Thinking of Retiring Abroad?

Thinking of Retiring Abroad Gretchen Stangier Certified Financial Planner Portland Oregon

Roughly 3.3 million baby boomers are planning to retire abroad.¹ Their motivations may be many, but popular reasons include greater affordability, adventure and a change on lifestyle. However, as exciting as retiring abroad may sound, it deserves considerable planning.

Things to consider:

  • Where do you want to retire?

There are many starting point for this search, but primary considerations may include cost of living, stability of the country, access to healthcare, type of experience you desire and the climate.

Engage your spouse, since both of you need to be happy and excited for this to work long term.

  • Visit prospective candidates.

Test drive the country you are considering. No amount of research from your living room can replace being on the ground experiencing the people and actual living conditions.

  • Check Visa and Residency requirements

Each country has different requirements for permanent residency. Some have programs designed to welcome retirees. In any case, you’ll need to know what is required of you for putting down roots.

  • Make an appointment with a tax advisor

While visiting prospective countries, spend time with a local tax advisor to understand the country’s taxation of U.S. retirees. You don’t want any surprises.²

  • Nirvana doesn’t exist

As you go through this process, appreciate that each country will have it pluses and minuses. You will need to balance them based on your personal priorities. Also, try to remember that most countries will not offer U.S.-style living.

  • Consider Health Insurance

Since Medicare does not cover health care expenses incurred overseas, as is the case for private U.S.-based health insurance, you should research health insurance that will cover you in the country of your choice.

  • Consider renting first

Moving into an unknown area makes intelligent real estate decisions difficult. Consider renting to learn the area, understand the neighborhoods and whether it offers the range of activities you want.

  • Beware of scams

A retiree working on a dream is fertile territory for people looking to separate you from your money. Work with only reputable businesses that you’ve identified from research and referrals.


¹ Travel Market Report, April 16, 2012

² The information is this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for purpose of avoiding tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. 

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