How Seniors Can Plan for a Retirement Lived Partially Abroad
Written by Andrea Needham
Seniors seeking community engagement and access to additional services in the Bemidji area can find plenty of resources and opportunities at the Bemidji Senior Center.
Have you considered spending some of your retirement years abroad? Establishing legal residency in a foreign country is one way to do this. Depending on your obligations, and residency requirements, you may be able to split your time between two different locations. It requires some careful planning, as well as adequate income, but if this option is available to you, there are many benefits to retiring in this way.
Why split your residence?
There are many reasons why you might want to move back and forth between the U.S. and another country. If you are considering permanently relocating to a different country, a trial period with part-time residency can help you decide whether this is the choice for you. If you have health issues that are exacerbated by climate, moving back and forth with the seasons can help you live more comfortably. Plus, your overall wellness may benefit from traveling, experiencing new things, and staying engaged with the world around you.
If you have family members spread out across different countries, you may want to establish living space near more than one loved one — both to enjoy their company and if you need a little extra assistance. The cost of living may be lower in some nations than in others, too.
What do you need to know before you set up a second residence?
Different countries have different regulations regarding residency. For those hoping to attain residency status in the United States, several different options are available. If you intend to work during your retirement, you might qualify for an employment-based green card. Other ways to get residency include marriage to a citizen and sponsorship.
As well as applying to reside legally in a different country, you should read up on tax laws to find out if you will need to pay taxes in both countries of residence. Research health care, as well, so you know whether your plan will cover you internationally or if you need to acquire a separate plan in India, for instance. Finally, research the customs of the new country where you hope to live and evaluate whether you feel you could acclimatize and be comfortable there.
What are some resources that can help you?
If you intend to travel back and forth between dual residences, learn how to bank online through well-known institutions like Charles Schwab and Discover Bank. Have a bank account in each country so you can access funds wherever you are and easily move money between accounts. If you need to transfer money to loved ones, services like Remitly let you wire money securely and cost effectively. For example, if you’re sending funds to friends or family in India, your transfers won’t be subject to a fee if you’re sending over $1,000.
Also, find out what kind of organizations and services exist for seniors in the communities where you intend to reside. For instance, the Lutheran Social Services’s Meals on Wheels program offers nutritious, delicious, and low-cost meals for seniors.
What do you need to include in your retirement budget?
Budgeting for retirement is important, no matter how you intend to spend your time. If you plan on traveling and residing in more than one location, you will need to budget with great care. Be meticulous when detailing future expenses, taking into account such extras as travel costs and added health care expenses. Calculate what you expect your income to be and how much you can reasonably spend per year. Don’t forget to consider whether your financial situation may change as you age. Keep in mind, too, that health care expenses may rise if your needs increase.
Residing abroad for part of the year may be the perfect option for the retiree who wants a little extra adventure, but also enjoys the security of a familiar place. It allows you to travel and explore without undue uncertainty. It can be a great way to maintain valued connections with loved ones, too