Retirement Without Borders : How to Retire Abroad - In Mexico, France, Italy, Spain, Costa Rica, Panama, and Other Sunny, Foreign Places (And the Secret to Making It Happen Without Stress)
Barry Golson knows all about retiring abroad -- he and his wife, Thia, have lived in six different countries. Now they choose expatriate-friendly locales around the world for their low cost and their high quality of living and explain how to investigate and settle in each country with minimum hassle and maximum pleasure.
Taking you step-by-step through the process of researching, testing, and finally living abroad, the Golsons' practical how-to guide covers all the major issues, including health care, finances, real estate, taxes, and immigration. Each location is profiled by an expatriate writer who has made that country his or her home and who knows how to answer all the questions about living richly and economically in some of the world's most beautiful places.
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December 08, 2008
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Excerpt from Retirement Without Borders by Barry Golson
TEN REASONS TO CONSIDER MOVING ABROADRetirementis a troublesome word to baby boomers, not just because many of us resist the idea of getting old, and not just because many of us have no intention of ceasing meaningful work. It is above all troublesome because so many of us, as our high-paying years begin to fade, will face one of two scenarios: We won't be able to afford the lives we've led until now. Even with adequate finances, we haven't lived out some of our dreams.Surveys have shown that as many as four out of five baby boomers have not saved enough for a comfortable U.S. retirement, and the latest figures indicate a national savings rate approaching zero. (In Japan, it is 20 percent.) To those of us who were banking on our house values to see us through, our parents could have told us: what goes up also comes down. For many of us, this will mean continuing to work, even if work is no longer meaningful, in an attempt to keep the income flowing. For others, it will mean downsizing and downscaling, often to locations not intrinsically interesting to us. Baby boomers always did rebel against their parents, and although many of us will do the usual thing of moving to Florida and Arizona, many more will wonder if that's all there is.Even when finances are not the prime consideration, it is natural that many of us will look forward to somethingdifferent.After a lifetime of work that has given us little spare time, skimpy vacations, and the unrelenting pressures of job security, child rearing, and getting ahead, many of us may dream about a more fulfilling, culturally richer life that we may have glimpsed only on holidays, or in our reading, or in movies, or on postcards.You may recall the feeling: You're leafing through a magazine with alluring photographs of someone's villa in Spain, and you lean back and begin to daydream. Or you've spent a couple of weeks at a resort in Costa Rica, and you and your spouse decide to check out the local real estate listings just out of curiosity. Or you're winding up a sunny tour in Europe, and one of you turns to the other and says, "Why do we have to fly back next Sunday? Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could justlivehere full time?"That's how the thought creeps in.Then you put down the magazine, or you fly back to your workaday lives, and the reality and familiarity kick back in. Change is scary, what's known is comforting, and that's why eight out of ten Americans say they want to retire where they presently live. Americans have a tendency toward insularity. More than other nationalities, we value convenience, we do not speak other languages (we insist others speak ours), we're bad at geography and history, we tend to draw conclusions from the anecdotal, and -- especially compared to Europeans, who move seamlessly across each others' borders -- we don't have that much experience with other cultures. We've strayed far from our immigrant roots. We travel, but mostly here at home.But not all of us.There are no hard figures on how many Americans live abroad, but estimates range from four million to six million, military excluded. Expats are advised to check in with their consulates when they first arrive; it's anyone's guess how many do. We didn't. Americans wary of being tracked by our government certainly don't. And no one tracks part-time residents who move around. As to how many of these Yanks abroad are retirees, we have an idea how many Social Security checks are sent abroad (about a half million), but that doesn't tell us much; most expats keep U.S. bank accounts. We do.One thing is certain: the number is growing. If you're thinking about a move, you will feel less and less alone. In Mexico alone, some 20,000 American immigrants a month, in a reversal of the usual story, cross the border on their way down the coasts to buy, rent, or otherwise establish homes to the