The vastly changed and still-changing economic landscape in America is prompting more and more of our fellow citizens to soberly contemplate relocating, in their retirement years, from places within U.S. borders to locations outside of…in some cases, far outside of…the home of the brave and the land of the free. For an increasing number, one of the more reliable retirement “plans” is to move to a country where the cost of living is so inexpensive that even if one had no more than an average Social Security check to sustain him, he could live very well. Internet searches on the topic are way up, and with many economies around the world expected to thrive more than ours in the coming years, the idea of moving to a foreign country is something that is based as much, or more, in sound personal economics as it is in romantic notions of how to spend one’s golden years.
Mexico, Panama, and Ecuador are but three examples of other countries where a little goes a long, long way; these are places where the average Social Security check…about $1200…can cover rent, utilities, groceries, even health insurance and reasonable entertainment expenses.
For those concerned about the quality of health care abroad, particularly in countries that are not fully representative of developed nations, the apprehension is understandable, but in the land of the tough choice (where we all live now), it is no longer the deal-breaker it once was. Greater numbers of people seem to be comfortable in deciding that it is not imprudent to opt for getting substantially more from what might be fewer retirement dollars, in exchange for accepting a measured risk that the quality of the health services available as we age may not be something that sustains us into the far outreaches of biological longevity. Going forward, many of us will consider choices that ask us to select between comfortable retirements in faraway places and less comfortable, even uncomfortable, retirements in these United States. To each his own, I say, but what is the point of living a long time if so many of those days are fraught with financial uncertainty, particularly at the very point in our lives when we are least capable of withstanding it?
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Bob Yetman, Editor-at-Large at Christian Money.com (www.christianmoney.com), is an author of a variety of materials on personal finance and investing, as well as on topics of fitness and self defense, to include the recently-released book Investor's Passport to Hedge Fund Profits (John Wiley & Sons, Inc; www.investorspassport.com) and the new unarmed combat training DVD Thunderstrikes – How to Develop One Shot, One Kill Striking Power (Paladin Press; www.mikereevesonline.com).