Why Boomers are Retiring Overseas
The baby boomer generation is changing the conversation about retirement, with many choosing different models of retirement living – from co-housing communities, to working throughout retirement, to retiring overseas. In this age of information, ease of travel, and global awareness, an overseas retirement is not only appealing, but is also entirely feasible for many boomers.
Benefits of Retiring Abroad
Of course, the appeal of overseas living in the second half of life varies from person to person. Some baby boomers are seeking the excitement and exotic locales they may have missed while working their way up the corporate ladder and raising the kids in safe suburban communities. Some are looking for cheaper real estate, while others may want a peaceful environment and warm or mild climate. Whatever the impetus for exploring overseas options, expat retirees can reap many benefits:
- Re-imagining your life – Often, baby boomers have spent the majority of their lives pursuing the normal “American dream,” including a 9-to-5 job, spouse and kids, a family home, and all of the normal joys – and stressors – that go along with these things. Upon retirement, some boomers are realizing that they have an opportunity to do something completely new, and to live an entirely different lifestyle in exciting, novel surroundings.
- A lifestyle upgrade – Many retirees who move to foreign destinations – such as Ecuador, Costa Rica, or Nicaragua – find that they can live a much more “posh” lifestyle on less money than they could in the U.S. The cost of housekeeping and gardening help is low, often international medical insurance is significantly less expensive, and in many areas there are activities and recreation destinations available that can make a resident feel like they are on constant vacation.
- Lower living expenses – Whether retiring to a European destination or a more exotic locale such as Thailand, many expat boomers find daily living expenses to be much more reasonable. Health coverage, rent, meals, and entertainment can be much cheaper than the same expenses “back home.”
- Great benefits for retirees – Many countries offer incredible special benefits and discounts to all retired persons, and some offer even more to entice foreigners to spend their retirement years within their borders. Breaks on public transportation, public services, and utilities are available to seniors in many places. Panama, for example, has the “pensionado” – a program for seniors (open to foreign retirees) that gives between 15% and 50% off of such things as transportation, fine dining, theatre and sporting event tickets, medical care, and even domestic airfare.
- Real estate bargains – Although there are some very pricey foreign retirement locales, a number of places offer real estate at amazingly low cost. Some boomers have even found it possible to own more than one home – such as a quiet rural home with land and a “downtown” condominium – because real estate is so much more affordable in places such as Panama, Ecuador, Mexico, and the Caribbean.
Boomers are definitely retiring overseas in increasing numbers as evidenced by the growing number of social section checks being sent to overseas addresses. If you choose to join them and retire overseas yourself, you may find you can live the life you’ve always wanted for much less than you have ever dreamed you could. Check out some listings of overseas destinations, and begin to imagine your own retirement adventure!