Congress could help solve decisions facing many retirees
Friday, December 30, 2016 3:00 PM
It’s bad enough this country has lost jobs to Mexico and foreign lands. But now we’re losing retirees, too.
A growing number of retiring Americans are emigrating from the United States. The group grew 17 percent between 2010 and 2015 and is expected to increase over the next 10 years as more baby boomers retire, the Associated Press reported this week.
Just under 400,000 American retirees are now living abroad, according to the Social Security Administration. The countries they have chosen most often: Canada, Japan, Mexico, Germany and the United Kingdom.
Retirees most often cite the cost of living as the reason for moving elsewhere, Olivia S. Mitchell, director of the Pension Research Council at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, told the AP.
Much of this, of course, might pertain to retirees who are in good health and willing to make the move.
The drawbacks, though, are many, such as learning a foreign language and adapting to foreign customs. There’s also the question of whether you’re eligible to receive benefits while living outside the United States. (Don’t expect your Social Security check to be mailed to Cuba or North Korea.)
All this should remind Americans of the need to reform Social Security and health insurance. Many retirees are finding the cost for health care is lower in foreign lands. For example, Japan has a national health insurance plan that in some instances covers up to 70 percent of costs.
Meanwhile, America faces a national debate on the Affordable Health Care Act.
Social Security is facing bankruptcy. Projections show the fund will be depleted by 2030. Congress has been unwilling to move toward a solution, since it would involve either slashing benefits or increasing taxes. Either action would incite the ire of large groups of voters.
The quickest answer is to fund Social Security from other revenue sources. This could help eliminate the fear of having no Social Security for current and future retirees. The panic for retirees is enough that they would consider finding cheaper lifestyles in other countries.
But Congressional representatives have been hesitant to reform Social Security. Maybe they’re all thinking about moving away, too.