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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

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

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                                          Frank Yung

                                          Writer. Storyteller. Foodie.

                                          Your Future Self Will Thank You For Starting To Do This For Only 10 Minutes Every Day 10 Best Standing Desks That Are High in Quality and Cheap in Price Finally, a Way to Avoid Jet Lag: The Jet Lag Calculator The Best Places Around the World to Retire in 2017 Take 5 Minutes To Read And Improve Your Writing Skills Forever

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                                          Last Updated on October 22, 2019

                                          How to Focus and Concentrate Better to Boost Productivity

                                          How to Focus and Concentrate Better to Boost Productivity

                                          We live in a world of massive distraction. No matter where you are today, there is always going to be distractions. Your colleagues talking about their latest date, notification messages popping up on your screens, and not just your mobile phone screens. And even if you try to find a quiet place, there will always be someone with a mobile device that is beeping and chirping.

                                          With all these distractions, it is incredibly difficult to concentrate on anything for very long. Something will distract you and that means you will find it very difficult to focus on anything.

                                          So how to focus and concentrate better? How to focus better and produce work that lifts us and takes us closer towards achieving our outcomes?

                                          1. Get Used to Turning off Your Devices

                                          Yes, I know this one is hard for most people. We believe our devices are so vital to our lives that the thought of turning them off makes us feel insecure. The reality is they are not so vital and the world is not going to end within the next thirty minutes.

                                          So turn them off. Your battery will thank you for it. More importantly though is when you are free from your mobile distraction addiction, you will begin to concentrate more on what needs to get done.

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                                          You do not need to do this for very long. You could set a thirty-minute time frame for being completely mobile free. Let’s say you have an important piece of work to complete by lunchtime today. Turn off your mobile device between 10 am and 11 am and see what happens.

                                          If you have never done this before, you will feel very uncomfortable at first. Your brain will be fighting you. It will be telling you all sorts of horror stories such as a meteorite is about to hit earth, or your boss is very angry and is trying to contact you. None of these things is true, but your brain is going to fight you. Prepare yourself for the fight.

                                          Over time, as you do this more frequently, you will soon begin to find your brain fights you less and less. When you do turn on your device after your period of focused work and discover that the world did not end, you have not lost an important customer and all you have are a few email newsletters, a confirmation of an online order you made earlier and a text message from your mum asking you to call about dinner this weekend, you will start to feel more comfortable turning things off.

                                          2. Create a Playlist in Your Favourite Music Streaming App

                                          Many of us listen to music using some form of music streaming service, and it is very easy to create our own playlists of songs. This means we can create playlists for specific purposes.

                                          Many years ago, when I was just starting to drive, there was a trend selling driving compilation tapes and CDs. The songs on these tapes and CDs were uplifting driving music songs. Songs such as C W McCall’s Convoy theme and the Allman Brothers Band’s, Jessica. They were great songs to drive to and helped to keep us awake and focused while we were driving.

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                                          Today, we can create playlists to help us to focus on our work. Choose non-vocal music that has a low tempo. Music from artists such as Ben Böhmer, Ilan Bluestone or Andrew Bayer has the perfect tempo.

                                          Whenever you want to go into deep, focused work, listen to that playlist. What happens is your brain soon associates when you listen to the playlist you created with focused work and it’s time to concentrate on what it is you want to do.

                                          3. Have a Place to Go to When You Need to Concentrate

                                          If you eat, surf online and read at your desk, you will find your desk a very distracting place to do your work. One way to get your brain to understand it is focused work time is, to use the same place each time for just focused work.

                                          This could be a quiet place in your office, or it could be a special coffee shop you use specifically for focused work. Again, what you are doing is associating an environment with focus.

                                          Just as with having a playlist to listen to when you want to concentrate, having a physical place that accomplishes the same thing will also put you in the right frame of mind to be more focused.

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                                          When you do find the right place to do your focused work, then only do focused work there. Never surf, never do any online shopping. Just do your work and then leave. You want to be training your brain to associate focused work with that environment and nothing else.

                                          If you need to make a phone call, respond to an email or message, then go outside and do it. From now on, this place is your special working place and that is all you use it for.

                                          Every morning, I do fifteens minutes of meditation. Each time, I sit down to do my meditation, I use the same music playlist and the same place. As soon as I put my earphones in and sit down in this place, my mind immediately knows it is meditation time and I become relaxed and focused almost immediately. I have trained my brain over a few months to associate a sound and a place with relaxed, thoughtful meditation. It works.

                                          4. Get up and Move

                                          We humans have a limited attention span. How long you can stay focused for depends on your own personal makeup. It can range from between twenty minutes to around two hours. With practice, you can stay focused for longer, but it takes time and it takes a lot of practice.

                                          When you do find yourself being unable to concentrate any longer, get up from where you are and move. Go for a walk, move around and get some air. Do something completely different from what you were doing when you were concentrating.

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                                          If you were writing a report in front of a screen, get away from your screens and look out the window and appreciate the view. Take a walk in the local park, or just walk around your office. You need to give your brain completely different stimuli.

                                          Your brain is like a muscle. There is only so much it can do before it fatigues. If you are doing some focused work in Photoshop and then switch to surfing the internet, you are not giving your brain any rest. You are still using many of the same parts of your brain.

                                          It’s like doing fifty pushups and then immediately trying to do bench presses. Although you are doing a different exercise, you are still exercising your chest. What you need to be doing to build up superior levels of concentrated focus is, in a sense, do fifty pushups and then a session of squats. Now you are exercising your chest and then your legs. Two completely different exercises.

                                          Do the same with your brain. Do focused visual work and then do some form of movement with a different type of work. Focused visual work followed by a discussion with a colleague about another unrelated piece of work, for example.

                                          The Bottom Line

                                          It is not difficult to train your brain to become better at concentrating and focusing, but you do need to exercise deliberate practice. You need to develop the intention to focus and be very strict with yourself.

                                          Set time aside in your calendar and make sure you tell your colleagues that you will be ‘off the grid’ for a couple of hours. With practice and a little time, you will soon find yourself being able to resist temptations and focus better.

                                          More Resources About Boosting Focus and Productivity

                                          Featured photo credit: Wenni Zhou via unsplash.com

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