Malaysia is the best overseas retirement destination for Aussies

Like Australia, Malaysia has no shortage of beautiful beaches, such as this one in Langkawi.

Fancy getting away from ever-increasing prices and the pressure to downsize? Malaysia is the place to do it, according to a new ranking of the best overseas retirement destinations for Aussies., a site that focuses on retirement destinations and advice, ranked the popular retirement havens around the world on factors including healthcare, visas, lifestyle, amenities, housing, and entertainment.

Malaysia came out on top, in part because everything from housing to dining out is a fraction of the cost of Australia. Good roads are the norm, as is high-speed internet

“Not only are people friendly and helpful but you can talk to them in English, a legacy of when Malaysia was part of the empire,” the site says. “And healthcare is so good, and affordable, that it attracts over a million medical tourists a year.”

International Living notes that seeing a surgeon can cost as little as $16, while a top-class hospital room is prices as low as $40 a night.

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Almost 200,000 Aussies currently live in Malaysia, where foreigners can buy freehold property as long as they meet the local state’s minimum purchase price. Importing your own car and household goods is duty-free, and Malaysia’s visa systems allows visitors to live in the country for up to 20 years without any hassle.

Cyndy Fenner-Smith, who retired from Sydney to Penang, a hip holiday hotspot in Malaysia, with husband Mick, told International Living that the pair now had a better social life than they did back in Australia.

“Everyone’s always out and about [so] it’s easy to meet up with people,” she said.

Vietnam, meanwhile, was Number 1 when judged on the cost of living. 

“Welcoming locals and a thriving expat community are on hand to help you find your feet, plus there’s an abundance of affordable, comfortable and fully furnished rentals available at short-term rates,” International Living found.

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The site cite the costs of an Australian couple living in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s capital. The couple pay $900 a month for a modern, two-bedroom apartment, with the cost of cable TV, Wi-Fi, use of a gym, and a cleaner two days a week included. Fresh produce comes in at less than $1 a kilo in much of Vietnam, while dining out costs around $10 for a couple.

For the best climate, head to Colombia, where the capital Medelin, is known as the City of Eternal Spring because of its temperate climate. The great weather means that Colombia is host to 20 percent of all species on earth, with jungles and rainforests abounding.

“All this gorgeous scenery is a backdrop to one of the best things about Colombia; its warm, accepting people,” International Living says.

It’s worth remembering that although you should be able to continue to access the Age Pension from outside Australia, this will depend on how long you live overseas. It may take longer to receive pension payments because it involves an international bank transfer, your rate of payment may change, and you may lose your pension supplements.

Also, there may not be reciprocal treatment available from your destination’s health system, depending on the country’s individual arrangement with Australia.

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It’s not possible to apply to receive the Age Pension from outside Australia, International Living says. You must be living permanently in Australia at the time of application, and cannot move outside Australia on a permanent basis for two years after the pension is granted.

Have you considered retiring overseas? Where would you like to live?




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