Dateline: Yerevan, Armenia
Preparing for the future… It’s one of those things we all know we have to address. It’s also one of those things few properly manage if they do so at all. Preparing for retirement in the traditional sense can involve anything from a 401(k) to Social Security, pensions to taxable accounts, and regular IRAs to tax-free Roth IRAs. These are all important factors for solid retirement planning.
However, in the 21st century, you not only have more retirement options to choose from (including early retirement), you also need to take advantage of those options to develop the strongest retirement plan possible. The reality is that globalization has changed politics and economics in ways that impact the kind of future for which you are planning. The good news is that globalization also offers you modern ways to plan for that new brand of future. People have long looked at issues like the shifting world economy and the increasingly broke Social Security system in the US and discovered innovative ways to overcome these challenges.
It is time to take that innovation to the next level and create a retirement plan that reflects the international nature of the world in the 21st century. The following are the four key approaches you can use to ensure that your retirement plan fits the realities of the future in which you will retire.
1. Don’t think you have to live in the US
It is not uncommon for someone who is planning to retire in the near future to begin looking for a pleasant new location in which they can retire. The most predictable choice looks something like moving from Grand Rapids, Michigan to The Villages in Florida. But once you’re thinking about Florida, why not consider Puerto Rico?
And if Puerto Rico sounds nice, why not consider Panama or anywhere else for that matter? The truth is, if you’re an entrepreneur or investor, you’re probably not going to have a normal retirement to begin with. Though you will have “retired”, chances are you will still be looking for opportunities to invest and even take on a hobby business.
So, besides the great weather, you can find in any number of locations outside the US, these international locations will be more intriguing for your retirement projects. New frontiers. More opportunities.
2. Don’t bank on government retirement plans
Any investor should know that putting all your eggs in the government’s retirement basket is never a good idea. To add an extra layer of protection to your IRA, consider offshoring your government retirement account. Why?
When you get an IRA in the US, your investment capabilities are dependent on where you live. You may get ETFs that allow you to buy government bonds, but that only allows you to put more of your eggs in the same basket.
By setting up your IRA offshore you have greater freedom with more choices and investment opportunities with higher yields and appreciation. Even better, having an offshore IRA qualifies you for a tax deferral. Another option you have with your offshore IRA is to invest in foreign real estate. Because it is part of your IRA, you wouldn’t be able to move into your property until you retire.
However, you can take advantage of a more stable housing market with higher yields than the US, while simultaneously ensuring your future self a home in the retirement country of your choice.
3. Diversify internationally
It used to be that the idea of moving abroad meant packing up all your belongings and moving your entire life to another country. Anything that couldn’t be packed up — bank accounts, retirement pensions, etc. — would have to be forfeited.
Thankfully, the world doesn’t work like that anymore. One of the greatest benefits to globalization is that you no longer have to move your entire life overseas in order to diversify internationally.
For instance, if you’re an American citizen, you can get your social security payments, government job pensions, and even private pensions anywhere in the world. And even if you’ve renounced your US citizenship for some reason, you can still cash in on your Social Security payments. No matter where you live. Are you worried about accessing your bank accounts in the US? As simple as it may seem, ATMs are the fastest way to get to your money from basically anywhere on the planet. And if you’re not convinced that ATMs are the way to go, you can now transfer your money from one bank to another with relative ease.
So, instead of worrying about the imaginary limitations to living abroad, focus on how you can diversify to numerous different countries. Imagine a retirement in which you are receiving money from an insurance pension in the US while living in South America or Europe and banking in Singapore.
If you set things up properly, it can be a simple process that allows you the freedom to live and enjoy life wherever you decide to go.
4. Make “freedom” investments
Everyone is investing in stocks; but how often have you made investments in yourself and the kind of life you want to have and the freedoms you want to enjoy?
If you want to open yourself up to the possibility of living in another country or creating a Plan B, that plan should include a place where you know you can go and live without any hassles.
Why wait to start working toward that goal?
You can invest your money in many things, but you can also invest it to create a home for yourself, for your use now or in the future. In some cases, you can even use your real estate purchase to obtain residency and eventual second citizenship, which ensures you will be welcomed with open arms to that country when you are ready to make it your retirement home.