Foreign nationals looking at taking up residency in Malta or Gozo, have a new financially advantageous programme to entice them, adding to the existing attractions that the Mediterranean islands already offer.
The Maltese authorities have just published a new residency scheme aimed at mature adults considering retiring or taking up residence overseas.
Malta is an ideal place to take up residence. Besides its pleasant climate, safe environment and hospitable English-speaking population, it offers a range of benefits to individuals seeking to acquire residence on the island, given its advantageous tax regime and competitive cost of living. The latest scheme, referred to as the Malta Retirement Programme 2012, forms part of number of new schemes that are being introduced in Malta, offering several financial incentives to attract them to take up residency, relocate or invest in Malta.
MALTAway is the ideal choice to advise and support you to move in Malta you and your pension
I’m always curious to see the latest best places in the world to retire rankings from expat experts. But I have to tell you: Some of the Top 10 spots on the new 2016 Retire Overseas Annual Index, from Live and Invest Overseas, made my head spin like a globe.
No. 2, Valletta, Malta? (Could you find it on a map?) No. 5, Ljubljana, Slovenia? (Could you spell it? Pronounce it?) No. 6, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia? (Same questions; pardon my provincialism.)
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CENTER OF MED SEA
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I suppose part of the fun of dreaming about far-flung places to retire is learning about the ones that are unfamiliar. On that score, the Live and Invest Overseas folks have a winning list. And it’s worth noting that this year’s No. 1 place, the scenic beachfront region of the Algarve, in Portugal, often shows up on great places to retire lists. (It was No. 1 on Live and Invest Overseas’ 2015 and 2014 lists, too.)
Below are the top 10, followed by an explanation of how the creators came up with it. You’ll note that four of the top 10 are in Europe, three are in North America and the Caribbean (two of those are in Mexico); two others are in Central America (both in Belize). And one’s in Asia. And nearly all are not just peachy, according to Live and Invest Overseas, but beachy.
No. 1: Algarve, Portugal.
No. 2: Valletta, Malta.
No. 3: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
No. 4: Cayo, Belize.
No. 5: Ljubljana, Slovenia.
No. 6: Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.
No. 7: Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
No. 8: Crete, Greece.
No. 9: Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic.
No. 10: Ambergris Caye, Belize.
The way author, entrepreneur and international retirement expert Kathleen Peddicord and her Live and Invest Overseas team come up with their annual ranking is part objective, part subjective. They gather local data in 12 categories (from climate to taxes to health care to cost of living to entertainment to the existing expat community in the area), weighted equally, and get on-the-ground opinions from correspondents; this year’s list has 21 winners overall.
“Algarve and Valletta check all the boxes,” says Lief Simon, the Live and Invest Overseas real estate editor who’s also Peddicord’s husband.
Why Algarve and Valletta are tops
Peddicord says the Algarve has “everything the would-be retiree could want — great weather, an established and welcoming expat community, top-notch health care, an extremely affordable cost of living (a retired couple could live comfortably on as little as $1,400 a month), undervalued and bargain-priced property buys, including right on the ocean, a great deal of English spoken thanks to the longstanding British presence, First World infrastructure and easy access both from the U.S. [and] to and from all Europe.”
Valletta, the capital city of Malta, is, according to Live and Invest Overseas, “quintessential Mediterranean Europe — from its weather and food to its history and culture.”
Sometimes, places bubble up on the Live and Invest Overseas list in a given year because they’ve become more affordable. That’s one reason that four European spots — and two Mexican areas — made the top 10 for 2016.
“The strong dollar is helping from a budget perspective. That helped bring Europe back into the mix,” says Simon. “People think, ‘I can’t afford to retire there,’ but the euro has been about a buck-ten for the past year or so, which is much more affordable than if it was a buck-sixty.”
In fact, Simon says, the current currency-exchange rate is so favorable to Americans that you might want to “buy a retirement home in Europe now. Then your real estate costs are locked in and you can create a buffer should the currency go against you.”
Why places drop off the list
Sometimes, popular expat spots don’t make the cut because they’ve grown relatively more expensive. It’s why Cuenca, Ecuador, isn’t on the 2016 list, for example.
And sometimes, tweaks in the methodology either boost or nick potential retirement locales around the world.
I wondered, though, how the new list could be so different from the one Live and Invest Overseas published in January 2016, where Medellín, Colombia; Pau, France; Abruzzo, Italy; George Town, Malaysia; and Chiang Mai, Thailand, were in the Top 10, while the current list’s Valletta, Ljubljana, Kota Kinabalu, Playa del Carmen, Crete and Ambergris Caye weren’t.
Peddicord’s explanation: The January list consisted of her personal picks; the new list, which is described in great detail in a Live and Invest Overseas 211-page report, comes from her data crunchers and correspondents. “This is much more data-intensive,” Peddicord reports. “We invest months of research and have dozens of editors and researchers involved.”
One thing to keep in mind, says Simon: “No place anywhere is perfect.” Even some of this year’s top-ranked places scored low in certain categories. Valletta, the report notes, has poor air quality; the two Belize communities get D grades for health care, and Kota Kinabalu scores a D+ for infrastructure.
And, of course, the factors that matter to you in choosing a place to retire might not match up with what the number crunchers looked at. With those caveats, happy retirement-home hunting!