by Amy Jones
One simple word causes excitement for some and anxiety for others. For some, their job is their identity, stability and even, escape. For others, it means their hard work paid off and they can reap the rewards. In our youth, we have health but not much money. As we age, we have money, but our health starts to decline. So how do we take advantage of both health and money? My advice? Without a doubt, don’t wait for the future – choose to live your life NOW. Here are my top 11 reasons to retire overseas solo:
#1 – Quality of Life
For me, this is always #1. Quality of life keeps us healthy, happy, and stable. When we are happy, others around us are happy too. Take a close look at your quality of life. Are you satisfied? Comfortable? Or just getting by to get by? Most importantly, life is too short to put off living a life unless the quality contributes to your health and happiness!
#2 – Cost of Living
Equally as important as quality of life, cost of living must be considered. Please, please do not spend your life’s savings and retirement on soaring health care costs and other high-priced items that can be much more affordable in other countries.
#3 – Live Life on Your Own Terms
Yes, making sacrifices for our families is part of life. But when is it YOUR turn? We teach our children to be independent. Isn’t it time for you to be independent too? My sons are incredibly happy that I am happy. Above all, they are independent and don’t need me – they especially don’t want me interfering in the life they are creating for themselves.
#4 – Time to SPEND the Money You Earned
Obviously, there’s no time like the present. The only thing we are guaranteed is now. Yes, it is fiscally responsible to have a budget. However, I also think it is important to have the things you want when you want them. After all, you worked hard for your money. Isn’t it time you enjoyed it? This is an important component when you retire overseas solo.
#5 – Cultural Diversity
Moving to another country increases your knowledge of cultural diversity. In my opinion, this helps your brain health too. Just think about it. As you learn new things every day, you engage different parts of your brain. This is not unlike moving from your home into a new community. There are always new things to learn, do and see. Why not enjoy them overseas?
#6 – Expat Communities Offer Familiarity
Many expat communities exist which provide a sense of familiarity and commiseration. Just knowing you have commonalities with people helps the process of moving. When considering retiring overseas as a solo ager, keep in mind others are considering the same thing. Expat groups provide support, answer questions, and have great advice about their trials and tribulations.
#7 – Local Communities Help You Integrate
From learning a new language to finding a product in the grocery store, people love to help. Mexico is an extremely helpful country. Undoubtedly, it makes others feel good when they can help you find an address, a local business or even practice your Spanish. I get the same feeling when traveling to other countries as well. Remember, even if you retire overseas solo, you are never completely alone.
#8 – Quality Health Care
As health care costs increase, it is possible to find quality and affordable health care in other countries. Mexico is one of those countries. In Mérida Mexico, the new hospital El Faro de Mayab, provides world class service specifically for expats. Utilizing their services many times, I’ve been overly surprised and pleased with the quality of care and prices.
#9 – Easily Accessible Location
Choosing an accessible location via a quick flight to see family and friends may help you feel more comfortable. Notably, it may help family and friends feel more comfortable too. Furthermore, ease of access with airports, busses and taxi service contributes to a quick trip if an emergency arises.
This was an important consideration for me as I did not want to be more than a 5 hour flight away from Dallas. Additionally, I wanted a city that had its own airport with regular flights to the U.S.
#10 – Freedom to Begin Again – A True Second Act
You feel a strong need to reinvent yourself (not a mid-life crisis) but a way to really step into who you are without the input of people who have known you for many years. Clearly, there’s a lot of freedom in discovering the “real you”. Feel the fear and do it anyway – life is full of change, transitions, and challenges whether you are retiring overseas as a solo ager or not.
Doesn’t the thought of reinventing yourself sound exciting? Most definitely, it’s been a liberating experience for me. No pretending, no filter, no apologizing – I’m free to grow into the person I’m meant to be!
#11 – Ability to Engage with a Broader Age Range
Getting out of your comfort zone by establishing a new and different group of friends provides the ability to engage with a broader age range. As well as that it can also make you feel younger. Retirement age is not just over 65 any longer. At this time, many young people have retired or are choosing to work remotely. You’ll find a variety of ages in expat groups. While the commonality is being expats, there are other common threads you’ll find.
a neighborhood in Mérida , Mexico
When considering the option to retire overseas as a solo ager, ask these questions about your current living situation:
- Do people really “need” you or is that an excuse to stay where you are?
- Do you need to go to something in order to get away from something?
- Compare costs and benefits. What are your big ticket items in regard to expenses? Housing? Insurance? Medical?
- What is your real quality of life? Even though I had many friends, I still felt very lonely. Being single, I did everything for myself.
- Are you ready to begin living a new life on your own terms without letting other peoples’ opinions influence you?
What you need:
- A sense of adventure – a new life awaits! Moving to another country also provides accessibility to that country’s history, travel, and resources.
- Compartmentalization – don’t get overwhelmed by thinking too much. Remember, you won’t think of everything.
- Forgiveness – forgive yourself. Of course, you will make mistakes. You can’t know everything about a location with which you aren’t familiar.
- Openness – almost every single thing will be new and different. Embrace it for what it is.
- Gratitude – I’ve found waking up and going to bed being grateful helps my state of mind, even when I’ve had a challenging day. Life is challenging no matter where we are.
- A need for independence – branch out, do something new and different, feel the wind in your hair and the sun on your skin. There is a sense of unrestricted relief in a new country. I feel it every day!
Think about how and where you want to retire. If you never considered retirement overseas, it’s a wonderful option for so many reasons. At least it was for me! I chose Mérida, Mexico as my destination – it just checked off all the boxes for me. Do some research and visit the locations you think might be a good fit for you. If you decide to retire overseas solo, go with an open mind and heart, knowing you can later change your plans if need be. It’s your life, your decision.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amy Jones
originally posted May 11, 2021
updated May 8, 2022