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International Living Announces The 2006 Annual Global Retirement Index - Winner is a First-Ever Six Time Selection!

Tuesday September 5, 12:10 pm ET

WATERFORD CITY, Ireland, September 5 /PRNewswire/ -- For the sixth consecutive year, the same country has come out on top of International Living's Global Retirement Index. After closely reviewing eight key factors: Real Estate Prices, Special Benefits for Retirees, Cost of Living, Safety and Stability, Health Care, Climate, Culture & Entertainment, and Infrastructure, Panama came out the top destination - followed by Malta, New Zealand, Uruguay, and Mexico. It should be noted that Uruguay moved up five places this year, from ninth in 2005 to fourth in 2006. This tiny country, the size of Missouri, has the lowest poverty level in Latin America, the longest life expectancy, and the second lowest level of corruption. Plus, the literacy rate in Uruguay is an astounding 98%.

Let's go back to our winner of the past six Global Retirement Indexes, Panama. It is quite clear why this country is so appealing for North American retirees: Panama boasts the world's most generous program of special benefits for retirees, it offers easy access from the US, its cost of living is low, the landscapes and coastlines are beautiful, its population is friendly and warmly welcomes foreign residents and investors, and its capital, Panama City, is without peer in the region.

Malta, which is actually the twin islands of Malta and Gozo, takes silver in this year's Retirement Index. Steeped in history and tradition, these small islands, with near-perfect climates year-round, offer a simple, relaxed lifestyle, an affordable cost of living, and permanent foreign residents can take advantage of a 15% tax rate. Plus, property taxes don't exist in Malta, and crime too is practically non-existent. The next five countries selected in positions 6-10 are: France, Romania, Argentina, Malaysia, and Ecuador. If you are interested in the entire list or the points awarded to each of the 28 countries, the 2006 Annual Global Retirement Index is free to International Living Newsletter readers, which can be ordered by calling 1-888-884-7755, or by visiting www.internationalliving.com.

International Living is the world's oldest and largest source of information on living, retiring or investing overseas. The focus of this publishing, media, and event company is to help and guide its readers discover places that are under-valued, under-appreciated, under-developed. And then to help them understand how they can take advantage of what these places offer - to improve their quality of life, to lower their overall cost of living and to invest for a profitable return. For the past 26 years, International Living has been helping its readership, which today numbers almost 400,000, make their dreams of starting a new life overseas come true. International Living has a staff and in-country correspondents in more than 20 countries, and provides both printed and online information, plus books, tapes and kits, as well as more than 30 conferences and real estate tours in dozens of countries of interest to its readers. International Living is based in Waterford, Ireland and has offices in Baltimore, Panama, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paris, Italy, Honduras, Argentina, and Ecuador.

Source: International Living