Senior Living Abroad - Retiring In Another Country | Real Living Real Estate

Senior Living Abroad

Dreaming of retiring to a villa in Spain or a thatched hut in Bali? How about a nice American community in Costa Rica or Mexico?  

If you are an American citizen dreaming of retiring outside the United States, you are not alone. However, there are important federal policies and financial factors that affect living abroad.

Begin with research, and the best place to start is the Bureau of Consular Affairs at the U.S. State Department. The United States has 260 consular offices around the world that can help you evaluate whether you are truly willing and able to live in another country.

Some of the general requirements of living abroad include:

  • A U.S. passport and a visa from the country where you wish to live and most likely an international driver’s permit.
  • A financial institution in the United States that can be drawn on in another country.
  • Be sure to talk to the Social Security Administration for about receiving Social Security payments while out of the country. 

Tax planning can be a nightmare. Some countries have tax treaties with the United States and others do not. You’ll want to find out if you are subject to another country’s tax laws. The IRS offers a “Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad” that is helpful and it is wise to consult a tax professional with international expertise for advice on tax implications of living abroad.

Health insurance is one of the most critical factors that affect living outside the United States. Many retirees do not realize Medicare does not cover you abroad. You need medical travel insurance when vacationing abroad and a private health insurance policy that covers you if you are living outside the country.  

Before you get too far with plans to purchase real estate in another country, do your research on the local laws governing property ownership. We are networked with real estate agents in other nations who can help with this.

Likewise, consider your financial situation: A retirement home in another country may be a bargain when taking advantage of purchasing power of monetary systems in some countries. In other parts of the world, market fluctuations and unstable economic environments may not be in your favor.