One of my ten most-hated money saving tips is move to a foreign country. Separately, I've suggested retirees can afford to retire by moving to a foreign country (when they aren't able to retire here in the US.) Both of these ideas are built upon cost savings -- that it's cheaper to live in a foreign country. But now there's a list of where cost is only one factor -- quality of life is the major part of the results. In fact, here's how various countries were scored and what percentage each factor was weighted in the decision process:
Here's how the countries were scored:
- Real estate. Weight: 15%
- Entertainment, recreation and culture. Weight: 10%.
- Cost of living. Weight: 20%.
- Safety and stability. Weight: 5%.
- Health care. Weight: 20%.
- Climate. Weight: 5%.
- Special benefits. Weight: 20%.
- Infrastructure. Weight: 5%.
Given these factors, here's the ranking of the best places to retire:
- Costa Rica
- New Zealand
- Dominican Republic
- United Kingdom
- South Africa
And some more interesting findings:
1. Brazil scored highest in real estate (92 out of 100) and the United Kingdom scored last (23).
2. Italy ranked #1 in entertainment/culture (100) while Honduras placed last (34).
3. Ecuador was best in cost of living (73) while Ireland (29) was worst.
4. Several countries scored a perfect 100 in safety including Uruguay, Italy, France, Argentina, Australia, Malta, Spain, Chile, Greece, New Zealand, Portugal, U.S., Slovenia, Ireland, Croatia and United Kingdom. Bottom of the list were Thailand and Colombia (71).
5. Best in health care was France (100) while South Africa was the worst (50).
6. Malta scored best in climate (96) while Malaysia was last (40).
7. Panama was tops in special benefits (86) while Croatia brought up the rear (20.)
8. The US was tops in infrastructure (100) while Malta and Dominican Republic tied for last (34).
9. The US was killed by a very low score in "special benefits" -- programs, etc. that made it easier for foreigners to move to the country. It scored a paltry 27 here.
10. The US beat out several countries when it came to costs, but many more beat it.
11. In order to be at the top of the list, a country had to have high to middle-high scores on all measures.
Obviously, different people value different things, so while one person may love Ecuador for the climate, safety and housing, another may prefer France for great health care and the culture. Still, the list is food for thought. Maybe a move to a foreign country isn't out of the question for many of us -- at least at retirement if not sooner.