Why And How Moving Abroad From The US Can Make Your Money Stretch Further

We Live In Troubled Uncertain Times, In The United States

Assumptions:

  • “Social Security is a privilege not a right.” Everyone knows by now, SS will run out of money soon. FACT
  • Medicare is extremely under funded and is running out of money. FACT
  • There is absolutely no guarantee that your saved IRA and 401K funds will be taxed lower when you take your distributions later. FACT
  • There is no guarantee that when you sell your house in the future, that you won’t have to pay capitol gains on the gain. FACT
  • There is no reason to believe that your money in the bank is safe, even in an FDIC account. FACT
  • There is no guarantee that the IRS will not impose higher employment taxes for the working population. FACT
  • Your “financial adviser” does not have a crystal ball about retirement planning, not anymore. FACT
  • China is surpassing us as a leader of the world. This may mean the end to the dollar as the “world currency.”FACT

You can no longer plan for retirement. You can’t factor in Social Security or Medicare. You can’t determine what your tax bracket will be in the future for your IRA or 401K distributions. You have no idea what your budget will need to be or what your income will be. You don’t know if the dollar will tank and be worthless FACT.  You can only GUESS. Your financial adviser can only GUESS. What if you both Guess wrong?

Broken Piggy Bank

Photo Courtesy of 401K 2012 at Flickr

The odds are not looking good in our favor for a prosperous future for workers or retired people.

BUT, what if :

  • You would never have to worry again about having enough to live on
  • You could live in a safe and stable country
  • You could enjoy a better lifestyle than you do now
  • You could have great healthcare at a very small cost
  • You could enjoy your life instead of worrying about it
  • You could live in your own personal version of paradise
  • You could find work easily in a country begging people to enter their workforce

 Right Now, You Could Be Living a Really Good Life -While Your Money Stretches Further

That is one reason why you should consider relocating to another country. You deserve to live comfortably, in the way you dreamed your retirement would be like.  And no matter what your age is, retired or not, thousands are doing it. Several countries have more jobs available than skilled workers. These countries are encouraging Americans to move abroad and fill these positions. Families are moving with school age children, young people are moving, single people, people who want to start businesses, people who are retired and elderly people even over the age of 90 are moving abroad for a better way of life. What other reasons are there? Well, I have several personal reasons.

First, if I continued to live in the United States I would be forced to work until 70 just so I could retire.  That would only be if taxes don’t rise and social security benefits will not be reduced. And then what kind of life would that be.

Second, I believe the dollar will collapse. If it doesn’t great.  However, I want to be where my lifestyle and quality of life will not be as affected by a dollar down turn.

Third, I want to experience something beyond the United States.

Some of you have never traveled out of the country of your birth. Many of you don’t know anything about the countries I think are worth looking at for living the good life. But, remember that just because you don’t know anything about it doesn’t make it not worth doing. We were all adventuresome in childhood and as young adults. You have an opportunity to do that again. The worst that could happen is that you might find peace and happiness unlike anything you thought you could have in retirement. Would that be so bad? Best part is, you don’t have to do it alone. You can find like souls in every country who are exploring new choices for their lives. Even if you don’t move abroad, please do yourself a favor and at least learn about some of these places.

Being an “armchair traveler” is a wonderful inexpensive way to see the world. Maybe it will encourage you to visit some of these places for a vacation. I hope to tell you about at least two of my favorite places and why I  love them.  To that end, I firmly believe that everyone who has worked hard deserves to life a full life. So I have decided that my personal quest to find that life, is outside my home country.

One of the easiest ways to start getting familiar with locations where expats go is by subscribing to International Living. They have been around for years. They are experts in their knowledge of the places to go. Do yourself a favor and subscribe today and begin learning about what the world has to offer.

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Do You Wake Up Like This:

WORRY

Photo Courtesy of Kristian Dela Cour from Flickr

  •  Worrying about the Stock Market
  • Worrying about price of gas
  • Worrying about paying bills
  • Worrying about affording home repairs
  • Worrying about healthcare costs
  • Worrying about not being able to save for retirement
  • Worrying that you will have to work forever
  • And worrying that you will never have enough

 

