Help for the Retirement-Challenged

There’s a huge gap between many Americans’ perceptions of what life in retirement will be and the practicalities of what their finances will allow. The former is often a time of limited work, relaxation, and enjoying the twilight years of life while the latter forces decisions about working longer, relying more on relatives, and doing without past pleasures and purchases. This gap exists for good reason — it’s expensive to retire in the United States. The amount of savings needed to support today’s retiree, who can be expected to live a couple decades or so longer, is mind-blowing and, for many, unattainable.

So what’s a retiree to do? It boils down to the old two-choice formula for improving your financial picture, increase income or decrease expenses.

It’s usually difficult to increase income, but there is a viable alternative that can substantially decrease living costs in retirement: move to a foreign country. Consider the following:

“Suppose you can find a place where the cost of living is about 75% of the cost in the United States — some beach town north of Puerto Vallarta or south of Manzanillo. What happens to your standard of living when you move to Mexico? It rises to the equivalent of about $42,400 in the U.S.”

Yes, there are health care issues, family issues, cultural issues, and so on. But when you’re in a desperate financial situation, as many retirees will be, sometimes a highly unusual move is called for. As such, “Adios, America” becomes a viable retirement option.

Retirees make a run for the border [MSN Money]

(Photo: saramarie)