Millions of Boomers Look Abroad for More Affordable Retirement Options

Faced with rising health care costs and challenges in finding housing that is affordable and attainable, some retirees are opting to move not just out of their homes, but out of their countries, according to a BBC report this week. 

Seeking a lower cost of living in some South American and Asian countries, millions of baby boomers from the United States and the United Kingdom are moving in search of a more affordable retirement. 

Following four retirement scenarios that have taken retirees to far flung destinations including Panama, Argentina, Thailand and Ecuador, the BBC finds they are achieving solutions that allow them to retire, in some cases, for less than $40 per day.

“With the low cost of medicine, English-speaking retirement communities and affordable housing, many are heading to tropical destinations, including South America and Southeast Asia where it’s doable to live on less than $40 per day,” BBC writes.

In some cases, retirees can cut costs in half, an Ecuador-based editor for International Living magazine told BBC.

The numbers are growing: citing data from retirement websites across the globe, the report states that there are 3 million Americans and Canadians who have retired abroad and more than 1 million from Great Britain who have done the same, with the number of Britons retiring to other countries having doubled over the last seven years.

In the Ecuador example, a Northern California couple sold their U.S. home for $240,000 during the market downturn, and now pays $300 in rent monthly, with food costs about a third of their cost in the U.S. Their total monthly budget is $1,300.

Another couple interviewed, formerly residents of Florida, finds they can live on $1,250 a month in Panama and while medical costs must be paid out of pocket, they’re a fraction of what they would cost in the U.S.

There are drawbacks, the BBC writes, in terms of adjusting to a new place, availability of health care and infrastructure.

View the BBC report

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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