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What To Consider When Retiring Abroad


When thinking about retirement, where you plan to live is a big factor. There’s a lot to consider when picking the place you want to live after retirement. Depending on your lifestyle, you may consider living abroad. Retiree’s who are interested in living abroad have a lot more factors to take into account, such as healthcare, transportation and language. Here are some important issues to think about before you make the move abroad:

  1. Cost of living. One of the major benefits of retiring abroad can be the cost of living in certain countries is less than the US. You can comfortably live on as little as $2,000 a month in some countries. Your retirement savings can go a lot farther and you may be able to live in a more desirable location, such as next to a gorgeous beach or on a picturesque hillside.
  2. Affordable healthcare. As healthcare rules and regulations continue to shift here in the US, going abroad can be a nice break for retirees. Healthcare laws in other countries, particularly Europe, can be helpful to retirees that become official residents of the country. Healthcare can be high quality and yet cheaper than what it costs in the US.
  3. Exchange rate. Along with the cost of living and the cost of healthcare, the exchange rate can be a big factor in choosing to move abroad. In places like Europe, the American dollar has less power and means your retirement savings could be drastically reduced. But in other countries like Asia and Central/South America, your money could have more spending power. All of this should be taken into account before you plan to move as it could have a huge effect on where you choose to live.
  4. Retirement amenities. When retiring abroad and looking at where you want to live, it’s important to look at the different amenities offered. Many places in Central America try to attract US retirees by offering retirement communities with plenty of amenities like golf, theatres, tennis teams and bridge clubs. It’s important to think about what your hobbies are and what you might be interested in pursuing in retirement to make sure you have the opportunity to do those activities wherever you choose to live.
  5. Ability to travel. In parts of the world where the countries are smaller, it’s easy to travel between different countries and explore without having to take long flights. If you didn’t travel a lot before retirement, retiring abroad in Europe where it’s easy to travel between countries can be a great opportunity for you and your partner to adventure together!
  6. Language barriers. Probably one of the biggest barriers to traveling abroad is the language. Unless you are looking at moving to an english speaking country, it is likely that you will have to learn another language. In touristy parts, you might be able to get by, but to really enjoy your time abroad it’s recommended you learn enough of the other language to get by and begin immersing into the culture.
  7. Culture shock. This often gets forgotten in the excitement of moving to another country. Not only will you be leaving your friends and family behind, but you’ll be immersing yourself in a culture you’re unfamiliar with. Such things as cuisine, consumer products, personal space boundaries and government systems will all be different and can take time to adjust.
  8. Leaving behind family and friends. As we mentioned above, leaving behind family and friends for many is a deal breaker. After years of building social networks and relationships, it’s a big adjustment to leave behind and start over in a new country. While different retirement communities and groups abroad can help you adjust and make new friends, it’s something to keep in mind. Consider a country with inexpensive flights to and from the US. This can be a good alternative to get friends and family to visit you or vice versa.
  9. Have a reentry plan. Even if you aren’t moving abroad with the intention to return, it’s a good idea to have a plan in case something changes. Discuss with your partner to make sure you’re both on the same page about what might cause you to move back to the US and when/if you’ll ever consider it. Have a plan for where you’d move back in the US and make sure you have enough saved up to make the move if you ever need to return.
  10. Make an estate plan. If you don’t have a will already written, now is the time to do so. Before you move abroad make sure that you have a lawyer that knows how to handle your foreign and domestic assets. Consider the possibility that you might need two wills, one in your home country and one in the US.
  11. Insure everything. Insurance laws will be different abroad so make sure you are familiar with them before you go. If you are finding it difficult to understand the insurance laws abroad, consult an expert in the US to make sure you are properly covered before you make the move.

Sources: Internationalliving, USNews



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