Residing abroad can be a savvy financial choice for some retiring Veterans. If you have already spent time traveling on active duty, you might look forward to spending some of your retirement days in locales other than in your nation of origin.
Travel and exploration help you stay active and can keep your brain sharp, too. If you’re thinking of splitting your retirement between the U.S. and abroad, here are some guidelines to keep in mind.
Research the legal regulations on dual residency or residence abroad.
If you do not have dual citizenship, acquiring dual residency can be your pathway to achieve this. There are several different ways you can apply for legal residency, through either a temporary or a permanent residency permit.
In some nations, you can acquire a permanent residence permit without even having to stay there for very long, so should circumstances require that you spend more months in the U.S., it won’t affect your legal status. Also, be aware of the differences between having a residence permit and being a tax resident.
Be prepared to navigate a different culture.
As a Veteran, you are likely well-traveled and good at adapting to different cultures. But if you are settling in a nation you haven’t spent much time in before, you may need to learn its legal and cultural expectations.
Becoming adept in the language is a major part of this preparation. Even if you already have some work or conversational fluency, it’s a good idea to brush up so you can communicate comfortably in your new home.
Research the area in which you hope to settle. What kind of amenities will you be able to access? What kind of transportation is available to you? Are there any regional customs and protocols you should know about to avoid embarrassment or awkwardness?
Plan wisely when it comes to money matters.
Your retirement budget should take into account all the living expenses you anticipate, including those related to travel and maintaining your property. See whether this choice is practicable on your existing income, or whether you will need to find ways to reduce costs or tap into a new cash flow.
You should probably have a bank account in both countries of residence, and use internet banking to monitor them, as well as transfer or access funds. Or, if you are sending money to family (or even yourself, between countries), it will be more worthwhile to use an affordable transfer service like Remitly.
Let’s say you will split your time between a residence in the U.S. and another in India. Remitly makes it easy to send money from the U.S. to India in a few hours or a few days for as little as $3.99 — and transfers are free if funds are more than $1,000. Remember, though: If you are a U.S. citizen and opt to keep assets in another country, you need to declare this when you file your taxes.
Have a healthcare plan.
If you still have VA benefits, see what they will cover abroad. If you have Medicare, keep it active because you will be able to use it in the States — though it will not cover healthcare abroad.
In fact, when you are residing outside the U.S., you will need an alternative health care option. If your other country of residence has national health, see if you qualify. If you opt to purchase healthcare abroad, it may be far more affordable than plans in the United States.
Another option might be to acquire an international policy. When planning for healthcare, think about issues such as long-term care should the time come when you need hands-on care or assisted living.
Planning for retirement can get complicated if you have dual citizenship and/or are not planning on residing exclusively in the U.S. Nonetheless, there are many good reasons why a Veteran might want to opt for a dual residence in retirement. Retiring Veterans and military families in need of financial or other support will find more helpful resources at Military Missions in Action.