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Retirement location
Old 04-16-2015   #1
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Retirement location

RFF members live all around the globe and some travel extensively, so I'd like to ask this knowledgable group about retirement locations.

Living in Canada is great except for the winter months. No longer being tied to a job opens the possibility of living elsewhere during these unpleasant months. I'm looking for ideas for low-key places to escape to. Criteria that locations must meet are: personal safety, inexpensive cost of living, and laid back/casual/relaxed atmosphere accepting of "retired snowbirds".

Any ideas?
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Old 04-16-2015   #2
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Dear Frank,

If I knew what I know now I'd probably have moved to Arles 13 years ago instead of where I am -- the far north of the old (and new) Aquitaine, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquitai...itou-Charentes -- but most of rural France is delightful. Two questions, though: how's your French, and can you sort out medical insurance? I'm very, very, very glad I'm an EU citizen with the right to live anywhere in the EU and EU-wide medical cover.

Cheers,

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Old 04-16-2015   #3
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Costa Rica, Belize. I have some friends who live in Chiang Mai, Thailand during the winter months. They enjoy the inexpensive living and the medical care is pretty good from what they say.

I was watching a program a few weeks ago about Medellín, Columbia. It is supposed to be a great place to live with a large English speaking, American expat population. Great medical care too.
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Old 04-16-2015   #4
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Quote:
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Living in Canada is great except for the winter months. No longer being tied to a job opens the possibility of living elsewhere during these unpleasant months.
I'm still a loooong way from retirement but, living in Ottawa, I would already like to be a snowbird. I've had it with winter.

There are so many places you can go that would, I think, be great. But for me, Palm Springs California (where we go every two years), or Arizona (Sedona in particular) are wonderful options.

The convenience of either is dependent upon where you are located in Canada (because flying to France or Spain) would be just as easy if you are in the east. The advantage, IMO, is a completely predictable climate, English speaking, a familiar culture and way of life, incredible landscape and you don't feel too far way from family and friends. Of course all of what I just mentioned could be seen as negatives for some.

As for the cost of living, a few years ago you could have done quite well in either location if you wanted to purchase a property but Palm Springs has really picked up in the last few years (not sure about Arizona). But otherwise you have a low cost of living when the dollar is at a reasonable exchange due to everything being at least a bit cheaper in the US.
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Old 04-16-2015   #5
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Quote:
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Criteria that locations must meet are: personal safety, inexpensive cost of living, and laid back/casual/relaxed atmosphere accepting of "retired snowbirds".

Any ideas?
Thailand or Malaysia? English is widely spoken too, especially in Malaysia. Weather-wise, the winter months are quite nice, but unless you're ok with heat and humidity you'll want to head home before summer kicks in.

Unless you're planning to buy a property somewhere, why not try somewhere new each year?
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Old 04-16-2015   #6
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Thanks guys!

Roger: Je parl France' com un vash Espanol. So, not so good! We did enjoy our week in southern France back in 2009, and enjoyed meeting you!

The southern US is convenient because of the language and being able to drive there.

Asia: that sounds exciting. Finding the right location there would be very important.
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Old 04-16-2015   #7
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suggest you consider humidity as well - there's a big difference between humid heat and dry heat!
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Old 04-16-2015   #8
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Costa Rica, Belize. I have some friends who live in Chiang Mai, Thailand during the winter months. They enjoy the inexpensive living and the medical care is pretty good from what they say.

I was watching a program a few weeks ago about Medellín, Columbia. It is supposed to be a great place to live with a large English speaking, American expat population. Great medical care too.
Frank,

Austin is high on my list and Seattle if you want urban with progressive thinking.

Costa Rica, Belize and Panama offer a lot like Keith mentions above, but Panama is where English is most spoken.

Funny thing is Vancouver is another location due to a gentiler climate for urban living.

I'd love to remain in NYC as long as possible though. No car is needed so you save about $10K a year. Walking will keep you alive, and it is a photographer's paradise. Lots of free things to do with out having to spend any money. In a way the world comes to you, especially if you have the personality. Taxes and housing is high though.

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Old 04-16-2015   #9
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Tupelo, Mississippi. No kidding. University town, lovely houses for cheap, night-time activities, cultural events, mild winters, interesting, warm people. And Elvis' birthplace. I'm trying to talk my wife into it.
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Old 04-16-2015   #10
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Frank I'm retiring as soon as my house sells. I've lived in Knoxville Tennessee or close by since 1951. It a beautiful place in the foothills of the mountains. There are several large lakes if you like the water. Winters are generally mild and summers quite warm. We do have humidity but there's always a cool place to relax. The cost of living is low and we have no state income tax. We're becoming a retirement destination for many from the north.

