Is Retiring Abroad Right for You?

More Americans are saying yes to retiring abroad … but does it fit your financial future?

If you're considering retirement outside the U.S., look at the financial implications first. "Examine your budget to be sure you can afford it," advises Rosanne Knorr, author of "The Grown-Up's Guide to Retiring Abroad" and two other books on the topic. And remember to take into account potential exchange rate fluctuations.

"Many people find that, when they retire overseas, they can enjoy a higher quality of life and a lower cost of living," says Suzan Haskins, Latin America editorial director for International Living (, which provides publications and conferences about living abroad.

"Retiring in Latin America is especially affordable; the overall cost of living is 20% to 60% lower than in the U.S.," Haskins notes. "Big-ticket items like health care, insurance, and property taxes are generally far less expensive.

"The cost of real estate can be much less, too—especially if you're looking at beachfront properties," she continues.

Think about insurance too; you can't use Medicare in foreign hospitals. "You'd have to go back to the U.S. for that, although for most people this isn't a primary consideration, since health care is so affordable and of such excellent quality outside the U.S.," says Haskins.

You have three options. You can get a global health policy from an international insurance firm, get national health care from the country you're living in, or self-insure by paying for health-care costs as you incur them.

Taxes are another factor. The U.S. has tax treaties with many countries, where U.S. citizens residing there pay reduced taxes or are exempt from U.S. income taxes on certain income earned abroad.

You'll have to take care of other details too such as setting up your credit cards and Harvard Credit Union accounts so you can check statements, pay bills, and handle investments online.

Harvard Credit Union can help you with all your travel and moving plans. Call us today at 617-495-4460.

Remember, once a member, always a member. No matter where you live, you'll always be a Harvard University Credit Union member.