The Top Seven Places to Retire
By Rob Budden
These days most of us can expect our retirement to last for more than a couple of decades. So, with life expectancy on the rise where you choose to spend those twilight years is more important than ever.
 life expectancy 预期寿命。
 twilight years 古稀之年。
Panama, the southernmost country in Central America tops the 2016 global retirement havens listings compiled byInternational Living, with what the magazine describes as “hands down the best package of retirement benefits in the world”. These include discounts for retirees on transport, entertainment, medicine and energy bills.
To receive these wide array of benefits all you need is a Pensionado Visa, for which you need to be over 18 years of age and have a pension of at least $1,000 a month to qualify (both private or social-security payments count). The currency, the Panamanian balboa, is pegged to the dollar, so US retirees shouldn’t face shocks from currency swings.
Savings will go a long way here too. Even without these pension benefits, living costs are already low compared to many countries in Europe, North America and Australasia, with a three-course meal for two in a mid-range restaurant in Panama costing $30, according to numbeo.com, a website that tracks the prices of everyday items.
 mid-range restaurant中档餐厅。
Property prices are also reasonable, with foreigners having the same property rights as Panamanians. Purchasing a three-bedroom property in the popular mountain town of Boquete would cost about $179,000, according to globalpropertyguide.com.
Ecuador ranks second in the 2016 listings, compiled by International Living magazine, on its generous retirement benefits, affordable housing and a great climate.
For housing costs, there are few countries that can beat Ecuador. In the popular colonial city of Cuenca, for example, a two-bedroom apartment can be rented for $500 a month or less.
To live here though, retirees will need to learn Spanish, as English is not widely spoken and expats will have to adapt to a limited national road infrastructure.
But there are plenty of perks. Like Panama, Ecuador offers a wide range of desirable retiree benefits, including half-price public transport for those aged 65 or over and IVA (value-added tax) refunds on many purchases.
For year-round sunshine and diversity, consider Malaysia, which offers everything from tropical beaches and remote rainforests to the high-rise bustle of capital, Kuala Lumpur. This former British colony is also an inexpensive place to live, with International Living placing it among the cheapest places to live in its global cost of living index.
Add to this widely-spoken English, low cost of restaurants and direct foreign ownership of property freehold, and it is easy to see the country’s appeal for older expats.
The magazine reports that a couple can live comfortably in a spacious luxury apartment for less than $1,000 a month. Xpatulator.com, a website that analyses costs for expats, rates healthcare and accommodation costs in Malaysia as “very low”. But be warned, not everything is cheap here: many imported goods, from cars to wine spirits, are often sky-high as a result of local taxes.
Under the country’s second-home program, retiree residency is relatively easy to obtain. The visa lasts for 10 years and extends to your spouse and children. The minimum monthly income requirement is 10,000Malaysian ringgit (around $2,320). Retirees also typically benefit from pension, or social-security income, which is exempt from Malaysian taxes.