Retiring Abroad – What Does It Take?


Retire in MalaysiaAdministratively, there can be problems that seem so easy to fix. You will face dealing with what will seem like ridiculous and redundant procedures, and there may be nothing you can do about it.


Best to learn and endure. You are not going to change things and will be frustrated trying.


In many countries you cannot just walk into a bank and open an account. You need referrals and documentation from other banks and institutions. Not a big deal in our world, but it can be in theirs. This can be a Catch 22 because you can’t always get a bank account without a residence, and you can’t get your utilities turned on unless you have a bank account.


Health insurance is something you need to look into. Medicare does not cover you when you are outside the United States, but Medigap might depending on your policy. You may be able to join a local healthcare plan, but some countries, like Malaysia, require you to carry your own policy. Because of the low cost of care, many expats choose to pay out of pocket when they need care and forego the regular cost of insurance.


Retire in the PhilippinesThere are numerous ways of calculating cost of living and plenty of conflicting information. There are various sites that allow you to compare cost of living in different locations.


Should You Move?


There’s a big wide world out there, at all prices, just waiting for you. There’s adventure and fun to be had, if that’s what interests you. You have to ponder a few questions and determine what you want your life to be like.


Are you adventurous?


Do you like cultural diversity?


Do you make friends easily and fit right in or prefer a quieter life?


Do you need quick access to the U.S.?


You need to consider if you have special health needs, require constant Internet access, and where your money will buy you the most.


It’s all out there. All you need to do is pack up and go!



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  1. We decided not to retire to another country (though we considered it), but we did move to a warmer state, Texas from Iowa. And our annual month living on Isla Mujeres, Mexico, is still a treasured tradition.

  2. Hi Rhonda, Sounds like a good move for you. Living abroad is not for everybody. You found your fun in the sun without going to far. Have a great time in Mexico. Donna

  3. Don from Melbourne

    May 20, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    Thank you so much for this truly excellent article. I am a newcomer to this site, and I have greatly enjoyed what you have written. Sensibly presented, intelligent advice. So rare nowadays on the ‘net, a joy to read when I can find it.
    You and Gordon Kinghorn are, to me, the two best writers on this site. Long may you continue to entertain and inform us with your advice and wisdom.
    Best regards,
    DON from Melbourne

    Now in Surabaya, Indonesia, to Penang, Taiping and Ipoh, Malaysia in June, to Brunei in September, then home to Australia for two months, then I’ll start again and do it all over! Being 67 is the best.

  4. Hi Don,

    67 sounds fabulous. Do you write about your adventures? I’m sure you have plenty with those locations on the horizon. I’d love to hear about them. I hope you have a wonderful time. Melbourne is pretty nice too.

    Thanks very much for your kind words about the article. It’s nice to hear and I’m glad it was helpful.

    All the best, Donna

  5. Heard You on the radio with Josh today 12/26/2015 , I have a question about social security and whether to file and suspend my benefits ?

    Husband ( me ) age 69 started collecting SS at age 62 current receiving $ 1,788
    Wife age 67 started receiving SS at age 62 current receiving $ 1,177
    Note : net amount after medicare A and B

  6. I have enjoyed these writings and look for more. My wife and I are thinking of Thailand or Penang a a retirement spot. What say you? I have lived and worked in six countries already from Scotland to Singapore and we both love the heat and palm trees and little brown bodies running around. So we are happy! We would love to hear from others who have been there and done it.
    Jay and Di

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