If you've already retired or are within a year of retirement and are not totally tied into where you live now, you have a happy decision to make - you can choose to move to one of the best cities to retire.
What are the best cities to retire? We've selected six of them based on these criteria:
* Cost of living
* Arts & Culture
Given these criteria, there are three best cities to retire here in the US, and three outside the US. They are:
Panama City, Panama
Panama has become a very popular place for expatriate Americans and for good reason. It offers a tropical climate, friendly people, a stable economy and is close enough to the US that it's easy to come back to visit children, friends and grandchildren.
Panama is a country you can get your arms around as it is just 30,193 square miles or slightly smaller than South Carolina. Its total population is about 3,300,00 and the country has an excellent infrastructure. Healthcare there is very good as Panama City is home to several modern hospitals. Its population is just 814,000 and the city boasts a dense skyline with high-rise apartment buildings and condos. Panama levies no taxes on foreign income so if all your income comes from the US, you'll pay no taxes at all.
Melbourne Beach, Florida
Retire to this seaside community and you will probably never want for visitors. It's such a beautiful small town and close to such great places to visit, you can just about count on seeing a constant parade of friends, children and grandchildren.
Melbourne Beach is not in Florida's bargain basement when it comes to housing but is less expensive than many other Atlantic Coast towns and cities. Plus, almost every house comes with an ocean view, as almost all of them are not more than a block from the ocean. Melbourne Beach is just a 90-minute drive from Orlando and all it has to offer - another reason why you won't want for visitors.
The median home value in Melbourne Beach is $425,000 and its cost of living is 32.3% above the US average.
Yucca Valley, California
If you want to buy a house in San Francisco, get ready for culture shock, as the median home price there was $750,000 in 2010. However, if you go south into the desert, you can find a home for around $195,000 in Yucca Valley.
This town is an especially great place for people suffering from arthritis because of the abundance of yucca plants (a great home remedy for arthritis) and it's warm, dry climate
Yucca Valley's population is 18,837 and it offers a nice combination of a very reasonable cost of housing and a high degree of amenities for senior citizens. In fact, 21% of its population is age 65 or older. The town is close to Joshua Tree National Park and the San Bernardino Mountains - providing lots of opportunities for outdoor recreation.
Eugene is home to the University of Oregon and offers the kind of art and cultural activities you would expect from a college town. It lies in the Willamette Valley between the Oregon Coast Range and the Cascade Mountains so also offers a plethora of outdoor activities for seniors, including hiking in old-growth forests, biking and exploring the area's countless waterfalls.
Summer is just out of this world in Eugene. There is free entertainment most nights - marching bands, live theater, outdoor movies and all sorts of concerts.
The median price of a home in Eugene is just $242,000, making it a real bargain for people used to paying $300,000 or more for a home. Plus, you can buy a nice, two-story house near the Willamette River and the RiverRidge Golf Course for around $170,000 - even more of a bargain.
San Jose, Costa Rica
Did you know that Costa Rica has no army? It abolished it some years ago and is now officially a neutral country.
San Jose's population is said to be 366,000, though its metropolitan area actually takes in about a third of the country's population. It is 1,161 meters (3809 feet) above sea level and has an average temperature of 77o F. It is the home of the University of Santo Tomas and offers many cultural attractions, including a National Theater, the Gold Museum, and the Lankester Botanical Gardens.
What might be San Jose's most important feature is that it is in Costa Rica - which literally means "rich coast." The country enjoys a more consistent political stability than many of its Latin American neighbors but does have a relatively high rate of inflation. Costa Rica is home to an amazingly rich variety of plants and animals and about 25% of the country 's land area is in national parks and protected areas. One of its national parks is renowned among ecologists for its biodiversity so retirees have much to see and explore. In addition, it has 800 miles of coastline and with 132 on the Caribbean Sea and 631 on the Pacific Ocean - for those who love sea and sand.
Belize City, Belize
Belize is the largest city in Belize with a population of about 80,000. It is located at the mouth of the Belize River on the coast of the Caribbean Sea. The city was virtually destroyed in 1961 by Hurricane Hattie but has been rebuilt since then.
Belize City's climate is tropical with average high temperatures in the 80os F. most of the year. The city has the most educational institutions of any city in Belize, a stable government and economy - fueled mostly by banking and insurance.
Belize offers low-cost or even free medical care and you can get a piece of property for as little as $17.50 a year. Belize has the lowest cost of living in the Caribbean and one of the world's lowest inflation rates. Plus, you can live virtually tax-free under a special government program for foreigners.
There you have 6 of the best cities to retire in the world. You can choose to retire overseas or you can stay close to your own backyard. It all depends on what you are looking for in a retirement destination. Hopefully this has helped you find an idea or two.