Nobody Said This Was Easy
The blog I write for U.S. News & World Reports was picked up by yahoo this week and posted to its home page. When this happens, two things result.
First, we welcome many new readers. If you’re one of the new readers we’ve welcomed this week, reading these dispatches for the first time, we appreciate you joining the conversation and are very happy to have you on board.
Second, whenever one of my weekly blog posts is picked up by yahoo, these live and invest overseas ideas reach a much wider audience than they normally do, including many folks who have never considered them before.
Among the comments following the yahoo post this week, one reader who probably falls into this category wrote:
“You make it sound so easy. Pick up and move to Europe? Who could do that?”
I didn’t mean to make it sound easy, picking up and moving to another country, any other country. It’s not. But easy isn’t everything. Sometimes challenging has a lot to recommend it.
I’d say that’s the case here. The reasons for considering launching a new life in a new country are many. They center around reducing your cost of living (perhaps) while increasing your experience of life (for sure). We address the advantages and benefits of moving to another country every day (keep reading, dear new reader…you’ll see).
Today let’s not talk about why you might want to live or retire overseas but about how to make the proposition seem less challenging.
First, this doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You could retire overseas part-time, spending maybe half a year, maybe less, somewhere sunnier, cheaper, more colorful. The rest of the year you could be back home, with your family, your friends, your grandkids.
Second, you don’t have to make a move all at once. Who wakes up one day, reads a post on the Internet from a perfect stranger, and decides to leave behind everything he’s known in his life to that point to move to a foreign country where he knows nothing and no one?
In fact, I’ve met people who have done that (and in every case I’ve known to date the outcome has been fun and exciting, not anything that any one of them has regretted). But most people aren’t up for that level of what some might call adventure and others might refer to as foolishness, or worse.
You could start by taking a trip. Treat it as a vacation. Go somewhere that you’ve got your eye on, someplace where you’d like to find out what life is like. Would your life there be cheaper, better, richer? I don’t know, but you could begin to find out by spending a couple of weeks in the place. A two-week holiday is not the same thing as full-time residence, but it’s a start. A first step.
An easy first step. And you never know where first steps can lead.
You don’t have to learn a new language if you don’t want to. You don’t have to sell your current house and buy a new one. You don’t have to buy anything except a plane ticket. You’ve probably done that before…
And, if you prefer, you can settle among folks who will probably resemble your current neighbors wherever you’re living now. In key spots across the globe, pockets have emerged. Pockets of English-speaking expat retirees, from North America, the UK, Australia, etc. Pockets of people just like you who are looking for better, cheaper, different, a new start, a second chance. Over the past few decades, these folks have identified some of the most appealing places in the world. Places where the cost of living can be very low, the weather pleasant, the streets safe, the way of life easygoing, the people friendly, the views hard to walk away from. They’ve made new homes for themselves in these places. They’ve forged new communities. They’ve started businesses and book clubs.
Today, the folks in these far-flung but still familiar places invite each other over for pot-luck dinners. They play bridge and golf. They volunteer their time and share their talents and their experience.
And they welcome new neighbors every day, other folks like them, like you, also in search of something new, something more.
Find your way to one of these communities–they exist in Panama and Belize, Ecuador and Mexico, France and Spain, Thailand and Vietnam and beyond–and, no, retiring there still won’t be easy. But retiring overseas will be way easier than it can be otherwise.
And the rewards? Well, they’re out there to be discovered.