Reason #1 Not To Retire Overseas: "I can't afford it."
In fact, you can't afford not to. I mean that both literally and figuratively.
You could launch a more comfortable, more interesting, safe, pleasant, even adventure-filled life in a number of places around the world on a budget of as little as $1,200 per month or less. In some parts of Panama, Colombia, Thailand, Nicaragua, Malaysia, and Ecuador, for example, you could live comfortably on a budget of less than $1,000 per month. I'd be surprised if you can't afford that.
But here's the real point: You owe it to yourself to go find out for yourself just how affordable and, more important, just how fun and adventure-filled a new life in a new country can be. I say again that, cost of living aside, you can't afford not to do this.
Reason #2 Not To Retire Overseas: "It's not the right time."
There is no right time.
Sure, it'd be easier to stay put and do nothing. But where would that leave you at the end of your days? What stories would you have to tell? What adventures to remember?
Years ago, I met a gentleman from Tennessee who explained that he had been researching the idea of retiring to the Dominican Republic for two years. "I'm convinced the DR is a place I want to be," he told me, "but I'm just not sure the timing is right..."
"Have you considered other options?" I asked.
"Well, before I started looking closely at the Dominican Republic, I researched Costa Rica for four years."
"What did you end up doing there?"
"Oh, I never did anything. After four years of looking, prices had risen so high that I figured it no longer made sense."
Ready, fire, aim, I say. You can plan to reinvent your life in retirement overseas... or you can launch a new life overseas and then make some plans.
Reason #3 Not To Retire Overseas: "I don't want to leave my home and family for good."
So don't. The real beauty of reinventing your life in a new country today is that it is an infinitely customizable idea. Keep your home in the States if you want and spend part of your time, as your comfort level allows, somewhere exotic and sunny. Establish a second base somewhere foreign... or try out a different overseas locale each year. Come and go as you like, as often as you like, knowing that you've always got a safety net "back home." There is no right or wrong strategy for how to retire overseas.
Reason #4 Not To Retire Overseas: "I need to earn extra income."
In today's world, with a little imagination and self-confidence, you can earn a little income anywhere. In fact, it can be easier today for an American to earn an independent living in a foreign country than in the United States, because you have knowledge, experience, skills, and connections that the locals don't.
Reason #5 Not To Retire Overseas: "I don't have enough capital to make an international move like this."
You need precious little. Take my word for it: If you want to do this, you can pull together the capital you need to make it happen... because, seriously, you don't need a lot. The capital requirements can amount to a plane ticket and your rental deposit.
Reason #6 Not To Retire Overseas: "I don't speak the language."
I get it; I'm not a linguist either. And the older we get the harder it can seem to be to learn a language. That's why you're lucky. You speak English, and English is the world's language. Across much of this planet, anyone who is anyone (that is, anyone you might want to communicate or do business with), as well as any school kid, speaks English.
That said, it's worth noting that learning a new language is one of the best ways to keep your brain limber as you age.
Reason #7 Not To Retire Overseas: "I'm too old."
Are you dead? If not, then you're not too old.
Yes, it's easier and might seem more sensible to take a seat on the front porch and await the arrival of the Grim Reaper. Or maybe your life is already so exciting and wonderful that you can't handle a little change?
If that's not the case, then I'd recommend that you take a cue from my friend Jules, who, at the age of 88 made a plan and then made a move from Florida to Belize. Even after a lifetime of adventure, traveling the world with the U.S. Navy, Jules was up for another change and a new start.
Reason #8 Not To Retire Overseas: "I'm too young."
As I said, in today's world, if you've got a laptop and an Internet connection, you can earn an income anywhere... and concern over making a living is the only objection I can imagine someone younger than retirement age could possibly suggest for why he (or she) isn't jumping at a the idea of launching a new life in some sunny, sexy foreign locale.
I promise you that, no matter how old you are right now, if you make this move, you won't regret a day that follows. If you don't, eventually, you'll grow to regret every day of adventure that you've missed.
Reason #9 Not To Retire Overseas: "I've got to wait for my children to finish their schooling."
Speaking as a mom who has spent the last 16 years raising two children (the second, my son, born in Ireland) across four countries, I can tell you with confidence that a life abroad is one of the greatest gifts you can give your kids. They might object at first (my daughter, born in Baltimore, cried her way through our entire first year living overseas, in Waterford, Ireland), but, in time, they'll grow to love the life and to appreciate the effort you've made providing it for them.
Stay put "for the sake of the kids," and, when they're grown and discover what they missed out on, they won't forgive you.
