Living in a Foreign Country

I’ve mentioned before that living in a foreign country is something I’m considering as part of my plan to retire at 50. Based on my past experience of living for three months on $450 in Guatemala I know that living in a foreign country can be substantially cheaper than living in the United States.

I am also considering living in a foreign country before retirement. This is not just to save money but because I like living in a different culture. This could be done as a geoarbitrage type situation. I currently make $300-$400 a month online. Not enough to live on here in the U.S. but it would be enough to live modestly in Guatemala and a few other countries. If I did this the most likely scenario would be that I would work in the U.S for a few months to build up savings and then live in Guatemala or elsewhere the rest of the year. I wouldn’t build up savings during that part of the year but I wouldn’t be depleting my savings either.

Another thing I’m considering is joining the Peace Corps. Financially, it doesn’t make much sense but that wouldn’t be my motivation for joining. That would be 27 months that I most likely wouldn’t be saving any money. On the plus side I would be totally immersed in a foreign culture and get to help people. They do have programs that would allow me to put my student loans on hold while serving and the time would count towards the 10 years of public service for loan forgiveness also. This is something I have to study more in the future.

Living in a foreign country is more practical than many people think. If you live in Mexico or Central America a plane ride back to the U.S. is about the same as flying from one coast to another. I most likely won’t be living within driving distance of most of my family if I continue to live in the U.S. so I’d be taking a plane trip either way. As far as friends I’ve found that I meet more people and am far more social when living in a foreign country. There are other things to consider when living abroad but it isn’t nearly as difficult as many people think.

7 thoughts on “Living in a Foreign Country”

  1. I think this is a really good plan and it does look like your online empire could really support you.;-) What does your girlfriend have to say about this plan?

  2. I have been living abroad since January 2009 utilizing the power of geographic arbitrage. I would definitely recommend retiring in a place where your dollar gets you much more than in USA. I am currently living in Eastern Europe for less than $1000/month. If I moved to a smaller city my expenses would most probably fall even further lower.

  3. I think it is a great idea to retire in a foreign country.I plan to return to my native land of Trinidad upon retirement.Although there are less conveniences, you can’t beat the favorable exchange rate.Because of this I have even considered not investing in my firms 401k.

  4. SonyaAnn- My GF doesn’t care for this plan. That is something we’ll have to figure out.

    BloggingBanks- Glad to hear from someone that is actually doing this.

    PennyScraper- Great plan.

  5. I read on the aarp website that many baby boomers are already retiring in Mexico because their money goes further there. It is something I had not considered until I read that, but after some investigation I also learned that healthcare there is good as well as inexpensive (compared to United States).

  6. My husband worked overseas for more than 10 years. Mostly in Indonesia and the Philippines.

    I can’t count on both hands how many of his friends had retired to either county with their new younger wives only to die before age 60 from something that would have been caught with better medical screenings available in the US. I’m sure some died happy but my heart aches for their families. What a waste!

  7. Living in a developing country is easy on the pocketbook, and with a lower standard of living — as you mentioned elsewhere on the blog. But it’s fine as long as trouble doesn’t strike. And then, you’re in danger of becoming a gringo to be fleeced.


Leave a Reply