7 best reasons to retire overseas

Retiring abroad doesn't have to be a faraway dream. It could make a lot of financial sense. Here are 7 reasons why you should consider making it a reality.

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56Comments
Apr 18, 2012 3:02AM
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I always laugh when I hear the "Love it or Leave it" comment.  Many people LOVE America which is why the do not love what it is becoming.  America is a country of new ideas, and the pursuit of a better life.  There are many things that make America great, however sticking your head in the sand to ignore all of our problems and spout the "Love it or Leave it" comment is part of the problem.  America is FAR from perfect and we have many very serious problems...health care is certainly one of them.  Many people complain not because they don't love America, but they remember and hold dear what America should and can be.  Right now we are not there.  The saying should be more like "Love it, Leave it, or Fight to Improve It". 
Apr 18, 2012 7:51PM
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My wife and I live a little more than 6 months out of the year in Mexico.   I think Mexico is about typical for these places so I think I can offer a very good view of life in these areas.   The cost of living overall will be cheaper but be careful.   Guadalajara is very expensive.   One thousand per month is not realistic.   Think $1,500.00 per month.  My wife and I own our home and thus make no rent or purchase payments.   Gasoline is no cheaper and in some countries may be higher than the U.S.   Fresh food will be much cheaper but packaged food maybe not much.  Medical is about 1/10 as is dental.   Quality is generally good.   I would forget about Honduras.  It now has the highest murder rate in the world.   Overall the cost of living will run you about 1/3 of the U.S.  In Mexico, you will find Wal-Mart, Auto Zone, McDonalds, Pizza Hut and most of the stores the same as the U.S.  Costco is also in Mexico.  Now the down side.   You must be careful where you travel.   The drug war now affects almost every country in the world.   Any tropical area means the risk of tropical diseases, malaria, yellow fever and in Latin America Dengue fever and Chagas Disease.   The latter is carried by the kissing bug and is a very dangerous disease.  It occurs mainly from Southern Mexico through Latin America.   Critters can be a problem especially scorpions.   There are some very nasty and dangerous ones.   No walking out into that beautiful jungle.   Very dangerous snakes.   Be careful in the water.   Sea Snakes, stone fish, lion fish and Portuguese Man of War.  In Mexico the latter is known as Aguas Malas.   Oh yes, they are there in Hawaii also.   Your place needs to be well fenced.   We have a 7 foot wall 3 quarters around our property plus a 7 foot fence in the front.   Just some things.   We enjoy living part of the year here but we both are fluent in Spanish (my wife is from here).  Strong suggestion is if you plan to move anywhere that English is not the language of the country, learn the language before you go.
Apr 18, 2012 5:47PM
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If I could afford it  I would be out of the USA right now rather than waiting to retire. This country has turned into a complete cesspool  the last 30 years and is getting worse by the day.  MSN should have an article about the record number of people who have fled the country for greener pastures elsewere.
Apr 18, 2012 2:14PM
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 @setexenv, good post. Owning property is more the exception than the rule. Also, leave your guns in the US, even though armed guerillas roam your new neighborhood with AK47s. I have been thinking about Philippines (many friends and relatives). Medicare does not apply there. However, medical and dental very cheap. $1,500 monthly pension buys a good lifestyle with maids, 4k or more puts you in the multi-billionaire class. Everyone speaks English. You are a $400 plane ticket away from any Indo-Pacific dive area. Had friends in Belize and Costa Rica, love these places too, but theft was such a huge problem, but this is a a factor in any 3rd world country. Have been in Argentina, across the river from Uruguay, but the economy has tanked.

 

Basically,  before sticking a pin in the map, you need to spend a long vacation there.

Apr 18, 2012 9:10AM
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Analyze your personal situation first.

 

Do you need to have the support/enjoyment of family or friends, or are you fairly "stand-alone"? Most of the folks who come running back after 1-2 years do so because of being lonesome. Very few people are going to fly a couple of thousand miles for a visit

 

Carefully investigate the lifestyle. There are certain high crime areas everywhere to avoid; you need to understand how the local utilities work and how dependable they are. Where are the hospitals?

