Leaving America: The New Retirement Strategy

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?      

Agree or disagree; please register your comments below.

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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).

   

 

 

One thought on “Leaving America: The New Retirement Strategy

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  1. 1)Do you think you’ll have enough money for a coblortamfe retirement?Does not apply. I love my career as an artist and hope to die with the tools of the trade in my hands.2) Do you plan on receiving the social security benefits that have been promised to you?Sure, I’m a boomer. I plan to tap in at 62. But my intent is to pass it along every month to someone in one of the following generations. There’s some delicious irony there.3) What % of your income do you save today for retirement?When I work my savings rate is usually around 40-50%. But let me say that life so far has been like a long summer vacation. I have taken as much as a year to enjoy myself and recharge my batteries several times in my adult life. I rarely reject an offer to go river rafting or fishing (which are very low cost and high enjoyment activities). On the financial side, I sold my suburban home four years ago and rent a small farm now. The cash is well invested (I hope) since it has more than doubled in that time. To buy in my locale would cost me at least triple what I now pay in rent. 4) Where would you like to retire?I’m an avid, no, really I’m a compulsive food gardener and tree grower. Soil, water, four real seasons and open spaces blow my skirt up. I’ll stay in the USA and take my chances with the coming times since my tribe is here. 5) How old are you, and what age do you plan on retiring?The answer to part one is that I’m just about to turn 61. For part B see the above.A little rambling: The real goal is to have a good life. Keep it simple and full of heart. Be joyful doing vigorous work. Eat healthy food not poisonous crap. My key to having enough money has been to tighten down the outflow spigot rather than exert myself in the mind numbing quest for big bucks. Oh yeah, exchange goods and services with others because the return is much greater (though a bit difficult to quantify). You have all seen pictures of some ancient and very wrinkled peasant in bib overalls holding a bunch of grapes with a twinkle in his eye and a wise smile on his face. This is not a bad goal. Finally, it is better to die deservedly well loved than rich.

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