Uruguay qualifies as one of the world's top retirement havens. The country boasts friendly people, pleasant weather and an infrastructure that includes reliable Internet access and drinkable water. It's also relatively easy to establish residency. Here are six reasons to consider retirement in Uruguay:
The people. Uruguayans are generally honest, punctual and reliable, which is noteworthy because this is, frankly, not the case in much of Latin America. Uruguayans typically keep their word, conduct themselves professionally and stand by their commitments. The culture is hard working, and levels of corruption are low. Many Uruguayans are laid back, meaning they are often patient (even behind the wheel), non-confrontational, nonviolent, good natured and friendly, making them among the most pleasant people in the world to call your neighbors.
The lifestyle. Uruguay has a moderate climate with four seasons, but no ice or snow. It boasts miles of some of the most beautiful and well-maintained beaches in South America that draw visitors from all over the world. The culture is European-like, and the cultural influence is primarily Italian. You'll find tango clubs along with opera houses and orchestras. Uruguay also enjoys among the lowest crime and poverty rates in Latin America and one of the region's highest per-capita incomes.
The infrastructure. Uruguay boasts fast, modern highways, reliable phone, cell and broadband Internet service and drinkable water from every tap in the country. There's also free wi-fi in the buses and town squares and even a public radio network.
The government. Uruguay enjoys a stable democracy. And no matter who is currently in charge -- conservative or liberal -- this country respects its citizens, welcomes foreigners and encourages foreign investment. The government is as non-intrusive as they come.
The countryside. The country is a breadbasket, growing everything from beef to oranges to eucalyptus trees, making for beautiful landscapes.
Easy residency and second citizenship. Becoming a resident is fairly easy in Uruguay, and the financial thresholds for obtaining a visa are low. Final approval is not fast, but you receive your residency card when you apply, not when you are approved. In the meantime, you can enjoy the same benefits as Uruguayan citizens. Citizenship is available after three to five years, depending on your situation.
Uruguay is not among the most affordable retirement options in Latin America. For example, Ecuador, Nicaragua and parts of Panama would be more budget-friendly. However, a retired couple in Uruguay with a monthly income of $2,000 or more could enjoy one of the most comfortable, relaxed, peaceful and culturally rich retirement lifestyles available anywhere in the world.
Kathleen Peddicord is the founder of the Live and Invest Overseas publishing group. With more than 28 years experience covering this beat, Kathleen reports daily on current opportunities for living, retiring and investing overseas in her free e-letter. Her newest book, "How To Buy Real Estate Overseas", published by Wiley & Sons, is the culmination of decades of personal experience living and investing around the world.
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