The first and most exciting decision you’ll make is where exactly you’ll retire. If you have family ties or an emotional connection to a specific place, you might have long-held plans to settle there.
Or you can opt for a place that others before you have given a try. According to the U.S. Social Security Administration, the countries where the most retired U.S. workers are receiving benefits are Canada, Mexico, Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
(You can receive the Social Security benefits you’re entitled to no matter where you live, with a few exceptions: The government generally won’t send payments to beneficiaries in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan or Uzbekistan.)
For inspiration, check International Living Magazine’s annual Global Retirement Index, which lists Portugal, Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico and Colombia as the top places to retire in 2020. The index includes an analysis of a host of factors including health care, climate, cost of living and ease of securing a visa.
An important component of moving abroad is the language question: Will you have to, and do you want to, learn a new language? It could be an exhilarating challenge in retirement to build language skills—which you can start doing long before you move—but think about whether that will make your first several months in the country unduly tough.
“If you’re not considering English-speaking countries, are there resources available to you so you can move around and get things done?” says Sefa Mawuli, a Washington, D.C.-based Certified Financial Planner who specializes in cross-border planning at Citrine Capital.
For instance, it may be best to identify English-speaking real estate agents, health insurance brokers, translators, or other services you might need in your new home.