Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Retiring Abroad & Paying for Health Care

"So, do you guys plan to be empty nesters in this house?"

That question was posed recently when we had some friends over for wine, food, and games. My teenage son and friends were over playing various board games, and I was showing a friend the newly renovated basement and the desperately-needing-renovation backyard. The response from my wife and me was immediate - "Oh, good god, no. We've got seven to nine years before we get out of here," but we definitely won't be living here when the thirty years of our newly refinanced mortagage expire. The conversation shifted from the when to the where, as our friend thought we might look for a condo in Denver, and was surprised when we talked of heading south. "The Springs?" he asked, surprised.

Colorado Springs? For retirement? Damn, that's worse than the thought of southeast Denver. No, when we talk south, we're thinking the Caribbean, and that's not surprising as "More Americans Choosing to Retire Outside the US." Having lived abroad before, we are certainly not averse to living somewhere other than the United States.

Just under 400,000 American retirees are now living abroad, according to the Social Security Administration. The countries they have chosen most often: Canada, Japan, Mexico, Germany and the United Kingdom. Retirees most often cite the cost of living as the reason for moving elsewhere said Olivia S. Mitchell, director of the Pension Research Council at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.
For some people, the idea of living outside of United States and far away from family is a baffling idea. But for many others, there is no specific lure to living in suburban - or urban - America, and there is just too many inviting things about life abroad. Mexico has become a desired location for many based on the low cost of living, and it's clear that health care costs and spending are another key. Let's face it, the United States is a colossal embarrassment of financial mismanagement when we consider how "The US Spends More on Health Care than other countries," and we're not always sure how much benefit we're getting.

For me, the lure of the islands and the health care systems of places like Great Britain and the Netherlands are certainly reason to start scoping out plans for that bed and breakfast we just may enjoy owning in Aruba or the BVE.

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