This article is from the January 2016 Issue of Forever Young

 2016 January Panama

 Panama has long been a favorite for retirees and this year it has taken the top spot in our retirement index. Whether it’s Panama City’s glittering promenade or the white-sand beaches of the Caribbean coast…Panama has somewhere for everyone.

Forever Young editor’s note:  While we live in the Southern Interior of B.C. and consider ourselves to be blessed and already living in the retirement Mecca, nevertheless we have reproduced this list from International Living to assist folks looking for a LONGSTAY vacation.  It may be of assistance in selecting a place for a longer stay winter or other season vacation… As I write this, it is snowing out and has been for a few days.  Many of these photos look like the place I wish I were right now!!!  S.N.T.

Panama is the best place in the world to retire in 2016, according to a new Index by the retire-overseas experts at The Index, now in its 25th year, ranks, rates, compares, and contrasts retirement destinations all over the world to come up with the best countries for retirees to consider.

“Researched over months with the help of our ever-growing team of correspondents, editors, and contributors all over the world, this Retirement Index is the ultimate resource for helping you find your ideal retirement haven,” reports Jennifer Stevens,’s Executive Editor.

“We strive to make it better every year. We refine, we add, we whittle…with one goal: to get the most accurate results. Our belief is: The more input, the clearer and more useful the outcome.”

The winner, Panama, scores high across the board in all categories, but receives a perfect score of 100 in three categories—Retiree Benefits and Discounts; Visas and Residence; and Entertainment and Amenities.

Panama has long been a favorite of retirees, who have a choice of lifestyles along both Caribbean and Pacific coasts, on white-sand islands, in mountain valleys, or in cosmopolitan Panama City. Panama is close to the U.S. (a three-hour flight from Miami) and also has the best package of retirement benefits in the world.

“The Pensionado Residence Program is the most popular option for potential expats for many good reasons,” says Panama Editor Jessica Ramesch. “It is highly effective in drawing people to Panama because, in addition to providing a permanent residence solution, it also entitles retirees or Pensionados to a host of money-saving discounts.”

Runner-up in the Index this year is Ecuador, getting a score of 100 in the Buying and Renting category. In the colonial city of Cuenca, for example, a two-bedroom apartment rents for $500 or less, while the same property in the popular mountain town of Cotacachi is $450 to $600 a month…or less. Even in the capital, Quito—where expats have great healthcare and amenities within easy reach—rentals can be had for under $1,000.

Ecuador also offers great retiree benefits—those 65 and over immediately qualify for half-price public transport. And seniors receive a monthly refund of up to $204 for the IVA (value-added) tax charged on many purchases.

Malaysia comes in first for Asia in the Index, and in fifth position overall. And Spain is the best country in Europe for retirees, coming in ninth position overall.

“In addition to the eight categories we consider in the Index every year, we’ve added two new ones for 2016,” Stevens reports. “Time and again, we’ve heard from readers looking for a healthier lifestyle overseas. So we’ve added a Healthy Lifestyle category. And for anyone looking to retire abroad, a key consideration is the ease and expense of getting a residence visa that is right for your circumstances. So we added a new Visas and Residence category.”’s 2016 Index is the most comprehensive yet. The full report plus all the scores for the top 23 countries, can be read here: The Best Places to Retire in 2016.

For 35 years, has been the leading authority for anyone looking for global retirement or relocation opportunities. Through its monthly magazine and related e-letters, extensive website, podcasts, online bookstore, and events held around the world, provides information and services to help its readers live better, travel farther, have more fun, save more money, and find better business opportunities when they expand their world beyond their own shores. has more than 200 correspondents traveling the globe, investigating the best opportunities for travel, retirement, real estate, and investment.