In the US or abroad: Where should you retire?


Fact Box

  • Data from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College reveals that in 2021, the average retirement age in the US for men was 65, and for women was 62.
  • The Social Security Administration reports that 443,546 retired Americans received benefits while living abroad in 2022. 
  • US News & World Report lists Australia, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and New Zealand as 'the top countries seen as offering an optimal environment for the twilight years.'
  • According to the 2021 United Van Lines' National Movers Study, the US states that are most popular for retirement are Florida, South Carolina, and Arizona.

Martin (US)

Most people have major retirement plans, which sometimes means choosing a new place to call home. However, staying within the US is the wiser choice, as moving abroad doesn't necessarily enhance the golden years. 

One reason retirees should remain in the US is because they have established professional connections. These connections are built over time as one works and are essential when hoping to secure part-time or strain-free jobs after retirement in order to bolster monthly income. 

After retirement, people may want to keep their social networks and remain mentally and physically active without having to make new acquaintances. Retiring in the US might be the right option as they won't need to get out of their shell to establish new relationships. And an added bonus is that their family can be close-by, as well. 

Further, retiring in the US guarantees a degree of stability and convenience, as the US boasts one of the most stable economies in the world. According to research, only 1 in 10 people live in poverty in the US, which means that a retiree can depend on certain levels of economic predictability in infrastructure and food security.

In addition to economic stability, the US has some of the best medical care in the world--something which is essential during retirement, as, generally speaking, disease and health conditions peak during advanced age. Most importantly, the federal government offers comprehensive medical coverage for elderly patients.

Retiring abroad may sound exciting, but in terms of practicality, retiring in the US is the best choice due to professional connections, social networks, stability and convenience, and world-class medical care.  

Chad (Abroad)

With today’s economy, retiring abroad may be better than staying in the US. Half of all people in the US did not save enough for retirement or saw their savings depleted due to inflation, stock collapse, or medical bills. These people will depend on social security, leaving most in a dire situation living from month to month with little extra money to spend on a fun and fulfilling life.

The fixed income people receive from social security primarily covers paying the bills in the US. But in some foreign countries where the cost of living is lower, or the currency is less strong, it can provide a standard of living far above that of the local people. 

Living abroad can also give other perks, such as cheaper labor and service industries so that older people can be taken care of better than in the US, where service and labor costs are so high. Notably, the US isn’t even in the top 20 of the global index for health care and elderly happiness

Many countries now even offer retirement visas and other perks as motivation for people to retire there, which can provide many benefits to elderly folks with relatively little money. 

It’s also important to remember that the US has the highest healthcare costs in the world. Because older people need so much medical attention, moving abroad makes good financial sense. 

There is no reason to spend your last years in poverty. Instead, enjoy living abroad and experiencing new cultures, food, and other wonderful experiences.

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