I’ve spent the last 14 years traveling to different countries, some for work, and some for adventure. Now doesn’t feel like the time to quit! I want to use what I’ve learned as a basis for deciding where to develop my home base. I need 4 walls to contain my collections from my travels.
Though I’ve been thinking about it for a long time, my retirement came much sooner than I expected. The day dreaming and abstract research has become real. How should I proceed? Where should I go? Should I quit working altogether?
Addressing these issues in an organized fashion seems to be the first step. Of course, most people in their 60’s have been sorting these issues, and others, for a long time, but it becomes quite real with the time arrives, especially if it arrives sooner than planned, and/or of previous plans have fallen through or, in the light of reality, seem less plausible.
The primary concern seems to be location:
A. Income. Yes, everything else follows from there. If you, like me, have a pension of about $1300 a month and very limited savings, income becomes a defining factor.
B. Family. Based on income, the best option for many average retirees is to expatriate. Many people feel tied to the US, or their home countries, by family concerns. Fair enough. But it is not necessarily the issue it once was. In the mobile United States, a person could retire in Mexico and be closer to their families than if they were still in the States, especially if you are in the far northeast or northwest. It is certainly not that much farther away. And if you retire in Mexico, family might actually visit you more often. (Maybe Asia is a better option?)
The important thing is that you may not realistically be able to retire in the US for financial reasons, so if you are hesitant, it may be time to expand your thinking about location.
C. Legal status. It can be very frustrating to find the perfect location, and then find out that you are not welcome there. Retirement visas vary hugely. For some countries, they don’t exist, and for most countries there are minimum income and savings requirements. There are websites for retiring in Australia, but if you can meet their income and savings requirements, you don’t need to follow this blog. Just hire an attorney and make it happen.
D. Health care. This is a bit of a subset of location, as it is another consideration. My initial research has led me to reject some very lovely options, simply based on access to and expense of health care.
E. Language. For a gringo relocating to a Latin American country, this may not be a huge hurdle. Spanish is actually easy to acquire, and most people from the US know way more or it than they may think. Asian languages are much more difficult, and aside from some food names, little of these languages has entered the American vocabulary.
F. Culture. Again, many of us are already quite comfortable with Latin cultures. Or not. If hearing Spanish spoken in a supermarket in the States makes you enraged, maybe you are best stretching your pennies at home. There is a world of difference between Latin and Asian cultures, and between the different cultures within those regions. I know people who love Thai culture, but cannot abide Indian. And culture, of course, includes food!
G. Climate. My list here is not intended to be in order of importance. For many people, climate is the main consideration.
H. Personal specific considerations. If you can’t live without good coffee, or golf, or other things that can be defining about your daily life, this must be factored in. I lived for 2 years in Bangladesh, and the only good coffee I could get was what I brought in from abroad and made myself. This is not enough to turn me off from a country, but it could be for some people. Add these considerations to your research list.
So, this is my list so far. Now I’m going to look at my short list of countries and collect the answers to these concerns. Once the list is shorter, I’ll have a good excuse to start traveling to the most suitable and check them out. That is the fun part!