My dream is to one day retiree in Asia. Depending on the country, the cost of living is astronomically in the favor of Westerners when it comes to currency exchange. Like the Philippines. One American dollar equals about 52 Philippine pesos. You can rent a safe apartment or condo for $300 to $500 a month. Philippine people are renowned for their kindness and hospitality.
I have been to Manila many times, so I know what I am talking about. Still, my retirement ideas give me pause sometimes. The pollution in Manila is oppressive. It is overbearingly hot half the year and rainy and hot the other half. Social services are achingly slow. Poverty is ever present, especially outside of the cities.
My point is that while the cost of living works in my favor, the standard of living is a whole other thing to worry about. If you or anyone you know is thinking about retiring abroad, especially to a developing country, just don’t rush into it.
Access to Clean Water
In many developing countries, the tap water isn’t safe to drink. Over a quarter of the people in the world doesn’t have access to clean water, or any water. The country you retire in may have this problem. So, be prepared for regular purchases of bottled water for your drinking, and possible bathing, needs.
Depression and Homesickness
Flying home multiple times a year could defeat the purpose of your cost of living benefit ambitions. That means that you probably won’t see family, friends, and grandchildren for years at a time. If you can’t cope with this thought, then retiring overseas might not be for you.
Simpler Standard of Living
Many developing countries don’t have reliable internet or WiFi services. Sometimes the internet is regularly halted or slowed down due to bureaucracy and ineffective oversight. Mailed sent from your home country might take weeks or months to get to you. 24-hour stores may be few and far in-between. Don’t expect Western-style standards of living in developing countries.
Moving to a country where English is hardly spoken? Being monolingual won’t help, especially if you might spend years or decades there. Learning the mother tongue of your new county will help you be dependent and come in handy during emergencies.
Peace of Mind Benefits
It is believed that there are about 700,000 Americans, or more, living abroad right now. What is known for sure is that many of those retirees are in Latin American, Asian, or African countries and taking advantage of increased cost of living benefits. The average retiree needs about $45,000 to live comfortably in the United States.
That amount of money goes a very long way in a developing country. Still, not everyone is suited for life in a new culture. Take a two-month visit and test out how you might like it. Think about how drastically your life will change before committing. Saving money in your retirement years will be of no comfort if perpetual culture shock disrupts your piece of mind.