Members of the US military are used to travelling abroad, even when they’re not being deployed into an active war zone. Their presence is a fixture all over the globe, with almost 800 bases in 70 countries at the time of this writing.
In fact, US service members make up the majority of American citizens living overseas, and their numbers continue to grow. Their time overseas doesn’t always end with their term of active service though.
That’s because many military retirees decide to continue living abroad after they retire, lured by lower costs of living that help their pension and social security checks go farther than they would at home.
In addition, the US government will even help cover some of the cost of the move to their desired destination, if it’s in a different location than their final posting. Taken together, this makes retiring overseas a very attractive option for some. If you’re an active-duty service member nearing retirement, and you’re considering settling somewhere outside the United States, here are some helpful tips that may make your move a bit easier.
Look for Countries with Formal Visa Programs
When choosing somewhere to retire overseas, you will need permission from the local government in your new home to do so. While there’s a procedure for that in most developed nations, there are some places where you’ll have an easier time.
To make the most of your retirement pension, look for a country with a formal visa program for retiring veterans. The nations that offer them usually allow for reduced or no taxation of retirement and pension benefits, which is a big help to retirees on a budget.
For the most part, you’ll need to have a clean criminal record, proof that you’re entitled to a pension, and you’ll have to procure your own health insurance. If you meet these requirements, you will find a host of great places willing to welcome you and your family with open arms.
Research the Local Property Laws
If you’ve settled on a particular place that you’d like to live in retirement, and you’re planning to purchase a home there, it’s important to conduct due diligence about the local property laws first. You’ll find that some countries restrict sales to foreigners altogether, while others automatically grant foreigners the same rights and protections afforded to citizens. Others are more complex.
For example, according to Australian real estate specialists Agent Select, permanent residents can purchase any property, as long as they’re making it a primary residence. Foreigners purchasing older properties, however, must agree to spend 50% above the purchase price on renovations after the sale.
In addition, all sales to foreigners are subject to approval by the Foreign Investment Review Board. The bottom line is, you’ll want to know what to do before you start the process of looking for a place to live.
Find Veteran Services in Advance
Retired service members are entitled to a number of benefits in retirement. They’ve certainly earned them. Living outside the United States isn’t without sacrifices, though. Depending on where you choose to live, you may have to change the way you access some of the veteran’s services to which you are entitled.
Make sure to contact Veteran’s Affairs once you narrow down your choices of where to settle, and ask them about how you will have to access your medical benefits and the like.
If you’re moving to a place that is already home to plenty of retired veterans, they may already have a firm grasp on how everything works, but if you’re going somewhere more off the beaten track, you are going to want to know what to do before you make the move.
Retire in Comfort
If you plan your retirement move properly, there’s a good chance that you’ll have a great experience spending your golden years overseas. Best of all, you don’t have to stay in just one place either.
If it suits you, it’s also possible to make more than one move as you enjoy your retirement years. No matter how you choose to do it, though, you’ll be joining thousands of other retired veterans who live abroad and continuing to represent the country you love everywhere you go.
For a veteran, nothing could be a more fitting way to continue to serve, even in retirement.