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Subject:  Re: What about retiring overseas Date:  8/7/2003  12:52 PM
Author:  FriedaChopsticks Number:  149 of 5232

This is an interesting question.

When I was in the Peace Corps, I was surprised by how many retired folks were in Ukraine with me. It was a fantastic experience for me, and it turns out it was a pretty sweet gig for them too.

One of the advantages, financially, was that the PC gives you a stipend that pays for all of your expenses. They fly you over there, find your housing for you, etc. Because you are technically a volunteer, you can still collect SS at home. At the end of your ~27 months, you receive a "readjustment allowance", which is a few thousand dollars to help you get your life going back in the US. For many retirees, they rented out their homes while they were gone (leaving details and POA to their children or others), so this was more income for them.

Additionally, you have relatively good medical care because Congress insists that we have high-standard care. Yes, they have limitations on some supplies or testing equipment (memories of a pelvic exam with the Peace Corps Medical Officer using a flashlight are swirling through my mind) but you aren't on your own faced with going to a witch doctor or anything. Another advantage: we got our US prescriptions for free. The only difficulty we had was that the PC has pretty strict medical requirements, so we had to go through a lot of tests before we were assigned to a country. I think after a certain age, you have to go through more tests to ensure you don't have heart trouble, etc. (Medical clearance can be a beauracratic nightmare. I swear, getting medical clearance is the longest part of the application process.)

Another benefit to living abroad through PC is an emotional network with other Americans. You are instantly meeting people who are going through the same emotional issues that you are.

Finally, the retirees had an additional advantage that those of us in our 20's didn't: effectiveness. Ukrainians believe wisdom comes with age. In Ukraine, there is a lot of respect given to the older generations. In general, these folks were very effective in their positions. A lot of them had a harder time with the language, which is a human condition. But they made inroads into the communities that some of us "whippersnappers" couldn't.

For various reasons, I didn't stay in Ukraine. But SO knows that as soon as we are FIRE, I would sign up for the PC again in a heartbeat.

-- didn't realize she could go on so long about PC.
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