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Forget Florida and Arizona. If you're hoping to make your dollars stretch further in your golden years, you may want to consider joining the growing number of Americans who are opting to relocate abroad. More than 550,000 Americans now receive their Social Security benefits overseas, an increase from the nearly 400,000 reported in 2000, according to the Social Security Administration.
But which place is best? While everyone has an opinion when it comes to the ideal retirement spot, the experts at International Living (IL), an authority on global retirement opportunities, has done a lot of legwork to help you make a decision.
In its Annual Global Retirement Index, released in January 2017, IL named Mexico the best country in the world to retire, followed by Panama and Ecuador. The yearly index is designed to help whittle down a retiree’s choices by ranking countries based on factors such as cost of living, retiree benefits, climate, crime and health care.
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With its low costs and friendly locals, Mexico is no stranger to the index, consistently ranking in the top 10 over the past 14 years. And in 2017 — for the fifth time — it nabs the top spot.
To see the complete list and to find out what makes these places worthy of your attention, scroll through the countries below.
The country offers a wide variety of options for seaside living as well as established expat communities in many areas. (The colonial town of San Miguel de Allende is home to thousands of Americans.) Affordability is another magnet, with many expats living well on as little as $1,200 a month. The dollar’s strong position against the Mexican peso means the cost of living provides an even better than normal value.
Besides being close to the U.S. (making travel easy), Panama uses the American dollar, so you'll have no worries about currency fluctuations. What’s more, Panama offers a wide range of options for becoming a legal resident, and its top-notch medical care is highly regarded. The best hospital, Punta Pacifica, is affiliated with Johns Hopkins and is known for performing cardio surgery, neurosurgery and a variety of complex procedures.