By: Heather Keys
I’m in my 30s and will never be able to retire in the United States.
Regardless of how much I earn, I live in fear of having an accident or illness that’ll wipe out all of my savings, leaving me destitute and dependent on people resentful of my existence. It’s happened to extended family members of mine, and I see stories in the media about this scenario constantly.
Am I paranoid? Yeah, probably—but not totally without reason. The majority of millennials my age don’t think they’ll be able to stop working in retirement, and don’t think they’ll be able to achieve a financially-secure retirement.
But one of the good things about living in a more connected world means there are more opportunities to get creative.
So I’ve been looking into retiring abroad.
A lot of articles here on Frayed Passport deal with retiring early, or semi-retiring. Those are dreams of mine too! But ultimately when I’m just…done with working entirely, and want to retire at 65, I’d like to do it in a place where I feel financially secure, and where I can maintain a good quality of life. And retiring abroad seems to be the ticket—or at least it’s the only thing that calms my worries about whether I’ll ever be able to save enough.
Here are the top reasons retirees report for moving abroad—maybe they’ll inspire you the way they’ve inspired me!
1: You’ll Have a Better Cost of Living
A lot of people who are scared of not having enough savings to retire in the United States can do it abroad.
In destinations with lower costs of living popular among retirees—like Guatemala, Costa Rica, Mexico, or Thailand—you can spend less and afford more. Groceries and restaurants are cheaper, housing is cheaper, and services such as housekeeping and landscaping are cheaper (and accessible at all, if you’re like me and never thought you’d have a housekeeper!). Not to mention the cost of healthcare…which brings us to our next section.
2: You Can Find Affordable, Accessible Healthcare
Healthcare in the United States is a nightmare. And you can get high-quality, affordable, and accessible healthcare abroad—actually this is a major, major reason so many retirees leave the US to live abroad.
A lot of the doctors and specialists you’ll find in expat retiree communities have been trained in the US or Canada. And you can easily find specialists for whatever your needs are, and depending on where you live, you can get quick service without needing to schedule an appointment weeks in advance. Prescriptions are cheaper and easier to fill too (I can attest to this after getting an infection abroad and spending a couple dollars on a medicine that would have cost me $100+ in a doctor’s visit and pharmacy fees at home).
- Related: read this Q&A on medical tourism
3: You Can Avoid Winter Entirely
We all know retiree snowbirds: living up north during the warmer months, then migrating to a second home further south when it starts to get cold.
But not everybody has the luxury of owning multiple homes, and not everybody has the ability to travel regularly. And if you really hate winter, you can avoid it forever by moving to a more tropical climate. Latin America is a particularly popular place for retirees looking for sunny, warm weather without needing to spend an arm and a leg on home upkeep and travel.
4: You Can Pursue Adventure and New Hobbies
Living in a different country is an adventure of its own. And when you put down roots in a new place with a community that is literally foreign to you (or even if you’re living among a mix of locals and expats), you’re bound to find new things to do, to see, and to love. Learn a new language, immerse yourself in the culture, and live without quite so many regulations. Want to take your drink out of the bar? Not the end of the world! Want to take day trips to the beach or the mountains? You can do it without budgeting hundreds of dollars! Want to make friends with like-minded people? There literally are expat retirement communities and neighborhoods that you can join when you’re ready. Want to avoid expats and do your own thing? That’s absolutely ok too!
Living abroad is so much more accessible today than it’s ever been for older generations, and it’s something my friends and I have really been coming around to. If we don’t have to stay in a place where it doesn’t make sense, why should we?
Featured image via Unsplash.