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Facts About Taking Social Security Abroad

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A new report from International Living describes various ways retirees can access their benefits from abroad, allowing Baby Boomers to retire sooner and more comfortably where their dollars stretch.

As retirement funds shrink and the buying power of a Social Security check declines, living for less in a good-value locale overseas is looking smarter to many. It's one way to upgrade your retirement without the skimping and sacrifice that might be necessary at home. In addition, retiring overseas has the benefit of an adventure, the prospect of exploring new places, meeting new people, and enjoying a lifestyle free from the financial worry that may come with stateside retirement on a Social Security income alone.

Retirees CAN take their Social Security Benefits with them overseas.  Your check can be deposited in a local bank account, or continue to have it deposited into your U.S. account and access the funds from abroad via ATM withdrawals. You can open a local bank account overseas, where benefits can be direct-deposited; however, a resident visa is needed in the new country to do this. You can continue to have the benefits direct-deposited into the U.S. bank account, as if you were based in the States, enabling you to either transfer those funds to a new local bank account overseas and/or access the funds anywhere in the world via debit/ATM card. A third option, if you are uncertain as to where you will retire and want to check out several places, a MasterCard’s Direct Express card may make sense. No credit check is required, and there are no sign-up fees, monthly account fees, or minimum balance requirement. Once enrolled, federal benefits will be automatically deposited to the card account on the payment date.

Going Overseas Can Allow a Social Security Benefit to Grow.  In the best-value countries around the world, retirees report living better than at home, for half the price. That's because dollars can go much, much further than they do in the States. That means retirees can not only retire better — but often sooner as well. Postponing retirement, even by one year, allows for more savings to grow. For example, a retiree can head overseas, spending down savings for a few years while letting their Social Security benefit grow, and then access that larger benefit when they reach 70 years of age.

“There are no shortage of fantastic locations where you can live far better for less than in the U.S.,” says Garfink. “These are places where a Social Security check—guaranteed by the U.S. government and adjusted each year for inflation—can go a long way in delivering a life of luxury. A lifestyle that could cost six figures back home can be achieved on Social Security income alone in the best-value places overseas. A vacationer's life at the beach can cost the same as a frugal existence back home, maximizing Social Security benefits.

Live Much Better on Social Security overseas than is possible at home.  In low-cost retirement destinations outside the United States, Baby Boomers report a genuinely comfortable, low-stress retirement on their Social Security income alone. The average Social Security benefit ($1,406 for a retired worker; $2,139 for a retired worker and spouse) can provide a comfortable life in good-value locales overseas without difficulty. Some Baby Boomers who travel the world say it costs less than staying home.

Some countries offer senior citizen discount on municipal bills as well. In Ecuador, all citizens who reach 65 years of age and have a cedula (national identification card) enjoy substantial reductions with the expenses of daily living, such as a discounted water bill.

The above information is gleaned from Internationalliving.com. More information can be found at Social Security Overseas.