Home of Boise State University, Boise made number three on CNN Money's "25 Best Places To Retire" list for its cultural scene, surprisingly moderate climate, and access to outdoor activities. They also ranked it among their "Top 10 Turnaround Towns," economically -- so it may be worth investing in as home values appreciate.
Claremont offers extensive senior services including the "Claremont Avenues for Lifelong Learning" program, which allows 60+ residents to audit classes at the Claremont Colleges for free. And that sunny California climate isn't bad either.
Fort Collins, home of Colorado State University, boasts a "small town feeling with the big city attributes that baby boomers crave," says bestboomertowns.com. Natural attributes abound, too, for retirees who like to ski, or are at least willing to weather snowy winters.
RealAge.com ranks the home of Duke, University of North Carolina and North Carolina State University among its "25 Best Cities For Staying Young" for its "lively, optimistic, and socially connected population." In 2010, the Carolinas overtook Florida and Arizona as the top places to retire, a Del Webb study found: Topretirements.com cites lower taxes and cost of living, mild climate and promixity to beaches, among other reasons.
Clemson, SC with its reasonably priced homes, large university, lakeside location, and proximity to mountains and waterfalls also boasts a newly constructed million-dollar Osher Life-Long Learning Institute.
Home of the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque boasts great year-round climate: warm, dry and sunny. It's not as walkable as retirees might prefer, but for the boomer who wants to stay active you can't beat the Sandia Mountains, as Topretirements.com notes.
Ithaca, located on the shores of Cayuga Lake, New York, is home to both Cornell University and Ithaca College. The area is known for its many vineyards and farms and is surrounded by rolling hills with pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods. A recent partnership between Ithaca College and a few nearby retirement communities to promote intergenerational learning has opened the doors for local seniors to audit classes and attend plays and concerts on campus.
Princeton, New Jersey is a quaint and picturesque town featuring graceful streets, first-class shopping and top-rated restaurants. If you can handle the high state taxes and housing prices, the cultural opportunities in Princeton are superb because of the university and its proximity to both New York City and Philadelphia. In 2005, CNN/Money rated Princeton 15th on its list of the 100 best places to live in the U.S.
Set in the northwest corner of Massachusetts, Williamstown, home to Williams College, is a delightful town nestled in the beautiful Berkshire Mountains. Williamstown is a sought-after retirement community for these reasons and for its extremely rich cultural environment. The famed Clark Art Institute, the Williams College Museum of Art, and the Williamstown Theatre Festival are all located in this cozy northeastern community.
The city of Asheville, North Carolina offers transplants majestic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, relatively moderate temperatures year-round and first-class medical facilities. The University of North Carolina at Asheville was one of the first major schools to offer an on-campus center dedicated to making retirement a fulfilling stage of life: The North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement, founded in 1988, is consistently ranked as one of the best facilities of its kind.
Charlottesville, Virginia, is home to the stately and picturesque University of Virginia, founded by President Thomas Jefferson. The town offers a tree-lined charm that, combined with its location at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, makes it easy to see why so many active adults are planning to retire in Charlottesville.
One of America's most famous college towns, Ann Arbor, Michigan is home to world famous University of Michigan. The city has strict zoning regulations that make life difficult for developers but result in an extremely pleasant small-town environment. Downtown Ann Arbor has music stores, sidewalk cafes, bars, bookstores, shops and an array of people from surrounding Michigan areas that descend on the town each weekend. For these reasons, many Midwesterners and University of Michigan alumni choose Ann Arbor as their retirement destination. (Just find friends to visit in the south when winter arrives.)
Gainesville, Florida, home to the University of Florida, has a reputation for being an inexpensive, lively college town with a Southern charm and knack for attracting recent retirees. The University offers local seniors access to college classes, cultural opportunities and world-class medical facilities, as well as priority access to Gators football games.
Eugene, Oregon, home to the University of Oregon, is famous for its extensive park system, which includes many bike and running trails. Access to the Cascade Mountain range with its unlimited hiking, skiing and outdoor opportunities, as well as a thriving and eclectic arts scene, make Eugene a favored destination for retirees.
Athens is a college town in the hills of northeastern Georgia. Nearby University of Georgia has helped to create an unusually liberal community with a thriving artistic, literary, musical and intellectual scene. Athens consistently ranks among the nation's best towns for relocation and retirement, with new residents drawn to the moderate climate, convenience to Atlanta and world-class hospitals and medical facilities associated with the University.
State College, home to Penn State University, has long attracted retirees with an abundance of shops, restaurants and cultural amenities in the area. People over 55 comprise the fastest growing segment of the town's population and the Village at Penn State, a renowned continuing care residence in the heart of State College, offers residents access to premium care as well as free admission to University classes and priority access to Penn State football games.