Thinking of retiring abroad? Read this first

About 10,000 baby boomers retire every day.


Yet, according to a study by Northwestern Mutual, 45% think there’s a chance that they’ll outlive their savings. For many, the answer to this problem is to continue working long past the day they turn 65. But there’s another option to consider- retiring abroad.


Retiring abroad, specifically in a country where the cost of living is lower than that of the US, allows you to maintain the lifestyle you have with a smaller budget in addition to experiencing the adventure of exploring a new country and its culture.


Each and every year, thousands and thousands of people choose to take advantage of geographical arbitrage to retire overseas much earlier than they would have been able to in the US. They get to live like royalty on a budget that would have been almost impossible to pull off in America, all without having to sacrifice a lot of the amenities and opportunities that they would have enjoyed back home, too.


Retiring abroad still isn’t a picnic though, so here’s what you need to do to start planning:


Decide when to retire


Do you want to? Retiring past 65 out of choice isn’t abnormal. You might enjoy your job and want to further your career or maybe you enjoy the social interaction it provides. Many retirees cite that they feel bored.Do you have enough money? Try speaking with a financial adviser . There’s also the less expensive option of using a retirement calculator.


There are a lot of open parts and pieces of the puzzle you’ll have to put together when you want to retire overseas and abroad, but the most important thing – by far – is figuring out when you want to retire in the first place.


A lot of people are under the impression that they have to wait until they hit 65 to give up punching the clock and working 9 to 5, but again a lot of that has to do with our cultural idea of retirement here in the United States.


When you choose to retire abroad you can (oftentimes) retire much earlier than that – sometimes 20 or even 30 years earlier, depending on where you want to live, how much you have available to live off of, and what you want to do during your retirement, too.


But just as you wouldn’t head out on a road trip (or retire halfway across the world) without and ultimate destination in mind you cannot effectively plan for your retirement without first figuring out when want to walk away from the rat race and live life on your terms.




How much do you have in your personal savings? Do you receive a pension? Does your employer have a 401k plan? How much do you expect from Social Security? According to AARP, the average Social Security Benefit in 2019 was $1,461 which considerably less than the average wage of most Americans.


The best time to plan and budget for your retirement was the very first moment you started to make any money at all, but the second best time to start planning and budgeting for your retirement is right now – this very moment.


This is true even if you do not necessarily have a mountain of money on hand to begin retiring with right now. You’ll want to sock away anything and everything you can to start building up that nest egg – investing smartly there’s something we highlight in just a moment – so that you can get the ball rolling and figure out how long it’s going to take you to achieve your retirement goals.


The budget that you’ll need to comfortably retire is going to be influenced in a big part based on where you’re going to retire, whether or not you’re going to work part-time while you are retired, and whether or not your investments are income producing or strictly “nest egg only”.


For obvious reasons, those willing to pick up a part-time job, those with a side hustle small business that provides income on a regular basis, and those with income producing investments are going to be able to accelerate their retirement timeline quite a bit more than those that are strictly saving up until they have enough to pull the ripcord.


There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all kind of budget when it comes to retiring, though, so really spend time thinking about how you want to live, where you want to live, and how much money you’ll need to live comfortably going forward.


Consider Investing Overseas


If you realize you may not have as a big of a budget as you planned consider investing overseas. Many choose to put all your eggs in one basket by investing only in the US. But with overseas investments you take on less risk because you’re gaining income in different currencies. And with more countries switching to free-market economies, their growth rates can be up to three times faster than developed market economies.


Global investment opportunities (particularly in channels like real estate, Forex, and other markets) open up a world of investments that wouldn’t have existed if you limited yourself exclusively to US-based investment vehicles.


It’s a good idea to dip your toe in the water a little bit as you get established, though, just so you can sort of feel things out. But there’s also a lot of potential to take advantage of in these relatively untapped markets that can dramatically accelerate your retirement timeline in ways you might not have ever thought possible before.


