Top 7 places to retire

Top 7 places to retire

These days most of us can expect our retirement to last for more than a couple of decades. So, with life expectancy on the rise where you choose to spend those twilight years is more important than ever.

A growing number of pensioners are seeking far-flung destinations. They're lured by hours of sunshine, a slower pace of life, favourable tax rates, and the prospect of a more fulfilling lifestyle where their income goes much further than it does at home. Considered carefully, retiring abroad can deliver all of the above without compromising home comforts or quality healthcare.

From tropical towns in Thailand to coastal comforts in Central America, our guide to the seven best countries to retire has it all.

Panama

Panama, the southernmost country in Central America tops the 2016 global retirement havens listings compiled by International Living, with what the magazine describes as "hands down the best package of retirement benefits in the world". These include discounts for retirees on transport, entertainment, medicine and energy bills.

To receive these wide array of benefits all you need is a Pensionado Visa, for which you need to be over 18 years of age and have a pension of at least $1,000 a month to qualify (both private or social-security payments count). The currency, the Panamanian balboa, is pegged to the dollar, so US retirees shouldn't face shocks from currency swings.

Savings will go a long way here too. Even without these pension benefits, living costs are already low compared to many countries in Europe, North America and Australasia, with a three-course meal for two in a mid-range restaurant in Panama costing $30, according to numbeo.com, a website that tracks the prices of everyday items.

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