Is retirement abroad right for you?

Have you considered retiring abroad?

Perhaps this option is worthy of consideration when you consider that many countries offer a higher standard of living with lower costs than the United States.

According to a report from the Associated Press, there was a 17 percent increase in retirees moving abroad between 2010 and 2015.

What are some signs that you should consider retiring abroad?

You are willing to adapt to change

Your ability to thrive in a new country depends on your ability to adapt to local culture and quirks. If you are not interested in a little adventure, relocating internationally may not be for you.

Affordable healthcare is a concern

Health problems are likely to arise as you get older and Medicare may not be enough to cover all of your costs. There are high-quality medical systems in some foreign countries with lower costs. In some cases, there will be a public healthcare system. If there isn’t, you can often access an affordable insurance policy within the country you will be living in or from a US company that offers international policies.

Estimates should be based on expat living

When you look at the cost of living for various countries, chances are you will come across data based on the average resident. For example, many families in Mexico live on less than $500 USD per month. But can you? Yes, you can, but it would mean sacrificing a lot, living outside of expat areas, and not doing very much beyond staying home and visiting parks. When you look for estimates on cost of living, look for data specifically for expats.

Where to start?

Do as much research as you can on places that interest you and popular countries for retirement, including Portugal, Belize, France, Thailand and Mexico. Once you’ve narrowed down the possibilities, speak with a financial planner who specializes in working with retirees abroad as well as an insurance broker to determine likely costs and affordability.

While it is tempting to put down roots as soon as you can, you could end up with property you don’t want in an area you dislike. Instead, look for short-term rentals and spend some time getting to know the area.

If retirement abroad seems like the right choice for you, it may be time to do some traveling and explore your most likely destinations in person.