Is retiring abroad worth it? What about health care? Other costs?

May 29, 2024, 8:00 AM | Updated: Jun 6, 2024, 10:17 am

FILE - Visitors stand in a line to enter the ancient Colosseum, in Rome, Tuesday, June 27, 2023. Th...

FILE - Visitors stand in a line to enter the ancient Colosseum, in Rome, Tuesday, June 27, 2023. There are many things to consider if you think you want to live abroad afater you retire(Andrew Medichini, Associated Press)

(Andrew Medichini, Associated Press)

SALT LAKE CITY — Thinking of retiring abroad? Here are a few things to think about.

Can you afford it? CNN reports that 43% of non-retired adults in the U.S. think they will have enough money to live comfortably when they retire. That’s according to Gallup research conducted in 2023. That 43% statistic is the lowest level for that metric since 2012.

Where would you go? Investopedia reports that in 2020, most U.S. expats moved to Mexico, followed by Canada. The U.K. was in third place.

What are the downsides?

Upcoming retirees might imagine spending their golden years outside of the U.S., but the realities of moving abroad may be much less romantic. For instance:

  • You’re not officially a citizen of that country.
  • You may not speak the language.

And what about health care coverage? Medicare advises you to explore options for health coverage in whichever country you plan to reside, before you move.

Once you are a resident of certain foreign countries, you may qualify for national health insurance or you may be able to buy private health insurance..

To stay or go abroad?

Debbie Dujanovic and guest host Taylor Morgan discuss the pros and cons of retiring abroad. The following transcript was edited for brevity.

DUJANOVIC: Here’s the headline that captured my attention, Taylor. Retiring abroad can mean more bureaucracy than bruschetta, but it is growing in popularity. That’s from CNN.

Have you thought about retiring abroad? You got a long way to go? You’re much younger than I am.

MORGAN: No. I don’t want to deal with a bureaucracy in a foreign government. We just talked about Americans getting in trouble traveling to a foreign country.

DUJANOVIC: Because of Turks and Caicos.

MORGAN: They weren’t familiar with the laws there. They don’t have all the same rights they do as Americans. I understand that it could sound really nice to retire in Italy, maybe Portugal. It’s cheaper to live there.

You can maybe collect Social Security payments that go a lot further. There’s access to healthcare. It might be more affordable and then you can ride the rails throughout Europe. I get all that, and it sounds nice, but boy, I don’t know that I want to deal with having to surrender my rights and my future.

DUJANOVIC: Well, you just have to learn new laws. You are surrendering your rights —

MORGAN: You’re not a citizen . … You’re not a citizen. Your rights will always be different living in a foreign country.

DUJANOVIC: You feel like you would be walking on pins and needles . . . if you mess something up, that’s it. You’re going to the slammer.

Listen to the entire podcast above, or from the KSL Podcasts page.

Related: Is it cheaper to live abroad than in the US?

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

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Is retiring abroad worth it? What about health care? Other costs?