Diversity is a huge piece of the puzzle to successful investing with your retirement in mind. You certainly don’t want to pile up all of your savings into a singular investment, crossing your fingers that nothing bad happens, only to get wiped out because of a market correction or downturn that leaves you with a lot less than you started off with.


Make smart, savvy, and strategic decisions when it comes to investing through diversified opportunities and you’ll have a lot less to worry about choose one or two of those investments not pan out as well as you had hoped initially.


Choose which country is the best place to retire


There are many important factors to consider. What type of climate do you enjoy? Are you interested in learning about the native culture? Is there a thriving expat community? How do the country’s citizens generally treat foreigners? But the most important question is does the cost of living fit within your budget?


With a budget of $1,000-$1,500 per month consider:


Man and woman retiring abroad in Indonesia
  • Indonesia Indonesia boasts the 2nd largest tropical forest in the world, coral reefs to go snorkeling in, and volcanoes to hike on.
  • Bolivia Bolivia offers a temperature climate, indigenous folk music, and beautiful tours through its salt flats.
  • Armenia In Armenia, one can enjoy the view of Mt. Ararat, travelling via rope-way, and the medieval architecture.
  • Fiji retiring in Fiji means, romantic getaways in bungalows, fresh seafood, snorkeling and diving, and an abundance of local culture to take part in.
  • Grenada In Grenada, forests, mountains and tranquil beaches contribute to amazing scenery. It’s also known for it’s chocolate, friendly locals, and exquisite carnivals.
  • Laos Laos is mostly known for its many rivers and cave systems. And with 130 ethnic groups there’s a vast amount of culture to learn and absorb.
  • Montenegro Montenegro offers some of the best hiking in all of Europe, picturesque villages, and affordable yachting on the Adriatic sea.
  • Nepal In Nepal, one can hike the Annapurna Circuit, go on safaris, and visit the many Buddhist and Hindu temples.
  • Nicaragua known for its colonial architecture, wildlife, and lakes and volcanoes, Nicaragua is a great place to dive and hike.
  • ZimbabweZimbabwe boasts quality safaris, national parks, waterfalls, and plenty of archaeological ruins to explore.


With a budget of $2,000-$2,500 per month consider:


The Colosseum in Italy
  • Panama With its primary currency being the US dollar, Panama is very familiar for US retirees. It’s also known for its canal, the biodiversity within its islands, and excellent coffee.
  • Costa Rica Costa Rica is known for its beaches, rivers, rain forest, exotic crops,and abundance of turtles.
  • Mexico Mexico boasts amazing food, live music, and art, along with beautiful beaches and plenty of colonial towns to explore.
  • Ecuador In Ecuador, you can soak in natural hot springs, ride the Devil’s Nose through the Andes, and sleep in an Amazon rainforest lodge.
  • Malaysia Malaysia home to a vast number of caves, beaches, and islands. It’s also known for it’s tea, hiking, and chinatowns.
  • Columbia Whale-watching, snorkeling, and journeying through the amazon are just a few of the many activities Columbia has to offer.
  • Portugal In Portugal, you can take gondola rides, visit castles, whale-watch, ride through the Rio Douro Valley , and much more.
  • Thailand Thailand boasts year-round sunshine, friendly people, and amazing food and culture.
  • Spain In Spain, you can visit beautiful churches, delectable wine, plenty of history and art, as well as great food.
  • Italy Italy is home to Vatican City, the Colosseum, amazing food, fashion, and extensive history.


With a budget of $2,500+:


Vista Encantada, A gated community that is great for people retiring abroad
Poolside of Vista Encantada via Vista Encantada

You could live almost everywhere comfortably; Another option available for you would be to aim for a more luxurious lifestyle. Gated Communities in foreign countries not only have spectacular views and actives at lower prices, but also give you a chance to mingle with fellow expats. For example,Vista Encantada is a gated community consisting of lots, homes, and condos just north of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  You can get to know your neighbors at the common area pool, BBQ’s, or the botanical gardens; Take a hike or morning walk through the jungles that surround both sides and enjoy spectacular ocean views; or pay a visit  to Costa Canuva, the popular new tourist destination  only a few minutes away with 5 diamond restaurants, hotels, and a magnificent golf course.  At a place like Vista Encantada, you can retire in paradise.  To reach out to them, check out their official website or Facebook.


