Living Abroad as a Senior: Where to Go and How to Do it

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After retiring from a life-long career, it can be difficult to remember that you have the world at your feet. Although many seniors make traveling a priority after retiring, you might not be considering the benefits of living abroad. In fact, the United States might not be the best place to support your decisions as you age. In fact, the United States scores rather poorly for retirement on an international scale. Whether you want to see the world, you’re moving to be closer to international family, or you simply crave a change of pace in retirement, here are some of the best places to consider for living abroad as a senior.

  1. Malaysia

Malaysia is unrivaled in its public transportation, the cleanliness of its cities, and its access to leisure day trips and nature, including four UNESCO heritage sites: Lenggong Valley, the Gunung Mulu National Park, Kinabalu Park, and the cities of George Town and Melaka. The beauty of Malaysia lies not only in its scenic offerings, lush forests and fields, mangrove swamps, and sunsets for miles, but also in the country’s diversity and heritage. Malaysia’s population is descended of China, India, and Singapore. The cost of living in retirement is relatively low in Malaysia, not to mention, their healthcare system is exceptional. The currency for Malaysia, the Ringgit, is worth a quarter of the US dollar, meaning you can stretch your retirement savings four times as far in this country than in the United States.

  1. Spain

Spain boasts beautiful beaches, warm weather along the coast, and more temperate weather in the North. The cost of living is low and the Spanish culture is relatively laid back. In fact,  two hour long breaks are built into the middle of the work day for rest and relaxation, called siestas—essentially, naps are a huge part of Spain’s culture. If you choose to retire in Spain, finding an expat community will not be difficult considering there are over 35,000 American expats living in Barcelona alone. Stretching your retirement budget is also possible in Spain. Here, you can rent one or two bedroom apartments for as little as $500.00 USD a month. Not to mention, if you have health concerns, the typical diet in Spain is loaded with fresh fruits and vegetables.

  1. Nicaragua

In the last decade, Nicaragua has changed greatly. The country’s infrastructure is more organized, roadways have improved, and the country has prioritized the safety of its citizens.  In Nicaragua, it doesn’t take long to gain citizenship and the benefits that come along with it, including the ability to open a business, benefit from government-run healthcare, and own property. There are also amenities similar to the conveniences of America, like Walmart. A couple can live in Nicaragua on less than $1,500.00 USD a month and take advantage of their excellent healthcare, and continually improved infrastructure.

  1. Portugal

Similar to Spain, Portugal offers a very mild climate, access verdant mountains, golden beaches, rolling farmland, small medieval villages, and a low cost of living. One of the best benefits of living in Portugal in retirement is that many native Portuguese also speak English, making the transition to this country much easier for a senior citizen. Living in Portugal is also about 30% less expensive than living in the United States, with the cost of rent being 50% less expensive. Because Portugal is also Mediterranean, the diet here is reliant on fresh fruits and veggies, as well as whole grains, and lots of wine. Lastly, the Portuguese are known for being very friendly and welcoming retirees with open arms.

  1. Malta

Although, Malta is easy to overlook—it’s a tiny island in the Mediterranean—it’s ranked by International Living as the best place to retire abroad.  Even though it’s two largest cities have a substantial population, you can drive across them in less than thirty minutes, making Malta one of the easiest countries to navigate. The cost of living in Malta is incredibly low as well. A couple can rent a two-bedroom apartment in Silema for less than $600.00 USD a month and enjoy a nice dinner on the town for less than $25.00 USD. Finally, Malta has an amazing healthcare system both government funded and in the private sector, making it easy for expats to get the care they need.

 

Now that you know where to move in retirement, how best can you set your finances up to support that decision?

Even if you have saved for retirement, getting the most out of your twilight years can be easier with extra cash on hand, whether that’s for beautiful day trips in Spain, or an adorable two-bedroom in Malta. If you still maintain a life insurance policy you no longer need, did you know you can sell all or a portion of that policy for more than the cash surrender value? This is called a life settlement, or viatical. Contact Life Settlement Advisors today to learn more about the life settlement process or see if you pre-qualify.

Case study:

Rod and Fannie retired in their prime, age 80. Both were in great health and always dreamed of retiring to a warm climate. At age 85, with no children, they sold all their assets and moved abroad. Rod had a life insurance policy he no longer needed but Fannie wanted him to keep $100,000. Rod sold his policy for $105,000 and retained $100,000 of death benefit.

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