Considering retirement abroad? What you need to know

Are you thinking of retiring abroad? It’s a growing trend: the number of retirees, spouses and widows receiving Social Security benefit payments outside the U.S. rose 26 percent to 542,451 between 2006 and 2012, according to the Social Security Administration. And that figure likely understates substantially the number of retirees living abroad, since many retirees abroad simply withdraw their benefits from U.S. bank accounts.

Retiring abroad can reduce the expense side of a financial plan in some cases – retirees can live comfortably on just $25,000 a year, according to Suzan Haskins and Dan Prescher, authors of The International Living Guide to Retiring Overseas on a Budget (Wiley, March 2014), and editors at InternationalLiving.com. But retiring abroad also can present complex issues, including asset location and investment strategies, taxes and health care. Here’s a checklist of key items to keep in mind if you decide to become footloose.

Cover photo: Arturo Sotillo via Flickr.