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Retiring in a foreign country can open up some exciting new opportunities. A recent U.S. News article (“Volunteering Overseas in Retirement,” September 2014) suggests volunteering as an opportunity to become immersed in the language and culture of your new community.


A number of resources exist for volunteering abroad., for example, offers Spanish language-learning positions in several Central and South American countries. Fundacion Bolivar helps foreigners assist the indigenous peoples of Ecuador through a variety of customizable programs.


While many of these volunteer opportunities are offered through established private or religious organizations, others can be found simply by asking around.


If you’re considering retiring overseas, it would be smart to plan ahead as much as possible. TIAA-CREF offers a few suggestions for doing so:


  • Spend time there before committing. Living in a foreign country can be vastly different than vacationing there, so it would be worthwhile to find out in advance if the culture, amenities and costs of living are a good match for you. One way to test this is by accepting a long-term volunteer position in the country before making a permanent move.


  • Look past the exchange rates. While many foreign destinations tend to be affordable, make sure you estimate your expenses. The cost of housing, transportation and medical care are all good indicators.


  • Remember your taxes back home. If you retire abroad, you are still required to pay U.S. taxes. Further, if you have assets back in the states, you’ll be required to pay taxes on those, too. It would be a good idea to meet with a tax professional before moving overseas.


A TIAA-CREF financial advisor can help answer any questions you might have about managing finances while living abroad.



Are you planning to retire abroad? Share with us!