The World’s Top Ten Retirement Havens

The World’s Top Ten Retirement Havens

Are you prepared for your retirement? Do you feel you are well on the way to creating a comfortable life for yourself in your retirement years? But have you given any thought to what the current economic climate is doing to your retirement nest egg—if so, you are likely to be concerned…

Unfortunately, retirement for many is just a dream, due to the increasing cost of living in the U.S. It is sickening to think, that after years of working hard to make ends meet and putting aside money for your dream retirement, that you may be forced to give up that dream. All because you will struggle to afford health care and living costs.

And this doom and gloom does not only apply to those thinking of retiring in the near future. Today’s U.S. baby boomers are approaching retirement at a time when the U.S. economy is sluggish, the bear market has pummeled their investment portfolios, and retirement pensions are no longer a sure thing.

They will likely face greater financial pressures in retirement than their parents did. And in greater numbers than ever, they will seek out alternatives to merely scraping by in the U.S.

But every day, a savvy few join the ranks of retirees living like royalty—but on tiny budgets. These people left the U.S. behind and got more for their retirement dollar in greener pastures.



Long a popular destination for European expats, vacationers, and second-home owners, Brazil is an almost unknown commodity to North Americans. We think that may change as word gets out about what Brazil has to offer and how cheap things can be here…

Brazilis the world’s fifth-largest country, and, in fact, is larger than Europe as well as the U.S., if you weren’t counting Alaska. It takes up most of South America, and borders every country on the continent except Chile and Ecuador. Brazil is only 1,700 miles from Africa, and the north-eastern city of Fortaleza is actually closer to Lisbon, Portugal than New York.

This is a country with almost 5,000 miles of beautiful, brilliant white-sand beaches lining clear, warm, Atlantic waters. It also boasts fantastic weather, stately colonial cities, and mountains with spring-fresh weather. And don’t forget the Amazon basin, with enough adventure opportunity to satisfy any traveler. And Carnival, the pre-Lenten celebration, that brings millions of people from all over the world.


The climate is mostly tropical (Brazil has the world’s longest tropical coast), with temperate climates found in the south. Much of the coast enjoys a pleasant onshore breeze, which makes for agreeable weather and clean air.

A booming economy

Even during the current global financial turmoil, International Living is still extremely bullish on Brazil.

Brazil’s domestic economy is booming. The country is energy independent…and makes its own airplanes, its own automobiles…as well as its own food, clothing, shoes and appliances.

This is exactly the reason why Brazil was well on its way to becoming the darling of the BRICs (the four countries with the most powerful developing economies—Brazil, Russia, India, and China) remain the same. The world needs food and energy…and successful countries will need to produce real things. A forecast by The Economist has Brazil still growing at 4.6% in 2008 and 3.4% in 2009. Not bad considering what we’re seeing in the western world. When the global economy recovers Brazil will be set to take off.

Today, Brazil is emerging into a First-World country, with all the amenities, infrastructure, and conveniences you would naturally expect in a Western First World nation…but the prices…specifically the price of beachfront…are a blast from the past…for now.

Where to look in Brazil


Serving as the glimmering centerpiece for the state of Ceará (on Brazil’s northeast coast), the capital city of Fortaleza is our top destination in Brazil right now. Thanks to the state’s investment in roads and infrastructure—as well as the Department of Tourism’s current publicity campaign—tourism in the area has jumped 25% in less than two years.

Fortaleza boasts its own beautiful in-city beaches, a sizzling nightlife, and great restaurants. The city has three sides: its old historic center and non-touristy downtown areas; a gleaming in-town stretch of beach with great waterfront restaurants and highrises; and quieter sections of beautiful, palm-lined white-sand beaches reminiscent of the Caribbean. It’s a combination of lifestyle choices that’s pretty hard to beat.

Yet you can still buy a downtown apartment with a fantastic sea view for $150,000 and beachfront lots go for as little as $15,000. Fortaleza—and the surrounding coast in this part of northern Brazil—is the leading edge of the last frontier; the last chance to own part of a stunning tropical beach at prices that you won’t find elsewhere in Latin America.

São Luiz

São Luiz is located on a large tropical island of the same name, and is the capital of the state of Maranhão. São Luiz is a fascinating cultural blend of French, Dutch, African, and Portuguese influences. The French influence is reflected in the food and bakeries. The rich African influence comes from the large slave population that worked the cotton and sugar that once made São Luiz rich.

Built on rolling hills, São Luiz’s historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with a remarkable 3,500 colonial buildings still standing. Some of its narrow, cobble-stone streets are pedestrians-only, while many others are barely wide enough to permit passage of one car. São Luiz feels like a genuine version of Brazil…one that’s not reserved for foreigners. There’s no place in Brazil more fun to be than São Luiz.


2 Responses to “The World’s Top Ten Retirement Havens”

  1. CultureChoc2010 Says:

    I’d love to retire in Paris…..

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