Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

Go Ahead, Live Abroad

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By Igor Lobanov

Mature Life Features


  The 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York City’s the World Trade Towers and on the Pentagon a decade ago heightened Americans’ concerns about their safety, both at home and abroad. More than 3 million Americans live in foreign countries, according to some estimates.

  If you’re still mulling such a move as part of your retirement dream, there are plenty of information available in books and online. For example, you can type “The Grown-Up’s Guide to Retiring Abroad” into your search engine. Author Rosanne Knorr who, with her American husband, has spent several summers in France’s Loire Valley and winters in Florida, outlines factors to be considered if you’ve longed to live in a foreign land.

  Americans who choose to live outside the United States have a variety of reasons for choosing a particular country. First there’s the environment or ambience.

  Knorr points out that, unlike vacationers who stay at a resort or condominium complex where daily needs are easily met, you need to consider how close markets and shops are and what your social life will be like when you live long-term among the local populace. Will you want to spend time only with fellow foreigners who may be there for only a short time? Or will you make an effort to blend into the rhythm and routine of the community. If you choose a resort area, you’ll have to put up with crowds of visitors during the season and possibly empty streets and shuttered shops the rest of the year.

  Then there’s the climate. The warm and cozy days of summer may turn cold and miserable when winter arrives. Don’t take others’ assessments. Get information on the weather in all seasons and, if possible, visit at various times of the year. For example, you may decide the south of France, which is known for its warm weather, is unbearably hot in the summer.

  Local culture and way of living also are important. In Spain, for example, restaurants customarily don’t begin serving dinners until 10 p.m. or so. The Spanish love dining late. You may not. Many restaurants in Spain do start to serve earlier, but chances are your fellow diners will be mostly tourists.

  Language also plats a role. Can you order from a menu that’s all in Greek? Or Japanese? Other considerations include a country’s cost of living, its transportation network, and its legal code. The latter could be vital in its application to how your estate will be distributed if you die over there. Finally, there’s health care. A key reason that many American expatriates decide to return home is the availability of superior medical care here.

  It’s important to do your own research into areas or countries that interest you. Sources include guide books, travel magazines and videos, websites, tourist offices for the nations involved and books, such as Knorr’s, that discuss moving to or living in a foreign locale. For up-to-date information on safety and security in areas you’re considering, go to the State Department’s Citizen’s Emergency Center at Local newspapers, which you or a friend can pick up during a visit, often contain classified ads for homes or apartments to rent. Call the country’s embassy or consulate for rules governing an extended stay.

Mature Life Features, Copyright 2003

Written by Cecil Scaglione

September 18, 2011 at 12:05 am

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