Travel, Leisure & Fun for South Valley Adults

Panama Tops's Global Retirement Index

For the 11th time, Panama takes the top spot in's Annual Global Retirement Index.

"Some say the only constant in life is change," says Jessica Ramesch, International Living Panama editor. "But after more than 15 years in Panama, I've found that some of the best things in life remain the same. It's no surprise to me that this tiny powerhouse has once again taken the number one spot in International Living's Annual Global Retirement Index.

"We've been here before...and with good reason. That's because, when it comes to overall benefits and value, Panama is very tough to beat. All any doubter has to do is make a list.

"Start with Panama's geographical position and climate. Just a three-hour flight from Miami, it's perfectly positioned between North and South America, on a narrow isthmus between the Pacific and the Caribbean," she continued. "It's warm and tropical, but completely outside the treacherous hurricane belt – but it's not just the climate.

"The simple fact is that, here, all legal residents are entitled to 20% off prescription medications if they're of 'pensioner' age. And the threshold is low – just 55 for women, 60 for men.

"Panama may not be perfect - no country is - but I wouldn't trade it for anything," said Ramesch. "As a single woman, I feel safe and free to live my life here, whether I'm going out to dinner and Ubering home late at night, or driving cross-country to visit friends. Perhaps that's because this is truly a land of opportunity, home to thousands of hard-working, upwardly mobile locals and immigrants.

"There have been a lot of ups and downs over the past couple years - in Panama and all over the world, but this country has a well-deserved reputation as Central America's powerhouse. And here's the thing about living in a powerhouse nation: Panama was perfectly poised to weather the financial and health-related storm, with excellent healthcare and a strong economy that was bound to bounce back."

Ramesch is just one of many who have discovered the joys of Panama - the worlds #1 retirement destination for 2022.

"When we saw that we could get a (water) view for less than a quarter of a million dollars, we said right away, 'We're in!' It was like a dream come true."

That's what Judy Whaling, a retiree happily settled in Panama, says about her new home. A native Californian, she recalls a time when regular folks could afford to live within easy reach of the beach and enjoy it as part of their day-to-day lives. But no more.

"I couldn't afford a view in Southern California... not even for the weekend," she says. So she and her husband left - and upgraded their lifestyle in the process.

"Now, here I am in Panama looking out my bedroom window, and I see miles of shoreline, and mountains, too. This is gold to us...we struck gold."

The Global Retirement Index's 2022 Global Retirement Index is a comprehensive and in-depth survey. Their editors and correspondents focus on actually living overseas, not on finding the latest fashionable vacation spot. They report hard facts and practical details such as rental costs, medical provision and economic stability, as well as the more enjoyable things like climate and the cost of a nice meal out.

The index scores the world's top 25 retirement destinations across 10 categories, including cost of living, governance, retiree benefits, climate and healthcare. This year's index - the 31st annual from the magazine - examines 25 safe, good-value destinations beyond the U.S. or Canada, comparing, contrasting, ranking and rating them in categories to select spots across the globe where a retired couple can live a comfortable, carefree life on as little as $2,000 a month.

"This Index is designed to be a cheat-sheet of sorts, to help point people toward the spots that might make the most sense for them overseas," says Jennifer Stevens, International Living's executive editor.

"All 25 countries we consider are worth your attention, so the Index is most useful if you come to it with some sense for your own priorities. Maybe you're most concerned about cost of living, or proximity to home, or access to good affordable healthcare," she said. "Whatever it may be - have those things in mind, and you can use the Index to narrow down your options.

"The idea of going overseas to a place where the living is good and the costs are low is more timely than ever.

"That's because going abroad provides a viable solution for lots of folks considering what they want their lives to look like over the next decade-or two or three decades.

"Americans today are looking long and hard at their own values, and at the way they spend their days and many are coming to the conclusion that they need a change," Stevens continued. "They want more time with family and friends, more time to pursue their interests, more freedom to arrange their days the way they prefer.

"But it can be hard to know how to afford that life. Overseas, in the right places, it's easy.

"Three million baby boomers retired early in the pandemic - some of whom have enough to retire comfortably and so took that early retirement voluntarily," she said. "But others of whom weren't prepared to stop working so soon and now are worried about their nest eggs holding out.

"Millions more people lost their jobs or were furloughed. And then you bring the 'Great Resignation' into the mix. The upshot is that people - in huge numbers - are finding themselves at a crossroads. And going overseas can provide a path to that better-balanced, more affordable life folks are craving. IL's Global Retirement Index provides a roadmap."

"Our choice of countries reflects a huge range of lifestyles and locations. They're the places we think you'll find the best combination of factors to suit your overseas retirement. We've got people on the ground in each of them, reporting facts and figures, and sharing their insights about the places they enjoy calling home."

According to's 2022 Global Retirement Index, the world's top 10 retirement destinations are:

#1 Panama

#2 Costa Rica

#3 Mexico

#4 Portugal

#5 Colombia

#6 Ecuador

#7 Malta

#8 France

#9 Spain

#10 Uruguay

International Living's 2022 Annual Global Retirement Index can be found at "The World's Best Places to Retire in 2022" at


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