Top Places To Retire In 2017

Which Are The Best Countries To Retire In 2017?

Each year International Living compares international destination to determine the top retirement spots around the world. 

Since they started the ranking system they’ve updated their rating criteria and categorisation and considered only those destinations relevant on a global scale. The 2017 rankings saw a total of 24 destinations make the shortlist, with the top score grabbed for the 14th consecutive year – and the results may surprise you.

The best retirement destination index criteria

Countries considered for the shortlist are all chosen based on their scores in ten qualifying criteria in the Annual Global Retirement Index.

The countries are then compared based on their overall score out of 100 in each of the ten criteria, including:

  • Buying and renting index
  • Benefits and discounts index
  • Visas and residence index
  • Cost of living index
  • Fitting in index
  • Entertainment and amenities index
  • Healthcare index
  • Healthy lifestyle index
  • Infrastructure index
  • Climate index

The 24 countries which made the cut for the 2017 Annual Retirement Index are:

  • Belize
  • Bolivia
  • Cambodia
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • France
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Malaysia
  • Malta
  • Mexico
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Thailand
  • Uruguay
  • Vietnam

The overall scores

The overall winner of the 2017 Annual Global Retirement Index is Mexico. It may sound surprising to you, but this country offers a range of benefits to retirees. Though not claiming the top score in either of the 10 criteria, it measured consistently high in all criteria, with a minimum ranking of 88 out of 100 for Benefits & Discounts as well as Healthy Lifestyle and a maximum of 97 out of 100 for Entertainment and amenities.

Top scoring countries in the 10 individual criteria are:

  • Buying and renting index: Ecuador & Nicaragua (97)
  • Benefits and discounts index: Panama (100)
  • Visas and residence index: Panama (96)
  • Cost of living index: Nicaragua (97)
  • Fitting in index: Ireland (98)
  • Entertainment and amenities index: Uruguay (98)
  • Healthcare index: Malaysia (95)
  • Healthy lifestyle index: Costa Rica & Nicaragua (97)
  • Infrastructure index: Spain (98)
  • Climate index: Ecuador (100)

Of course, the surprising thing for South Africans is undoubtedly that only one of the countries in the overall 24 retirement destinations is a preferred destination for South African expats, namely Ireland.

The Saffa disparity – immigration criteria

When it comes to the South African diaspora, we tend to use different criteria to those listed in the Annual Global Retirement Index in determining the eligibility of a destination for immigration purposes.

Firstly, most South Africans seem to migrate during the life phase where they have dependent or adult children migrating with them. Consequently, although retirement is a contributing factor, it is not the deciding factor for choosing a new home.

So what are the key factors for South Africans in choosing a new home? Well, it would be hard to determine exactly what those factors are, so instead we can use the data to determine key indicators for those countries we do favour and see what they rank highly for.

These countries are:

  • Australia
  • Germany 
  • The United Kingdom
  • The United States of America
  • China
  • Canada 
  • New Zealand
  • The United Arab Emirates 

Of the top eight immigration destinations, it is important to note that seven of the eight measure among the top 20 countries on the World Education Index (2014), with five of them also qualifying for the top 20 countries on the Global Peace Index (2017). According to the US News Best Countries rankings for 2017 seven of the eight measure among the top 20 countries for entrepreneurship, six fall within the top 20 for quality of life while three measure among the top 20 for economic growth.

It would seem then that the deciding factors for South Africans in choosing an immigration destination are the wellbeing of our family units and the type of life we would be able to provide for our children pre-retirement age.

Planning on retiring abroad?

But of course, this doesn’t mean we have to remain put for the rest of our lives, nor that the immigration trends for saffas aren’t changing all the time. Having moved abroad once, most of us are aware of the possibilities and adventures still awaiting us in our golden years.

If you’re considering spending your retirement years in one of the top immigration hubs listed above, or perhaps you’re considering moving abroad for the first time? Well, the good news is that Rand Rescue can assist you with moving your retirement funds abroad – whether transferring the proceeds of your pension, provident or preservation funds to your new home, encashing your retirement annuity under your financial emigration plan or simply getting you the best exchange rates for your rands.

Talk to us about your expat retirement needs!

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