Forbes.com .- Every year, I get dozens of emails that promote the best places to retire in the U.S. and overseas. It’s like the smell of popcorn, which is really enticing to me.
It’s rare, though, that I’ve actually been to most of these places. Since they never recommend cold places like Siberia or the Yukon, the countries that place on the top of the list usually have great climate and lovely views of the ocean.
The major problem I have with these lists is that to live there you have to make a decision to be away from your home community, friends and family. If you want to leave a community where that’s not a problem, it’s a lot easier. Some folks don’t mind living among strangers.
Yet one list I came across — “5 Great Places to Retire Where It’s Easy to Fit In” — attracted my attention. The pitch made sense. After all, if language and culture are an issue, then your retirement might be challenging. Today In: Money
Except for one country (Malta), I’ve traveled to the other four nations on this list. In general, I would agree with the editors at International Living, which prepared this list, that it would not be terribly difficult to fit in if you decide to live in certain places in Mexico, Portugal, Costa Rica and Ireland.
All of them are exceptionally beautiful countries with wonderful people and enduring cultures. Costa Rica, for example, offers coasts on two oceans, mountains and rainforests. Portugal has great food, beaches and more than a thousand years of cultural heritage. The same with Mexico and Ireland.
You can find bargains if you know where to look in these countries. But be warned: Ireland and Costa Rica have become much more expensive — and popular — in recent years. Ireland, in particular, is experiencing an economic boom, so affordable housing is scarce.
You’d also have to consider health care. If you have specialized needs and will miss the services of your family doctor or specialists, relocating overseas will pose challenges.
What if you just want to “try out” a country by renting? That’s a good idea. Just keep in mind that coastal areas charge the highest premiums. Dublin, Ireland, for example, is one of the most expensive places in the world to rent right now.
As with any retirement consideration, you need to plan carefully. The biggest plum for relocation is that countries that have lower costs of living than the U.S. will help you preserve your nest egg. But you need to look at the social, housing, healthcare and other amenities before you make the big move.
by John F. Wasik Contributor Personal Finance
I am an author, speaker and journalist specializing in investor and consumer protection.
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