Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Investigate Before Retiring Abroad

For many, retiring abroad sounds intriguing to those who wants cheaper living or ethnic roots and balmy climes, etc... But beware of pitfalls. So, if you're one of those thinking of spending their golden years abroad, there are many unknowns, and here's how to check them out!

Residency. - be sure you know what's needed legally to become a resident. Many foreign embassies provide answers in English. try

Cost of Living. - Get as much information as you can, - a hard, detailed data. you can try for country-by-country information for groceries, rents, and restaurants. Also, be aware that costs of living in the countryside is much cheaper.

Taxation. - The U.S. charge taxes to U.S. citizens income no matter where they live. Those living abroad can claim an annual $91,500 exclusion of income from work, which retirees often don't have. Take note that some countries may also have higher rates than the U.S. when it comes to tax treaties. Example, an American expat pay no income tax in France on U.S.-source investments. The IRS publication 54 ( explains the rules for U.S. taxpayers living abroad, while Publication 901 lists the tax treaties.

Health Care. - Although the U.S. government's medicare program for senior citizens generally doesn't cover them abroad, the good news is that most countries' medical services cost far less than they do here.

Safet & Stability. - The U.S. State Department publishes informative "background notes" on 200 countries. Check (

Weather. - Try using to compare weather of about any city in the world with what you've been used to all those years. That way, you can figure out whether the weather you encountered on your visit is the norm.

Friendliness & Language. - Be aware that English is not always widely understood in some countries nor its speakers appreciated. Try using to check local temperament.

Test Run. - Make an extended visit (2 months or more) before moving. Try to rent the kind of housing that might become your home.