Best Places to Retire - Bye Bye 2008!

Just where are the best places to retire? I guess this is a question that has a different and unique answer for everyone .... as we say goodbye to 2008, this is a question that is being asked by many.

The economy is in the toilet, many of you are worried about your nest egg and others have already lost it .... YIKES ... what are the options? How do you make the right decision based on all of these issues.

First off, there be many correct answers. It is up you to do your due diligence and explore all the options available for your personal and financial needs. Get out your paper and pencil to make a list. Where have you always dreamed of living if money were no object, then work back from there ... you will be surprised that you may be able to come closer than you think if you are willing to make a few concessions.

Have you always wanted to live on the water? Perhaps you can't afford to in the most exclusive seaside community, but there are many lesser priced water areas that will give you the same enjoyment of living on the water. How about a mountain chalet at a posh resort? There are mountain homes all over the world and most of them do not carry the ridiculous prices tags and will allow you to have an affordable retirement.

Over the next few weeks let's explore some of the new options for 2009 ... real estate prices have dropped, circumstances changed and the time is NOW to locate the best place to retire!

Austria - a Great Place to Retire!

2008 Hot Air Balloon World Championships Austria!

Ecuador, One of the Best Places to Retire Internationally

If you are looking for affordable retirement, perhaps you should look south to the equator and the small country of Ecuador. Bordered by the Pacific ocean, Columbia and Peru it is possible to live on a small retirement budget of $1,200 a month, even less if you are frugal. Of course "cheap" isn't everything if the quality isn't there.

There are many places in the world where you can buy inexpensive property, but you wouldn't want to live there, let alone, retire .... but Ecuador is different. Retirement in Ecuador means living well.

Their are many reasons for retiring to Ecuador, but one thing's for certain, this is an affordable and desirable retirement location. It also offers a high quality of life. Ecuador is not an isolated country, in fact, it has turned into a land of opportunity, where a solid middle class is forming. After waking from a long economic slumber, Ecuador is preparing to join the global economy. The Quito airport has recently been revamped and now has new jet ways, a renovated entrance and a new waiting area.

From snow-capped volcanoes to dense Amazon jungle, from sun-drenched Pacific beaches to the famous Galapagos Islands, this is a place of astounding natural beauty. This tiny country is home to 10% of the world's plant and animal species, but its real treasure is its people.

Ecuadorians live in jungle river towns, coastal fishing villages, isolated cattle ranches, ancient haciendas, and large colonial cities. Its small size makes it possible to experience many of these different lifestyles in a single day.

It is one of the few places where a foreign resident or visitor can blend easily into the community, being welcomed into a new circle of friends and a new way of life with relative ease. As a foreign retiree in Ecuador, you'll be treated with respect, and the people will be eager to get to know you.

During the last decade, Ecuador has gone through many changes, but today the country has emerged as a welcoming haven for those wanting to retire or invest here. The real estate market offers significant bargains. A comfortable lifestyle can be enjoyed in Ecuador on just a fraction of what you'd spend in many parts of the world.

Ecuador is one place right now where the U.S. dollar is not losing value, which makes Ecuador one of the best places to retire.

Nearly everything is affordable in Ecuador. From the cost to hire a housekeeper to the price of food or dinner in a nice restaurant. You will be surprised at how low the cost of living is in Ecuador. You may even want to retire early! In the major cities like Quito, Guayaquil, and Cuenca, you will have first class conveniences. Several makes of cars are even made right here in Ecuadorian factories. Cell phones and Internet connections are common.

It's easy to retire in Ecuador on a small retirement income and you can live a comfortable lifestyle. Many foreign residents have their main home in the city, and also have a country home, a beach property, or even property in another country.

Although Ecuador is the smallest country within the Andes mountain range, it has attracted during the past decade foreigners from all walks of life mainly through the welcoming natures of its people. The favorable climate, it has several micro climates, and sheer diversity are just two reasons why retirees have taken to the quieter life away from the more industrialized West.