 THE COLD HARD TRUTH FOR THE EMPLOYED

Budgeting

Photo Courtesy of 401K 2012 from Flickr

Remember when your parents told you, they wanted you to have a better life than they had?  Remember when you thought you could have it all and did.  You worked hard for a company for years so that you could retire on a pension that was guaranteed. You knew for certain how your retirement would be financed. No worries, everything was planned. You could afford little niceties during your working years and still save enough for retirement. Those were the good old days. Life was plain and simple. Life and retirement today is much different. The certainties of life we took for granted no longer can be counted on by anyone. For those still working, the reality is your job could be eliminated at anytime and your pension you were going to rely on for retirement gone. Your retirement plans shot. And unfortunately your bills would continue to come in the mail, whether or not you are employed. It would be hard to find a job. Unemployment is high.  You could wind up spending all that you have saved, to tide you over until you find the next job. I  hear stories everyday. Either people took the advise of some financial consultant and put too much retirement money into the stock market and lost it or people who have been with companies for years and who are close to retirement are being laid off.  All of their “retirement planning” means nothing.  How are they going to retire? How can they pay their mortgage? They will forever be slaves to whatever jobs they can get at whatever pay. That is if they find work. Not to be Debbie Downer, but in the blink of an eye, your future or what you thought your future was going to be could headed a very different direction. You could work forever and not ever save enough to retire. Or are you one of the lucky ones whose retirement plan is on schedule? Good for you. Is Social Security part of your plan? Are you certain that it will still be available when you need it? Was the monthly amount you would receive, re figured due to the reduction by 2% of contributions in 2011 and 2012 ? Did your financial planner factor in your tax bracket? What will happen to your plan when taxes are reset higher? What will happen when Medicare will cover less and less of your medical bills but cost you more? Basically there is no way to plan for retirement these days. Any financial planner worth anything will tell you that. They can give you an estimate of your expenses will be in retirement and you can plan for that amount.  But no matter where you have your money, IRA’s, annuities, stocks or bonds you can not control the interest rate earned or the tax rates that may change. These things make vital differences in how much money you will have to live on, whether retired or not. Do you realize that if  you pay more taxes you will have less to invest and save for retirement. All of these things constantly change the “amount” needed for your  retirement. Even now most of us have lost value in our homes. Most people have thought of their homes as an investment that could be sold and used for retirement. Did you know that there is a new law taking effect Jan 1, 2013 that will tax you on the sale of your home if it is over a $300,000 gain. Every time taxes go up we save less. There has even been talk for several years now about the government stepping in to take control of all IRA’s and make them annuities regulated by the government for disbursement to ease the burden on Social Security. There has been talk about raising taxes across the board for all gains. Bush tax cuts end Jan 1, 2013. Go to this latest report from Stern Advice on Taxes:

Apocalypse in your retirement account

ALL READY RETIRED? NOT WHAT YOU EXPECTED?

Old People Sign

Old People Sign—rileyroxx (Flickr.com)

Did you have a financial consultant to advise you on your retirement plan?  Did that plan include Social Security? Did your plan assume that you would earn 8% in your IRA’s, 401K’s and CD’s? Can you adjust your living conditions for the years ahead of inflation when your interest rates are declining and expenses are rising?   Are you already feeling pinched between the money you have and the rising costs of  everything you need?  Have you cut back on as much as you can but still don’t have enough to live on? Is this how you imagined your retirement? You are the ones really caught in the middle.  You can’t and shouldn’t have to go back to work. Nor should you have to be reduced to deciding whether to pay a heat bill or pay for medications. That unfortunately is a real decision several people make each month. These people DID plan for retirement.  These were hard working Americans who raised families and are good people. What can these people do now? Did you know that you still have choices. Do you realize there are places in this world you can live without worrying about outliving your money. What if there was a way to live not just well, but really well on 1/3 to 1/2 of what you have now.  There are countries  that provide good healthcare, good housing, safe environment and all the basics you need, to live on your budget. There are many people who have moved from their native country to find a better life in another. This trend is increasing exponentially every year. The word is out. And wherever people move, they tend to congregate to make expat communities.  These communities share common cultural backgrounds and make wonderful sources for any newby’s who are needing information. Expat communities often open businesses, catering to other expats. They set up monthly meetings to gather and share stories and ask an answer questions.  Where I am looking to settle is in Boquete Panama. There ,the expat community has started a small  local theater doing plays in English. They get together and enjoy raising money for good local causes. They try to enhance their environment and give something back to the locals. They enjoy life without worry.

