1/14/2013

Retire to a Foreign Country?










Without making this a political post (I do have a political blog here), many retirees are concerned about the ever increasing tax rate in the USA.  Last week, workers paychecks began to shrink as an increased federal tax rate kicked in to help make a dent in the federal deficit.  Good luck with that.  I'm not sure how many retirees are being hit or if any at all.  People on a fixed income have to carefully watch what the federal government does.  Every little penny counts when you are retired.  A $16 trillion federal debt is going to call for even more austerity measures, which most likely means measures that will hurt retirees at some point.  What to do?  Well, one might want to consider living abroad.  Yes, you read that correctly.  In some cases, if not all, you are still going to get hit with increased taxes even if living abroad.  But, the overall cost of living in certain countries can help you counter that possibility.   Forbes came up with a top ten list of the best countries to retire to if you are so inclined.  Let's look at a couple, including one that has my attention.

For the fifth year in a row, Ecuador tops Forbes list as the best place for North American retirees.  Why?  Several reasons.  To name just one, for the nice sum of just $1600 a month, you can live quite comfortably in Ecuador.  Yes, that includes rent as well.  You can get even more value in real estate.  A condo that cost you $150K in Ecuador would cost you ten times as much in the USA.  There is an abundance of beaches, mountain villages and plenty of cultural offerings.  The best thing about Ecuador is that they welcome Seniors to live in their country.  The country even offers 50% discounts on international airfare if you need to get back home for any reason. 

Panama is the #2 country on the list.  Panama is a very cosmopolitan country that makes it a point to attract Seniors to live there.  Panama makes it very easy for Senior retirees to find residence here also.  They make it very attractive to live here year 'round. Cost of living is another attraction for retirees.  For about $2000 a month, you can live quite comfortably here.  This is the country that I have considered if I ever decide to move abroad. Costa Rica is another country that is equally suitable.  It finished at #5 on the list.

Malaysia is #3 on the list.  A major attraction here is that English is widely spoken throughout the country.  In fact, it is considered the "unofficial first language" here.  Malaysia is well known for its excellent healthcare system.  This is an important point for all retirees, of course.  Cost of living is even cheaper here.  The article points out that one Senior couple rents a sea-view apartment with a pool and gym for the price of about $1000 a month.  Another good thing; living in Malaysia is safe.  Foreigners are considered guests in the country.  They are afforded the utmost in hospitality by the locals. 

Safety is always an issue when you leave the "safe confines" of the USA.  I put that safe confines in quotes because this country is far from safe if Newton, CT is any indication.  But, for the most part, countries such as Panama, Costa Rica and certainly Malaysia protect their foreign guests.  Foreign retirees bring in a great deal of money to the economy.  These countries could not afford to lose that economic boost.  But, these are a few countries to consider if you have the urge to ever just live abroad. 

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