Eco-tourism has also attracted in a number of foreigners who today run everything from eco-buses across large stretches of land to biking companies who specialize in jungle tours or bike rides down the country's infamous volcanoes.

The rural towns of BaƱos, Vilcabamba and Otavalo have attracted a great many foreigners who specialize in natural life styles from Vegetarian restaurants, to a variety of homeopathy and massage healing techniques in addition to organized tours including trekking, bird watching, Rafting and many others.
For a real treat, click on the Galapagos tortoise and watch a youtube slide show of the exquisite Galapagos Islands .... enjoy!

Ecuador has a lot to offer. It has manage to fly under the mainstream radar screen for many years, but take a look at it and it may be your best place to retire!

Retire and Live Large in Mexico!

Why not retire to Mexico and live large on a small retirement income. If you are looking for affordable retirement, south of the border just might be the answer for you!

Mexico's pace of life is ideal for retirement - you can relax, and you can still lead an active retirement. Stress levels are insignificant here.

The food is wonderful. Fresh fruit and vegetables, meats and fish are available at the local markets, and you'll get great value for your money. There is an enormous variety of tropical fruit, which is sweeter and juicier than the kind that is shipped to colder climates. Food is also less expensive in Mexico, although prices and quality vary throughout the year, depending on the season. The variety of vegetables is also immense, including local kinds such as nopales (cactus) and chayotes. Mexico is also the home of the avocado, and is the world's biggest producer of the fruit.

Good health care is widely available. Mexico has good doctors, dentists, hospitals and other medical specialists. There are a range of insurance services available for you to buy to safeguard you and your dependents from the cost of private medical bills.

Your retirement income can go further in Mexico. Exactly how far will depend on your lifestyle expectations. The essential point to remember is that the basic foods and drink are considerably less expensive in Mexico than they are in Europe and most places in the USA and Canada. Eating out can be less expensive too, and extremely good value for money.

Utility bills can be lower (with the exception of electricity which has risen significantly recently), property taxes maintenance costs are very low, and you may be able to structure your finances so that your retirement income is very tax efficient for you.

If your retirement income is generated in hard currency, you will find your earnings stretch further on the basics needed for everyday living than it would in Europe, the US or Canada, for example.

Lake Chapala, you have probably heard about this place and wondered if it's somewhere you could live. Many gringos do. In fact, the largest contingent of expatriates in the world, roughly 40,000, lives in Lake Chapala, and the majority of these folks are originally from the U.S. and Canada. Life here is mellow, but there is plenty to do, and the coast (Puerto Vallarta) is only 4 hours away by car.

Because of the stunning scenery, great climate and attractive ambience at Lake Chapala and its picturesque lakeside towns of Ajijic, Jacotepec and Chapala, many foreigners, especially from the USA and Canada, decide to sell up and move to this great area for a complete change of lifestyle, to retire, or both.

When you visit here, it's not hard to see why they do. The climate is absolutely great all year round; the lake is wonderful and flanked by majestic mountains in the background, the people here are friendly and inviting, and the whole place is just over 20 miles away from Guadalajara, making the area accessible and convenient for amenities when you need them.

Chapala is the main commercial center, you can change money, buy things and generally get in touch with the world from here. If you want to stay in the area, then nearby Ajijic is the best place to find a hotel. Ajijic also has some good crafts shops in which to browse and buy.

Much of the area's prosperity derives from the expatriates living here and you're likely to see quite a few of them, and they're really friendly, so don't be shy if you want to meet and chat with them about the area. English is spoken in most places, and many of the local signs in commercial areas are also in English.

Being so close to Guadalajara, Lake Chapala is an excellent opportunity to leave the hustle and swing of the city and experience some of Mexico's most serene and attractive western rural life!

So, if you are looking for the best places to retire internationally, possibly even to retire early, give this a look!

Best Places to Retire - Hendersonville, NC

If you are looking for one of the best places to retire, take a look at Hendersonville in North Carolina.

