For the safety of our clients and staff, and as required by law, all Ettinger Law Firm offices are closed until we are permitted to reopen.

Please be assured that all staff is currently working remotely and are available to you by email or phone.

All staff will be checking their phone and email messages daily.*

Please call our Director of Client Relations, Pattie Brown, at 1-800-500-2525 ext. 117 or email Pattie at if you need any further assistance.

* You can also use this link to schedule a phone consultation with one of our attorneys.

Thinking about Retiring Abroad

One of the most common hopes of retiring individuals is that they can move to the beach or go someplace abroad. A new study by the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts revealed that only a tiny percentage of seniors in their 60’s, around one percent per year, move. Most retirees remain in their own homes, but for those that do retire abroad there are certain considerations that must be made before the move.

Financial Concerns Retiring Abroad

Some of the most common locations for retirees to move to oversees today include Ecuador, Thailand, and Portugal. However, many are unaware of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network Report 114. Otherwise known as an F-Bar, this document is required for any retiree that has a bank account overseas that contains a balance above $10,000. Failure to submit an F-Bar results in severe penalties, such as fines up to $100,000 or fifty percent of the balance of the account.

Healthcare and Basic Amenities

Many seniors who retire abroad are also in for a shock when it comes to the level of healthcare and basic amenities. The level of difference from the United States and another country can be distressing to some, where the diversions, cultural attractions, sports, and basic necessities are all different. In order to avoid these problems, family members and other advisers for seniors need to make sure that they have as much information as possible before they make the move.

The largest issue for the elderly abroad is access to quality medical care. Country to country, even in the same geographical area, the quality of medical care can vary widely. Information about all other country’s medical care can be found on the U.S. State Department website. Advisers highly recommend signing up for private insurance and medical care abroad, otherwise a person can wait weeks for a simple appointment.

In addition, getting the medication that seniors require is also an important issue to discuss. In countries like China and India, prescription medication counterfeiting is rampant and many people are not actually taking the drugs that they need. In other countries like Mexico and Ecuador a prescription is not even necessary for some medications, but it also means that a person could have a severe reaction and no medical professional to turn to.

What to Look For

The first step in any overseas retirement move is to choose the proper country. The best way to do this is to prioritize the most important aspects of your living situation and not compromise on a single one. In addition, remember the importance of communication and that you may be moving to a place where very few people speak English. Even going to the grocery store or the bank can become a stressful event.

You should also look into any potential safety concerns for seniors abroad. The risk of danger typically increases with the crime rate in that country or city. There are also a number of countries that are experiencing political unrest, violent protests, and acts of terrorism. The U.S. State Department also keeps an updated list of travel alerts, so seniors can review them before making a decision to move.

Contact Information