Live and Invest Overseas

Social Security Benefits Overseas, The Benefits Of Dual

Keep Your Retirement Benefits

Dec. 10, 2009
Panama City, Panama

  • Sunshine, Ease Of Access, And Ready Bridge Partners...
  • Top Options For Obtaining Dual Citizenship...
  • The Benefits Of A Second Passport...
  • "Could I Retire To Panama On C$740 A Month?"...
  • "Will I Lose My Pension Benefits If I Retire Overseas?...
  • Best Bookstore In Panama...

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Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

"Kathleen, I am a 60-year-old lady wanting to retire overseas. My late husband traveled and worked all over the world, and I have lived in Greece, Thailand, Bahrain, Italy, and Dubai. I would like now to live where the sun is shinning every day and where I can enjoy a good qualify of life and the company of some fellow expats (for games of Bridge, for example). Also, I have grandchildren in Dallas, Texas, and would prefer to be no more than a few hours away.

"Would you please provide me with your choices? I would like to make this decision within the next two to three months. I am prepared to visit the retirement areas you suggest starting immediately in the New Year."

-- Carol W., United States

The staying close to Dallas requirement keeps you in the Americas or the Caribbean (though most Caribbean islands are not easy to get to).

You also want sunny all the time and Bridge partners. I'd suggest, therefore, Ambergris Caye, Belize; Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras; or Coronado or Boquete, Panama, as all these places boast both loads of sunshine and established expat communities. Ajijic, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic are other good options. The Dominican Republic would be the biggest commuting challenge but the most affordable option of those I've listed.

Editor's Note: In New Year 2010, we will be launching a personalized retire overseas consulting service that will provide one-on-one, fully customized, and step-by-step guidance as you work through the process of identifying the overseas Shangri-la with your name on it...and then establishing your new life in paradise. We'll answer all your questions, privately and personally, related to everything from tax planning to shipping, from schooling options for your children to how to bring your pet with you, from opening a bank account to obtaining a residency visa...

For obvious reasons, we will be able to make this service available on a very limited basis only. Please register your early interest here.


"I have been receiving your e-mails for some time now and am becoming more and more interested in the idea of retiring overseas. I also have a special interest in the possibility of a second citizenship (without giving up my U.S. citizenship). I have looked into the Dominican Republic, but they require an extensive medical examination that I do not believe I would pass (unless I got a very friendly and uneducated physician). I have ample assets to take care of myself. Could you recommend another country to consider?"

-- David C., United States

Probably the easiest place to obtain a second passport right now is Uruguay.

St. Kitts is also an option. Here, the process is straightforward if you are willing to invest US$300,000 or more in a piece of real estate.

Ireland is another possibility, though an Irish passport is ever more difficult to obtain, as this country has been adjusting the relevant legislation over the past decade in response to over-immigration from Eastern Europe and Africa.


"Kathleen, I've been enjoying your insights into overseas investments and retirement. I am beginning my planning for retiring to another country and enjoyed the recent article about Ireland.

"I have the opportunity to acquire Irish citizenship. Should I follow through with this? What advantages would this hold for me?"

-- Reilly J., United States

If you have the opportunity to obtain a second citizenship, by all means, you should take advantage of it, with few exceptions.

Having a second passport gives you greater options for traveling, living, and working. With an Irish passport, for example, you could travel within the EU without restriction or hassle, passing through the EU lines at immigration rather than the typically much longer and more hassled non-citizen lines.

As an Irish passport-holder, you could also take a job anywhere in the EU, a serious advantage over U.S. passport-holders.

Some countries that require visas for U.S. citizens don't require them for EU citizens. Brazil is a good example. And with an EU passport, you don't pay the US$5 tourist visa fee each time you visit Panama, as North Americans do.

Furthermore, with an Irish passport, you'd be able to open an account with any of the many banks worldwide that will no longer deal with U.S. citizens (this list is growing quickly).


"Can a Canadian with a pension income of 740 Canadian dollars a month afford to live in Panama?"

-- John S., Canada

Your 740 Canadian dollars amount to about US$670 today (they use U.S. dollars in Panama, remember). That's a tight budget. I wouldn't recommend trying to live on that amount in Panama City. Elsewhere in the country, though, you could retire on this income. Consider Las Tablas on the western Azuero coast (where you'd live modestly on this amount) or the mountain town of Santa Fe in the Veraguas Province.

Editor's Note: Las Tablas is the featured destination in the premier issue of our new Panama Letter, in production now.


"Kathleen, I'm new to this whole concept. If a person retires abroad, does he lose his retirement benefits?"

-- Linda A., United States

Generally speaking, no, you don't lose your retirement benefits if you retire outside your home country (or the country where you earned your retirement benefits).

An American, for example, does not lose his Social Security benefits if he retires overseas, and, in fact, you (as an American receiving Social Security) can have your monthly payments direct deposited into your local bank account in some countries. Note, though, that, if you are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments, you do lose those if you leave the United States for more than 30

In the case of a company pension or a 401(k), it's your money. There's no risk of losing it by retiring overseas.

If you've worked in several countries during your career, you may have to choose from which country you want to receive your social security income. For example, Lief and I worked in Ireland for years. Thanks to the double-taxation treaty between Ireland and the United States, we were exempt from paying Social Security in the U.S. during that time, because we were paying into the Ireland social welfare system. We have enough credits in the United States to receive Social Security (if it's still around when we retire) and enough credits to receive payments from the Irish system, too. When the time comes, we'll have to choose one or the other.


"Are there any bookstores in Panama? I didn't see any when I was there last year, and I think I went to all the places they might be. I remember seeing a few books in places like Sanborns and pharmacies, but never any bookstores."

-- Paul T., Argentina

The most popular bookstore in Panama is El Hombre de la Mancha, with four stores throughout Panama City and a tiny English-language book section. The best English-language bookstore is Exedra, which is Panama's answer to Border's. No one would mistake one for the other, but it's a decent bookstore with a coffee shop in the store and regular events, including book readings, signings, etc.

Kathleen Peddicord


The Perks, Privileges, And Peace Of Mind Of
Retirement Overseas

The trouble with some Paradises is that they make it difficult for foreign residents to enjoy what they have to offer...

And yet others roll out the welcome mat, offering benefits, discounts, and other perks for foreign residents. Some countries are even competing to get your attention, offering tremendous advantages and benefits for you...

Whether you're moving for a better life...a lower cost of living...or a chance to keep more of what you earn and pay less in taxes...

This is the Next Step Guide you need to make your dreams of a new life overseas come true.

More Details Here




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