Retiring in another country?
Have you ever thought about retiring in another country?
According to AARP report in 2017, about 550,000 Americans receive their social security benefits overseas. The top 10 countries for Americans are:
- Costa Rica
Why do they choose to retire overseas? Here are the top reasons, according to Investopedia:
- Warm weather
- Lower cost of living and health care
- Adventure of different culture
All sounds like fun. But, it’s not working for me. Let me explain why.
I’m already living in a different country:
As some readers might know, I grew up in China. 22 years ago, I decided to come to America, and fell in love with this country at first sight. Since then, I call America home.
I have to admit that, moving to a different country is very exciting. Different language, people, culture, and scenery. Everything is new and refreshing.
As exciting as it sounds, I don’t want to move to another country anymore. Probably I’m getting old, and have lost the adventuring spirit I used to have 22 years ago.
I would love to live in Mexico or Panama for 4-5 months to explore, and practice my Spanish. It would be cool to rent an apartment, live like a local, visit the farmers’ market to get fresh fruits and vegetables, and cook some dishes myself.
Once a while, I’d invite my family members or friends over to have fun together. If they don’t mind my poor Spanish, I could be their interpreter (free service for sure).
But living there permanently is a different animal. My Spanish may never be that fluent as my English, and language and culture would be a big barrier to me.
Personally I still like America better. It may sound like a frog in the well: Ohio has been and will be my home forever.
Winter is tolerable to me:
The weather in Ohio doesn’t bother me. The 3-4 month winter may not be that attractive to me, but it’s not too bad. Early retirement gives me the luxurious option to stay at home, when there is snow or ice.
Have you noticed the air in the winter is so crispy, and the sunshine is so lovely that it melts the heart? The snow under the sun looks gorgeous. I can’t live at a place without snow, and that’s probably too boring. Just like life needs ups and downs, I need 4 different seasons.
Plus, without winter, you won’t experience the excitement and hope the spring brings: the first bud of flowers, the first tree leaves, the first hummingbirds …
Cost of living & Politics:
If the cost of living is the primary factor for some people to retire overseas, I suggest they reconsider it. The fact is that, many places in US are not that expensive as New York City or San Francisco. Some college towns are really nice, with reasonable cost of living and tons of activities. Relocating within US is much easier than to another country, without losing the comfort and stumbling on the different culture.
The cost of living in central Ohio is relatively low. I feel it’s affordable, except the health care cost and property tax.
Some people might say that, they are so fed up with the nasty politics in US. But living overseas won’t solve the problem. No matter where you live, good or bad, the US news are at every corner on this globe.
Unless living in the caves, you won’t get away from the US politics. Plus, don’t you feel the ugly politics strengthen our immune system? Somehow, we each learnt what to listen and what to ignore in order to survive.
This country is still good overall, though many times it’s so ridiculously screwed up. There are many wonderful things we take for granted every day. Clean air is one example. Once living in another country, we might realize how lucky we still are.
Do some rehearsals before the permanent move:
Moving to a different country might be great for some people who enjoy adventures. Be cautious, and do some rehearsals first. Live there for one year or two, taste the four seasons and local life, and make sure that’s where you really want to move to permanently.
Slow down, and take the time to make that call. After all, that’s a big move. It involves a lot of emotions and money. Don’t rush, and don’t be rushed by anybody else either.
Dear readers, would you consider retiring in another country? Why? Which country would you like to live?