Live Like You’re on a Vacation–Permanently
If you hadn’t picked up on it yet, I’ve had a bit of a travel theme this week. Between how I fly for free, and the dangers of traveling abroad, you should now have a pretty good idea of how to get where you’re going cheap, and how to stay safe while you’re visiting.
When most people think of getting a change of scenery, a vacation is the first thing that comes to mind. You think of heading to your favorite destination for a week or two and soaking up the sand and sun, or the snow, if you’re the winter sports type. Personally I like the beach, but snowboarding with my daughter is great too.
But what if you didn’t have to wait for just two short weeks of the year to enjoy lush tropical locales or mountainous adventures?
What if instead… you could choose to live in that kind of environment all year round?
Unfortunately in the USA, the most desirable vacation locations are also pretty expensive. Beach living is costly, as is the cost of living in major cities or other desirable locales. The price of real estate in the “fun” cities seems to be on the rise all the time.
Here’s the thing, though. You don’t have to stay in the US.
Pack Your Bags, and Sail Away
If you want a comfortable lifestyle with a low cost of living, it’s easier than ever to retire and live out your days however you want – as an expatriate.
More and more people are choosing to move out of the US once they have retired than ever before. With the resources we have available to us today, it’s not even hard to research the best country for you, and everything you’ll need to know in order to move there.
Sure, you might have a couple of concerns first, but that’s okay! With the power of the internet on your side, you can generally answer your questions quite easily.
If you’re considering living as an expat, I have a few questions for you to get your started in your research.
Do You Want to Stay in One Country or Move Around?
When you’re living as an expat, there’s no reason you have to tie yourself down to one place. Not only can you treat yourself to a variety of experiences, you will also have the peace of mind just knowing that if you don’t like a place, you can just move on.
If you’re interested in staying in one country, on the other hand, review your information carefully. A longer term commitment will probably be less expensive in the long run, but you’ll be subjected to all sorts of laws and customs you’ve never thought of before, much less experienced, so do your homework thoroughly.
Which Countries Will Allow You to Have Citizenship?
Unlike the USA, which offers people the chance at citizenship no matter where they’re from, most countries have strict rules about who can and can’t live, work, and buy property there.
Some countries are more accepting than others, though. Peru, Singapore, the Dominican Republic, and Ireland, for example, all have easily achievable citizenship requirements. If none of those are to your liking, see what countries do strike your fancy and then research what their requirements for citizenship are.
The Language of The Locals
Are you already fluent in a second language? Great! That could easily help in your new life as an expat. If you already speak Spanish, you’ve got a leg up, as there are many countries who have Spanish as a national language.
If you’re eager to learn a new language, that helps, too. Once you know the country that you are interested in moving to, you can research the language that is primarily spoken there. Apps like Duolingo are free, and can help you learn languages quickly and easily.
If that’s not your cup of tea, that’s ok – most countries have at least a portion of the population who speak English. You may run into roadblocks from time to time, but with the help of translation apps like iTranslate, Google Translate, and TripLingo, you can get by, and once you move, you’ll find that you pick up the local dialect fairly quickly, as you go.
What Will Your Friends and Family Think?
This is a common question that keeps a lot of people from moving abroad. If you want to consider the idea, but worry about what your closest friends and family will think, consider what your obligations are.
If you have an ailing parent to take care of, for example, then moving abroad might be something to plan for a few years down the road. If you don’t have these kinds of obligations, but you’re still concerned that you’ll get pushback, broach the conversation with your loved ones early on.
Chances are good they’ll be happy for you and even want to visit. If they’re not happy, then at least they have time to get used to the idea. Who knows – in the long run, they might even wind up being inspired by your decision to move!
What Will You Do With All of Your Stuff?
This question seems simple, but it’s a little more complicated than just moving it with you. You’ll have to decide if you want to keep it, store it, or trash it.
By the time you retire, you’ve got almost a lifetime’s belongings to deal with, and many of them have memories and emotions attached.
Review what you definitely want to take with you, and what you don’t want to take but can’t bear to trash or donate. When you know what you want to keep in your life, but not take with you, start getting creative with solutions.
Perhaps these special items could find a new home and a new lease on life in the home of a child, or grown grandchild. For example, I have a friend who moved to China – when she was there, she couldn’t take a large piece of artwork with her. The piece stayed in the home of another friend of mine where it was loved for many years. When the original owner who was living in China came back, the painting went back into her new home. It was a win for everyone involved.
What Happens If You Change Your Mind?
Well, the short answer here is that if you don’t like it, you can always come back home to the States!
The long answer is you need to consider the best way to reintegrate and realize that moving back to the US will entail a period of transition. After all, if you leave the country, life goes on here, too, so don’t expect everything to be exactly the same when you come back.
Once you have the answer to these questions, as well as any that you come up with yourself, you can decide if expat life is for you. If you’re even the least bit curious, you should look into it.
After all, living frugally but fabulously is a pretty great way to spend your retirement!
To a richer life,