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Hidden gems if you want to retire overseas

Always dreamed of retiring overseas? It may be cheaper than staying in the United States.

Just make sure to consider the cost of living, taxes and health care before making a permanent move. These categories, along with nine others, were included in the most important criteria that retirees should review when shopping the globe for the best places to live, according to Live and Invest Overseas, a company that publishes an annual index of the best places to retire abroad.


While Greece, Mexico and Panama may be frequent destinations for vacation travelers and retirees alike, we looked at this list and also found a few hidden gems among the top picks.

Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

Love the tropics and basking under the sun? Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, not only has summer weather year-round, but this region also has historically low crime rates and a very low cost of living. Rent for a furnished 900-square-foot place is around $550 a month, according to Expatistan, a collaborative website that compares the cost of living in various cities around the world.

Cayo, Belize

In Belize's Cayo District, you'll notice that nearly everyone speaks English — it's the official language in the small, Central American country.

Plus, your money will go further because the Belize dollar is pegged to the U.S. dollar at a fixed rate of 2 to 1. The cost of living is about 21 percent lower than the U.S., according to Numbeo.com, another collaborative website that compares the cost of living in different cities.

With Belize's Qualified Retired Persons visa, which you can get as long as you are over age 45, you can be granted permanent residency, which will give you an exemption from the country's income, capital gains and estate taxes.


Algarve, Portugal

This seaside region in Portugal boasts great beaches and more sunny days than almost anywhere in Europe. The weather — as well as quality health care and an extremely affordable cost of living — makes the Algarve one of the most desirable places to live.

Public health care in Portugal is available to legal foreign residents who are registered with their local medical center.

According to Live and Invest overseas, a retired couple could live comfortably in the Algarve on as little as $1,400 a month.