7/5/2011 12:45 PM ET|
20 questions about retiring overseas
If you're a potential expat, a million questions may come to mind. Here are some of the most common questions -- along with the answers.
Beginning to think about the possibility of retirement overseas can be intimidating. Most people have a lot of questions when they are in the early stages of planning a new life abroad. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about retirement overseas.
1. If I move overseas, can I ever return to the United States? Living overseas, even full time or as a legal resident of another country, does not affect your ability to spend time in the United States. If you're still an American citizen, you can come and go as you please.
2. Living overseas, could I lose my U.S. citizenship? Your residency status abroad has no effect on your U.S. citizenship. Remember, residency and citizenship are two different things. The only way to lose your U.S. citizenship is to renounce it formally. You can't lose your U.S. citizenship accidentally.
3. Do I need a passport to retire overseas? You need a passport to travel almost anywhere in the world outside the U.S., no matter how long you intend to stay.
4. Do I need any vaccinations? Some countries require you to have specific vaccinations before you can enter. There are also many foreign retirement spots where, although it's not required, you may choose to be vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a good section on its website discussing which vaccinations might be advisable, depending on your current state of health and where in the world you intend to spend time.
5. Can I drink the water? The safety of the drinking water varies considerably, depending on where you are going. Tap water is potable in France, for example, but it tastes funny because of the chemicals it's treated with. Tap water is generally not potable in Ireland, but it is in Panama City and other parts of Panama. The easiest strategy is to drink bottled water when you're outside the U.S.
6. Is it really safe? No place is 100% crime-free, but many countries outside the U.S. are generally safe. That is not to say no one ever does anything he or she shouldn't do in any of these places. Use common sense at home and abroad. Lock the front door to your house, don't leave the keys in your car and don't wear flashy jewelry on the street.
7. Are there bugs or snakes? There are mosquitoes, gnats, sand flies, cockroaches and spiders nearly everywhere. You'll find snakes in the jungle and other rural areas, and some may be poisonous. It's easy enough, though, to educate yourself on which varieties of creepy-crawlies you might encounter in your new home once you decide where you're moving. (Note that nearly every state in the U.S. has snakes, too.)
8. Are there earthquakes or hurricanes? Yes, these natural disasters occur in many countries. Panama, for example, sits outside the hurricane belt, but sometimes the earth does quake.
9. Can I still receive my Social Security payments? Yes. You can even have your monthly Social Security check direct-deposited into your account in many countries.
10. Will Medicare cover me overseas? No. You will need to make other plans for covering your medical expenses overseas. The good news is that in many countries, medical care and health insurance cost a fraction of what they do in the U.S.
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Those are the most inane questions I have ever seen posed about living outside of the US by any published magazine, print or TV.
They are sophomoric and seem to be addressed to people who haven't yet completed Junior High, read a newspaper or book or watched international news on TV.
Having lived outside of the US twice, for more than a year each time, I would suggest that most foreign countries would not be anxious to have Americans go there to live if they had no more knowledge of living in another country than the questions imply.
That's good news? It might be if the same were true here.
It's a shame when we have to leave our home country to get reasonable medical care.
But that's exactly what many have been doing. And the quality of the care has been generally good.
I'd prefer to retire right here in the good 'ol USA, but who can afford it, really? Taxed your whole life then you need to find somewhere ( settle on somewhere) that doesn't tax you pension.. Working middle class is living on a fixed income as it is. How can a retiree manage on that anymore in these times?
Your questions are ridiculous, There are snake and bugs? There snake and bugs in Florida and in many other States, Can I drink the water???..depend, you can not drink the water in many places in the USA....Medicare wont cover you but you can buy a good plan for about $200.00 US$ per month....In some countries you can live with $1.000.00 very well, try that in the USA.....as a matter of fact you can live well in some countries with less than that....You need to speak the language!!!
but overall you can live well and even come to visit the USA every year, Most countries now have
Direct TV, so you can keep on watching the same shows that you are used to.
Boy! I've never travelled beyond Canada and TJ, but these are really stupid questions. I have a passport, just in case... and it's the best ID there is. Earthquakes? Give me a break! Check Wikipedia. Can I ever come back.... Good Lord! Even if you're planning on renouncing US Citizenship, you can come back if you can afford the trip.
The question I'd have asked about driving rather than US Drivers License is this: If you happen to have a fender-bender, is this a criminal charge or is it a civil issue? If it is handled as a criminal issue (as it is in some Latin American countries), then be prepared to have it impounded as evidence on the spot.
Another might be: What about my prescriptions? Some medications that we commonly use in the US are considered to be illegal drugs in other countries.... just like marijuana is here.
Yup! That's the plan. I have an aunt who went to Paris, 30 years ago for a summer vacation and never came back. Ha!
My brother is retired in Thailand now. They have a big ex-pat population.
Where am I going? Somewhere where there aren't too many Americans.
When I was in Panama the water varied greatly and most houses had to have their own water tanks. The local water might be safe one day and questionable the next. We added bleac to the water in the tank anytime we knew the local supply had been interupted.
When I lived in China and now in Colombia I would say that knowing the language is a requirement. I had a translator in China and I speak Spanish.
The article glosses over many of the dangers that can come with a 3rd world address.
There are many good things as well of course.
Check out the book "Smart Safe Traveler" available through Amazon for far better answers in much greater depth.
According to the U.S. Embassy in the Ukraine:
U.S. citizens may receive Social Security and other Federal benefits payments while residing in Ukraine. However, exception requirements must be met to receive Social Security benefits in Ukraine. Social Security Administration restrictions prohibit direct deposit of funds to bank accounts in Ukraine, or sending your payments to anybody else while you are in Ukraine. For more information on receiving benefits while overseas, please visit the Social Security Administration website.
No. 9's answer is incorrect. Some countries have Communist parties still, and Social Security payments aren't made to Americans living in those countries as explained to me by a worker
in the Social Security Administration. I was potentially going to go to the Ukraine to retire and I was told that I would not receive my Social Security payments while I was living there. The Ukraine still has or partly has a Communist party.
I would check it out further with the Social Security Administration before going to any country to live to be on the safe side.
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