Retirement is no longer a static concept. With changing technology, improved ability to travel (and live!) internationally, and the emergence of an encore career as an option for retirees who don’t want to completely stop working – you have endless options to create the retirement you want. A tool I’ve recently found, Retirocracy, is just one of many ways that retirees are changing the conversation about life during retirement.
What is Retirocracy?
Retirocracy is a free service that helps you to research international destinations where you could feasibly live during retirement – all while keeping your budget in mind. Of course, because you’re not paying for Retirocracy’s service, it’s important to keep in mind that they are getting paid by someone. In this case, that someone happens to be residential communities around the world who play a referral and placement fee to be listed on Retirocracy.
That being said – this is still a fantastic resource for pre-retirees who are looking to live an adventurous, jet-setting retirement without breaking the bank.
How Does Retirocracy Work?
When you sign up to work with Retirocracy, you’re assigned a Dedicated Relocation Advisor. Your Dedicated Relocation Advisor helps to create a list of international cities and specific residential communities that they believe match up with your unique financial needs and lifestyle desires. They offer you full details and pricing for each community so you can get a big-picture view of what life could look like – and exactly how much it’ll cost you.
Retirocracy even goes so far as to help with scheduling in-person tours so that you can explore different cities and communities. They also refer you to local professionals and service providers who can help you with the transition, and they offer move in support. I know – it kind of sounds too good to be true.
Is it Too Good to Be True?
I understand better than most what the hesitation around companies like Retirocracy might be. Unfortunately, retirees are often a target for scams, and anything having to do with international moving and/or money transfer often raises red flags. Of course, you should always do the research. And before you decide to pick up and move across the ocean, it’s probably a good idea to review your finances with an advisor to make sure you’re making the right call.
All that being said, I believe that free services like Retirocracy certainly provide a necessary service to today’s retirees. Life is different than it was 20 years ago, and things continue to evolve as technology improves and the world becomes increasingly interconnected. Living, working, and traveling abroad is so much more cost effective than it used to be. There is no reason that retirees can’t enjoy this unique lifestyle if they want to.
What Are the Financial Benefits to Living Abroad?
There are obvious lifestyle benefits to retiring overseas. You get to experience a new culture, you have the time and the money to enjoy your travels, and you can see sights around the world that you’ve always dreamed of. But I wouldn’t recommend this as an option if I didn’t see some clear financial benefits, as well.
1. Affordable Cost of Living
Many places you may choose to move have a lower cost of living than major cities and retirement locations in the United States.
2. Property Taxes are Lower
This plays into cost of living, but it’s worth noting because property taxes abroad are not just a little less than they are here in the U.S. Instead, they’re often significantly lower. One example I found is that taxes for a condo in Ecuador were less than $54/year, where that same person’s previous home in Omaha, Nebraska, were over $8,000/year. That’s a huge difference!
3. Health Care is Less Expensive (and More Prevalent)
Of course, health care cost and decisions will vary largely depending on your current plan and enrollment options. It will also depend on if you plan to become an expatriate who lives abroad full-time or you’re just traveling. Still, you should note that many health care plans in other countries are significantly more affordable.
4. Avoid Double Taxation
Some locations, like the US and Mexico, have treaties with the U.S. that help expatriates avoid double taxation. This helps retirees who will still receive an income from their assets and will need to pay U.S. taxes.
5. Extra Income Options
Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t discuss the additional options for income that living abroad opens for retirees. If you’re interested in an encore career abroad, you can work remotely, freelance, sign up to give tours of your new home city, or teach English as a second language. Additionally, if you don’t plan to move permanently, you can rent out your home back in the United States to pay for your property taxes and supplement your income.
Regardless of where you want to live or what you want to do abroad, it’s certainly an idea to consider. Finding free resources like Retirocracy can at the very least help you get a big-picture understanding of the options that are available to you. If retiring abroad, or traveling internationally during retirement, interests you – feel free to contact me. As someone who has lived around the world, established dual citizenship, and works as a financial planner for retirees, I’d be happy to shed some light on the best way to go about it!