Why Retire Abroad?
By Brittany Stepniak | Thursday, July 18th, 2013
In June, we revealed some of the best locations across the globe for retirement.
Today we want to talk more in depth about why you may want to consider this option, even if you’ve lived in the United States all your life…
In explaining the pros (and don’t worry, I’ll touch on the cons, too!) of overseas residency, let’s focus on four reasons you might want to at least visit another one of these countries before you settle in for the long run.
1. Cheaper Cost of Living. Before you really delve into the details of retiring abroad, allow me to state the obvious: At the outset, it can feel like a daunting endeavor.
Even more concerning, it sounds expensive. Think of all your international travels over the years. I’m sure they cost a pretty penny.
The reality is that there are at least six exotic locations you can retire overseas for $1,250 a month or less…
Due to extreme economic turmoil this past decade, baby boomers on the brink of retirement are feeling the added pressure of earning extra retirement income to compensate for dwindling savings.
Add to that the fact that many retirees have health conditions that prevent them from feasibly working full or even part time beyond a certain age, and the market’s volatility can easily leave investors and their nest eggs in a worse place than they started.
That’s why we want to shed light on the alternative options (and locations) that may allow you to retire at ease, regardless of your ability to continue working or pick up a hot stock and buy and sell at the perfect time.
In 2012 a ranking system indicated that Americans could find the best values for retirement in Latin America. For less than $2,000 a month, you could enjoy all the finer things life has to offer — cuisine, wine, having a maid and a gardener — while maintaining excellent health care and spending time doing the activities and hobbies you’ve grown to love over the years.
Looking for cheaper real estate and an overall cheaper cost of living while having abundant opportunities for entertainment in a temperate climate? You may want to consider retiring abroad.
Ecuador was recently voted best place in the world to retire. Here a couple can live comfortably for less than $1,500 per month, including rent! Dining out won’t put you over your budget either: A nice meal out costs about $25 max, but is usually much less expensive.
Although there is strife within the government in Ecuador, and wages are low for residents (as is the case in many nations, including our own), retirees may be willing to look past these flaws, knowing they can live so lavishly on their retirement savings alone.
2. Reduced stress.
Let’s be honest, financial woes are one of the biggest stressors facing Americans, especially in the aftermath of the Great Recession in light of the jobless crisis, housing bubble, and now a student loan bubble. And it seems the older we get, the more expensive it is to take care of our families, our livelihood, and ourselves.
But you could cut that stress — and your bills — in half simply by retiring somewhere where everything from rent to dental care is often unbelievably more affordable.
Take Gail Humbert, for example. She needed major dental work, and consultants quoted her a net cost of $35,000-$40,000. Instead of settling for that offer, Gail decided to explore an alternative option…
She remembered hearing a story on National Public Radio about an uninsured building contractor who had gone abroad to receive medical care in order to pay a small fraction of what he’d been quoted in the U.S. Taking a page from his book, Gail traveled to San Jose, Costa Rica, to receive the dental implants she needed. She took two separate trips out there for treatment before the work was completed. And you’ll never believe how much she spent…
The total lump-sum cost for the dental work, two round-trip flights, and all necessary accommodations amounted to just $14,000 — not even close to half the cost the consultants quoted her for the dental work alone in the U.S.
Gail was impressed with her treatment, commenting on her confidence in the well-trained dental team, the high-quality care she received, and the fact that every procedure was explained to her in detail ahead of time.
According to Gail, the service part of the experience was even better than what she would have expected, had she chosen to pay $21,000 more for the same procedures back home.
3. Less hostility and anxiety.
I know this sounds crazy, the notion that leaving your homeland could actually land you in an environment with less hostility…
Sure, you’ll have to take into account that you would be the foreigner in a new territory, so you’ll have to be willing to learn the ropes a little.
But once you learn and respect the regulations, cultural mores and traditions, I’m willing to bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised by your new surroundings…
Because chances are you’ll be met with several other expatriates who share your life views and values if you end up moving somewhere overseas like Granada, where about 1,000 expats currently reside. This will be a welcomed fresh breath of air for Outsiders already frustrated with the way things are going in our country right now.
Instead of retiring in an overcrowded American city with so many groups of people, many hostile or fearful towards almost anybody these days, why not move somewhere where you can afford a big plot of land absent of rude neighbors to interrupt the peace and relaxation most you deserve in your retirement years?
Unless you’re going somewhere like France, I doubt you’ll feel overwhelmed with an arrogant, haughty, or otherwise surly population — but remember, you could come off this way if you complain or argue too often in your new community. Keep that in mind if you want to keep the peace with your new neighbors.
4. New experiences strengthen mental health and ward off onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Visiting or living in a foreign country can act as “intellectual candy” for the brain.
The new experiences will help improve your mental and emotional health — especially if you can save thousands of dollars in the process!
And removing yourself from a mundane routine can stimulate senses in a profound way. New sights (beautiful never-before-seen landscapes), sounds (ethnic music), smells (new flora and fauna and local foods), tastes (new foods you’ve never tried before) can all improve overall health and mood.
Additionally, Alzheimer’s researchers across the board have found that engaging in new experiences and maintaining an active physical and social life helps ward off the onset of dementia by strengthening neuron transmission and communication in the brain.
Moving abroad will inevitable provide plenty of stimulating new opportunities to check off your bucket list while you reconnect with a spouse or form new bonds with the locals and other expats.
*Bonus: Healthcare is relatively affordable in most of the countries on the list. So the notion of engaging in new adventures to stimulate brain activity while maintaining the luxury of lower costs of living combined with inexpensive health care is bound to leave you in a happier, healthier state of mind.
Test-Driving Your Overseas Retirement
If you’re still entertaining the idea of living overseas, but aren’t comfortable with the long-term commitment just yet, the best way to cure cold feet is to spend time living in a foreign country before officially becoming a resident.
Of course, we’d never want you to settle for anything less than what is truly best for your unique individual needs and desires…
That’s why we firmly recommend a visit to your location of interest and possibly renting there for a month or two before you commit to moving there.
In the meantime, I urge you to take another look at the most affordable, senior-friendly countries for your retirement consideration.
Farewell for now,