facebook twitter youtube google plus linkedin

Retiring In The Sun: It’s Within Reach But Choose Carefully

Retiring In The Sun: It’s Within Reach But Choose Carefully

By Paul Marshman  

For many years, the classic dream of retirement involved a rose-covered cottage and a visit from the grandchildren. But for some in the  baby boom generation, there’s a very different picture — one that includes warm weather, palm trees and a life in another culture.

While no one knows how many baby boomers are retiring abroad, the numbers are large, and these days that warm weather dream is more possible than ever before. According to International Living,  the Bible for those who dream of retiring in the sun, many countries once considered Third World are now prime candidates for your retirement years.

 Places such as Panama and Costa Rica, which might not have been considered as retirement havens 10 years ago, now have the amenities and support systems to provide a secure and comfortable retirement. And Mexico remains a popular choice for “snowbirds” like Allan, a Canadian who spends his  winters in the south and returns north in summer.

Not everyone wants to spend their retirement years lying on the beach, of course: some dream of exploring the rich culture and lifestyle of Europe, like Loren and Sue, now enjoying their retirements in rural France and Spain, respectively.

In either case, retiring abroad isn`t a decision to take lightly. Choosing which country to make your retirement home can be a tough decision, involving a number of factors. Here are a few of the major ones:

The weather:  Many retirees move abroad to get away from winter, but it’s important to be selective: extreme heat can make your new home unliveable in parts of the year. You need a climate you can live with year-round.

The cost of living:  Reducing costs is probably the second reason most retirees move abroad, and it can pay off handsomely. Particularly in Latin America, it’s possible to live well for little more than half of what it costs in the U.S., Canada or Northern Europe — you might even afford a maid or a gardener.  

Essential services:  Life can be difficult without first-rate transportation, reliable power, WiFi, a good selection of goods in the stores, and emergency services.

Health care:  This is a major point for retirees, and increasingly so as you get older. You need modern medical facilities, well-trained doctors, and access to specialists and drugs you require. As well, it must be affordable: can you join the national health program, or is private medical insurance readily available?

Entry requirements: Gaining residence in your selected country isn’t automatic: most countries have entry requirements for foreigners looking to put down roots. These may include a minimum monthly pension or other forms of income, or an investment in local property.

Stability: A stable government is essential for a retirement haven. Cheap living isn’t worth much if internal strife or crime puts you and your property at risk.

Culture: Even if a country meets all those requirements, you won’t be happy if you don’t like the people and the way of life in your adopted country. It has to be a place you enjoy living in, and a culture you can see yourself taking part in, at least a little.

There are many things to consider before you decide to retire abroad, and most experts advise living in your prospective new home for a length of time — say, six months — before making it permanent. You may see a whole other side to the country that you didn’t see while holidaying there.

Despite these cautions, however, the process of retiring abroad is not that daunting once you’ve found a country that fits your needs. There are ways of dealing with the red tape and getting the things you need, and most countries have an expatriate community that’s willing to help.

And many of those who make the move end up falling in love with their new country, and considering it home. They engage with the local culture, volunteer in the community, and often even live a healthier lifestyle than at home. Keeping touch with family is easy in this era of e-mail, Facebook and Skype.

Retiring abroad is not for everyone, but for those who take this path, it can be a rewarding choice that adds life to the retirement years. And that can add years to your life.

Other Related Posts;

The following two tabs change content below.
Paul Marshman is a writer, photographer and traveler living in Toronto, Canada. Paul is semi-retired from a 30-year career as a reporter, editor and photographer on Canadian newspapers and magazines where his travels have taken him to 50 countries. Paul’s articles have been published everywhere from the Toronto Star to Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel and Paul now shares travel tips and stories on his popular blog – The Travelling Boomer.

Latest posts by Paul Marshman (see all)