Oct 24, 2013

A Travelers Guide to Retiring Abroad

With the cost of living going up in the United States, Florida is becoming further and further out of reach as the go to for retirees. Many who are retiring now are retiring abroad and believe it or not, this can be attained by just about anyone. The number of people who have retired outside of the U.S. has more than doubled since 2006 and have a budget at low as $40 a day. This can actually be a very financially savvy way to retire. Most retirees want somewhere a little warmer with less expensive housing and more affordable healthcare and this is doable in most countries outside of the U.S. Many of the inexpensive and appealing countries available lie in Central and South America, India, and Southeast Asia.

If retiring abroad is an option that appeals to you, there are some factors that you should consider when choosing your destination. 
Budget
When considering another country, while it may be much less expensive than the United States, you will want to budget out your expenses. Create a realistic retirement budget to see how much you will have to work with, regardless of where you are. You should budget according to sources of income that will be guaranteed to you such as Social Security and your pension. To do this you can get assistance from a 401K counselor, a financial planner, or do it yourself with a retirement calculatorTake into account any debt or bills you will have to pay. Don’t forget relocation costs.

Before leaving the country, set up direct deposit and automatic payments through your bank to help eliminate any complications that could arise from dealing with manual payments.
Banking
When dealing with money abroad, your assets can stay in the U.S. and get managed online but to avoid having your account frozen or getting charged currency exchange fees it would be wise to open an account locally in the country you have chosen and make regular transfers from your American Bank.

Health care
Medicare won’t cover you in another country but it is possible to attain health care overseas at much more affordable prices than those in the U.S. In many countries, paying out of pocket is much cheaper than the cost of visiting a doctor in the U.S. with insurance.
I
f you have special medical needs, consider one of the many countries with thriving medical fields.
Some international hospitals for medical tourism are located in South Korea, Turkey, Thailand, Costa Rica, Malaysia, and India, where you can save anywhere from 30 to 90% of the cost of treatment in the U.S.

Calculate the tax impact.
You will still have to pay U.S. taxes even though you are living abroad. The IRS taxes citizens on income no matter where they live. If you give up your citizenship, which some people do, you will still owe income tax as a nonresident alien. Income taxes are charged even if their assets are moved with them although some countries like Canada and Mexico have treaties that prevent double taxation.
Social Security
Should you wish to receive your Social Security by mail, the Social Security Administration has the ability to send your payments to many of the world’s countries however there are some countries that do not apply to this. The SSA cannot send payments to you if you are living in Cuba, North Korea, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, or Vietnam. On the chance that you qualify for an exception for one of these countries (Cuba and North Korea excluded), you are required to go to the country’s U.S. Embassy to pick up your payments each month. 

Language Barriers
Hanoi's Busy Night Life
If this is a deterrent for you, know that there are communities of English speaking retirees and that English is spoken and on the rise in most countries around the world as English is the most commonly spoken international language.

Transportation
Some seniors may reach a point where they can’t or do not want to drive. Consider what forms of local transportation there is to get around before deciding on a town or city. If traveling is something you want to do often during retirement, whether it is long distance or just through the country you have decided to settle in, it may be a good idea to settle down in close proximity to an airport or train station.
 
Politics and Religion
Some people may want to retire in a community of like-minded individuals and if this is the case, you may want to do some research on the beliefs, government, and political ideologies of the countries you are interested in. 

Try It First
Before moving to a new country, be sure to visit it for more than a week or two before committing to a new home. To establish whether or not this location is a good fit for you, try it out in order to see if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages for your personal preferences.

Author’s Bio: Louis Mack is a seasoned retirement planner who has turned to writing to share the knowledge he has collected through many years of experience with a broader audience. When he’s not writing about retirement, he’s more than likely casting a line somewhere.
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