New foreign destinations for UK expats in retirement

Increasing numbers of UK retirees are dumping the traditional notion of heading to the British seaside to see out their later years – and are heading abroad to the sun instead.

Some surprising new destinations have shouldered their way among the traditional places in the sun, like Spain, Australia and the USA.

New favourites include the laid-back manana lifestyle of the cheap economies of South America.

A survey, from magazine International Living, puts Ecuador in the top spot for US retirees – for the fifth year running.

They point to retirees enjoying a good standard of living for a reasonable price and a great cultural offering in a country they term as ‘the world’s best haven’.

The climate and lifestyle are also beneficial with English-speaking doctors working in ‘world class healthcare’ and beachfront houses that cost from just £56,000.

The country’s cost of living is very low – restaurant meals cost £1.55 and a beer is 53p.

Ecuador also makes it easy for expats to start up in business to keep themselves busy with growing numbers starting gyms, schools and import businesses.

Other countries which are popular destinations for retirement include Panama which is highlighted for a welcoming environment and which has the US dollar as currency.

Pensioners also enjoy hefty discounts from local outlets, ranging from 10-15% for medical expenses and 25% at restaurants to 50% off at cinemas and theatres.

In at third place is the former British colony of Malaysia which the website terms as ‘Asia’s most desirable destination’.

Retirees point to the great weather and golf facilities, the cheap standard of living which means many pensioners can afford to hire domestic help and the fact that English is the country’s first ‘unofficial’ language.

A three-course meal for two costs £6 and expats run clubs and social groups so making friends is easy.

International Living also rates Mexico highly for its culture and convenience for US citizens who can enjoy a developed country with rock bottom prices which has attracted more than a million American retirees.

In fifth place is Costa Rica which is praised for its amenities and community spirit.

Retirees say it’s relatively easy for people to gain residency in Costa Rica, which has an effective healthcare system and, along with a cheap way of life, it is becoming  increasingly attractive to Americans – and that’s a reason why perhaps British expats should also take a look and help their pension go further.