerely hope these seven memory boosting ways that I’ve covered in this article will be of help to you.

                                          You don’t need to implement them all. I suggest just trying the ones that appeal to you.

                                          But, if you’re serious about dramatically improving your memory, then make a start right now on adopting one or more of the ways I’ve suggested. I’m confident you won’t regret it.

                                          Featured photo credit: Eric Ward via unsplash.com

                                          Reference

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