Hendersonville is located just down the road from Asheville in North Carolina. This charming town is the county seat of Henderson County and offers easy access to all the beautiful sights of the North Carolina mountains. If you love the outdoors, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Pisgah National Forest are right at your fingertips. You can spend your free time horseback riding, playing tennis or golf, skiing, fishing or cycling.

The city has a thriving downtown district that makes it truly stand out. Certainly one of the top retirement cities. Main Street has been revitalized and sparkles with charm and vitality and is a place for every one to enjoy! The hard work also has gained the designation of National Historic District for downtown Hendersonville.

In addition to restaurants and antique and craft shops, downtown Hendersonville hosts a number of events, including Apple Breakfast, Motorama and Ice Cream Scream. Additionally, you can enjoy shows at the Flat Rock Playhouse, performances at the Brevard Music Center and concerts by the Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra.

Hendersonville boasts a temperate climate and is within a short driving distance of a major airport and hospital. Give this little gem a look and see if it is for you!

Best Places to Retire - Anacortes WA

Named by Money magazine as one of the best places to retire young, Anacortes WA is an All-American City, is the second largest city in Skagit County and its largest seaport.

The City has modern educational facilities, state-of-the-art health care, and abundant business opportunities, all in the natural beauty of an island setting. Residents and visitors enjoy 12 ½ miles of saltwater shoreline, a pristine environment, four freshwater lakes, nearly 3300 acres of city-owned forestlands and parks and breathtaking water, island and mountain views. Annual rainfall is less than 26 inches and temperatures are mild-year around. The natural abundance, vibrant community and the convenience of bridges connecting to the mainland make Anacortes "A Natural Destination" for those seeking a superior quality of life.

Anacortes is the principal city on Fidalgo Island, the western-most island in the San Juan archipelago.

If you are a retired person looking for affordable retirement or a more relaxed lifestyle, a family looking for great schools and an active parks-and-recreation department, or a businessperson considering a business relocation, Anacortes offers a small-town atmosphere with big-time amenities.

Due to its island location on the inland waters of Puget Sound, Anacortes enjoys a mild, marine climate. The prevailing southwesterly flow of weather is interrupted by the Olympic Mountain Range and because of this, they experiences less precipitation than surrounding areas.

Sales tax rate in Anacortes is 8.0% and the current lodging tax is 4%. Retail sales tax is collected on the sale of tangible personal property and selected services. There is no state personal or corporate income tax, no unitary tax, no inventory tax, no personal tax and no state tax on interest, dividends or capital gains.

The city has a busy waterfront and an extraordinary amount of forest and parkland for a city of any size. In addition, Anacortes, Skagit County and the San Juan islands have a vibrant arts and entertainment community featuring artists in most mediums, a wide variety of performing arts and festivals and galleries for any taste.

If you are looking for one of the best retirement cities and perhaps you would like to retire early, then you should take a serious look at Anacortes WA.

Best Places to Retire - Bimini Bahamas

Do you love the crystal clear waters of the Bahamas and the warm tropical breezes, but thought that retiring internationally might be a big hassle? Maybe you should consider the tiny island of South Bimini in the Bahamas.

Bimini is only 42 miles east of Miami, Florida and that translates into a 20 minute flight. You can get there by boat also, in fact most people who live there have a boat due to the fact it is an island.

South Bimini is a small tranquil island setting for those who don't require a large city atmosphere. Boating, fishing, swimming, shelling, snorkeling and diving are the main pastimes and because the weather is similar to Florida, it is perfect to enjoy these pastimes almost year round.

English is the main language, although many of the locals have combined it with a creole type slang, you need to listen closely at first until you get familiar with it. The Bahamian dollar and the US dollar are valued the same, and in Bimini, there is no reason to change US for Bahamian currency as both is accepted. Prices are a bit higher for most food items as everything has to be imported, but you'll be glad to note that most hard liquor is cheaper because it doesn't suffer from high taxes!

