There are some common myths and misunderstandings about living abroad. Here are answers to the Top 10 Questions we are asked most often.
If there is something else you'd like to know, write us here and we'll be happy to reply.
Is living overseas safe?
Let’s put the answer in perspective. Did you know the 2019 Global Peace Index of 163 countries ranks the U.S. #128, far behind expat favorites like Portugal, Malaysia, Costa Rica, Panama, and Ecuador?
So yes, there are plenty of perfectly safe places to live in this world!
Rest assured that our sense of responsibility towards you means any place we share has an expat population enjoying their lives immensely and not living in fear.
How could I live abroad if I don’t want to be far from my family?
Here’s the truth. If your family lives nearby, and especially if grandchildren are your purpose in life, moving overseas may not work for you.
But if you retire to Mexico or Latin America you’re an inexpensive flight away that takes only a few hours.
And because you’re south of the U.S. it’s easy to stay in touch with your loved onesfor free with Skype, FaceTime, or WhatsApp. No major time zone issues like if you were in Europe or the Far East.
What if I can’t or don’t want to learn a foreign language?
That’s a big concern for many people, and you can relax. Honestly, you don’t have to be fluent. Functional is good enough, which means being able to exchange greetings and make your needs known. I want… I have… I need… things like that. You can learn the basics.
Millions of expats already live overseas. There aregreat countries with established expat communities where many locals speak at least some English. Heck, in Belize English is the primary language!
So bottom line, you can live abroad in lots of places and speak only English if that’s what you want.
What about the quality and cost of health care abroad?
Health care is a major concern for most older Americans. Here's the great news... You'll discover world-class health care in many countries that’s so affordable you can’t believe it!
Modern hospitals and clinics. State-of-the-art equipment. English-speaking doctors.
With costs for services, procedures, and medications as low as 1/10th what you're now paying, many expats simply pay out of pocket for their health care needs. But monthly premiums for both national health care plans and private policies are extremely reasonable as well.
Will I lose my citizenship if I live abroad?
Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, when you first move to a foreign country you’re not automatically a citizen. Heck, you’re not even a resident.
When you get off the plane, you’re basically a tourist. There’s an official process of applying for residency. And if you later decide to become a citizen, the United States is fine with you having two passports.
Isn’t it unpatriotic to leave your country?
You can love the U.S. but not afford to retire there! Think about this. Our forefathers made a dangerous journey for the chance to create a better life for themselves and their families. In a new world!
What we did, what millions of other Americans have done, and what we’re suggesting you consider, is really no different is it? Turns out the idea of moving overseas for a better life is as old as our country itself!
How do you receive Social Security benefits living outside the country?
Don’t worry, your hard-earned Social Security benefits continue no matter where you decide to live. Many expats follow our recommendation to maintain an U.S. banking relationship (and address of record). Then you simply withdraw funds as needed from readily available ATMs.
If you choose to open an account in your new home abroad, direct deposit for Social Security can be set up there with many, but not all, banks.
Does Medicare coverage apply outside the U.S.?
Unlike Social Security, which follows you wherever you live, Medicare coverage doesn’t (except in rare emergencies) extend beyond U.S. borders.
Part A is, of course, free since you’ve paid Medicare taxes throughout your working life. Most expats maintain their Part B coverage, a) in case they decide to seek treatment for an illness or injury in the States, and b) because the penalties for opting out and then rejoining years later can be quite costly.
As mentioned in the FAQ about health care abroad, costs are so low overseas that expats have the freedom to join inexpensive national or private plans, or simply pay out of pocket as the need arises.
I’m not much of a risk taker. Can living abroad work for me?
Moving overseas today is certainly nothing like the pioneer days...getting in a covered wagon and heading out to the Wild West. According to the U.S. State Department, over 8.7 million Americans now live abroad. Many of them retired.
That’s more than the population of New York City. More than the populations of LA, Chicago, and Phoenix combined!
There are established expat communities in fantastic locations all over the world. And in Retirement Reimagined! we tell you about the best of the best. Don’t worry, you’ll be fine!
What if I’m not ready to retire right now?
Great question. Making a major life change like moving abroad isn’t simply a matter of throwing some clothes in a bag and taking off. You need to give yourself plenty of time to do it right.
How long it takes you to actually leave the country depends on your situation. Say you have an aging parent. A house or business to sell. Or maybe you’re not quite ready to retire.
Even if you want to move overseas as soon as possible it’s still going to take awhile to put all the pieces together. That’s why we give you full lifetime access to Retirement Reimagined! And it’s designed for you to go at your own pace.
So if living abroad makes sense for you, the best time to get started is right now!
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