As I am writing this article in January 2014, the United States and Canada are experiencing freezing weather conditions not seen for decades. So, it’s not surprising that International Living’s list of the world’s best places to retire in 2014 is getting so much attention. After all, the locations that they mention – Panama, Ecuador, Malaysia, Costa Rica and Spain – are bathed in sun for most of the year!

What Are this Year’s Best Places to Retire?

Reading through their list, it’s easy to think that paradise is just a short flight away. Here’s how you might picture it. After a morning walk on the beach, you cycle to the local market to buy inexpensive fresh vegetables and fish. You do a few hours of online freelance work at a low tax rate and settle down to absorb the sunset. The temperature is in the mid-70s as you sit on the balcony of your $400 a month apartment, sipping a mojito. I could go on, but, you get the idea.

So, is retirement in an exotic location everything it’s cracked up to be? Maybe. But, then again, maybe not. In a previous article, I wrote six questions that every woman over 60 should consider before retiring abroad:

  • What is the true cost of living for my lifestyle?
  • Can I get good health care?
  • Do I feel comfortable with the culture?
  • Will my spouse be happy retiring abroad?
  • Have I researched the full reality of living abroad?
  • What are my reasons for wanting to retire abroad?

These questions highlight the fact that it is important to do your own research and base your decisions on your own lifestyle. One helpful website that you can use to look at the cost of individual items from the price of a local beer to the cost of renting an apartment is Numbeo.com.

Retiring abroad is probably an attractive prospect for many women in the Sixty and Me community, especially for those of us who are living on a small pension. I can speak from personal experience that moving to a new country after 60 can be an exhilarating and life-changing experience. At the same time, I have also found it difficult at times to live in a country that speaks a language other than my own.

The truth is that there is no single answer to the question “What are the best places to retire in the world?” Rental indexes and crime statistics are fine. But, at the end of the day, each of us is different and it is sometimes the small things that make living in a new country fabulously life-changing or just frustrating. As long as you are honest with yourself, you’ll be on your way to paradise in no time – even if that means staying exactly where you are.

Have you moved to one of the “best countries to retire”? Are you considering a move abroad? Which country would you choose to enjoy your retirement in? Please join the conversation.

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Want to check out a new country before making a decision to retire there? Why not consider housesitting?

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