PETALING JAYA: InternationalLiving.com’s annual Global Retirement Index 2014 has listed Malaysia as the third best place to retire for North Americans.
The annual index which is now in its 23rd year, listed 24 countries and Panama came out tops, while South American nation Ecuador came in second in the index that was released two days ago.
According to InternationalLiving.com, Malaysia is the best place to retire in Asia.
In last year's global retirement index, Malaysia was also placed third and in 2012, they were fourth behind countries like Mexico, Panama and Ecuador.
The report highlighted some tourist attractions in Malaysia such as the beaches, hill stations, mountain retreats, as the perks for those who want to retire here.
For most retirees, health care is essential and according to the index, Penang and Kuala Lumpur, provide some of the best health care facilities in the country.
"The hospitals are top-notch and the physicians speak English, having been either been trained or completed their postgraduate studies in the US or UK - which makes the cost of health care all the more incredible.
"You can see a specialist without any need for an appointment for as little as US$11 (RM36.20). Just turn up. It’s the same with dentists," said InternationalLiving.com
Other aspects that were mentioned were the first class infrastructure, high-speed connectivity and cable TV.
"The country’s diverse ethnic mix makes being a stranger here easy.
"Whether you live in bohemian Penang or Kuala Lumpur - the country’s hip capital, you’ll meet friendly locals who are happy to stop and chat and welcome you into their home," it said.
The Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme is also beneficial for retirees as it allows non-Malaysians to stay in Malaysia on a social visit pass for 10 years, and it’s automatically renewable for an additional 10 years when it expires.
Other countries such as Guatemala, Malta, Brazil, Spain, Cambodia and Thailand were part of the 24 nations listed as retirement havens.
According to InternationalLiving.com, all 24 countries in the index were in close contention for the number one spot, but Panama nicked it due to its best range of retiree benefits.
"In the past year, Panama has introduced new visas, which makes it easier to gain residence there, and the country has made major advances in infrastructure,” said the website.