Apply for Residency


If you’re planning to spend the rest of your retirement in one country you’ll need to apply for residency. Some countries are eager for overseas retirees and even offer benefits and special retiree visa programs. To qualify, they typically have you meet a minimum monthly income, a certain amount of money deposited in a local bank, or invest in a business.


Recognize and understand that any international locale that you have decided to retire in will have its own rules of its own regulations, and its own laws dictating how foreign citizens are able to retire within their borders – and make sure that you are strictly adhering to those rules, regulations, and laws.


Nobody wants to preplan an entire retirement only to discover that they fill out the proper paperwork and now they have to fight lengthy legal battles far from home, legal battles that are going to suck up a lot of the money that they set aside to retire on in the first place.


Most of this paperwork can be navigated all on your own without too much headache or hassle. At the same time, it may not be a bad idea to have a trusted attorney that specializes in this area (and the locale you are retiring in) to double check that everything is good to go and you haven’t overlooked any of the fine print.


Health Insurance


Medicare doesn’t apply overseas and it’s unlikely your private insurance will as well. You’ll need to explore either getting an insurance plan in your new country, buying an international health insurance policy, or paying out-of-pocket for every medical expense. Paying out-of-pocket can sound expensive but the cost of medical care is different in every country. Depending on where you go, routine care can be significantly cheaper.


There are entire communities worldwide that are set up specifically by ex-pats that are built on the back of international locales with amazing health insurance and great healthcare. Bangkok, in particular, has some of the best and most affordable healthcare you’re going to find in the international community – particularly if you are a nonresident/noncitizen retiree.


These are the kinds of things you want to consider before you choose your ultimate retirement destination. As you get older your medical needs are going to increase, and you’ll want to be sure that you can count on a high quality of care, a high standard of medicine in that area, and a level of affordability that isn’t going to wipe out your retirement budget.


Tax and Legal Obligations

A business professional sitting in a meeting
Retiring abroad can mean additional reporting and filing.  And if you plan on working as a resident in another country, you should seek legal advice. If you’re planning on living in Portugal , Gil Figueira & Devillet Lima Advogados, or GFDL, is a Portuguese law firm that focuses on representing foreign clients in Portuguese speaking jurisdictions as well as Portuguese clients worldwide. With a skilled team and experience in real estate, private equity, Private client and asset protection, they’re easily able to advise you on your unique and challenging needs. To reach out to them check out their official website, Linkedin, or Facebook.




Lastly, there’s the question of how to receive your mail. Whether you’re planning to travel to many different countries or retiring abroad in one country, this is extremely important. Bank Statements, IRS, and Voter Registration all require a mailing address. The solution to this problem is to get a virtual mailbox. A virtual mailbox is a service that offers a permanent  US street address. With US Global Mail, the exterior of your mail is scanned and uploaded as soon as it arrives. Then, you decide whether to have it opened and scanned, shredded, or forwarded to a different address. You can have access to your mail within minutes no matter where you are.

How to rent a virtual mailbox with US Global Mail infographic

Thinking of retiring abroad? Read this first

About 10,000 baby boomers retire every day . Yet, according to a study by Northwestern Mutual, 45% think there’s a chance that they’ll outlive their savings. For many, the answer to this problem is to continue working long past the day they turn 65. But there’s another option to consider; retiring abroad.

By Country Information

Hey, India! Order your favorite US items

Are you missing your favorite U.S skincare brands while overseas? Can’t get a hold of that grooming kit for your beard just like the one in the states? Want your hands first on that electronic or phone before it hits India?

Now you don’t have to miss any of your favorite products! Get your products sent to you at discounted rates when you need them. Take a look at this infographic US Delivered sent us over to learn more: 

By Country Information

From Brazil? Shop US sites & SAVE!

