Q&A with a Reader
Hello Billy and Akaisha,
You guys are no doubt inspiration that most people seek. My husband and I are no different. I was hoping you could help us with some advice on how to go about doing what you’ve done so successfully a long time ago.
Some insight into where we are right now. My husband just turned 68 years old and is still full time employed. I am 18 years younger and full time employed as well. Neither one of us makes great deal of money. Our current expenses are high (living in NYC area) and we’re forced to dip into our 401K pretty much continuously to maintain our lifestyle. I know this is not sustainable.
I also wish to be able to have my husband finally retire…
I obviously have no means to go and check every single retirement destination I might think will suit our needs, so how do I decide then?
The Caribbean is logical destination for many expats from this country for obvious reasons BUT for me not so much because food is great part of both of our lives and I need to be where I can get the kind of food I enjoy the most. Europe springs to mind but again, France or Italy would be a yeeeessss…food wise but I know due to the exchange rate and simply cost of living that we couldn’t get best bang for our buck there.
However, I might be looking at this whole thing wrong and not understanding the what’s and how’s that retirement entails.
Thank you for your patience in waiting for my reply.
I would first recommend that you take a look at our article, How to Choose a Retirement Location.
It’s really important that you and your husband list what your priorities are for your future lifestyle. Being foodies ourselves, we understand the desire to have access to a variety of different cuisines, and fresh fruits, vegetables, seafood and meats. Make sure you agree on things like climate, social activities available to keep you engaged (even the ability to possibly volunteer) – garden clubs, bridge clubs, theater, animal rescue, golf, hiking, nature – whatever interests you. Know what size of city, town or community that appeals to you. And very significantly, have you ever lived overseas before? It might sound fantastic on paper, but cultural differences can be a bone of contention to some people. Some cultures are efficient, and some are more lackadaisical when it comes to getting plumbing done, or getting paperwork processed and so on. No matter where you choose to live, it won’t be “just like home.”
Do you know another language, or are you willing to learn at least at a passable level?
You might consider other options besides moving – options such as snow birding, house swapping, house sitting or setting up a portion of your home to rent out with organizations such as Airbnb.
After you have your list of priorities you can begin to look for a location to fit those desires.
Take a look at our Relocation Page – there are lots of forums where you could have conversations with expats who are currently living in various foreign locations to give you an idea if this place or that place might work for you.
If you already have foreign experience, countries such as Mexico, Guatemala, Thailand, Panama and Ecuador have very good cost of living, and you might find that you can live very comfortably on $2,000 or $3,000 per month, or even less.
Take a look at our Annual Spending Update to give you an idea of how we manage. Just to be clear, we have chosen not to own a home in retirement, but rather rent apartments, or house sit, or rent a hotel suite for months at a time. We do not own a vehicle and prefer to use local transport or hire a driver. We also utilize local health care as well, saving us lots of money per year in health insurance premiums.
You have lots of options if you are open to them.
I hope the above information gets you started on your relocation journey. Please feel free to write back if you have more questions, or if you would like to discuss a topic more fully.
Wishing you and your husband all the best in your upcoming retirement.