Cynthia: My heart goes out to readers who responded to a recent article we wrote about what it’s like to live on Social Security in the U.S.
Edd: Me too. It was so sad seeing comments like, “My only source of income. Hard but better than nothing.” And, “It is hard but you make do with what you have.” Especially when we know it doesn’t have to be that hard and you don’t have to make do.
C: Those messages motivate me more than ever to get the word out that there’s another way–a better way. Moving abroad to a lower cost of living. And we’re living proof that it’s true because we did it!
E: The folks who wrote us were really brave to share their plight. It makes me wonder how many more out there are suffering in silence. I think back to those awful times when our financial world was collapsing around us. We did our best to not let on how bad things really were.
C: You’re right. We didn’t even share the extent of our situation with our own family. It’s not that we were embarrassed. We just didn’t see the need to burden them with our problems when they were so busy with their own lives.
E: Of course that made our announcement of moving to Ecuador quite a shock. Thankfully they were supportive of our decision even if they didn’t fully understand.
C: Getting back to your comment about suffering in silence, I’m sure there are many older Americans who don’t want to admit to others or even to themselves the financial jam they’re in regarding retirement. But ignoring reality doesn’t change it, right?
E: Nope. It’s understandable to maintain privacy about your personal affairs. However, pretending to yourself problems don’t exist or knowing they do and ignoring them just makes no sense.
C: Neither does rehashing your past and wishing that you had lived it differently.
E: Exactly. The only sane response to any problem is to accept it for what it is and rationally decide what to do about it NOW. Anything else is a waste of time. And in the case of Baby Boomers being short on retirement savings, time is definitely not on their side.
C: We certainly had to come face-to-face with that reality. When you think about it, our options were no different ten years ago than for members of our generation today. Do nothing and accept the consequences. Keep on keeping on and blindly hope that everything eventually works out. Or think of something else.
E: I want to believe that most would come to the same conclusion we did. Sit on your hands and give up after working your entire adult life? No way. Try to stay in the workforce until you’re too old, too tired, and maybe too sick to enjoy the few years you have left? Uh, no thank you. The only solution–and I can’t stress it strongly enough–the only solution is to think of something else. Something bold. Something radical. Mainstream advice is simply not going to get the job done and give you the retirement life you deserve.
C: Strong words, Edd, but so true. Moving abroad was our “something else” and it has worked out in such a wonderful way for us. Perhaps there are other great choices. The point is, if you’re nearing retirement with inadequate savings there’s no need to suffer in silence. In fact, there’s no need to suffer at all. Be responsible for your life, get creative, and take decisive action.
E: And please let us know what you come up with. Who knows, maybe we’ll meet one day somewhere on the globe and celebrate with a toast to our strategy for a better retirement together.
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