Many people convince themselves they can’t retire away from their home country. It’s not the right time, it’s too complicated, we don’t have enough money – and certainly this can be true. But to truly look at retiring overseas and taking long, hard look at how you want to spend the rest of your life takes a great deal of serious thought and consideration. After all, this is the nest egg you’ve built up over a lifetime of hard work, investment and savings. You don’t want to make the wrong decision for you, your spouse or your family. To that end there are a few things to consider before making any further plans on an offshore retirement.
You first need to be honest with yourself about your lifestyle and the priorities you have. Consider your friends, what you like to do as a hobby or as entertainment, the kind of people you’d like to engage in a conversation and if you can live without a reliable internet connection or a front-loading washer and dryer combo. Make these thoughts and decisions with your significant other because their ideas about what they want are equally as important as your own. You may find yourself surprised at what he or she is willing or capable of tolerating – get it all out in the open sooner instead of later.
Know that there is no perfect place to retire, no ideal climate, no perfect city or economy. Know that there isn’t anywhere you’re going to live that seems as convenient, comfortable and as efficient as what you may have in the United States. Many businesses – government and private – outside of the United States close at 5 p.m. It may be impossible to get all of your shopping or bill paying done during lunch or after hours. It’s a given in developing countries, and in the Caribbean and Latin American nations, that schedules and set appointments are merely considered suggestions instead of a commitment to time. It may be more complicated to conduct business, pay taxes, make utility payments or conduct banking. Know these limitations in advance and be prepared to manage your expectations.
Items like health insurance and property investment become more of a hassle outside of the United States, not less. It’s likely your health insurance won’t cover you once you’ve left the country and you’ll need to determine what type of insurance is available and what will fit your needs the best. You will need to do more due diligence and research before investing in that retirement villa, not less, to avoid scams and rip-off artists. You are the only person who can determine where the best place to retire is for yourself. Pay attention to your ‘gut instinct’; for most people it either feels right or it doesn’t.
You can do all the research and planning in advance; in fact it’s absolutely essential you do so. Know that panic is going to be very real and quick to settle in once you’ve made the leap and put your feet on new home soil. It’s only natural. Trust yourself to have done the necessary research, that you’ve prepared as best you can and that panic will pass. Then get on with enjoying the rest of your life.