Retire Overseas

Just Dip A Toe

Casco Viejo, Panama

Adriane Berg of The Longevity Club interviewed me on her radio show this week about the launch of my new book. In that conversation, Adriane reminded me of something important.

You don’t have to sell everything you own, say good-bye to everyone you’ve ever known, and take off for a new life in some distant and exotic place, never to be heard from again. That’s not the only way to realize the benefits of retiring overseas.

You can, as Adriane put it, “Just dip a toe in.”

This retire overseas idea is enjoying more attention today than ever, especially in the United States, where Boomers at and approaching retirement age are coming face-to-face with figuring a plan for how they’re going to spend this next phase of their lives. With many years, even decades of healthy living still to look forward to, this current generation of retirees is more interested than any that has preceded it in considering outside-the-box opportunities. Certainly, retirement in the States these days is no longer about making a choice between Arizona and Florida.

The options for a rewarding, fulfilling, and affordable retirement today are limited only by the retiree’s imagination.

Well, to be fair, his imagination…and his capacity for bold and brave.

This was the point Adriane reminded me of when we spoke this week.

“I’m intrigued and infatuated,” she said, “by the idea of retiring to another country. But, frankly, I’m also pretty sure I’m not ready to make a full-time leap. I’m more interested,” she explained, “in Snowbird options.”

The U.S. News & World Report reporter who interviewed me this week about the book asked how I recommend someone just beginning to consider this idea get started.

Adriane Berg’s approach is the perfect getting-started strategy. Don’t imagine that it’s all or nothing. Don’t think in terms of a full-time move for the rest of your life. To start, think, for example, about spending a few months a year someplace new and interesting, warm and welcoming.

Retirees from upstate New York and the Dakotas have been migrating south for decades. The difference today is that your viable, even easy, and certainly appealing options can take you much farther south…or maybe across the Atlantic…or even very Far East. Panama is the new Florida. Mexico and Nicaragua dramatically more alluring (in my estimation) alternatives to a Sun City retirement in Arizona.

Other good part-time retirement havens are Argentina and Uruguay, where the seasons are the reverse of those in North America. These aren’t tropical getaways but offer more cosmopolitan wintertime escape options.

Other places that make sense as part-time retirement choices are those where establishing full-time residency is a hassle or, perhaps, impossible. You’ll have your work cut out for you trying to organize full-time legal residency as a retiree in Croatia, for example. And many foreigners remain indefinitely in Thailand without formalizing their stays, making regular “visa runs,” as they’re called, every few months to refresh their tourist papers. I don’t recommend this, of course. Easier and safer simply to limit your visit so that you don’t overstay your tourist visa, making Thailand another good part-time option.

My point is, if you’re just warming up to this idea of spending your retirement years in a new country, take the pressure off. This isn’t all or nothing. You can think part-time.

Better yet, you can start by just taking a trip. Which warm, welcoming, interesting, affordable overseas haven has your interest?

Book a plane ticket and go visit. Spend a few weeks or a month. Treat it as a holiday. And see where this getting-started journey leads.

It could be the fun and easy first step of your rich, satisfying, adventure-filled new life overseas.

Kathleen Peddicord

Make a Profit And Have The Adventure Of A Lifetime