NEW YORK (March 27,2012): Malaysia has been listed as one of the 18 best places for Americans to retire overseas, based on the criteria of affordability and quality of life, for senior citizens.
The list of 18 countries was compiled by Kathleen Peddicord, the founder of the Live and Invest Overseas publishing group.
Peddicord, who has been covering the subject for more than 25 years, reports on current opportunities for living, retiring and investing overseas in her newsletter which is available in a digital format.
Her book 'How To Retire Overseas - Everything You Need to Know To Live Well Abroad for Less' was recently released by Penguin Books. Besides Malaysia, two other Asean countries were also listed as retirement destinations, namely Thailand (16th) and Vietnam (17th) in Peddicord’s list.
According to Peddicord, Malaysia is the “easiest country to navigate in this part of the world (Southeast Asia)” after Thailand and also described Kuala Lumpur as a city of contrasts. The shining stainless steel Petronas Towers, two of the tallest skyscrapers in the world, anchor a startlingly beautiful skyline that is truly unique to the city, and the references to modern, air-conditioned malls that sell everything from beautifully handcrafted batik clothing to genuine Rolex watches and Tiffany jewellery.
“In the shadows of these ultra-modern buildings, the ancient Malay village of Kampung Baru still thrives, with free-roaming roosters and a slow pace of life generally found in rural villages," she said.
"Less than a 20-minute walk from the city centre, you can find yourself conversing with monkeys in the city-jungle surrounding one of the highest telecommunications towers in the world.
"A walk of less than 30 minutes leads you to Chinatown and Little India, where merchants offer their wares, foods and culture in a happy neighbourhood that showcases the amazing diversity of the city,” said the author. But Kuala Lumpur’s charm is also fleshed out in semi-anecdotal references.
“Unlike some places in Asia, foreigners are genuinely welcomed in Kuala Lumpur. Language isn’t a problem, as almost everyone speaks adequate English. Immigration is easy, and it is possible to stay for an extended period with a simple tourist visa,” she said.
Peddicord said Malaysia could do well to highlight its “Malaysia My Second Home” programme which is specifically addressed to senior citizens abroad.
As the cost of living in their own country explode, more and more North Americans are looking at retiring abroad where, to borrow a local saying, “the buck can be stretched further”.
Even though Kuala Lumpur is more expensive than rural Malaysia, it is still inexpensive by Western standards. “You can realistically expect to cut your living expenses by a third and still enjoy a lifestyle comparable to what you are accustomed to now,” she said. -- Bernama
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