USA expat exodus soars as local retirement costs escalate

Published:  26 Sep at 6 PM
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More and more American citizens are deciding to retire overseas as stateside costs escalate.

In the past 10 years, the numbers of American citizens moving overseas after retirement has increased by 40 per cent, with the trend expected to continue. It seems the Baby Boomer generation is now beginning to realise the massive amounts needing to be saved to ensure a comfortable stateside retirement are simply not possible on an average salary. US media outlets are beginning to describe the phenomenon as being fuelled by ‘American economic refugees’ – an apt description for the many still affected by the 2008 global recession.

According to statistics, the average amount saved by nationals approaching retirement is just $152,000, hardly enough to supply the needs of a elderly generation as well as providing for essential healthcare. Nowadays, some 413,000 US citizens are drawing social security benefits from an overseas address, having voted with their feet after retirement set in and dental as well as healthcare expenses loomed. Medicare, it seems, isn’t the answer to inflation. Mexico is an all-time favorite for its affordable, safe lifestyle, with Ecuador also getting its fair share of newcomers due to its $80 a month healthcare plan.

It seems the US government hasn’t the foggiest idea how many of its citizens are living oversees, nor any knowledge of the expat exodus’s reasons for leaving. Estimates, if any, are based on the number paying tax from overseas or drawing benefits, and are often inaccurate, to put it mildly. Wikipedia takes the issue slightly more seriously, estimating there are between 738,000 and one million Americans living in Mexico, with Canada home for up to another million and Germany hosting 325,000. The history of this planet includes mass population movements every two millennia or so, usually generated by crop failures and weather changes, with some believing the next one has already started.
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