Tokyo topped the table and Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, ranked second in The Best Cities for Retirement Index, according to medical company Veolar, which conducted the study in partnership with Magmatic Research.
The study considered factors such as quality of healthcare services, financial security, wealth management benefits available to retirees, mobility, connectivity, safety and availability of housing, among others.
“People’s decision to relocate for retirement is often driven by societal factors like safety, financial security and access to healthcare,” Dmitrijs Sabanovs, director of Veolar, said on Thursday.
“This fact is understood by many national governments who are trying to attract retirees from around the world to relocate to their country. Specific visas for retirees, as can be seen in the UAE, Panama, Portugal, Thailand and Mexico, incentivise people to make the switch.”
Dubai rolled out its retiree visa in 2020, which allows residents and citizens from around the world to live in the emirate if they fulfil one of three requirements: earn a monthly income of Dh20,000 ($5,445); have Dh1 million in cash savings; or own a property in Dubai worth at least Dh2m.
A retired expatriate and their spouse can apply for the five-year visa with the possibility of automatic renewal online, provided they continue to meet the criteria. Eligible applicants must be older than 55 and have valid UAE health insurance.
Dubai’s retirement initiative is similar to programmes in the Caribbean and in European countries such as the UK, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus, Spain and Malta, whose citizenship-by-investment programmes are sought after by affluent retirees.
Meanwhile, Singapore was ranked third in the Veolar survey, followed by Paris in fourth place and Vienna in fifth. Zurich, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Osaka and Lausanne round out the top 10.
The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a growing urgency among people who wish to migrate to or retire in these destinations, say agencies that help applicants with global residency programmes.
“The pandemic years have been extremely hard on everyone, but especially hard on retirees,” Mr Sabanovs said.
“Now, as many countries begin to emerge from pandemic restrictions and normal life returns, retirees are being faced with rampant inflation that risks eating into their savings and reducing their quality of life.”
Abu Dhabi ranked 51st in the list of cities that offer good living conditions for retirees, while the UAE’s capital city placed fourth globally in terms of financial security and legacy management, Veolar said.
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Singapore ranked the second best city for financial security and legacy management for retirees, followed by Wellington in third place and Vienna in fifth.
Meanwhile, Doha ranked 70th and Riyadh 84th in the global retirement index. Aside from London, cities in Europe and Australia dominated the top 20 rankings.
Dubai also topped the retirement index in the Middle East and Africa. Other cities in the region considered ideal for retirement include Abu Dhabi, Tel Aviv, Istanbul and Muscat, the study found.
Top 15 cities to retire
- Tokyo (Japan)
- Wellington (New Zealand)
- Paris (France)
- Vienna (Austria)
- Zurich (Switzerland)
- Copenhagen (Denmark)
- Amsterdam (Netherlands)
- Osaka (Japan)
- Lausanne (Switzerland)