Yesterday I was testing an advisory tool - sorry, this one for Swedish nationals only - on the best country - to retire to, slanted heavily - since it is a Swedish tool - towards limiting the total tax burden, but taking into account health care, climate, culture and a few other factors.
I plugged in all requested - albeit general - parameters.... and was pointed to France as an optimal choice - by far.
Hmm, I thought, I really need that abundance of - yummy but so full of saturated fat - cheeses, which, living in France, I would not be able to resist, since stinky cheeses - accompanied by well aged wines - are one of my major culinary weaknesses.
Next I made a comparison with a few other EU countries, which are favorite European expat destinations, like Spain, Italy and Cyprus, but both tax and quality of health care factors weighted so heavily, that France won hands on in any of those comparisons.
Intrigued, I made - now outside the tool, as it does not include USA as a likely retirement destination for Europeans - a comparison between a retirement in Puerto Rico and one of the French islands in the Caribbean for a "typical" EU national who worked in the US long enough to be entitled to Medicare and Social Security, but retained his/her EU nationality.
Gustavia, St Bart
Even in pricey St Bart, which - being once a Swedish colony could be a "natural" choice for Swedes - such a hypothetical retiree would save money and gain access to better French health care.
And if the said retiree chose France proper, he/she would also improve dramatically his/her quality of life, through access to more diverse cultural opportunities, better food , etc.
An additional factor would be legal system based on Napoleonic code, which I consider superior to both British and US legal system... but I am biased, I studied law in continental Europe.
So, if one likes islands - Corsica or Martinique?.... that might be !the question! ;-)
On the other hand, current issue of "Islands" magazine, lists three islands in, say extended Caribbean, on its list of 10 best islands in the world to live on: Beguia in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Eleuthera in Bahamas and Ambergis Caye in Belize. All of them English language dominant. None of them French. Perhaps a better choice for Americans?
P.S. But "Islands" magazines first, most spectacular and by far most budget friendly choice is Palawan in the Philippines, where a "typical 3 bdr, 2 ba house" rents for $400 a month!