Top 23 retirement havens in the world

Panama is the best place in the world to retire in 2016, according to a new index by the retire-overseas experts at International Living. The index, now in its 25th year, ranks, rates, compares, and contrasts retirement destinations all over the world to come up with the best countries for retirees to consider.

“Researched over months with the help of our ever-growing team of correspondents, editors, and contributors all over the world, this Retirement Index is the ultimate resource for helping you find your ideal retirement haven,” reports Jennifer Stevens, Executive Editor.

“We strive to make it better every year. We refine, we add, we whittle…with one goal: to get the most accurate results. Our belief is: The more input, the clearer and more useful the outcome.”

The winner, Panama, scores high across the board in all categories, but receives a perfect score of 100 in three categories—Retiree Benefits and Discounts; Visas and Residence; and Entertainment and Amenities.

Panama has long been a favorite of retirees, who have a choice of lifestyles along both Caribbean and Pacific coasts, on white-sand islands, in mountain valleys, or in cosmopolitan Panama City. Panama is close to the U.S. (a three-hour flight from Miami) and also has the best package of retirement benefits in the world.

Runner-up in the Index this year is Ecuador, getting a score of 100 in the Buying and Renting category. In the colonial city of Cuenca, for example, a two-bedroom apartment rents for $500 or less, while the same property in the popular mountain town of Cotacachi is $450 to $600 a month…or less. Even in the capital, Quito—where expats have great healthcare and amenities within easy reach—rentals can be had for under $1,000.

Ecuador also offers great retiree benefits—those 65 and over immediately qualify for half-price public transport. And seniors receive a monthly refund of up to $204 for the IVA (value-added) tax charged on many purchases.

Malaysia comes in first for Asia in the Index, and in fifth position overall. And Spain is the best country in Europe for retirees, coming in ninth position overall.