I asked where they would have ended up if they couldn’t settle in Mexico. “Once we were adjusted to Nicaragua, but the political situation there has changed so much. There is no way I would retire now. Another place we considered was the south of France. Not the French Riviera, which is very expensive, but other parts of France. Costa Rica was also a good opportunity. ”
The issues of retirement abroad during the pandemic
The value of your retirement income
“Retiring abroad is still very feasible financially and practically in a post-COVID world,” says Bob Lai, editor of the popular FIRE blog Tawcanwhere he writes extensively on geo-arbitrage. “It will certainly be cheaper to live in countries like Southeast Asia or some Western European countries. … Instead of having to retire $ 65,000 a year, you may be able to get away with $ 40,000 a year, ”Lai says. “This would speed up your retirement and give you more security.”
Retiring overseas is still financially feasible in the COVID-19 era, but “it depends on what retiring overseas means to you,” says Toronto-based investment advisor Matthew Ardrey of TriDelta Financial. Some aspire to warmer climates or a return to their country of birth, but any financial feasibility analysis may fail to explain unique negative financial surprises such as Argentina’s 50% inflation rate.
How long can you stay abroad
The biggest uncertainty, says Lai, is the restrictions that different countries can impose. If you have permanent residency in the country you want to retire from, that may be fine. But if you have a longer stay as a visitor, you may be forced to leave the country. In the past, visitors were allowed to stay in Panama for 180 days, for example, then the clock changes when you are out of the country for 30 days. Panama has just imposed a 90 day stay restriction on visitors.
Accessible health care
Another important factor is health care. “With COVID-19, it’s better to stay in Canada and rely on Canadian health care,” says Lai. And there is also the pandemic to consider. “Who knows what would happen to your health insurance if you stayed in Malaysia, Vietnam or Thailand and there was a huge spike in cases? If you rely on travel health insurance that you have taken out yourself, the insurance company can change its policy so that you are no longer insured in the event of COVID-19 illness.
Mark Seed, who runs the myownadvisor blog, suspects that COVID-19 has led some to consider geo-arbitrage to rethink their health needs. He doesn’t think the dream of retiring abroad is over, but health may trump other considerations.
“I don’t see happy part-time work, retirement, or dreams of living abroad of value without your health,” says Seed. “It’s important to consider any ‘exit’ strategy in case people have to leave a country in a short period of time for whatever reason.” He encourages everyone living on board to build strong local bonds with expat community groups, as a support network in case you need it.
The opportunity for the family to visit
Adrian Mastracci, portfolio manager at Lycos Asset Management Inc. based in Vancouver, says the dream of retiring abroad is “still alive and well,” but the reality of COVID-19 and its ever-changing rules affect anyone brave enough is to venture abroad.