I am always looking for interesting ideas and stories about people who choose a different path financially. I haven’t always done things the standard way; I lived on my boat for 3 years, which made people think I was either crazy or cool. Either way, it was definitely out of the realm of the “normal” path.
It was a great experience, but I’m back on solid ground now. One day I’ll probably do it again, but in a climate that’s a bit warmer in the winter. Because of my affinity for the slightly different…I was intrigued by this article about a couple who has certainly taken a different path during their retirement.
Here’s what they did: They moved to Bali to retire and love it! And, their budget consists of roughly $1,000/month in expenses. That’s less than most people I know spend on their mortgage or rent alone! $1,000/month and they have a cook 6 days/week! I’m thinking “this has potential… “
10-20 years ago I was reading a lot of articles about which states were the most retiree-friendly. Some of the factors that were important then are still important today. What is the tax situation? How little can you spend on a nice house? What is there to do? What are the local medical facility reputations? All of these questions still matter! But, they now don’t just apply to different states in the U.S., they apply to different countries.
When thinking about retiring to a different country, there are a few extra layers of questions. Do I need to have a visa? How long can I stay on that visa? What is healthcare like in this country? Am I a cultural fit? Is there a language barrier? Can I handle the food in this country? Can I find a local bank to handle my bill paying in the U.S. or will my U.S. bank be able to handle local transactions? Is there a different currency & what are the exchange rate implications? What are the local law enforcement policies and what’s the crime rate? If you are nearing retirement and are wondering how you’re going to make ends meet, maybe this could be something radically different and could allow your money to last much longer than with your current cost of living. How would doing this for 5-10 years and then relocating back home impact your financial life? Could that 5-10 year window extend the life of your money by 10-15 years? In this economic climate, it’s worth looking into something like this. Who knows, you may look back on it and say it’s the best decision you ever made…
There are a lot of factors that could tip the scales in favor of retiring to a country with a much lower cost of living, but it is not without some degree of uncertainty and risk. A lot of the places that people visit during a vacation are spectacular for a week or two. Are they just as spectacular if you’re living there for the long haul? Possibly! The couple in the article absolutely believes they made the right choice for them. I’m going to have my eyes open to a different possibility the next time I’m traveling. Maybe one day I’ll be writing this blog from a small island instead of from the dining room table!