 

What is the cost of having an auto; gas, insurance, etc?

 

Prepare to change your diet somewhat. You will not be able to obtain or possibly afford  the same foods you now consume.

 

Finally, unless you think you will only associate with ex-Pats, prepare to learn the local language (which only makes sense anyway). It will expand your potential social circle.

 

Final recommendation: pick your dream spot, get a reasonable furnished rental, and spend a full year there seeing how things work out. Then make a decision.

May 9, 2012 7:55PM
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6 of the 7 reasons boil down to cost advantage, which is really 1 reason.

The other is adventure.

May 10, 2012 3:42AM
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I LIVED 10 YEARS IN THAILAND,GOT MARRIED MOVED BACK TO USA  IN 1986. just AS SOON AS MY RETIREMENT VISA GOES THRU, WE ARE GOING BACK TO THAILAND. I SHOULD HAVE NEVER COME BACK HERE IN THE 1 ST PLACE. I WILL MISS GOING TO NHL GAMES, TROUT FISHING.DRIVING MY AMERICAN CARS, AND THE CAESAR SALAD AT COSTCO. BUT THAT'S ABOUT IT. I LOVE AMERICA. I JUST DON'T WANT TO LIVE HERE. I WISH ALL AMERICANS A HAPPY RETIREMENT WHEREVER THEY CHOOSE.

May 9, 2012 10:13PM
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You forgot, that if you stay in the states the federal government will probably tax you out of your retirement funds. Also, after the dollar value drops to that of the peso you won't be able to afford to live in the states.
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Solace, better not call someone else an idiot when you can't get your own grammar or punctuation right.  (It should have been "You're an ...")
May 9, 2012 11:59PM
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I am 68 my wife is 61 when she reaches 62 we are going to the philipines.  This country was the best in the world. Now you can't leave anything unlocked or it will walk away. The politicians are spending us into eternal debt and the lawyers are advertising on TV about your medical problems. They are the true human parasites. Make a little money off  this one and that one and charge everyone else. The phillipines has problems but they are honest. The weather is nice and my retirement will cover almost anything.  I have lived there befor so no cultural shock.

 

 

 

 

   

Apr 19, 2012 9:15AM
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As a combat vet with a VA pension, I have been thinking of living somewhere warm 'year round, as I'm falling into debt here.  From the messages here I could do well in a country with lower costs of living.  I am single, so moving is not a problem....my biggest concern is whether or not the VA medical system will cover me in a foreign country. 

 

Apr 17, 2012 9:43PM
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hubba bubba  hell no I am not latin, just was enjoying the day and it was very quiet. 

 

There is no resentment on my part I am just stating the facts after living out of the country.  I live in Panama but will always be an US American.  A million dollars doesn't go as far as you think.  You must go to a really third world country and realize what is there is limited.  My English is great my espanol is another thing.

 

I brought my wife with me, I prefer an American with education and the brains to use them.

Apr 18, 2012 11:48AM
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There can be many advantages and disavantages with becoming an expat (moving overseas).  One needs to investigate (carefully) what life would be like in any particular country before buying property and moving.  I have been toying with the idea for a couple of years now.  Obviously, medical care, security/safety, and cultural differences (to include language) are big issues for most.  However, there's absolutely nothing wrong with becoming an expat if you will be happy and it will improve your quality of life.  Vacationing in areas you think you might like would be wise before making a final decision.  Keep in mind that Medicare won't work except in the U.S. and it's territories, so if you're over 65 you will need to rely on the system where you move.  Also, can you truly own real estate in the locale where you will be moving?  This is not a given.  In some places, Mexico, I think, and others I know, you cannot buy the land, only the domicile, so you won't own the land under your house.  The areas that I have given serious consideration to are:  Uruguay (may favorite choice as of right now), Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Panama and a few select other central American countries such as Belize and Costa Rico.  Originally, I wanted to moved to Barcelona, but now have limited my options to this hemisphere.  My realistic/practical option is NE Georgia for family  and medical reasons. My fall back plan is to not move at all, but to stay in Southeast Texas and vacation in Central and South America.
Apr 18, 2012 6:00PM
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Anywhere would be better than living with our current goverment especially the Tea party nut jobs.I am currently trying to Find a Mexican to trade places with yes, it has gotten that bad!!!
Apr 17, 2012 9:03PM
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Wow you writers forget living out of the country things are not the same as in the US.  Also yes you can rent places cheap but do you want to live in the neighborhood?  very local  Standards of what you are used to are not what you can expect in other countries.