In case of a medical emergency, if the small clinic on north Bimini can't fix you up, the Coast Guard helicopter will come pick you up and transport you to a Miami hospital.

South Bimini boasts single family homes in the Port Royal area and a large condo development called Bimini Sands .

To take a peek at the adventures of one couple on Bimini Bahamas go to:

If a laid back island paradise might rate in your best places to retire internationally, then Bimini Bahamas might be just what you are looking for!

Best Places to Retire - Think outside the Box!

The best places to retire? Start thinking outside of the box, or the United States in this case. Have you considered Honduras?

Honduras is a Constitutional Democratic Republic with three independent branches of government, the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary to provide checks and balances to any single concentration of power. Elections, like the United States are held every four years for president and his three, yes three vice presidents!

Honduras has never had a civil war and is not a country that boasts guerrilla activity or terrorists. Of course, this is not to say that an American tourist should be walking alone at night in the big cities, common sense should prevail.

Real estate is still very affordable on the mainland and in the Bay Islands, like Guanaja, Roatan and Utila, a waterfront lot on the Caribbean can still be had for under $100,000 US. The islanders are warm, friendly and many speak English.

The currency in Honduras is the Lempira and is named after a national hero that led the unsuccessful resistance to the Spanish conquistadors. One US dollar equals about nineteen Lempira or “limps”, as everyone calls them, and when you buy locally and see all the prices in hundreds of limps it confuses Americans at first, but just divide by twenty and you will be pretty close.

Honduras, lies in the tropics and while temperatures are affected by what elevation you are at, generally speaking temperatures range from roughly seventy degrees at night to about eighty five degrees in the day time. This would be the average for the year around. The rainy season is from October through January with the average for the year at about ten and one half inches per month.

The government offers several types of residency. One type requires that you prove $2,500 per month income and another that you make a $50,000 real estate investment. There are various other types of residency, but many retirees just choose to leave the country every 90 days, for 3 days and everyone is happy!

When the time comes for you to consider the best places to retire, maybe you should put the Central American country of Honduras on your radar screen!

Best Places to Retire - the World is your Oyster!

Best places to retire? The world is your oyster! Don't limit your thinking, just because you are in your fifties or sixties, or older, we are living longer and this retirement move doesn't have to be to your last. Fun and adventure certainly need to be factored in to any decision you make!

Have you considered retiring internationally? Property in countries like Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica and Honduras offer a lot of opportunities, amenities and financial benefits to Expats that would like to retire to their country. When you go to these countries you can choose to live in areas that are populated by other Americans or you can go native and really immerse yourself in their culture. Either way, it is an adventure that must be experienced.

My husband and I recently visited Honduras, specifically the small island of Guanaja, in the Bay Island chain. Guanaja is located next to Roatan, which is "big" on the cruise line circuit and has recently been featured on the HGTV series House Hunters International. The properties in Roatan, while still inexpensive by US standards are now starting to come up in price a bit, while Guanaja is less expensive and has yet to be really discovered. To check out our adventures in Guanaja you can visit my blog. Just CLICK HERE .

When you start looking in to the best places to retire, just remember you need to do your due diligence. The Internet makes this much easier to do ... so read up, study and make a trip down to the country of your choice to check it out. We all have different opinions on what "paradise" really is.

Best Places to Retire - Start Thinking NOW!

Best Places to Retire .... Hmmmmm .... when should you ask yourself this question? Do you wait until you have that gold watch in your hand or do you plan ahead a few years so everything will be in place for an easy transition? Will you even get a gold watch or perhaps you will suddenly be let go for whatever reason without a retirement pension and be forced to live off of social security?

Retirement can be a scary thing for many people. Some people identify themselves with their job and are forced to "re-invent" themselves once they quit working. YIKES!

The Baby Boomers are the next generation of "old folks" and we are too smart, too young and in better health than ever before and we know that we have options for this next stage of our lives. Let's investigate this together and see if everyone can discover for themselves the best places to retire!