These are the best places to retire in 2019, an authority on global retirement and relocation opportunities, has published its Annual Global Retirement Index for 2019 – ranking the best countries to retire in, where couples can live on under R25,000 a month.

The IL rankings take into account hard data across 13 different categories, and ultimately formulates its list with the input of staff, editors and partners around the world.

Among the metrics it uses to determine an ideal retirement destination, is how easy it is for a retired couple to live comfortably on $1,800 a month.

Other aspects that the group looks at includes visa strength, healthcare, climate, cost of living, investment potential, how easy it is to fit in, governance and opportunity.

Opportunity is a new indicator for 2019, which reflects the change seen in retirement where people continue to look for ways to supplement their income or to pursue things they always wanted to do.

For 2019, Panama is ranked as the best country to retire in – a position it has held for the past 10 years in IL’s index.

While it costs more to live comfortably in the country ($2,600 a month), it is described as the ideal location that welcomes foreign retirees, with easily accessible lifestyle elements – such as healthcare and investment opportunities.

“The currency is the US dollar. The tax burden is low. And there’s a large English-speaking population—including a cadre of excellent doctors.”

For most of the countries ranked by IL, the range for monthly cost of living ranges from under $1,800 to $3,000.

Here are the top 25 countries to retire in, according to International Living:

# Country Score
1 Panama 88.9
2 Costa Rica 87.8
3 Mexico 87.4
4 Ecuador 87.0
5 Malaysia 86.0
6 Colombia 85.4
7 Portugal 85.2
8 Peru 84.0
9 Thailand 83.5
10 Spain 82.2
11 France 81.7
12 Cambodia 81.2
12 Italy 81.2
14 Belize 80.8
15 Malta 80.3
16 Honduras 80.0
17 Bolivia 79.8
18 Ireland 79.7
19 Vietnam 79.4
20 Uruguay 78.6
21 Sri Lanka 77.4
22 Dominican Republic 77.2
23 Bali 75.2
24 Croatia 73.4
25 Nicaragua 72.1

South Africa as a retirement destination

South Africa does not appear on any major indices or lists of ideal retirement destinations, despite having a relatively low cost of living.

The last time the country was ranked in an index was in the 2015 Global Retirement Index, compiled by Natixis Global Asset Management, where it ranked as one of the worst 25 countries to retire in (out of around 150 countries measured).

The index has since moved to a different methodology which looks at a much smaller list of countries (around 45), but the factors that scored South Africa down three years ago have not really abated since.

Key among the detrimental factors for South Africa as a retirement destination, well-being (which includes safety and security) had the lowest score out of all countries measured.

Read: What do you mean I need to have R12 million saved by the time I retire?

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These are the best places to retire in 2019