Editor’s Note: Each year International Living magazine, which Bill founded more than 30 years ago, ranks the world’s best places to retire.
If you’re sick of the steady erosion of the American Dream, say the folks at IL, there’s never been a better time to retire abroad…
And their top overseas retirement destination for 2015 is…
By International Living staff
Spiraling costs at home are compelling more North Americans to retire overseas. But finding the right location among the myriad options available can be daunting.
That’s what our Annual Global Retirement Index does. Using input from our team of correspondents all over the world, we combine real-world insights about climate, health care, cost of living and much more to draw up a comprehensive list of the best-bang-for-your-buck retirement destinations on the planet.
And based on this wide range of criteria, our top retirement recommendation for 2015 is… Ecuador.
From the quaint town of Cotacachi to the vibrant capital, Quito… to Salinas by the sea… to the peaks of the Andes – Ecuador’s diversity is a key part of the appeal that sees it regain the coveted top spot on this year’s retirement index.
Although prices have risen in recent years, Ecuador’s real estate is still the best value you’ll find anywhere.
This is bolstered by the generous array of benefits the government has afforded to retirees.
Over-65s get discounts on flights originating in Ecuador, as well as up to 50% off entry to movies and sporting events. Discounts are also available on public transport (50%) and utilities, with the option of a free landline if you purchase a property.
And the cost of living is low. “You can get a lot more here for your dollar than you could in the US or Canada,” says IL Ecuador Highlands Correspondent Wendy DeChambeau.
“A doctor’s visit will set you back around $10, while a main course in a restaurant can be had for as little as $2.50. The bus trip from Cotacachi to Otavalo will cost you 25 cents. For big-ticket items like real estate, you can get a lot more for your dollar here than in the US. A couple can live well here on $1,400 a month, including rent.”
You’ll find world-class medical facilities in big cities throughout the country, and you can catch direct flights to and from the States in Quito and Guayaquil. Good Internet is more readily available than ever. Public transportation is so efficient that many expats report not having to even buy a car.
And with Ecuador having one of the most robust economies on the continent – its GDP has grown an average of 4.5% a year since 2000 – it is likely that this infrastructure is only going to improve over the coming years.
The steadily growing expat population makes it easy to integrate, as do the friendly locals. “Many of the locals are somewhat bilingual, and they are very welcoming toward North Americans,” says IL Cuenca Correspondent Ed Staton. “We also have a steadily growing expat community here.”
When it comes to entertainment, Ecuador offers a diverse range of options. Biking, fishing, zip lining, hiking and rock climbing are all popular and readily available.
Ecuador’s geography means you can choose between many different natural environments – from the Pacific Ocean (including the Galápagos Islands, one of the world’s most important ecological sites) and the Amazon to the peaks of the Andes.
This means you’re guaranteed to find a climate that suits you down to the ground.
It’s hard to pinpoint the best reason for making the move to Ecuador. Its breathtaking natural beauty is certainly a huge draw. But the clincher is that it is an incredibly affordable place to live.
Whether you decide to live in the bustling capital of Quito… the pretty expat favorite of Cuenca… or in one of the country’s many beach towns, you’ll find that your money will go a lot further than it does at home.
And there are many other benefits to life in Ecuador – low cost of living but with no lifestyle sacrifices… affordable real estate (whether you’re renting or buying)… good quality, inexpensive health care… and a quality of life that’s hard to beat.
Ecuador is gentle… safe… healthy… private… and civil. As one expat put it: “It’s like we are living in the US in the 1950s.” You’re guaranteed a quality of life that just plain doesn’t exist anymore in the States.
Violence, materialism and increasingly intrusive government policies have whittled away the last vestiges of the American Dream. But in Ecuador you’re guaranteed an extraordinary lifestyle. And that makes it the perfect place to retire… or reinvent yourself.
You’ll find likeminded company when you do.