10/02/2013 06:47 am ET Updated Dec 02, 2013

9 Reasons Not To Retire Overseas (And Why They Don't Matter)

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.

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

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