Today on the blog we have the wonderful Maria Davies. Maria is retired and lives with her husband on the Caribbean island of Grenada. While I certainly love international travel, Maria takes it one step further and discusses how we may think of retiring internationally and living abroad as she has. Based on her own experiences, she provides sage advice about how to plan for retirement regardless of where in the world we happen to be. Enjoy!
So You’ve Decided to Retire
You’ve decided it’s time to retire. There’s no longer the need to wake up to a blaring alarm or have to finish a task with a deadline. Now it’s time to just kick back & relax.
Oh, but if only it were that easy! A happy, successful retirement takes planning, time and a little bit of adventurousness.
Living On A Tiny Island In The Middle of Nowhere
When I retired, I moved to Grenada.
But how did I end up on a tiny island in the middle of nowhere you may ask?
I fell in love with Grenada on a Windjammer cruise in 1968, as well as with the captain of the ship! I then married him and eventually divorced him, but I always knew I would spend my retirement on the island I loved so much.
Now I live here with my current hubby–the light of my life–who fortunately also fell in love with Grenada.
However, we didn’t just show up on the island one day. We spent a considerable amount of time planning this new adventure of ours.
How to Start Planning For Your Retirement
You might be asking, “When do I start planning for my retirement? And what exactly does planning for it include?”
I want to share with you some of the objective parts of planning, but I also want you to allow yourself to dream a bit–to dare to do things differently!
It goes without saying that a very critical part of successful retirement involves ensuring you have financial security.
You can achieve that by figuring out what you will need. Usually, you will need roughly 2/3 of your current income to maintain the lifestyle you enjoy.
A part of this calculation is dependent on where you will live in your retirement.
Deciding on Location
Now, how do you decide where you will go?
Well, you can be guided by many things. Do you desire to retire in the same place, go South, become a snowbird or live abroad?
You already know the pros and cons of staying where you are. If this feels the most comfortable, stay. But where do you go if you go South or for that matter West?
The best way to figure this out is to take vacations in the areas you’re considering. Investigate what there is to do that matches your interests and talents. Finding meaningful activities is so very critical to retirement wellbeing. Don’t rush it, go back several times if needed. You don’t want to make a decision you will regret!
Living Abroad After Retiring
What about living abroad?
It’s the same routine that I just mentioned, but with the added task of finding out visa regulations, cost of living compared to the US, availability of the foods you are used to and so forth. You want to make sure there is an expat community to hook-up with and also determine if you are comfortable with the language. You may need to brush up on your high school Spanish! Several of my friends live in Mexico and have not found it essential to speak Spanish beyond a few necessary phrases. But they did their research beforehand.
Beginning Your New Life
Once all of the preliminary planning is done and your decision is made, you can begin your new life.
Retirement is not the end, it is the beginning. I had some vague ideas of what I wanted to do in my retirement, but I found opportunities I hadn’t even thought about. Some I tried and found they weren’t for me. But guess what? No problem. I simply moved on.
No one can make you do something that doesn’t feel right. Try something different until you find what makes you feel useful, fulfilled and you know you’re enjoying life!
Working With Organizations
I worked closely with the Grenada Association of Retired Persons after moving.
I met some wonderful people there, but after a while, I felt that the organization was going in directions with which I didn’t agree so I resigned. Now I belong to an organization that works on the cultural and architectural preservation of my beloved island.
I also garden, which is amazing to me because I am a city girl who knew nothing about what to plant, where to plant it or how to care for it. But learning is the most fun part of it all, and not to mention eating the fruits of my labor is an amazing feeling.
Another thing I enjoy doing is writing. Some of it is for different websites as a guest contributor or some for my own website. Thank you, Honey Good for inspiring me to create one! I also write for family, friends and for a newsletter. This morphed from my professional newsletter while I was still a Realtor, to now a sharing of experiences as I live my retirement.
The best part of all of this? There are no limits and there are no restrictions! You are free to do anything you want or nothing at all. If you want to just laze around, you can! This sense of freedom is infinitely precious.
5 Useful Websites To Help Plan Your Retirement
How are you planning for retirement? Share your tips in the comments below or on Facebook.
Maria and her husband Richard Nuscher have lived in retirement on the island of Grenada in the West Indies for the past 6 years. Before retiring, Maria was a successful Realtor. Now Maria spends her time volunteering for the Willie Redhead Foundation, an organization dedicated to the preservation of the architecture and culture of her beloved island. In addition, she maintains her website, publishes a newsletter, guest writes for several websites and enjoys gardening, growing many of the things they eat. She is also an unofficial leader of what she calls her “Explorers’ Group,” made up of like-minded friends who enjoy exploring the island and organizing fun outings.