Should You Retire Abroad?
A key factor in retirement happiness is where you retire. Familiarity, the relationships, and other factors tend to keep us planted at home when we retire. Most American retirees plan to spend their leisure years somewhere in the United States. However, a stateside retirement is not the only option.
If the size of your nest egg is a concern for you retiring comfortably in the United States, you might consider a place where your savings can go much further. You know how much things cost in the US – but did you realize there are places where your dollar can go up to 4 times further?
You don’t have to go to the “Third World “ or give up all the comforts of America. Many foreign retirement destinations have Internet connectivity, satellite TV, golf, beachfront property, and other amenities you are accustomed to – at a deep discount. Granted, you may be a couple of plane trips away from the U.S., but the cost savings and new adventures may be enough to overcome any inconvenience.
For example, US News recently highlighted a couple, Jason and Elizabeth Pearce, who retired to Belize. The Pearce’s live on Jason’s Social Security alone, allowing Elizabeth’s to go into savings. They have a house on the ocean, a maid, a gardener, the Internet, and have made new friends. They are enjoying a far more comfortable retirement than they could have afforded in the U.S. or Canada.
Here’s the sample budget for the Pearce’s in Brazil:
- Rent: $300
- Utilities, telephone, and Internet: $500
- Groceries: $150
- Health insurance: $50
- Entertainment: $100
- Car expenses: $300
However, Belize is not the only country that offers cheap living with home style amenities. Other popular expatriate destinations abound in Latin America: Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, and Uruguay. Granted, you may need a few Spanish classes before you go, but it’s a small price to pay.
If you’re feeling more adventurous, look to a different hemisphere. Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, or Vietnam all offer a similar experience to retirees, but in a less-familiar environment. English will be spoken less in these areas, but that’s a challenge met by most retirees going abroad.
Before you buy plane tickets, do some planning. Consider healthcare coverage, cultural differences, and the differences in legal systems. Check out Retired Expat for more information on foreign living. They cover a variety of overseas retirement issues if you’re considering that route. For a more luxurious experience, you can always subscribe to one of the pioneers in the overseas living arena: International Living.
Living abroad is certainly not for the majority of folks looking to retire, but for a select few, it could be a great way to reduce your cost of living while providing a brand new adventure in retirement. Just be sure to pack the sunscreen.