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03/02/2015 06:55 am ET Updated Mar 02, 2015

This Is What Retiring Abroad Looks Like

Edd and Cynthia Staton

Forget Florida and Arizona. When it comes to retirement, a growing number of Americans are opting to relocate abroad, to places with fabulous weather, stunning scenery, a lower cost of living and welcoming colonies of like-minded people. More than 550,000 Americans now receive their Social Security benefits abroad, an increase from the nearly 400,000 reported in 2000, according to the Social Security Administration.

But is retiring abroad right for you? Those who've taken the plunge urge everyone to do their homework. For example, since Medicare coverage outside the U.S. may be limited, those moving abroad may have to arrange for health care and insurance in their host country. And what about your extended family members? How will it feel to be so far away? Everyone has to answer those questions for themselves. In the end, though, most of the retirees overseas we've spoken with say they have no regrets.

To give you a better sense of what it's like to retire overseas, here are some adventurous souls who've done just that.

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This Is What Retiring Outside America Looks Like
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BEFORE YOU GO

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