Panama’s Pensionado or pensioner’s program put it at the top of the list for retiree benefits in 2016.
Baltimore, MD (PRWEB) January 14, 2016
Panama, Ecuador, Mexico, and Belize earn top rankings as the countries with the best retiree benefits and discounts in the newly published 2016 Global Retirement Index from InternationalLiving.com.
The 2016 Global Retirement Index lists the top countries where retirees can live better for less around the world. But as well as offering a lower cost of living, some countries stand out in the category of significant retiree benefits and discounts, including savings on transportation, entertainment, social services, visa costs, and healthcare.
Panama’s Pensionado or pensioner’s program put it at the top of the list for retiree benefits in 2016. The program is designed to grant expat retirees easy, legal residence…and the program’s discounts make the overall value unbeatable in the category.
The lower costs and discounts associated with healthcare and insurance account for a big chunk of the savings for pensionados in Panama, including 10% to 20% discounts on hospital bills, prescription medications, consulting visits, and more. Panamanian pensioners get the same discounts, including discounts of 50% off entertainment, 30% off bus, boat, and train fares, 25% off airline tickets, 30% to 50% off hotel stays, and 15% to 25% off at restaurants.
Ecuador ranks second in the retiree benefits category because legal residents 65 and older (known as Tercera Edad or Third Age in Spanish) are entitled to special benefits including 50% off all public transportation, entertainment like movies and cultural events, airfare that originates in Ecuador, and water and electricity bills. Property taxes (already incredibly low) are reduced as well. In addition, residents 65 and older are eligible for a refund of up to $204 per month on Ecuador’s 12% IVA (value added tax) on most purchases.
Mexico doesn’t have a special retiree visa like Panama’s Pensionado visa, but it offers so many standard retiree benefits that it placed third in the category in 2016. The key is the INAPAM card, Mexico’s versatile senior-citizen discount card. Expats aged 60 and older who have a residence visa for Mexico can apply for the card, just as Mexican seniors do. With it seniors receive discounts that range from 5% to 50% on a wide variety of goods and services including movie tickets, sporting-event tickets, museum and archaeological site entrance fees, and airline and bus tickets. Many restaurants, shops, hotels, and travel agencies also offer discounts to INAPAM-card holders, and many pharmacies give discounts on a number of medications (which are already much cheaper than in the U.S.), and some dentists, doctors, and other specialists will also offer senior discounts. And in an increasing number of areas INAPAM holders receive discounts on their property and their water bills. These discounts will vary from district to district in Mexico.
In Belize, expat retirees have a choice… become a resident, or become a Qualified Retirement Person (QRP). The QRP program offers a major benefit right from the start… acceptance in the program is quick, and once retirees receive their QRP card they can come and go at will across Belize’s borders. They need only spend one month per year in Belize to maintain QRP residence. QRPs are also able to import all of their personal effects, including a personal car, boat, and plane, duty-free and tax-free during their first year in Belize.
Anyone over 45 is eligible to apply to become a QRP resident. And once QRP status is granted, there are no taxes on international income or capital gains. Unlike expat residents, QRPs are allowed to maintain an international bank account and an international business corporation in Belize. Since the QRP program is a retirement program, QRPs cannot work in Belize… but they can own a business as long as they don’t work or pay themselves a salary in that business.
There are nine other categories in the 2016 Global Retirement Index, including Cost of Living, Climate, Infrastructure, Healthcare, and more. Months of research goes into compiling this Index and InternationalLiving.com’s editors are helped by their large team of expat contributors based around the world, who help collect the data and offer input used to identify, rank, rate, compare, and contrast the very best retirement destinations in the world.
The full report on the top four countries for retiree benefits in 2016 can be read here: Top Four Countries in the World for Retiree Benefits in 2016.
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