7 Overlooked Costs of Retiring Abroad
What does the perfect retirement look like for you?
Somewhere sunny, on a beach? Your dream house on a piece of land?
If you love vibrant cultures and authentic food, retiring abroad might be what makes your retirement years golden. Before you go, it’s important to plan and research thoroughly. Otherwise, you might end up paying some over-looked expenses:
Paying for what you leave behind.
If you’re planning to keep a house in the U.S., consider the upkeep and maintenance costs. You’ll either have to hire a professional service to mow the lawn and clean out the gutters or purchase a ticket to fly back and do it yourself.
Steep utility bills.
On the surface, living abroad can appear to be significantly cheaper than in the U.S. If you don’t research the local prices for Wi-Fi, fuel, internet, and natural gas, you might be surprised to spend more on utilities than you are used to.
Paying for English.
If you don’t speak the common language, don’t be surprised to pay premiums. You could easily be marked as a “tourist” or be charged more for an English-speaking plumber.
Not knowing their systems.
As an American citizen, you know exactly how and when to renew your driver’s license. Other countries can have complicated immigration and residency requirements that can be costly. Especially if you need to hire a translator.
International health insurance.
Medicare won’t cover health care costs outside of the U.S. You may end up buying an international health insurance plan or factor in out-of-pocket health care expenses.
Exchange rate fluctuations.
Don’t assume exchange rates will always work in your favor. Even if the rates are good now, they can and will change over time. Think about how a gradual increase over 10 years could impact your day-to-day- budgeting.
Spending on extras.
Planning an annual trip to the states is a great way to keep in touch with your kids and grandkids. But once a year might not be enough. If a loved one’s health changes suddenly, you could find yourself in the U.S. for weeks or months to help out.
Missing certain foods or electronics could also lead to higher bills. It’s easier than ever to find what you’re looking for abroad, but they often come with big importation taxes and shipping expenses (i.e. Peanut Butter can double in price).
Retiring abroad might be just the thing you’re looking for to happily live out the rest of your non-working days. But I urge you to do some research and work with a trusted fiduciary financial advisor before you go.