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Should you retire overseas?

Spending your golden years abroad can be very rewarding. But before you make such a big commitment, know what questions to ask yourself.

By Money Staff Nov 23, 2010 1:35PM

This post comes from Kathleen Peddicord at partner site US News & World Report.


 U.S. News & World Report on MSN MoneyBefore you consider where you might retire overseas, you've got to develop a little self-knowledge. Determine what is important to you and what changes you would not be able to tolerate. What products, services, amenities, and pastimes would you miss from your current life if they weren't part of your new one?

No place is perfect. No matter where you go, you will find things you like and things you don’t. It’s a question of priorities and preferences. Here's a quiz to help you get to know yourself well enough to be able to make the best overseas retirement choice. These are the key issues to evaluate.


  • Do you enjoy a change of seasons?
  • Would you be unhappy without regular sunshine?
  • Do you mind rain?
  • Can you handle heat? Humidity?
  • Do you prefer a varying length of day?


  • Do you lose your cool if you can't send an e-mail every time you try to?
  • Does your work require reliable Internet service 24 hours a day, seven days a week?
  • Would you mind living on a dirt road?
  • Would you mind your road access being temporarily cut off during the rainy season?
  • Do you need American television?
  • Would you be unhappy if you couldn't watch football on Sunday afternoons?
  • Are you afraid of the dark? In much of the world, electricity isn't 100 percent reliable.
  • Would you be comfortable owning a car and driving yourself around in a new country? If not, think about places where you could afford a full-time driver or where a car is unnecessary.
  • Would you want to travel outside the country often, either to visit family back home or generally? If so, consider how far you’d have to travel to the nearest international airport.
  • Would you be unhappy without your favorite comfort foods? If so, consider places with access to international-standard grocery stores.

Post continues after video.

Access to back home:

  • Do you have children or grandchildren you want to see regularly?
  • Are you going to be keeping a home in the country where you're moving from?
  • Will you have some ongoing business concerns in other countries?


  • Do you speak a second language?
  • Are you terrified at the thought of learning a new language?

How you like to spend your time:

  • What's your favorite thing to do on a Friday night?
  • How would you rather spend a free Sunday afternoon --in a museum or taking a long walk in the woods?
  • How regularly do you want to be able to dine out? To watch a first-run movie in English? To visit an art gallery or attend the theater?
  • What would you like to see from your bedroom window? The ocean? A mountainside covered with wildflowers? A vineyard? A busy street scene?


  • From where will you derive your income in retirement?
  • Will you have pension, dividend, interest, rental, or capital gains income to account for? The source of your income has a lot to do with your ultimate tax liability.


  • Are you a woman moving alone?
  • Are you moving with young children?
  • Do protests bother you? The French, for example, seem to assemble to make a point at the drop of a beret.
  • Do you speak the local language? If you do, situations that might otherwise seem frightening won't bother you. If you don't, you may sometimes feel uncomfortable even if there's really no cause for worry.
  • Have you traveled much internationally? If yes, again, you're probably better prepared for what otherwise might seem like worrisome situations.

Be honest with yourself in your responses. And, critically, if you’ll be making the move with a significant other, ask these questions not only of yourself, but of him or her as well. It’s much better to address any conflicts up front rather than after you’ve signed the lease on your new Caribbean condo.


More from MSN Money and US News & World Report:

Nov 25, 2010 1:04PM

Should congress raise the retirement age to 68?


You have to love a well done propaganda piece. Any time I see Kudlow, I turn my bull detector on its max setting.


The modern media can sell anything to the steeple. Of course there are limits. Social security seems to be one of them.


The con artists in congress have been kicking the social security can down the road for so many years that many have forgotten that a slightly noticeable increase 30 years ago and there would be no problem today, but noooooo that would have subtracted from the funds available for the pork projects of the corporate welfare state.


The politicians, especially Republicans, kicked it down the road each time increasing the pain of paying for the government’s obligation. Politicians covered their mismanagement once already by raising the retirement rate. Now, they what to do it again and again. It was the ultimate slippery slope.


We used to be a country of laws. Where a man’s word was his bond and all men were created equal. Social security was a contract not a political foot ball to kick down the road manipulating the masses through fear and intimidation, but now here we are paying the externalized price of said intimidations in a tiered system where common law principles only apply to the common man. We now have a super class of citizens that have made themselves above the law for so long that they can no longer tell the difference between right and wrong.


We see the dichotomy in the mortgage melt down debates were the merchant media sells the idea that it is an immoral act for someone to strategically default while praising the business savvy merchant class when it uses the same strategy as a “legitimate” risk management strategy.


We are seeing the same tiered twin standard and corporate snow job at work in the social security debates. We have a merchant class on one hand with adequate resources to retire and we have government employees on the other hand that may not have a problem because they gave themselves an exemption from paying into social security opting for other means of funding. Both will reach cushy retirements technically at someone else’s expense.   


Now, the six figures earning out of touch blond is screaming what is wrong with raising the retirement rate? Well, my dear it is called breach of contract. Something someone who views herself as a member of the merchant class living above common law principles wouldn’t understand and apparently doesn’t.


I’m all about fiscally responsible government, but right is right. The debate should be focusing on the career politicians that kicked the social security can down the road by not funding it with the existing tax revenues of the time and not on breach of contract gimmicks masked in a merchant class propaganda pitch. There are limits to the power of propaganda. They call social security the third rail of politics for a reason.    




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