Not a mention of language,  you can get by with english but life is easier if you know the local language(idioma). 

Yes there is medical insurance available but you may have to travel to get it accepted.  The rest of the world is not cheap anymore unless you drop your standard of living to live there.  Also selection in stores can be limited. 

People in whatever country have very little in common with you and this is where language can be a barrier.  So think twice and maybe try a temporary stay.  See how everyday things work and realize what is normal will not be normal.

Also it is fine if you have no family but if you do the cost of them traveling to see you can be expensive.  If you live out of the country it is very common to miss your family. 

May 10, 2012 3:08AM
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Koo, I was in the military as well and now I reside overseas. Living overseas as a GI and as I civilian are two very different things. I can tell you have never lived overseas on your own as a civilian. You my friend, have a lot to learn.

There are plenty of places in the States where U.S citizens reside that are not the safest places to be in. My home town and many other like it across the U.S. are just as unsavory as other locales around the globe. Plenty of thugs and the like are present U.S. as well. You have been drinking the company punch for far too long. The bile your spewing is rife with propaganda and prejudice. Dare I say Tea Party? Thought so. 

 

And to refute your statement.." If you really think you can live cheaper anywhere outside the U.S. than you can in Florida or Texas, then go for it because you are fools". There are plenty of places outside of the U.S. where that can be done, and live quite lavishly. I am doing so as I type. I challenge you to do some actual research as I have done, but you probably will not. I'm sure it will be much easier for you to continue spewing the same nonsense. Ignorance is bliss..

 

May 10, 2012 4:28AM
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South Jersey. Plenty of trailer parks, close to the ocean, even speak a form of english.
May 10, 2012 9:04AM
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Funny!  I was speaking with a friend from Vermont last night.  He wants to know if he should consider Panama for retirement.  Well!!!!  I just comeback from Panama after two months there and let me tell you I just want to kiss the US Soil when I arrived back home. (Some of you will relate to this comment). The reason, safety!  We here in the US are so safe and do not appreciate it until we go abroad.  Want good weather got to Florida or California your money goes farther these days in the US and you do not have to worry about getting killed by someone that is just trying to feed their family.  I will not talk about hospital care if you need it.  For me, the abroad is here! 

May 10, 2012 7:20AM
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Mexico, like the US, has it's good and bad parts. Yes some areas of Mexico carry risks . But you wouldn't plan on retiring to, let's say,  East L.A . or Hell's Kitchen if you wanted the quiet and safe life. Ex pats move to places like Merida or Puerto Morelos mostly, not Guadalajara.  It's all common sense. Research the area. Ex pats are living (quite happily) in Mexico in the safer areas. I have been to most of the Yucatan and never felt in danger . It was scarier in Puerto Rico, which is a US territory, than Playa del Carmen or Cancun. The food in Mexico is delicious and cheap, the housing is cheap too. And literally paradise outside your door.    
Apr 18, 2012 11:33AM
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Jerod - Fight to improve it is right. We just got rid of a big meth dealer in our neighborhood. In doing so we got rid of the meth cooker & supplier by accident. Grandma sitting out front sure fooled us on the cooker. The sheriff's department was not much help a long with the government of the USA who supplies welfare payments, food stamps to drug makers. They hate lights & cameras. As far as going overseas to live be sure water issues pertaining to drinking water & good doctors are there. Check out the laws & security issues.
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