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Best place to retire vs most liveable city

Someone forwarded an article about Malaysia being the best place to retire in Asia and 5th in the whole world as per the new Retirement Index from International   The index took into consideration the criteria such as cost of living, healthcare and climate. The reasons for Malaysia being 5th best in the world? Our tropical climate whether the retirees chose to be in the heart of cities or in smaller towns which are also nature or beaches. Cost wise, retirees can live comfortably with just US$2,500 (RM9,900) a month. This is considered a very small amount when compared to western countries.  Besides that, Malaysia provided quality healthcare at affordable prices and the choices for restaurants and international groceries are aplenty. (Perhaps more for bigger cities I believe) Applying for a retirement visa is also very easy and this has helped many retirees thinking to move here during their retirement years. The full article in TheSunDaily here. 
Have we ever wondered why Australian cities such as Melbourne or Sydney is not within these top 10 retirement cities? Actually, both are very different in their scope when it comes to the measurement. For example, these are the top 10 most liveable cities in the world. By the way, I did not see any Asian cities inside too.  These are the measurements, as per the article: The data came from the recent report by The Economist Intelligence Unit, which ranked 140 cities by looking at “30 qualitative and quantitative factors across five broad categories of stability, health care, culture and environment, education and infrastructure,” according to EIU.  (Notice a missing criteria? Yes, it is the cost of living. If I am super-wealthy, I would love to travel around these most liveable cities and enjoy it to the fullest. However, if I am not within the top few percent in the world, then retiring would mean managing the costs of living so that I have a good life affordably. Okay, if I am forced to choose a place to have family vacations in, I actually love Perth more than Kuala Lumpur. That’s my personal thought)   
Looking a little broader, it is also important to note that if the best place to retire scores poorly on all other measures such as stability, health care, culture and environment, education and infrastructure, then the cost of living no longer matters. As a retiree, I would be very worried if I have no access to good hospitals, the country is forever in a chaos or even the lack of public transport, whether it’s the LRT, MRT or even GRAB or UBER as what we are seeing today. When I look at the list of the best places for retirement, I think it is important to ‘take the list with a pinch of salt’as well okay. Perhaps crime rate is going to be one very important factor for retirees too. Plus are there a lot of other fellow countrymen within the same city. This is the reason why when a certain city gains in popularity, it is usually the first city that will be considered by retirees from the same country too. Happy retiring in Malaysia. Yes, I think it is a good place to consider.
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written on 16 Jan 2018
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Charles Tan The Founder The Writer Kopiandproperty
Charles Tan

Charles is Founder of He writes from his investment experience for the the past 20 years in investments including property, stock, unit trust and more as well as readings and conversations with many property gurus in the industry. is an independent property blog which is not affiliated to any media company, property developer or even real estate agencies.

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    1. Hi Ang, this is a very subjective question. Haha. However, Penang has a vibrant electronics industry (even high-end R&D), it has world class hospitals for medical tourism, it is a UNESCO Heritage City, has an international airport which is within the island and it has stretches of beaches which is accessible within half an hour from most places. I think, it is tough to find something as complete. That’s why I still have properties in Penang despite moving to KL since 5 years ago. I know, you want to say it has the best food, friendly people etc but those are things that many other cities would also say. Happy staying in Penang yeah.

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