The U.S. Isn’t Your Only Retirement Option

Many of us dream about retiring to an exotic location to enjoy our golden years. Some of us actually do it, proving that it can be done and the U.S. isn’t your only retirement option.

You can turn your dream vacation into a retirement reality.

The U.S. isn’t your only retirement option

Can retirement be outsourced? That’s the premise of “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”– a hilarious but poignant 2012 British film with a marquee cast that includes Maggie Smith and Judi Dench. Based on the 2004 novel, “These Foolish Things,” by Deborah Moggach, it tells the story of seven British pensioners — all but two of them virtually alone in the world – who move to what they think will be a luxurious and affordable retirement hotel in India.

I won’t spoil the ending for you if you haven’t already seen the film, but it does offer much food for thought when it comes to choosing were you’ll live when you retire.

Spending even several months at a time overseas can be uprooting and certainly isn’t for everybody. But let’s say living overseas is on your bucket list.

Here are a few options you might consider:

Folks who don’t want to master a foreign language—and don’t mind long plane rides—might feel at home in English-speaking Singapore, the top Asian city on the Mercer Quality of Living rankings.

Thailand, a consistent high-performer in quality of life surveys, gets raves from expats for increasing their standard of living. Respect for the elderly is engrained in Thai culture, so retirees feel welcome; the country also has good, inexpensive medical care.

One area currently offering great value is the Dordogne, located between the Loire Valley and the Pyrenees…. It has long been popular with British buyers as a vacation site, and with the flagging economy many of them need to sell.

The charming small Mexican cities of San Miguel de Allende, Cuernavaca and Guanajuato have long been popular with cost-conscious retirees, but last winter the U.S. State Department reported increased incidents of violence in many parts of Mexico, including Cuernavaca.

Boomers’ love of eco-tourism is drawing retirees to Costa Rica and Ecuador. Sunny Panama is another option. (Panama and Ecuador both use the U.S. dollar, eliminating currency risk.) If you hate humidity, don’t settle in Panama City, but visit if you need low-cost, quality medical care; Punta Pacifica Hospital there is affiliated with Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins.

If you’ve always loved planning exciting vacations — even if you’ve never been able to take one! — imagine the enjoyment you’ll get out of picking the perfect place to retire. And remember, if you’re even a little bit adventurous, the U.S. isn’t your only retirement option.

Click here to read more about retirement options outside the U.S.

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