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Retiring in Europe

Chris Farrell Jan 7, 2008

Question: My wife and I are 60 and plan to retire at 62. My question is this: We’re considering selling our home upon retirement and basically pocketing that tax-free money to finance the first five or six years of retirement. We plan to rent during that period, perhaps in a European nation. We would not touch our 401K savings during that period, which currently total about $550,000 and would hopefully continue to grow at a healthy rate. We would both draw Social Security at 62 and I would also receive a pension of about $1.000 per month from my current employer. We would also be covered by a health insurance plan provided by my employer. Does this sound like a reasonable plan? Thank you. David

Answer: It’s a great idea, assuming the numbers work. This kind of adventure has always made a lot of sense to me. You’re still young. You’ll have fun.

A couple of years ago a certified financial planner I know told me that a number of his clients had moved to France for the first 5 to 10 years of their retirement. (This was before the Euro soared and the dollar tanked). Although they lived comfortably, these weren’t wealthy folks, either. They loved their time living and traveling abroad.

On a practical level, my one piece of advice would be to hire a certified financial planner (CFP) to runs some numbers and scenarios for you. This way you can be sure that you’re comfortable with the financial side of the equation. Have fun.

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