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How to Become an Expat in Your Senior Years


Jerry Andrew Nelson


November 08, 2021


08:42 PM

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Moving overseas is not just for exchange students anymore. With technology, digital nomads are moving abroad as well — but being an expat isn’t just for the digital sophisticates either. It’s realistic for us “Senior Citizens” to build a fulfilling life outside of our home country.

It takes motivation to overcome ennui and get started, but many retirees find moving to another nation to be one of the best decisions they ever made.

The decision to move overseas revolves around one of three areas and sometimes a blend. These are:

  • Lifestyle Changes,
  • A Return to Roots, or
  • Economic Rewards

Lifestyle Change

Many first-time expats want more out of life than what they felt they were enjoying back home. Often, people think about moving overseas when they’re unhappy with their lives. Career trajectory bothers some, others want to explore romantic prospects.

Sometimes they feel a void they can’t explain or an indescribable need for fresh scenery, new people, and new everything. For retirees contemplating a move abroad, there are plenty of things to consider if the motivation is just a “lifestyle change”.

While some are glad to start again from the beginning, most find the expat life challenging and rewarding and a fulfillment of a lifetime of dreams.

Return to Roots

Jamaican political activist, publisher, and journalist, Marcus Garvey, said, “A person without knowledge of their history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”

When someone expresses a desire to ‘return to roots,’ they may mean returning to the type of work they did when younger. For others, it means a return to where you came from.

America is a land of immigrants. The ancestors of today’s generation came from many points on Earth. It is only natural that some of them want to see where their “roots” are and learn more about their culture. Retirement is the perfect time.


Economic Rewards

Retirees often find it difficult to get by in their home country. Inflation can eat away savings to finance retirement and before realizing that nest egg is devoured.

For a fraction of the cost, they can enjoy a better quality of life. For example, dining out, travel and healthcare expenses are lower in many nations and coupled with an overall lower cost of living, a retiree can sit pretty.

With taxes, though, be careful. U.S. citizens are required to pay taxes no matter where they live in the world. Some countries may also levy a tax on your pension or social security income, so you’ll pay taxes twice. Be sure to read and understand the latest filing requirements.

In conclusion, Prepare With Visas, Passports, Customs and Budget Travel

One of the biggest costs of moving abroad can be the plane tickets and other travel necessities. By looking ahead and watching for good deals, you can save hundreds on your plane tickets and hotel stays. Many websites offer discounted plane tickets and you can also find when the cheapest time of the day is to purchase your tickets.

If it doesn’t bother you to extend the time of your travel, you can save a lot of money by purchasing plane tickets that stop more and have longer layovers. Plan so you know what exact documents and visas you need in preparation to land in your new country.

Jerry Nelson is an American writer living the expat life in Argentina and winner of the Revi 2021 Reader Award. You can find him at any of hundreds of sidewalk cafes and hire him through Fiverr, join the quarter-million who follow him on Twitter or contact him at [email protected]

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