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Where to move for a fulfilling retirement

  • Retired couple
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Published last week

Retiring abroad is a growing trend among expatriates who – after a long and successful career – feel the need for change. While it can seem to be a challenge for some, it can also be a great opportunity to enjoy better conditions and quality of life. Expat.com gives you an insight into the best countries for a fulfilling retirement.

The Global Retirement Index 2017 reveals the best countries to retire, taking into account several factors such as material well-being, health, quality of life, and finances, including income and social security. Unsurprisingly, in the top 10 we see prosperous European countries, namely Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Each of them stands out in a particular index while some has shown significant improvement over the past year.

For good healthcare

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To enjoy better health in your retirement, you should consider Luxembourg. Coming first like in 2016, Luxembourg has one of Europe's most efficient social security systems. Moreover, the rising life expectancy in the Grand Duchy has reached an average of 84.8 years for women and 80.2 years for men. It's also worth noting that Luxembourg has an enormous healthcare and insurance expenditure.

The Netherlands also provides high-quality healthcare and therefore ranks fourth in the health index while France comes up second for it's massive social security expenditure. Over the past few years, life expectancy in France has known a signficant rise to 79.4 years for men and 85.4 years for women. Other countries such as Malta, Sweden and Norway have also shown much progress regarding healthcare.

For material well-being

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Retirees also give a lot of importance to their well-being, just as much as healthcare. In this ranking, material well-being is defined by the ability of retirees to support themselves financially, taking into account per capita income, the unemployment rate as well as income equality. Norway comes up first not only for high salaries offered to employees but also attractive retirement benefits. Since 2011, the retirement age has become flexible from 62 to 75 years. Moreover, retirees can choose to continue working after they have started receiving their pension.

Iceland, Switzerland, Austria and Luxembourg are also top countries for retirees' material well-being. Iceland, in particular, has the highest score regarding income equality and ranks fifth for employment. The Czech Republic, Denmark and Sweden have also made significant progress compared to 2016 while Germany and South Korea seem to be going backwards.

For a healthy bank balance

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Where should you move to have more finances to support yourself? Probably to Singapore which tops the list of countries for better finances in retirement although many European countries show a better performance overall. Singapore does not have a social security system as such. The Central Provident Fund takes care of all types of social funding, but as a high-income country with a low tax burden, its people can make enough savings for their old age. Moreover, children are expected to take care of their retired parents.

New Zealand, Chile, Switzerland and Australia are other ideal countries for retirement when it comes to finances. Needless to say that ageing populations have become a great concern for most European countries along with public debts and high tax burdens – and that is why European expats are more likely to move abroad for a better life. Chile particularly owes its success to a 14% decline of its inflation index even though its tax burdens and publics debts are not likely to drop so soon.

For high quality of life

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Denmark is no doubt one of the best countries in the world for quality of life and even retirees agree on this. Also, did you know that Danes are the second happiest nation in the world? Over the past years, life expectancy rose to 78.8 years for men and 82.2 years for women. By 2025, the retirement age will progressively go from 65 to 67 years.

An affordable cost of living, access to information and communication, not to mention freedom of speech, are with no doubt Denmarks greatest strengths. Denmark tries, by all means, to cater for the needs of its population, but you can also enjoy an excellent quality of life in Finland, Norway, Switzerland and Sweden. Effective policies focusing on education, quality of air, environment protection, etc., are some of the key factors that make them attractive countries for retirees.

This year, New Zealand and Australia also rank among the best countries for quality of life for retirees, followed by Ireland.

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