The USA vs Abroad: Where to Spend your Golden Years?

Americans who love to travel, or those who want to travel but were unable to do so during their working lives, are often the ones who decide to move abroad during retirement. 

Exploring other cultures as well as engaging in more adventures are enough reasons to move to another country, but there is no doubt that the financial benefits of living outside the U.S. are just as enticing. 

The financial perks that Americans enjoy go far beyond the power of the almighty dollar. Americans who live abroad enjoy more financial freedom and benefits that let them increase their savings, reduce expenses, and meet their financial goals. Some are even able to start businesses that they otherwise would not be able to establish while living in the U.S.

Not everyone wants to settle abroad though. Most people would still rather live near their family and friends. 

If you are still in the planning stages for your retirement and are on the fence between staying in the US and abroad, let’s help you make that decision.

Why Stay in the US?

Most retirees stay right where they are or move to another city or state. Only a few relocate to another country, and family is their biggest reason.

There are many pros to retiring in the US. Here are the main reasons why retirees stay at home.

1. Grandkids

Children bring them so much joy and make them feel young again. To them, nothing beats the feeling of spoiling their grandkids.

2. Professional connections

A person’s network is his or her net worth. These connections come in handy for those who wish to get part-time work or stay engaged in business dealings during retirement.

3. Established social networks

There is nothing like being with old friends; friends who were always there in good or bad times. Having them around helps retirees stay mentally and physically engaged without needing to look for new friends.

4. Convenience and stability

There is a certain level of stability and predictability when you are close to home, and along with it is convenience. You know where to go to buy important items, where to go for medical care, who to approach for your plumbing issues, and more. 

5. Comfort zone

Retirees can continue living their routine activities.

Cons of staying in the US

Some things definitely could stand improvement when retiring in the U.S. Here are some considerations for you when thinking about staying in the U.S.

1. It may be costlier staying in the U.S.

There is nary a doubt that living expenses in the U.S. are much higher than in many other countries.

2. Expensive healthcare

Healthcare costs in the U.S., while care is top-of-the-line, are very expensive. You can find quality health care providers abroad at a lower price. 

3. Same old, same old

Many people are content with the same scenery and situation for the rest of their lives.  But for other adventure seekers, staying put may inhibit the opportunity to learn something new, enjoy new experiences, and meet new people.

Why Retire abroad?

Bilbo Baggins, J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved character from The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings, always had this fond desire to go on one last adventure, and by the time he was 111 years old, he left his home for another trip and never came back. 

It is the same kind of passion for travel that leads many Americans to leave their homes and settle abroad. Depending on your preferred destination, retiring abroad can be quite an adventure. Choose from the peaceful beaches in Thailand or the vibrant city life in Brazil or England’s hundred-year-old castles; you will never run out of options that can match your preferences in terms of activities, weather, landscape, and culture.

Here are some of the pros of living abroad.

1. Low cost of living

This is probably one of the biggest considerations for most retirees. They can live comfortably without spending too much on their retirement savings, as living expenses are often a fraction of the cost of living in the U.S.

2. Newfound freedom

Retirees find a new kind of freedom that they would perhaps never experience back home. Away from the prying eyes of relatives and friends, they can live the life they want.

3. Healthcare is more affordable

Quality healthcare is always available worldwide, and at cheaper costs.

4. Retiree benefits

To attract new individuals with money to spend, several countries provide incentives to foreign retirees. This would depend on whether you meet their minimum income standards.

5. Realize your dreams

Retirees can learn a new culture, a new language, enjoy new cuisine, pick up new hobbies, and meet new people.

Drawbacks of retiring abroad

On the other hand, retiring abroad can also have its drawbacks.

1. Double taxation

Depending on where you decide to relocate, you might end up paying taxes both abroad and to Uncle Sam.

2. Distance

You will be living far away from your family and friends. No amount of Zoom meetings can make up for being present with them.  But depending on where you relocate, many friends and family may be enticed to visit.

3. Language difference

While you will find many people abroad who know how to speak English, you may have to learn the language of your preferred country. 

4. Instability

The US. enjoys a certain level of stability politically and economically. Not all countries can claim the same.

5. Reality may be different

You may have fallen in love with the country during your holiday, but sometimes the reality of living there versus vacationing may be worlds apart. Do a complete background check on your chosen country before relocating.

6. Daily challenges

Buying necessities might be a challenge, though you will get used to it over time.

7. Support

Finding support may be difficult when something goes wrong.


You should explore the different advantages offered by staying in the U.S. or retiring abroad to figure out which is the best fit for your financial requirements. By determining the appropriate location, you can build personal wealth and achieve your financial goals faster.

Do some soul-searching, and perhaps take a trip abroad to find out how it feels to be there. Learn more about these countries before making a decision. And remember, just like a father to his prodigal son, Uncle Sam will always be willing to take you back.

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