Did you know you can find cheaper prices online versus buying the same products in Brazil (even when you factor in shipping charges)?!  Check out this infographic US Delivered made, for more details:

Expat Resources By Country Information

What Is A Mail Forwarding Service?

When you move from one home to another within or outside the US, you want to make sure you get your mail at your new address. Mail as in: tax notices from IRS, health care information from insurance companies, paper statements, bills, checks, federal notices, magazines, journals etc.
This happens via a mail forwarding request. Mail Forwarding is a service that allows you to get your mail from your old home at your new one. Increasingly that new home for your mail is now your device!

Physical mailbox in the cloud filled with paper mail

Will I get paper mail, in 2020?


Despite the technological advances in our lives, there are still a bunch of things that are only be delivered via paper mail. These include:


  • IRS notices – tax info, and bills
  • Social security – info, benefits and checks
  • INS notices – immigration notices
  • Credit and Debit cards
  • Passports
  • Drivers Licence
  • Jury duty notices
  • Hand written notes and cards


How does mail forwarding work?


When you move from one address to another, your mail needs to move too. You can either inform everyone who sends you physical mail- like your bank, the government, IRS, etc. of the new address, or you can simply forward your mail from your old address to the new one by filling out the change of address form with the USPS, when moving within the country.


Man & dog are running and a bird is carrying paper mail away with it

Moving within the US


So, how do you forward your mail to another address? You go online or to your local post office and fill the change of address form. 
There are 2 options when moving your address:

Permanent change of address: USPS will update your old address to your new one in their system. Any mail addressed to your old address will come to your new address.

This is a permanent change.

We recommended it when moving overseas or when you wish to keep one permanent address for life. And never have to deal with the hassle of changing your address again.

With this change, you should get a Virtual Mailbox so you can move as many homes or countries as you wish without ever changing your permanent address.

                                *  *  *

Temporary change of address: This method changes your address anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months at a time.

After the duration of change of address expires, USPS will stop forwarding your mail from the old to the new address.

The mail will start going back to your old address, unless you renew the forwarding again. You can do this again for 6 more months.

USPS does not state what happens after 6 months, but you could keep doing it on and on forever, if you wish.

Be prepared for delayed mail in the change of address process, mostly due to ineffectiveness of the US postal system.

The upside is this is a free service provided by USPS.


Man waiting for the mail next to an empty mailbox

Moving outside the US


USPS will forward mail internationally, but for a steep cost.


You can enroll in the USPS overseas mail forwarding service, which costs $21.10 retail or $19.35 if you enroll online. There’s an extra cost of $21.10 for each week of service.


The service will cost you $84.40/month. You will also pay shipping for all Priority Mail items that USPS will ship immediately as they are received.


Not a cost effective way to forward your mail overseas.


How long does it take for mail to be forwarded to a new address?


If there’s one thing certain in life, other than taxes, that is the fact that people will keep moving in the near future. According to reports, about 35.5 Million Americans move each year from some place to another.


We have already discussed what mail forwarding is, and why it’s something you probably want to consider when moving. Time is money however, and depending on your move date, you may want to get ahead of time & start right away the mail forwarding process. 


After you have completed your online application with the USPS, it will take about 10 to 15 days for your mail to show up in your Virtual Mailbox


Keep in mind, you’ll also need to fill out a 1583 Form which grants us permission to process & handle mail for you.


Person being sleepy


Mail forwarding can be such a convenience when the time comes where you need to move. Think about it; it saves all the hassle of emailing or calling friends & relatives and ensuring they got the new address you will be moving to.


Once you have decide to do a change of address, your friends or family will still get to address the same location on the envelope, and then the USPS knows automatically (given that you’ve completed the mail forwarding process) what address to send it to. 


But then that raises the question: Does forwarded mail take longer to arrive?


There is a lot of buzz online and horror stories on forwarded mail taking weeks for it to arrive to your new address. It is true that sometimes there are factors that can contribute to a piece of mail that is being forwarded to a new address, to be delayed. 


