The Washington Post reports that some baby boomers are turning a dream of overseas retirement into reality. According to the Post, they're lured to distant climes on the promise of a higher quality of life. Often they discover a lower cost of living, stunning natural beauty and a sense of community.
But relocating overseas isn't all fun in the sun, retirees and experts caution. A weakening dollar, the obstacles of a foreign language and culture and disconnection from family and friends can intrude on paradise. The paper reports that the Internet helps, however, and ubiquitous Web access aids planning and allows expatriates to stay in touch with loved ones.
But the Post had difficulty finding out exactly how many U.S. retirees seek new lives overseas. Neither the Census Bureau nor the State Department break out numbers on such people, and Social Security figures the closest estimate. According to the Social Security Administration, 441,693 beneficiaries, or about 1 percent of those in the system, received benefits while abroad as of the end of 2005. The AARP points out, however, that
these numbers do not take into account people who may live abroad but collect Social Security payments at a U.S. address.