The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
Live Like a Prince on a Pauper's Budget

A new movement is gaining steam in America: overseas retirement. Kiplinger, a personal finance and business forecast site, recently put out a list of eight great places to retire abroad. The attractions of these places are impressive. Bracketing off the one entry from Spain, the most expensive of the seven places was $2,700 per month per couple for comfortable, high-class living, and many were much less than that. That’s not to mention the other benefits: temperate weather, culture, history, beaches in some places and mountains in others, and even special state-backed perks for U.S. retirees.

Given the appeal of retiring in one of these countries, it’s no wonder that boomers are increasingly choosing to hightail it out of the U.S. Data from the Social Security Administration shows that the number of Americans collecting their Social Security from abroad has risen steeply in recent years:

This trend should be encouraged. The retirees benefit from high quality of life, and the host countries get new residents who are wealthy by local standards. A study by the Empire Center for New York State policy found that New Yorkers retiring to Florida alone brought $11 billion in new net income to the state from 2000–09. The effect on foreign countries would be similar, and the extra revenue brought in this way could be more effective than most development dollars. America also profits: By getting cheaper medical treatment abroad, expats would relieve some of the pressure on the U.S. health care system.

Overseas retirement is a win-win for everyone. May the trend continue!

Published on February 15, 2013 12:20 pm