For me I'm retiring to southern Arizona in the mountains south of Ticson.

Want to buy my home in Knoxville?
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Old 04-16-2015   #11
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Off the cuff......

Apart from the usual Canadian snowbird destinations such as Florida and Costa Rica (which is a very attractive destination), have a look at Malaysia which has an official expatriate retirement policy: http://www.mm2h.gov.my/index.php/en/ It has first class medical facilities and English is the lingua franca. It's also hot and humid. And read the fine print. Thailand attracts a lot of retirees but be ready to deal with a.o. a complex language and a Kafkaesque bureaucracy. Portugal will allow you to settle there and gives you a 10 year tax holiday. Some Spanish provinces do not tax retirement income. France used to be an attractive destination but real estate prices in a number of regions are very high now and the tax situation is continuously changing. All this said, if you are wealthy, nothing beats a neat spread on the shores of Lac Leman in Geneva, Switzerland.

[I just changed the post to show the official website of the Malaysian Government with regards to the second home progamme]
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Old 04-16-2015   #12
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Frank I'm retiring as soon as my house sells. I've lived in Knoxville Tennessee or close by since 1951. It a beautiful place in the foothills of the mountains. There are several large lakes if you like the water. Winters are generally mild and summers quite warm. We do have humidity but there's always a cool place to relax. The cost of living is low and we have no state income tax. We're becoming a retirement destination for many from the north.

For me I'm retiring to southern Arizona in the mountains south of Ticson.

Want to buy my home in Knoxville?
I have about $1300 in my Paypal account.
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Old 04-16-2015   #13
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alberta is lovely in the winter...lots of sunshine...
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Old 04-16-2015   #14
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Retirement'a still a bit far, about 8 years, but the place will definitely be Mauritius.

My wife 's from there and I just love the place!

We tried to move there 7 years ago but the clever plan we had failed. That has not put me off and as soon as possible I'll make the move !
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Old 04-16-2015   #15
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if you still like winter, but want a less harsh experience....
Kentucky, beautiful landscapes across the state, Southern hospitably is still present, Louisville (larger than Indianapolis) offers plenty of things to do, along with street photography.

I am Indiana, and have visited... we have even talked about moving their after I am 62...
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Old 04-16-2015   #16
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Quote:
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Off the cuff......

Apart from the usual Canadian snowbird destinations such as Florida and Costa Rica (which is a very attractive destination), have a look at Malaysia which has an official expatriate retirement policy: http://www.12retireinmalaysia.com/ It has first class medical facilities and English is the lingua franca. It's also hot and humid. Thailand attracts a lot of retirees but be ready to deal with a.o. a complex language and a Kafkaesque bureaucracy. Portugal will allow you to settle there and gives you a 10 year tax holiday. Some Spanish provinces do not tax retirement income. France used to be an attractive destination but real estate prices in a number of regions are very high now and the tax situation is continuously changing. All this said, if you are wealthy, nothing beats a neat spread on the shores of Lac Leman in Geneva, Switzerland.
Dear Peter,

And in others they're still silly cheap: 40,000€ -- call it $45,000 US -- for a village house in the next village, 3 minutes from the café-bar, butcher, and the best baker's for miles around. Under 2 miles/3 km from the nearest doctor's surgery, under 10 miles/about 15 km to the nearest hospital...

Portugal is delightful but I do find the language shomewat tortuoshly shlurred. I realize that none of this is much use to Frank but I'm hoping he won't mind if we broaden it out for the benefit of anyone else contemplating the same sort of thing.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 04-16-2015   #17
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You guys are cool, I hope I can still find a place like this to discuss locations...in 40 years
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Old 04-16-2015   #18
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You guys are cool, I hope I can still find a place like this to discuss locations...in 40 years
I sure as hell hope you can too. Although my wife and I mark the beginning and the end of the true "baby boom" (1945 and 1950), we have quite a lot of sympathy the the view that all too many of our generation were lucky, greedy bar stewards who shat all over your generation. Not all of us, but too many. Though when I think about it, it ain't so much the 1945-50 generation that was the most selfish and reactionary -- some of us were hippies -- as the slightly younger so-called baby boomers, the 1950-1955 generation.

