For most families, the biggest monthly bill is their housing cost. Soon-to-be retirees should make it a priority to finish paying off their mortgage before leaving full time employment, but that’s not always an option. Over 40% of people age 65 to 74 still have a mortgage or home equity loan according to the Survey of Consumer Finances. That’s a lot of retirees. I quit my job in 2012 and we still carry a mortgage on our home. Mrs. RB40 is still working at a job that is tied to our current location, so she is paying the mortgage from her paycheck. Once we both fully retire, then we will have more options to move elsewhere. One of those options is to live part time in another country with a lower cost of living when we get to that point.
Spending Winter Abroad
Every drizzly winter, I think about living some place warmer. It is a drizzly 38 degrees day and it will be like this for many more months. A day like this is when I would rather live in balmy 80 degree conditions for a few months. My dad lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand now and he has several condos that he rents out to Japanese retirees. The Japanese retirees like living there because the cost of living is so much lower than in Japan and the winter weather is warmer as well. Their pension checks go a lot further in Thailand than in Japan. They can go out and eat good food, drink sake, and enjoy their retirement without having to endure bone chilling weather.
Healthcare can be cheaper abroad
Since I have family connections in country, Thailand would be the logical place to live part time. Another big benefit is the health care cost. Right now we are signed up with Mrs. RB40’s employer health care plan. It is working out very well, but once she retires, we’ll have to shell out big bucks for health insurance in the US. Thailand on the other hand, has affordable health care AND public health care. The wait can be long, but for most health concerns, the public health care system is a good option. If I need faster or better service, I can pay cash out some investment to pay for it at a private hospital as well.
Central location for traveling
Another big benefit to living in Thailand is the location. We can live there for a few years and travel to all the places we have wanted to visit. I want to go to Vietnam, Japan, China, Malaysia, India, and Russia, to name a few places in that part of the world. Thailand would be a great home base for a few years just for this purpose. Once we visit all those countries, perhaps we can move to Medellin, Columbia for a few years to tour South America.
For US citizens, it should be relatively simple to direct deposit the social security check and then transfer the money to a foreign bank. For Britons, Qrops pensions could be a good option if you are looking to retire in a different country. This alternative allows you to transfer your UK pension offshore while saving on taxes and offering local access to your funds.
Of course, we still have family in the US, so that’s why I would like to live here for a few months out of the year too. I love the summer in Portland and it would be our first option. We refinanced last year and are paying extra toward our monthly mortgage. The plan is to have the mortgage paid off before Mrs. RB40 retires and if it works out, then perhaps we can keep our condo.
What about you? Would you consider retiring to a different country? How about part time?