MOVING ABROAD WOULD LOOK LIKE THIS:

  • Rent or mortgage on two-bedroom house or apartment—$300 to $500
  • Electricity (moderate air-conditioning)—$70
  • Gas (for cooking)—$2
  • Water (includes garbage pickup)—$8
  • Supermarket items (food and household)—$175
  • Phone, Internet, Cable TV—$100
  • Health Insurance $160
  • Transportation- Taxis/Local Bus $15
  • Entertainment $100

TOTAL FOR A MONTH $1130 FOR TWO PEOPLE  People are doing it everyday. You probably want to know what kind of lifestyle that budget gets you.  This lifestyle  means “living in another country the way the residents of that country typically live”. There are several countries that welcome expats. France, Croatia, Asia, Uruguay, Argentina, Belize, Columbia, Nicaragua, or like me Panama. All of these countries have plenty of places where you can live very well on a small income. Most of these places have been found out by other expats and so many places have established expat communities made up of people from places like Canada, United States, Germany, UK and misc others. One major concern for most expats is the ability to have good health care. So most expat communities usually become established in places with excellent health care.   What most people don’t realize is that  several countries  have excellent doctors and hospitals with state of the art equipment. Most large hospitals are staffed with physicians who went to medical school in the United States. This means they speak English and are trained well. The care they give is top notch and they are concerned physicians. Many physicians will make house calls for minor problems.

One of the the best parts about health care in other countries, is how inexpensive it is. Some countries even have free health care with a first come first served way of providing service. Pharmacies often do not require a prescription for many of the drugs that require one in the United States. Prescription or not, drugs here are also inexpensive. I know that you will have other concerns about moving abroad. I will go over what mine were and tell you what I found out. Worried about food?  How about  healthy, ripe fresh fruits and vegetables everyday and at cheap, cheap prices. Take a look at the variety. This is a grocery store chain in Panama  called El Rey. If you live near the ocean, what could be better and fresher than the daily catch, from boat to your frig. Most populations of any country recommended will have typical chain grocery stores that stock almost all of the labels of groceries, cosmetics and the same products you see in the United States.

El rey supermarket, David City Rey grocery store produce section

El rey supermarket, David City Rey grocery store produce section—Young in Panama (Flickr.com)

In most countries you can find good hardware stores, Costco type stores, furniture stores, and typical malls with everything you might need. To be truthful, most countries have Burger Kings, Pizza, Chinese Food, Italian, McD’s and TGIF Fridays. Panama City looks just like Miami. Any store you have in Miami you have in Panama City.

A Typical Day Living Abroad in Latin America Being Retired

Hammock in tree, The past should be a springboard not a hammock…

Photo Courtesy of turtlemom4bacon from Flickr

Get up early when you hear the constant chatter of birds outside your window. Make a fresh pot of  ground local coffee. cut up some fresh fruit growing on the trees outside. Sit out on your veranda and enjoy your meal. Shower, get dressed. Either take a taxi for $1.50 into town or the local bus for .50 and go to the farmers market. Load up on fresh coffee, pastries, fish, chicken, fruits and vegetables. Maybe stop off before at a local eatery for lunch before heading home. Your lunch is  piled high with grilled chicken, rice and beans. You also enjoy the local beer for .50. This is topped off with coconut ice cream. Your total bill will cost you $3.50 Take the local bus home for .50. Put away your groceries, sit down and decide what to do with the rest of the day. You could go to the local movie mall and watch the latest US movie in English with the subs in Spanish for $1. Or you could work in your garden tending your fruit trees. Or maybe you want to volunteer at the library. On second thought maybe a nap is eminent. Live like the locals and you can expect to live on less than you ever expected to. You can rent for $300-$500. This is usually will be a 2 bedroom, 1 0r 2 bath, with kitchen and utility room in a nice safe neighborhood. With your basic living expenses covered, you will find you have amply money left for extra spending.

 

For Those Who Need to Still Work

Emerging countries are growing by leaps and bounds compared to us. They are needing people to step up and take jobs that they need filled by skilled workers. An example would be a new Panama Visa, now in the works.  Look here about moving abroad for work.You could easily move to another country without a dime and make a fine future for yourself and your family. While you may not get the pay you are accustomed to in the United States, your job would probably have more security. You would also live on a smaller budget, because the cost of things in these countries is generally less. Therefore you would be able to save more. To help you out there are several sources that can start you on the road to a new life overseas. Please take a moment to look at this. I did and look where I wound up.

Next Step Kit – How To Realize Your Dreams of a New Life Overseas

The world as a whole has become smaller. Why not take advantage of the Global Economy. Take your job skills somewhere you will really be appreciated for them. Just as the pilgrims crossed the ocean to create and build an America, we can choose a different country to be our new frontier, just as our ancestors did. It is a wonderful opportunity to mix with other cultures and share together the sameness of us all.

 

Find out the next steps in learning about to moving abroad.

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