[Editor's note: This post is OLD! Don't treat it as current gospel and ask why prices have gone up. For a new version, see this post: Cheapest Places to Live late 2008.]
I just received my new issue of International Living in the mail today and it contains the annual 2006 Global Retirement Index. Whether you are anywhere close to retiring or not, this is some handy slicing, dicing, and opinionated ranking of countries that are a good value. There are a lot of factors at play in these rankings, so you have to dig into the numbers beyond the overall one to see what’s most important to you. You may not care about retiree incentives, for instance, or you may plan on renting and not care about real estate appreciation. Nevertheless, here is their top-10 overall:
Those who have a copy of The World’s Cheapest Destinations will be quite familiar with some of these. But France? Well, their cost of living rank may be bad, but they got a perfect score on culture, health, infrastructure, and safety. So what if you just look at cost alone? Who comes out on top when they tally a basic basket of goods?
For those not keeping a tally at home, that’s Latin America 8, Asia 1, Europe 1. Their list is far from exhaustive however—International Living only runs the numbers on the places they think are good for retirees. So if you want to just plunk down for a year in Laos, Vietnam, or Turkey, you’ll probably find you are spending a small fraction of what you would at home. If you’re earning anything more than that fraction in income, or have a decent chunk of savings, that’s a winning equation for sure.
Do your own homework, but at $49 a year, International Living is a good investment if you are serious about moving abroad or investing in property in another country. No, I don’t get a commission for plugging them (and any subscriber will tell you they do plenty of their own horn-tooting), but I do have an article about Botswana coming up in their October issue…
This is the last year they are going to rank destinations by country. They figured out that Roatan doesn’t have much in common with mainland Honduras and San Miguel de Allende doesn’t have much in common with Mérida or Mazatlan. Next year’s will zoom in on more specific locations.
Related post: The Cheapest Places to Live, Part 2