When choosing a place to retire, it might be tempting to stay home, where you’re comfortable and familiar with the community. It might even be tempting to head to Florida or somewhere else that’s familiar, sunny, and has beaches. However, there are some things you simply won’t be able to do if you don’t consider the idea of retiring abroad – at least, not as easily.
- Experience a new culture
Of course, if you retire at home you can always travel, but it’s just not the same as settling into a new place and learning all about life in a new country. No matter which country you choose, you’re bound to meet new people from all over, and you’re bound to get a feel for a whole new lifestyle. Different countries offer different ways of life, and you may find that a different place fits your style better than you thought.
Again, you can always travel somewhere else or retire near the Grand Canyon, but honestly, you’re much more likely to go sightseeing if you live abroad. Choose a country with the types of landscapes or venues you’re interested in seeing. Do you want to live near a beach but also near a mountain retreat? Panama could be your spot. Would you like to live in a quiet, tropical spot with gorgeous sites, but still be near enough to touristy areas to have something fun to do on the weekends? Maybe you’d prefer Thailand. Staying in your home country may be comfortable, but it doesn’t bring you these kinds of new experiences.
- Enjoy a lower cost of living
This would be true if you chose a country with an exchange rate that works in your favor. You might be prepared to live on a budget based on what you’ve saved up throughout your working career, but what if you didn’t have to budget as tightly as you thought? If you retired to a country in Latin America, for example, or even some areas in Southeast Asia or Europe, you could live a more luxurious lifestyle (have a nice big house, maybe hire a gardener…) than you even knew you could! Many of today’s expats say that they find themselves spending 50 to 70 percent less than what they were spending at home.
- Gain access to more affordable healthcare
Find a country in which the healthcare is up to par with your standards, and you’re still likely to see huge savings. For example, a doctor’s office visit in Latin America or Asia would cost anywhere from $10 to $40. Dental care costs about 20 percent of what it costs in the United States, and the same goes for most health care plans in general. Some countries offer public healthcare plans that can cost anywhere from $50 to $150 per month, per person. Imagine how much nicer it would be to pay such a small cost for your health.
- A sense of community
Now, of course you can find a community anywhere in which you feel you belong. However, there’s nothing quite like the camaraderie of fellow expats. When you join such a community, you become one of a like-minded group of people, and there’s a genuine closeness that comes from that. It’s been said to be difficult to find elsewhere.
The general consensus is that you can live better overseas. Consider these five points when making your decision, and maybe even try visiting a few countries of interest. You’re likely to find that you could not only mesh right into a new community, but that you’d truly enjoy a new lifestyle full of culture and sightseeing. Many expats who are asked today if they’d have done anything differently, only say they wish they’d moved sooner.
Obviously, this lifestyle choice is not for everyone. You’d have to be comfortable leaving home to start something new, and not everyone is ready for that kind of decision. It never hurts to try traveling to a few different spots when planning your retirement abroad. If you’re interested in Asia, try countries like Thailand, Vietnam, or Korea. If you’re interested in Europe, try the Ukraine or Moldova. For Latin American countries, try Nicaragua, Panama, or Belize. This is the best way to make an educated decision about what you feel would suit you best!
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