Issues to consider if you want to retire abroad

The idea of retiring abroad, particularly for Americans, usually shows up as a lower-cost alternative. What this “idea” is selling is the possibility of gaining a better quality of life on the same budget that you plan to retire domestically. While this seems like a massive benefit, there are some trade-offs to consider. At the same time, even having the chance to retire abroad can be a challenge. Simply put, there may be countries where you won’t be able to retire due to things like Visa issues or other elements that can come into play. These are some of the things to keep in mind and perhaps research if you truly plan to retire abroad.

Are You Eligible for a Visa?

Cuba Visa card application form.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / dennizn

Your dream may be to retire on a remote island in the Caribbean, but that island is hostile toward Americans, so … there goes your dream? That’s a far-fetched scenario, but it is true that not every country is as open to granting visas to retirees. A lot of times, there are income or savings requirements that you need to present in order to qualify for a visa that allows for an extended stay in a particular country. If you don’t meet the requirements to be eligible for that permit, you’d have to cross that country off your list.

Buying or Renting a Property as a Foreigner

Real estate agent with house model and keys
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Alexander Raths

Getting money into a country to be able to make a large purchase can be an issue. Wire transfers may not be able to handle certain amounts, and you could end up paying a ton of money in taxes. You’ll need to have solved the visa issue to be able to open a local bank account. Then, when it comes to actually putting the property in your name, that could be another bureaucratic pile of, you know what. Rentals aren’t much easier in certain places, either. Certain spots require that you bring in a third party who can put down a property as collateral so that you can rent a house. Living in different Airbnbs each month isn’t too appealing. Most places have ways to work around these issues, but it’s not an easy process. It’s something that you have to acknowledge and discern if you want to deal with it.

Language & Cultural Barriers

Young tourist using mobile translation application
Image Credit: Shutterstock / panuwat phimpha

Retiring in Vietnam or the Philippines can be extremely cost-effective. Peru is another spot that can fit the bill there as well. What happens when you get there, though, and you realize that you don’t love the food and the local language is an issue? There are certain elements to local cultures that take some time to get used to. Certain countries, for example, open dinner reservations at restaurants at 9 pm at the earliest. These are all elements that you have to be willing to accept and live with.

Being Away From Loved Ones

Sad tired ill sick lonely disappointed caucasian old elderly senior man grandfather sitting on the sofa couch
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Inside Creative House

Queen Elizabeth II had a famous phrase along the lines of being seen to be believed. That’s why she traveled a ton to different countries that were part of the British Empire and later Commonwealth. The same can be said about your grandchildren. What kind of relationship do you want to have with them and your kids in your later years? If this is something that’s important to you, then going into a long-distance relationship with them may not be ideal.

Medical Services & Other Amenities

Top view of a stethoscope and US dollar banknotes on a blue background.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / meeboonstudio

Finding ways to have permanent medical insurance abroad can also be an issue that comes along with the visa situation. You may have to drop your current coverage as well from your home country. There’s also a chance that the place that you want to go to doesn’t provide great medical coverage, even if you have the money to pay for it. All of these factors come into play when you decide that you want to retire abroad. There could be other amenities that you’re missing out on as well. Take all of that in before making a decision.

Mario Perez

Author: Mario Perez


Mario is a seasoned journalist who’s worked with multiple publications over the years. He has a passion for looking for that story within the story itself. When he’s not actively looking for breaking news, he enjoys playing and watching sports.

Leave a Comment