But then, it is in the nature of old men to believe that the world is going to hell in a hand basket.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 04-16-2015   #19
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In Ontario, Canada this morning; Princess Wynne just sold part of Hydro to put us deeper in debt via higher Hydro bills. Our cost of living is going up steady. Good luck on your move Frank.
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Old 04-16-2015   #20
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Asheville, NC! See you there!
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Old 04-16-2015   #21
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I'm about an hour and a half south of Roger and can confirm that there are bargain priced houses in our nearby villages too.
Wouldn't want to make promises to anyone that they'd find it ideal here but year round we're on average 6C/11F warmer than the west of England.
Aside from the pleasant surprise of buying a house four times bigger for two thirds the price of what we sold in Gloucestershire the most delightful part of being here is losing the sense that the world is overpopulated.
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Old 04-16-2015   #22
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"But then, it is in the nature of old men to believe that the world is going to hell in a hand basket."

Love that, Roger!

Thanks oldtimer. (Luckily my modest pension is indexed.)
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Old 04-16-2015   #23
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Though when I think about it, it ain't so much the 1945-50 generation that was the most selfish and reactionary -- some of us were hippies -- as the slightly younger so-called baby boomers, the 1950-1955 generation.
Hold on a moment... I plead "Not guilty"...

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But then, it is in the nature of old men to believe that the world is going to hell in a hand basket.
Very true!
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Old 04-16-2015   #24
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Frank,
Re-reading again your criteria it seems to me you wish to stay at home except in the harsh winter months - do I have that right?

That being the case - you wouldn't need to be tied to one warmer location but could do long term renting (3-4 months) in different countries each year.

You will get to see more of the world - without making firm commitments and the language barrier in some places would be no big deal.

I have been to Costa Rica on and off for 4 years and I can tell you it would not meet 2 of your criteria (inexpensive cost of living and personal safety) are 2 big issues that could disappoint you.

The RFF member here who suggested Kentucky - might be onto something in that you have a neighboring country that has huge variety yet strangely familiar and opens the possibility of overland RV living too?

If you do want to try a warmer/cheaper/safer place in our winter months why not try Peru? To me this beats Costa Rica/Panama/Southern Europe.

all the best,
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Old 04-16-2015   #25
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Cuba meet your criteria
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Old 04-16-2015   #26
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As Jon suggested Malaysia is a great place to spend your winters. I am currently in Penang and I love it! Wonderful people, wonderful food, great places to hang around, and very very cheap.

Regards,

Boris
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Old 04-16-2015   #27
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Frank,
Re-reading again your criteria it seems to me you wish to stay at home except in the harsh winter months - do I have that right?

That being the case - you wouldn't need to be tied to one warmer location but could do long term renting (3-4 months) in different countries each year...
much agreed.
if you like to give Asia a try I'd recommend Thailand, great culture, very good food, a fun and easy going place and quality / price ratio is hard to beat, cities e.g. Chiang Mai, Hua Hin. Malaysia, Penang has been becoming a retirees favorite, even greater variety of very good food, one could argue a bit less fun, beer is dear

@ taskoni: have you visited Taiping? Not far to the south from Penang, an amazing place, incredible it has not been more discovered
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Old 04-16-2015   #28
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I see this post gently sliding into Babylonian chatter and I'm signing off. To the OP...whatever you do, make sure you truly understand what you and your partner want out of a particular retirement location....and then research the hell out of a variety of options. Cheers, Peter
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Old 04-16-2015   #29
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Cuba meet your criteria
... now that is a really good idea.
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Old 04-16-2015   #30
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As Jon suggested Malaysia is a great place to spend your winters. I am currently in Penang and I love it! Wonderful people, wonderful food, great places to hang around, and very very cheap.

Regards,

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Old 04-16-2015   #31
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If you fancy flying a bit further the east side of the Adriatic is really good value ... the Euro is holding down the local currencies and they're pretty safe by north american standards ... even Albania is fairly relaxed these days, and north of there all the way up to Trieste is quite settled these days.

Although its winter in the Med you'd probably not notice ... just remember your raincoat
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Old 04-16-2015   #32
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We visited Portland, Ore. a while back, that's a fabulous place, beautiful environment and friendly natives. Not sure of the cost of housing. I think the winters are reasonably mild (more rain than snow).

I can't suggest Philly, the last winters have had a Canadian tinge, and it ain't as cheap as it used to be.

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Old 04-16-2015   #33
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Peter I am sure you agree, hopefully the wording 'Babylonian chatter' direct after 'Thailand, fun and beer' will NOT augment a limited view someone could have of this truly great country.
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Old 04-16-2015   #34
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We visited Portland, Ore. a while back, that's a fabulous place, beautiful environment and friendly natives. Not sure of the cost of housing. I think the winters are reasonably mild (more rain than snow).

I can't suggest Philly, the last winters have had a Canadian tinge, and it ain't as cheap as it used to be.

