“Even A Few Years Ago, I Would Have Laughed At Anyone Who Even Suggested The Idea To Me…”
“I never would have considered it, even a few years ago,” began my mother while the two of us were standing in line at Pottery Barn yesterday…
“In fact, even a few years ago, I would have laughed at anyone who even suggested the idea to me,” she continued. Now she had my attention.
“But I’m considering leaving. Moving somewhere else. I don’t mean somewhere else locally. I mean overseas. This country just isn’t the place it used to be, and I think things could get worse. I’ve been thinking about this for a long while now, but you’re the first person I’ve mentioned it to…”
I hear from readers expressing these same sentiments every day, many hundreds of readers expressing these same sentiments every week. I understand the motivations, but they have never been as real for me as they became yesterday afternoon standing in line, waiting to pay for my new shower curtains, with my mom, a 60-something grandmother who has lived her entire life in Baltimore, Maryland, and who is now, at this stage, I’ve come to understand, considering the biggest move of her lifetime.
“But I have so many questions,” she continued. “I’ve read some of your reports,” she said, “but, now that I’m thinking about the idea personally, I feel completely confused. Do I need another passport? Or…what does one do? Can you just move somewhere, just show up? Or would I need to do something in advance in order to be able to stay in the new country legally?
“I’m confused about residency and also about taxes. What would this mean for my tax situation? Would I have to pay taxes twice?
“This would be much less intimidating if your father were still here. But, with him gone and me on my own, it all seems very frightening. Still, the option would be to stay here, in Baltimore, and, more and more, that’s not what I want to do. If only I had someone to make the move with…
“I don’t think I’m up for learning a new language, so I’ve been thinking about Ireland. Our family, of course, is from Ireland. Your aunt did the research, and we have the family tree. Do you think I could get an Irish passport? Would that be the thing for me to do? I can see myself in Ireland…”
My mom and dad visited us often when Lief, the kids, and I were ourselves living in Ireland years ago, came for extended stays and loved it…the country, the people, the way of life. My mom has kept a photo of the bunch of us touring along the Connemara coast on the windowsill above the kitchen sink ever since that trip. I know she has many fond memories of her time on the Emerald Isle, with us, with my dad, so I understand Ireland.
But leaving Baltimore? Walking away from her home of more than six-and-a-half decades? Starting over on her own?
Again, I receive e-mails every week from hundreds of readers in the same situation, considering leaving family, friends, home, and hearth behind and heading off for the great unknown…a new country, a new beginning, a new life…
But, listening to my mom’s questions yesterday, knowing what a leap this would be for her, I am struck anew by the courage required to pull this off.
I told my mom what I tell every reader who gets in touch with the same thoughts: It can seem complicated and intimidating, and it is, but it’s also possible. All the questions can be answered, all the concerns can be set aside. You’re not alone, dear would-be retiree overseas. Your numbers are growing. Your fellows who’ve already taken the leap are waiting to receive you.
And we here at Live and Invest Overseas are standing by to help any way we can.
Specifically, I’ve suggested to my mom that she try to organize things in a hurry to be able to join us in Scottsdale next week for our Retire Overseas Conference, where she’d meet 150 people just like her, folks considering, like her, maybe tentatively, reinventing their lives in new countries. Folks like her looking for something new, more, other, better…
We intend to show them all, including, I’m now hoping, my mom, their current best options worldwide. (Including Ireland.)