Tips for Moving Abroad in Retirement

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Whether retirement is a couple of years or a couple of decades away, you probably have a few thoughts about how you’d like to spend that time. Have you considered moving abroad when you retire? There are a lot of advantages. The cost of living, including health care, can be cheaper in other countries, and the weather can be magnificent. It can be an adventure as well although if you don’t want to feel as though you are too far from home, many countries have enclaves of retired Americans.

Know the Rules

As an American citizen, you can retire legally in many countries. You will need money to do it, but probably not as much as you think, and you don’t have to be rich. In fact, if you are a homeowner, your home may be worth enough to allow you to sell it and purchase property in another country, thus qualifying you for a residence visa. However, every country has different rules, and you don’t have to own property to relocate abroad. If your bank account is looking a little lean, you might want to look around for some other sources of cash. For example, find out if your life insurance includes a life settlement option. You can review a guide that tells you more, but basically, this allows you to sell your life insurance for a significant amount of money.

Choose Your Dream Destination

If you love the sun, you’re in luck, because many of the top destinations for America retirees, such as Costa Rica, have plenty of it. But don’t worry because if you’d rather get away from the sun, there are also places that offer quiet mountain villages and cooler temperatures, such as northern Portugal. Think about the qualities you want in a place and start narrowing destinations down. Consider the size of the town you’d like to live in, whether it’s important to you to have other Americans around and what kind of lifestyle appeals to you. 

Your safety is especially important at this stage of life. Sadly, retirees are considered a vulnerable demographic of people leaving you open to be taken advantage of if you do not have your wits about you. You should research and know the safety of your destination of choice in advance of making the final decision. 

Work Out Logistics

Be sure that you understand your tax obligations. You’ll still need to pay U.S. taxes even though you are living abroad. In addition, if you have a foreign bank that’s over a certain amount, you’ll have to fill out a tax document annually in connection with that as well. If you plan to keep your bank account as an expat you will need to prepare. There are reasons it could be a good idea to keep a bank account back in the U.S. as well, but is there an address of a friend or relative there you could use? You should also think about whether you’ll sell or move your belongings. If you don’t have much to ship, you could share a container with someone else.

Connect With Others

Just about any questions you have about the points above or anything else can probably be answered for you by people who have already made the leap. On online forums and social media, you can find a lot of information and people who are happy to help you out and even meet up with you once you are in-country. You can start creating your new community before you’ve even left home.

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