Boomers are bailing costly US to retire abroad

Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry

When Allan Fawcett decided to retire from his career in computer science in 2011, he knew he wanted to spend at least a few years traveling, particularly around Europe. After decades working in tech, he was ready, as he says, to give his mind a rest. “Computer programming destroyed my brain,” he tells Fortune. “I needed an escape.”

What he didn’t know is that that escape would become permanent. He met his now-wife, Elisabeth, shortly after he retired, and eventually took the leap to move permanently to Spain with her.

Fawcett, now 67 and a Spanish resident through marriage, couldn’t be happier about his decision. Though his wife still works, he spends his days playing tennis, reading, and going to the beach or caf├ęs with expat friends in Barcelona. He and his wife are able to travel around the continent, even planning a trip to Paris for the Olympics this year.

The same lifestyle wouldn’t be possible in the U.S., Fawcett says. Housing is much more affordable, food is inexpensive, and the wine is even less so. The mass transit system is a godsend; Fawcett doesn’t have a car and doesn’t need one to get around. Walkability is also a major benefit.

“It’s a good life here,” says Fawcett, who became a resident in 2019. “Outdoor dining is everywhere, the weather is amazing. Everything is very cheap.”

Fawcett is part of a growing trend of retirees, spurred by America’s retirement crisis, who are moving abroad instead of spending their golden years in the U.S. In December 2022, there were over 700,800 people receiving Social Security payments abroad, according to the most recently available data from the Social Security Administration. In 2000, that figure was less than 400,000.

Some move abroad because they simply cannot comfortably live on a fixed retirement income in the U.S., where the costs of housing and healthcare, especially, are becoming increasingly unaffordable. A substantial number of retirees rely almost completely on Social Security payments to make ends meet in the U.S., which average around $1,900 per month. A growing portion of elderly Americans live in poverty, with social services few and far between, if they are accessible at all.


What Are Your Thoughts?


Chuck comes from a lineage of journalism. He has written for some of the webs most popular news sites. He enjoys spending time outdoors, bull riding, and collecting old vinyl records. Roll Tide!