Randy
Randy,

Portland is a very cool city. Bike friendly, good mass transit, and has progressive thinking people.

Last winter was the tale of two Portlands: in Portland Maine the coldest winter on record; in Portland Oregon the warmist winter on record. Bonus is that Seattle is not that far away if you need a bigger city.

Also consider water supply which is becoming a scarce commodidy. The only parts of the U.S. that have a sustainable water supply is basically the North west and the northeast. Canadian water by treaty feeds California where half our produce comes from. In Texas and California there are severe drought conditions. In places like Arizona the water supply is being depleted.

For me coming from New York many places will have about half the cost of living. I looked into Savannah GA. a very pretty city. Went in August to see what it was like during the most humid time. The air is clean and I actually think the smog and pollution in NYC in hot weather is a lot worse and is more oppressive. As long as you are in the shade it isn't so bad because the air moves and it is not stagnant and close like in New York. The bad about Savannah is crime. We were told not to be out after dark. In Savannah I loved the southern manners, and I wish we had that polite way of the south in New York.

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Old 04-16-2015   #35
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Peter I am sure you agree, hopefully the wording 'Babylonian chatter' direct after 'Thailand, fun and beer' will NOT augment a limited view someone could have of this truly great country
Nah, Thailand is still on my list.
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Old 04-16-2015   #36
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I sure as hell hope you can too. Although my wife and I mark the beginning and the end of the true "baby boom" (1945 and 1950), we have quite a lot of sympathy the the view that all too many of our generation were lucky, greedy bar stewards who shat all over your generation. Not all of us, but too many. Though when I think about it, it ain't so much the 1945-50 generation that was the most selfish and reactionary -- some of us were hippies -- as the slightly younger so-called baby boomers, the 1950-1955 generation.

But then, it is in the nature of old men to believe that the world is going to hell in a hand basket.

Cheers,

R.

Roger,

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Post–World War II baby boom were between the years 1946 and 1964.

Cheers,

Keith
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Old 04-16-2015   #37
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Randy,

Portland is a very cool city. Bike friendly, good mass transit, and has progressive thinking people.

Last winter was the tale of two Portlands: in Portland Maine the coldest winter on record; in Portland Oregon the warmist winter on record. Bonus is that Seattle is not that far away if you need a bigger city.

Also consider water supply which is becoming a scarce commodidy. The only parts of the U.S. that have a sustainable water supply is basically the North west and the northeast. Canadian water by treaty feeds California where half our produce comes from. In Texas and California there are severe drought conditions. In places like Arizona the water supply is being depleted.

For me coming from New York many places will have about half the cost of living. I looked into Savannah GA. a very pretty city. Went in August to see what it was like during the most humid time. The air is clean and I actually think the smog and pollution in NYC in hot weather is a lot worse and is more oppressive. As long as you are in the shade it isn't so bad because the air moves and it is not stagnant and close like in New York. The bad about Savannah is crime. We were told not to be out after dark. In Savannah I loved the southern manners, and I wish we had that polite way of the south in New York.

Cal

Cal,

I found the same politeness in Texas. But at night, after work, these were the same people who covered themselves in bedsheets burning crosses on other peoples lawns......
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Old 04-16-2015   #38
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I have about $1300 in my Paypal account.
That might not do it but if you scrape together a little more you get a really nce & free darkroom and 450 sq ft studio with 10' ceilings. You'll only be 5 minutes from the lake and 60 min from the mountains.
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Old 04-16-2015   #39
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if you still like winter, but want a less harsh experience....
Kentucky, beautiful landscapes across the state, Southern hospitably is still present, Louisville (larger than Indianapolis) offers plenty of things to do, along with street photography.

I am Indiana, and have visited... we have even talked about moving their after I am 62...
Kentucky is beautiful and very retire friendly.
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Old 04-16-2015   #40
mfogiel
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I have been discussing the same topic with my Canadian friend yesterday, although he has also a EU passport. I would heartily recommend the Mediterranean. Depending on what languages you speak, there is a lot of good choices. Malta ( very warm, low taxes for retirees, English spoken, fairly cheap), Portugal ( 10 year tax exemption for retirees - not sure if this applies for non EU citizens, very cheap, nice expat community in the south), Spain, still cheap, Italy, somewhat more expensive, but extremely beautiful and best food in the world (very friendly people), France, best overall balance between civilisation and joy de vivre, but more expensive, particularly Cote d'Azur. I have missed out some other places to think about: Croatia, Greece, Cyprus. Once you spend a winter around the Mediterranean, you will not want to go back to your freezer.
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