Top retirement destination for Aussies revealed, and it’s not New Zealand

The top five destinations were all in Southeast Asia. Source: Getty.

When it comes to retiring abroad, many people seek a life that will allow their finances to stretch further than they would at home. Now new research has revealed which country is the top retirement destination for senior Australians in 2019.

International Living Australia liaised with real ex-pats to assess the suitability of 15 countries around the world, judging them on four aspects; visas, cost of living, healthcare and climate, for it’s Global Retirement Rankings report.

And it was Thailand that bagged the number one spot, thanks to the Southeast Asian country’s “friendly people, delicious cuisine and affordability”.

Each country was given a score out of 100 in each of the four categories, with the results then pooled together to provide an average score out of 100. Thailand walked away with an impressive score of 91.1.

Rachel Devlin is one such ex-pat who decided to sell up in Australia and make the move to Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand.

“My move wasn’t about escaping a terrible life, but shifting to a healthier one,” Rachel said.

“A few years ago, I didn’t even realise that I yearned for a better lifestyle. It naturally evolved when I moved here. Here, I have time to pause, breathe and really appreciate the time I have.

“I sold my house in Australia and bought property in Thailand. It provides me with an income stream that meant I could kiss goodbye to my old 50-hour work week. Apartments here start at $40,000 – that’s in the bustling city, they get cheaper as you move out into the peaceful suburbs.”

Second place went to Malaysia with 88.3 out of 100. The country ranked so highly thanks to the heavy British influence on the nation, due to the fact Malaysia only gained independence in 1957, along with the year-round warm weather and the low-cost of world class healthcare, with ex-pats paying as little as $28 to see a specialist.

The top five spots on the list all went to Southeast Asian nations, with Vietnam (85.1) taking third place, followed by Bali (84.6) and Cambodia (84.1). All five countries scored very highly when it came to cost of living, with Vietnam even boasting a perfect score of 100.

Slots six to nine went to European countries, Italy, Portugal, Spain and France respectively. While the four continental European nations not surprisingly scored lower than the Asian countries for cost of living, they performed well in the categories of healthcare and visas and residence.

Read more: Aussie retirees transfer more pensions to NZ than any other country.

Last year it was revealed that more pension money is being sent across the ditch, from Australia to New Zealand, than to any other country.

The study was carried out by foreign exchange provider WorldFirst and revealed that almost one fifth of all pension-type transfers that were made in Australia in 2018, made their way across the Tasman Sea.

WorldFirst analysed thousands of its customers pension transfers between 2016 and 2017 and found that 19 per cent chose to send their cash to our closest neighbouring nation in 2017, while 17 per cent of customers chose to move their cash over to the UK to enjoy in retirement.

The figures could be down to Australia’s strong migrant ties with the UK and New Zealand as 5 per cent of Australia’s population are migrants born in the UK, and 2.5 per cent are New Zealanders. While one in five migrant arrivals to New Zealand, between 2016 and 2017, were from Australia.

Top 15 overseas retirement destinations:

  • Thailand – 91.1
  • Malaysia – 88.3
  • Vietnam – 85.1
  • Bali – 84.6
  • Cambodia – 84.1
  • Italy – 82.2
  • Portugal – 81.2
  • Spain – 81.1
  • France – 81
  • Panama – 80.5
  • Costa Rica – 79.6
  • Mexico – 79.4
  • Colombia – 78.8
  • Sri Lanka – 77.7
  • Croatia – 73.3

Would you consider retiring abroad? Does living in Thailand appeal to you?

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your financial or legal situation, objectives or needs. That means it’s not financial product or legal advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a financial or legal decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get independent, licensed financial services or legal advice.

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