Menu

Baby Boomers Are Retiring Abroad In Droves…But Is It Right For You?

Watch out Florida.

Fueled by a lower cost of living, an interest in better weather and a zest for life, more baby boomers are retiring overseas than ever before.

Alexandra Talty.

The Dominican Republic ranks third on the best places to retire abroad for baby boomers in 2017.

Although exact numbers are hard to come by – the State Department estimates 8.7 million Americans live abroad, and they do not parse those statistics by age – the Social Security Administration send over 500,000 payments per month to overseas residents. That number is up from 2016, when 400,000 retiree payments were sent abroad.

Experts assume that far more baby boomers are retiring abroad, as not everyone receives their checks internationally, but it remains one of the few benchmarks to gauge the trend of retirees trading in America for that exotic expat lifestyle.

But is it the right decision for you? Forbes caught up with expat expert Kathleen Peddicord, author and publisher of Live and Invest Overseas. After living abroad in three countries, raising children and businesses internationally, Peddicord is a de-facto expert in living internationally. Here are her tips for evaluating the lifestyle, as well as top ten locations for Americans to spend their golden years in 2017.

Budget, budget, budget

Taking a hard look at finances is not sexiest part about retiring in a foreign country, but it is the most important.

“Think honestly about how much money you have and how much cash flow you can generate,” says Peddicord. “That’s your nut”

Oftentimes, a lower cost of living is the most prominent reason for living abroad , said Olivia S. Mitchell, director of the Pension Research Council at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, to the Associated Press.  In addition to lower rents, many boomers find cheaper healthcare.

Deborah Jacobs, a 61-year old writer who, with her retired husband, spends part of her year in France, estimates that she’s saved $20,000 in the past three years by filling her prescriptions internationally for a medication that slows bone loss. Since downsizing their lives , Jacobs and her husband have stashed away extra moolah, while experiencing the joys of slow travel in the countryside. Win-win.

Consider your lifestyle

After coming up with a realistic budget, the next question is what do you want you lifestyle to look like?

Peddicord recommends making a list of things that you like, whether it is hearing waves from your window or going to the theater a couple of afternoons a week. The key is to be truthful, for example, she says, “is Sunday afternoon football a make or break for you?”

Megsy Collins, FiveDollarTraveller.com

Releasing lanterns at The Yee Ping festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand, the sixth best location for retiring abroad in 2017.

Then make a list of things that you hate. It could be as small as shoveling snow from your driveway or mosquitos, a common complaint from Peddicord’s conference attendees and clients.