Retiring Overseas: Could It Be for You?
I recently finished reading The International Living Guide to Retiring Overseas on a Budget: How to Live Well on $25,000 a Year* and I want to share some of my thoughts on the book and see if retiring overseas is an option for you. First let me give you a little background on why I chose to read this book.
When I first started out looking for information on retiring early, it led me to a few books about retiring overseas for less money, but I was not very interested in at the time. Thankfully the lack of early retirement books led me to some great early retirement blogs that I still read today and even this beauty of a blog called Even Steven Money, I am not above self-promotion! I am now coming close to the 2 year mark on when I made the declaration and plan to reach financial independence, I provide updates on my journey from time to time, like here and here. Every day that goes by is a little closer to the reality of financial independence and not just made up on the internet, like this guy. Mrs. Even Steven and I talk about the final details from time to time like where we plan to live. She has dreams of living in Florida full-time and I have dreams of living in Florida for part of the year and Chicago for the remaining, I’m hoping this will be one of the “tough decisions” we have to make in the future. While discussing this future dilemma of ours, I casually mentioned the idea of living in Nicaragua for part of the year as well, which is near and dear to my wife’s heart as she was originally born there, lived for some time, has family, and travels to on a yearly basis, I even wrote about what learned as I joined this past year. Which led me to the book previously mentioned we will call it ROB(Retiring Overseas on a Budget). Let’s see what they have to say about ROB.
When I look for any books on retiring early, my first look is for a newer published book, and something that has some title appeal. ROB fit the description to a tee, being published in 2014 and the idea of a $25,000 budget a la Mr. Money Mustache puts this right to the front of the line. The authors Suzan and Dan are a married couple who 12 years ago left Omaha, Nebraska(Warren Buffett Country) and moved overseas as an opportunity arose to write about their new found expatriate experience for International Living magazine. Throughout the book they share valuable advice on their own experiences living abroad. The main idea behind the book is that many places in America are expensive, why not go to a new land and find a new experience, get out of the dreaded rat race by practicing geographical arbitrage in another country. They give examples of saving thousands per year on insurance, medical, and housing expenses, some of which are their own and some are from the countless number of expats(expat or expatriate is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than that of the person’s upbringing) they have come across in their travels and work.
A few things stood out to me while reading this book:
- I think it is possible to live overseas on a reduced budget compared to what similar items would cost in America.
- It has been said by me and many others that the items that eat up your budget are the Big 3, housing, transportation, and food. In this book they add a 4th in my mind and this is medical(insurance and costs), which can be significantly reduced by retiring overseas
- The target audience of this book is closer to the 55-65 range than the 35-45 range, which for some of the benefits that are discussed in select countries would be missed out on because of age and a lack of pension that some countries require to reap the rewards.
- When I go on vacation I want to go to the beach(living in Chicago will do that to you after you put on 7 layers of clothing), so I assumed that would be where I wanted to live, but after reading some of the pros and cons of retiring by the beach compared to living near the mountains, I found out I really don’t know the answer.
- The book makes you think and ask more questions not only about location, but family, finances, lifestyle, and the reason behind your potential journey.
Overall I really liked the book it made me think about different items that I had not considered before. For those of you interested in reading the book and the many details I have left out of the 258 page hardcover, including a really great breakdown of the pros and cons of living in a number of cities and countries across the globe, make sure to check out your local library** or buy it here* or click on the picture to your right.
I haven’t come to any conclusions on retiring overseas, but I can certainly see it being a viable option in some capacity even for a short period of time. Who knows maybe in 6 years I’ll be laying in a hammock watching the ocean waves, one never knows.
What I really want to know is what you think about retiring overseas? Could you pick up all your things and move to a Latin American country? Would the allure of oceans, mountains, or countryside tempt you enough to relocate? What do you think would be the most enjoyable? What makes you cautious about retirement overseas?
*This is an affiliate link, if you choose to buy the book through this link, I get a little chunk of change that pays the bills to keep the lights on at this place and I thank you.
**If they have the book at your local library I highly suggest you grab it there. Even Steven Money promotes not spending extra money, but rather using that money to pay off debt and invest so we can all reach financial independence.