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7 Things to Consider Before You Retire Abroad

Retiring overseas with the ocean at your front door in Panama or in nestled in the foothills of Ecuador is a romantic idea in theory, but before you start packing, you’ll want to make sure it’s the right decision for you.   Here are a few things to think about to see if you’re really ready for the big move.

  1. First and foremost, if you’re even somewhat considering taking your retirement overseas, discuss it with your significant other if you have one.  Make sure you’re both on the same page for where and how you want to spend your golden years.  Overseas divorces can be a messy affair.
  2. Evaluate your daily routine and your hobbies.  Do you need that daily double shot mocha frappachino soy grande?  Do you regularly see the newest movie?  Does life without a garbage disposal make you cringe?  When considering if you want to move abroad, it really is the small things that will make or break you.
  3. There is no one “perfect” retiree destination.  You’ll need to deeply evaluate what it is that’s most important to you: climate, health benefits, proximity to your country of origin for loved ones, cost of living, etc.  Once you have this narrowed down, the ideal location is probably out there for you, but maybe not where you first thought, so stay open to new ideas.
  4. Be realistic about your expectations.  As amazing as your new locale sounds on paper and through visits, it’s going to be very different once you’re finally there.  Even if you’re living in a gated expat community, simple things like running errands probably won’t be as simple or as quick as in your home country.  Anything bureaucratic definitely will be more difficult, and probably in another language, so you’ll want prepare yourself mentally for handling these situations.
  5. Once you’ve selected a destination, consult with a financial planner or tax guy on both ends of the move to understand the implications living abroad might have and how you can possibly organize your finances to your benefit.
  6. Don’t buy; rent first.  Despite the amount of research you’ve done, you’ll never know if you truly like a place until you’ve had a few months to settle in.  Even if you like the general area, you might find that you like the neighborhood a couple kilometers over better.  Give yourself the time you need and don’t rush into anything.
  7. Trust your gut.  When preparing for your new adventure or even once you’ve gotten there, never be afraid to make the changes you need if something doesn’t feel right.  This is your retirement, no one else’s.
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