What’s Behind The Recent Trend Of Retirees Moving Abroad?

What’s Behind The Recent Trend Of Retirees Moving Abroad?

What’s Behind The Recent Trend Of Retirees Moving Abroad?

Retirement looks different to different people since everybody has their own ideal version. However, the last few years has seen a dramatic transformation in what retirement looks like across the board with the trend of retirees moving abroad.

There is a trend called the ‘Golden Exodus’ in which people decide to try to stretch their retirement funds by living in another country with lower costs of living among other reasons.

There are a number of international retirement destinations to choose from so everybody is able to find the ideal situation based on their needs and wants.

In this article, we will dive deep into this trend and provide you with some international travel tips for seniors if you are looking to create a new life abroad.

Why retire abroad?

One of the biggest and most obvious reasons to move abroad is to be able to stretch retirement savings. Many countries outside of the US offer a high standard of living at a low cost.

For instance, a country like Mexico is close by and has a lot of modern conveniences that people expect costs a fraction of what it takes to live in most US metropolitan areas.

Another factor in choosing to live abroad is a change of scenery.

retiring abroad middled aged people

There are other countries that may have a landscape, architecture, or general vibe that is very different from where you live now. This can be an exciting change and makes life feel like more of an adventure.

If you are not crazy about the climate where you currently live you can usually find a better one in another country. Cold winters don’t exist in Central and South America.

On the flip side, if you are tired of desert-like conditions in the Southwest US, you could find a more moderate climate in Portugal for instance.

Popular destinations

There are certain countries that are emerging as popular destinations for expat retirees.

They’ve become popular since they offer low cost of living, generally good climate, good healthcare infrastructure, and a welcome mat laid out for those wishing to retire there.

Here is a short list of the most popular destinations these days:

  • Portugal: Portugal has a good healthcare infrastructure and low cost of living for retirees. The climate is mild and there is a great beach culture there. With excellent food and friendly people, it has become a top choice for many. The retirement visa is also easy to get which makes it an attractive choice.
  • Mexico: Since Mexico is so close to the US, it has been a popular choice for many years. It’s also warm and sunny and boasts a low cost of living while still providing modern conveniences. The healthcare is good and the cuisine is top notch.
  • Spain: Spain has a rich history, incredible food culture, and a diverse landscape across the country which makes it a popular choice.
  • Costa Rica: This small nation that straddles the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean is a stable democracy with a great infrastructure. This has made it a top choice for many retirees looking for a warm climate with friendly people and modern lifestyle.

Challenges of retiring abroad

Although it is nice to dream about all the positive aspects you will enjoy when retiring abroad, it is worth noting that there will be challenges.

For instance, the language barrier if you move to a non English speaking country will likely be a big barrier for many.

It’s always a good idea to learn the basics of the local language so you can do your daily routine, but getting accepted by the locals is a challenge if you can’t communicate fully.

Being far away from family and friends is also a negative that many people experience when living abroad.

With the cost of traveling, many will realize that it is harder to travel back and forth to visit. Maintaining relationships via video calls is not the same as being present for family milestones.

Health and wellbeing

Your health takes on a bigger priority when you are retired as health issues can crop up quickly at that age. This is why it’s important to choose a country wisely for retirement. Make sure to take the time to research what the system is like for a particular country.

Many countries outside the US have a public healthcare system, but that will likely not be available to a retiree that hasn’t been paying taxes into the system.

It’s most likely you will be relying on private healthcare. This means you have to research the quality of care, availability of English speaking doctors, and how the system works.


With the possibility to live an adventurous life in retirement in a foreign country, this Golden Exodus is something that many will be considering.

If your idea of retirement goes beyond just rest and relaxation 24 hours a day, think about an international retirement.


  • Stephen

    Stephen is now retired. He spent 25 years in community welfare and is one of the co-founders of life over 50. He has a keen interest in everything concerning this special age group.....and makes valuable contributions to the site. In his spare time, he enjoys photography, cycling and gardening. Also a keen jazz music lover!

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