The recent cover story in the Christian Science Monitor illustrates just how much the world is changing. Retirees in this country are leaving the Unite States for Latin America in their golden years. Why? Their money lasts longer there with cheaper goods and more affordable health care.
The exodus south is being driven by a confluence of factors. The baby boom generation – the largest in history – is reaching retirement age, and millions are looking for places to spend the next phase of their lives. As the most educated, well-traveled, and adventurous generation in history, many of these boomers are deciding to retire outside the country – including in Latin America.
They're also looking for places that will allow them to stretch their 401(k)s after they lost a lot of money in the last stock market collapse. With the US economy remaining so tentative, and health-care costs so aggressive, retirees want to live where they can afford greens fees and where a trip to the emergency room won't bankrupt them.
It really helps to live in countries where the opposition party isn't trying to actively sabotage your health care system.
The bigger view of all of this, though, is how people are moving to consider themselves citizens of the world and not citizens of a particular country. I was particularly stuck by the story of James Cummiskey, the 20 year marine veteran who now owns his own coffee exporting business in Columbia. In the age of globalization, business can be conducted virtually anywhere so it makes sense to live in a country where you can make your dollars last longer.
As the article indicates, it isn't just Latin America. American retirees are moving all over the world. Perhaps that should tell us something about our current standard of living.