Stephan Baldwin is the Director of Business Development for www.AssistedLivingCenter.com, an online resource for senior living communities.
Many people believe you have to be rich to live overseas, but did you know you could retire and live comfortably on around $1,000-$2,000 a month in over 100 countries?
Moving overseas is an exciting and surprisingly affordable way to spend retirement. It's very doable for those who wish to add some adventure to retirement, but there are several things you must plan for and consider.
5 Steps to Plan Your Overseas Move
- First, take the time to thoroughly investigate recommended countries. Useful resources include articles from Asian Journal and Business Insider. Thoroughly research articles relevant to where you want to live. Some may believe that countries that are geographically close to each other will be extremely similar, but the reality is that they can drastically differ in culture, government and other areas. An obvious example is North and South Korea.
- Find out about passport and visa requirements, country laws and how to receive social security/pension benefits while living overseas. The U.S. Passports and International Travel website is a great resource for this information.
- Your main concern about retiring overseas, in addition to cost-of-living expenses, will no doubt be your medical costs. Be aware that Medicare will not cover your healthcare expenses if you retire overseas. When you decide on a retirement destination, learn about that country's healthcare system and your eligibility to be included in it. This PDF file provided by the Commonwealth Fund can help you get started with your research.
- Taxes! While the U.S. and most European countries have some form of government tax mandates, other countries may have a minimal to non-existent tax system. Find out more about international tax systems with this comprehensive guide for seniors planning to retire abroad. It's recommended that you speak to an attorney experienced with international tax laws to learn the ins and outs of your new country's taxes.
- Decide whether you want to rent or buy a home. Many seniors retiring overseas rent simply because it is cheaper. Owning a home in another country entails the same issues you have as a homeowner in the States, mainly maintenance, upkeep and possibly property taxes.
Popular Places for Retirees
According to International Living, retirees searching for safe, affordable and exciting places to enjoy their senior years should consider the following countries:
- Costa Rica
- New Zealand
Country affordability and livability indexes are based on real estate prices, government-provided amenities (free healthcare, transportation and utility rates), cost of living and the country's retirement infrastructure. Climate is another aspect that was considered, with warmer, more temperate countries receiving higher marks.
Using International Moving Companies
International moving companies can help you transport your items overseas - intact! - by making sure they reach a freight forwarder. Freight forwarders are responsible for the actual transportation of goods overseas. Some freight forwarding companies will do the moving and packing of your items in addition to seeing they get to your destination. Further, freight forwarding companies have the knowledge and expertise to handle the complicated paperwork and customs regulations involved in shipping items internationally. So, tell us...what country are you considering for you retirement? Ready to make the move, or just have questions? Contact us!