The short answer is no; forwarded mail does not take longer to arrive. 


USPS package distribution warehouse


Understanding how mail forwarding works, may be a good way to understand why your new address would not delay the delivery of your mail. 


When someone decides to send you some piece of mail, it is initially sent to a USPS station responsible with sorting out incoming mail. If you have completed the mail forwarding process with them, then by default they will know to change (re-address) the package that is intended to be sent to you. What that practically means, is that this re-address of your package, is a bit more instant than you’d imagine. 


Should I choose temporary or permanent mail forwarding to forward my mail?


The answer depends on your move:


  • Or moving cities within the US?
  • Or moving homes within the same city?
  • Are you moving to a permanent or a temporary home?


The best solution is to get a permanent address for life so you never have to change it again, no matter how many times you move.
Kind of like your cell phone number – you don’t change that anymore when we move, why keep changing your permanent address?


If moving overseas, you will need to keep a US address for many reasons. A permanent change of address makes sense in this case.


If moving within the US or within a city, it depends on your preference whether you wish to get mail at home, a PO Box or  a Virtual Mailbox. If former, do a change of address with USPS as mentioned above.


If you do not wish to give out your home address because you want it to stay private, or you get business mail or you get mail at different homes, you can have all that mail consolidated and be available via a Virtual Mailbox.


User interface of the virtual mailbox on a computer & smart phone


A mail forwarding service like US Global Mail will help you get your mail via a Virtual Mailbox, no matter where you move. You can see, read and take action on your mail online, which makes life so much easier and mail handling so easy.


How To Forward Mail


Step by step of how it works: You sign up with a mail forwarding company and get a US address. This address is your anchor while you move around the globe. Your mail forwarding sign up will also come with a Virtual Online Mailbox. The process is simple:


  1. You get a local US address (make sure it is a street address, not a PO box). The State your address is in or place does not matter as long as it in the US.
  2. You fill a change of address form at post office fill online informing USPS that you have a new address where you mail should be delivered.
  3. Your mail and items start arriving at the mail forwarding company. The mail forwarding company then uploads the items to your online virtual mailbox.
  4. You  see those items online and decide what you want to do with them. Depending on the features offered by the mail forwarding provider, you can get mail opened and scanned or shipped, get items packed together and shipped, discard any junk mail etc.


What to look for in a mail forwarding service?


Unlocking the mystery of mail forwarding services: here are 10 things you should look for in a mail forwarding service.


Child at the "love locks" tourist attraction in Paris


There are many, many companies out there that offer mail forwarding services. Before we tell you about all our research, here is a word of caution: never sign up for one from Craigslist or such services. These might be scammers trying to get your mail!


What to look for when signing up with a mail forwarding company?


Of course, we think we are the best but you should look around and choose one that will work best for you. We want you to choose us only if we are a good fit for you. When shopping around, look for:


  1. Reputation: how long has the company been around, BBB rating, reviews, how secure is your mail with them
  2. Prices: how upfront and clear is their pricing, how competitive are their shipping rates.
  3. Plans: do they offer comprehensive plans for your/your family?
  4. Shipping Rates: This is a biggie! And can add up your costs significantly. Check if the service charges “retail” shipping rates meaning they don’t give you any discount on shipping and keep the discounts they get from shippers like UPS, FedEX, DHL etc for themselves?
    Or do they offer  you discounted shipping rates so you can ship for a lot less when you need to ship your mail or other items to yourself.
  5. Customer service: do they have a way for you to talk to them, do they have live phone and chat support, or is it a bot and what is the email response time? When you need a shipment to sent out asap or when you need a mail piece scanned within the hour, this matters a lot.
    At US Global Mail, we ship all requests received by 1pm the same day. And our email response times are usually less than 4 hours.


We did a comparison of the more popular mail forwarding companies to see how they stack up against each other. You can see the info pasted below and a larger chart here.

Mail forwarding price comparison chart