Retiring Abroad on a Budget

Retiring Abroad [infograpgic]
Are your dreams of retiring outside of the United States practical? Yes! If you’ve been envisioning becoming an expat in a quaint seaside community or maybe a mountain ski town, there are a lot of factors to consider. But if you plan ahead, you can enjoy the rest and relaxation you crave while living on less than you ever imagined.

How to Retire and Live Abroad


1. Downsize your life

You must be willing to reduce your belongings to the bare minimum. That might mean hosting an estate sale or giving heirloom or cherished items to your children, grandchildren or other relatives who will remain stateside. It’s just not feasible or necessary to take everything with you, nor is it practical to pay for storage. If you haven’t already, scan your print photos and any important mementos like handwritten letters. Make all your documents digital. The fewer belongings you have, the smaller the place you’ll need, and the more cash you’ll save.

2. Seek out a lower cost of living

Find a retirement locale that has a lower cost of living than where you currently reside. This Forbes article has some great examples. Cut your living expenses in half to stretch your retirement money further and free it up for fun experiences.

3. Do your homework

Before you move, take some baby steps. Go on an extended vacation to see how you like the city, its infrastructure and businesses. Read up on laws, politics, crime rates and any other concerns. Research any reported scams that prey on retirees. Investigate your new country’s quality of health care and its facilities. Take stock of your personal health concerns and make sure you’ll have access to what you need. You don’t want to invest or get set up in a location if you’re not sure about your comfort there. Also, if it applies to your situation, consider whether your location is easy and economical for friends and family to visit or if it’s easy for you to travel back to the states.

4. Ask the professionals

Consult your tax professional about the best strategies for managing your accounts and investments in order to receive retirement benefits, avoid penalties and follow IRS and local laws to the letter. Your Farm Bureau agent is always here to discuss your property and health insurance concerns and needs.

5. Apply for a fun job

Retirement doesn’t always mean a complete halt to work. Many expat retirees enjoy a part-time gig, maybe in a shop or cafe or even on the golf course. The job brings in some income and fosters friendships within the new community.

6. Embrace minimalism

You’ve done the hard work of downsizing. Once you get settled abroad, buy what you need, but resist the temptation to blow through your budget splurging on new things. Invest in new adventures instead, and you’ll have a more fulfilling retirement.


Retirement is your time to live life the way you have always imagined – and hopefully planned for! Enjoy your time to the fullest. Still a few years away from retirement? Contact your Farm Bureau agent to plan for the time of your life with smart retirement strategies.