Why do North American retirees choose Ecuador for retirement?
For the fifth consecutive year, Ecuador is voted as North American retirees’ top destination of choice, according to the Annual Global Retirement Index 2013 released by InternationalLiving.com.
Now on its 22nd year, the annual index is based on data on the most popular countries among American and Canadian expat retirees collated by the editors of InternationalLiving.com. The factors they considered include price of groceries, average temperature, utility costs and friendliness of locals.
According to Jennifer Stevens, Executive Editor of International Living magazine, the index is designed to help readers ‘compare and contrast what we believe are the best options for retirement abroad in 2013’.
In Ecuador, an overwhelming favourite for economical reasons, a retiree can live comfortably for US$1,600 a month, rent included. ‘You can really stretch your dollars there,’ Stevens said.
The value of real estate in this tiny Latin American country is so attractively cheap that a condo on its northern Pacific coast sells for an average of US$150,000. There is no way you can find a similar property anywhere in California’s coast.
The country also offers a great variety of lifestyle options, such as sunny beaches, temperate mountain villages, college towns, and historical colonial cities, not to mention warm and easy-going Ecuadorians. It’s practically rolling out the red carpet for its senior visitors.
Latin America dominated the top ten, with Panama, Mexico, Costa Rica, Uruguay and Colombia landing on the second, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh spots, respectively.
Two Asian countries and both major medical tourism hubs – Malaysia (third) and Thailand (ninth) – made it to the top ten, while Spain and Malta came in eighth and tenth, respectively.
According to InternationalLiving.com, the list is everything but uniform. ‘[Retirees] will find great variety in the cultural offerings, climates and lifestyles. Each destination is desirable in its own way, but they all offer something increasingly hard to come by at home: A good quality of life for a reasonable price.’
However, it noted that there is no ‘formula’ to pinpoint the perfect place as every retiree is different. Retirees need to consider what’s important for them and use the index to target accordingly the places they want to explore.
Stevens also cautioned that retiring abroad isn’t for everyone. ‘The happiest expats we meet overseas have one thing in common: They brought their sense of adventure with them. Living overseas works best when you’re pulled there and not just pushed. If your motivation for going abroad is entirely economic, brace yourself for disappointment.’