International Living just released their list of best places to retire in 2014. I personally think it’s a quality list that leverages a solid combination of relevant criteria for making its selections, including factors like:
• Cost of living
• Tax policies and percentages
• Health care quality
• And other quality of life indicators
You can view the list here:
Throughout my 15 years of helping folks create their retirement maps, I’ve had quite a few conversations about retiring abroad and becoming an "ex-pat" (usually stemming from frustration with U.S. taxes and politics). The funny thing is… I don't have any retired ex-pat clients. Lots of International talk, and a good bit of International travel plans, but no one really seems to want to move.
It got me wondering, “why not?” Is Wilmington just too perfect of a place to leave? That is a very reasonable possibility. After all, we have great health care, lifestyle options, transportation, cultural amenities and higher education. Of course, we have great weather. We've invested in our beaches, Thalian Hall, cross town trail, historic landmarks, the riverwalk, art museum, and parks. We have lots of festivals, shopping and entertainment options. Wilmington is a great retirement destination and the population growth proves it. We have lots of people that chose to move here to spend their retirement years and are very happy.
But, I believe another reason that some people don't move away has more to do with a fear of change and of taking risks. In my experience, most people will trade the fulfillment of their dreams and aspirations (which usually require some level of change and risk) for the comfort and security of a less risky status quo. Even if the financial and lifestyle benefits of moving to a particular foreign country are attractive, the unknown creates fear, which heavily influences the decision making process. We are creatures of habit. We become comfortable with what we know and often resist change and risk. Some more than others, but we all experience the fear of change in some way.
I have many conversations that go like this, "Jason, our daughter got married last year and our youngest son is in college now. It’s finally time for us to get serious about our financial future. We don't want or need a lot. Just enough to maintain our standard of living." Look, there’s nothing wrong with the status quo or retiring in a wonderful place like Wilmington, as long as the status quo and Wilmington represent the fulfillment of your dreams. The point I’m making is that whatever your dreams may be, don’t let the fear of change keep you from dreaming big, and from taking action to make your dreams a reality.
I wish more conversations went like this, "Jason, we just paid for our daughter's wedding and the last year of our son's college. We were referred to you from some people we met at the airport. We are ready to transition to something new in life. We've got a bucket list full of things we'd like to experience, places we want to visit, goals we hope to accomplish, wild ideas to pursue, and a lot of life to live in our years ahead. We are in good financial shape but we want to put a plan together that empowers us to fulfill our dreams!"
This second couple’s dream is not to settle for comfortable; their vision includes much more, and they’re willing to take some risks to make it happen. I don’t necessarily mean financial risks, but certainly the risk of experiencing life in new ways. Whether your dream includes Panama or Malaysia or Wilmington, are you thinking about your future? Knowing what you want allows you to plan for it. Planning for what you want empowers you to have it. Be bold enough to think about what you really want and don’t let fear keep you from going for it.
The International Living publication is geared towards people that refuse to settle for paycheck dependence and are bold enough to seek financial independence. These folks are uncomfortable getting too comfortable. They’re excited about what lies ahead and look forward to getting the most out of life after work. Or perhaps, they’re just sick of taxes and politics.
Whatever your dreams may be, I hope you’ll find the inspiration and courage to think about your vision for the future and consider whether the financial path you’re on will support the fulfillment of your vision. Let us know if we can help guide you forward.
Jason Wheeler is currently the CEO and a Wealth Consultant at Pathfinder Wealth Consulting. Pathfinder specializes in comprehensive financial, estate and tax planning services, investment management, and risk management (insurance) for business owners and successful executives. Jason Wheeler offers securities and advisory services through Commonwealth Financial Network®. Member FINRA, SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser. To learn more about Pathfinder Wealth Consulting, visit www.pathfinderwc.com. Jason can be reached at [email protected] or 910-793-0616.
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