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Hello everybody, welcome to episode 148 of Optimal Living Advice, the podcast where we take any questions you might have about the many struggles of life and get them answered for you here on the show. I’m your host, certified life coach Greg Audino. We talk a lot on the show about making significant life changes, and today’s episode on moving overseas serves as a reminder that the potential for big and meaningful change does not go away with age. Today’s listener is considering making a big change in middle age that may very well have a huge impact on the rest her life, making the second half entirely different from the first half. Let’s see what we can do for her. Here’s her question…

QUESTION: “I’m torn about whether or not I should make a permanent move to Singapore for business and retirement purposes. Culture, quality of life, and business climate is much better than in the US, specifically CA. I’m not considering just moving to another state in the US. What questions should I ask myself to determine whether at 50 y.o. it is realistic or merely illusory?”


Listen to Greg narrate this post in Episode 148 of the podcast Optimal Living Advice.


Moving Overseas: Decisions About Retirement

Ok, good one. There have been a few questions like this thus far about big changes and big moves; even episode 146 from last week on making changes with clarity was in the same realm.

But it’s a bit different when we’re making decisions about retirement isn’t it? Let’s break it down and talk about why.

First, however, I do want to address the end of your question about whether it’s realistic or illusory. It’s definitely realistic, and it’s so interesting to me how we can forget that sometimes if much of our lives have been spent in the same spot without much variation.

You certainly CAN make the move; the question is whether or not it’s the right choice.

Of course you’ll never know until you try it, but there are definitely questions to ask yourself first that can gauge the situation as well as possible beforehand.

Your Legacy and This Chapter of Your Life

Moving somewhere at 50 with the intention of retiring there is different than moving somewhere in your twenties to just play around and experiment.

While it’s a move all the same, the narratives we tend to have about the arc of our lives and planning at each stage are very challenging to avoid, and although they do box us in a bit, in my opinion they aren’t all bad.

I think the questions you want to ask yourself should be relative to how you’re viewing this chapter of life, and when most people plan for retirement, they’re planning for their legacy. A key question for you will be what legacy you want to leave behind, and what place best enables you to live in a way that honors that legacy.

You’re the only one that can define what you want your legacy to be, and even for you that can be tough to do at times.

So here are my ideas for some sub questions that can help you get some clarity on this.

Moving Overseas for Retirement – Questions to Ask Yourself

Where have you found the most joy and meaning in the past?

What facets of life have given you the sense of warmth that you’ll be thinking about most on your deathbed?

Perhaps it is the comforts of what you listed in your question: culture, quality of life and business climate.

If you’ve felt the most fulfilled when pulling off sensible and successful business deals or when you’ve been immersed in a cultural activity or gathering that you identify with, then these are probably pretty reasonable ideas to base your move on, and if Singapore is indeed better in these areas, it’s a good call.

Do You Prefer Adventure and Spontaneity?

Also ask yourself if you’ve always had a knack for adventure and spontaneity, or if stability has served you just fine.

If you have liked throwing yourself into new avenues of life and still have the vigor to do that, it’s a win for Singapore. If you’ve enjoyed the reliability and relaxation of staying put around things you’re familiar with and have never asked for much more, moving overseas to Singapore will be a challenge for you – maybe good or maybe bad.

Are You Running Towards or Away from Something?

Another question would be are you running towards something or away from something?

This may require some digging, but any change in life, let alone a change as significant as this, is always healthy if it’s an active decision based in growth and joy as opposed to a reactive decision that you’re making to escape a troublesome situation in your inner or outer life that you aren’t handling.

What about Your Relationships?

I’d also encourage you to think deeply about the intangibles. The reasons you’ve listed look good on paper, but what about the big one – relationships?

Studies have shown that successful relationships are the most accurate basis for a person’s long-term happiness. This is especially true for someone your age, as your relationships will inarguably become more and more important to you as you enter your elderly years.

This isn’t to say you can’t cultivate new, close relationships anywhere you go, but I think it’s fair to expect all of your current important ones (including any that may not be in the best places right now) to become even more important to you in the next few decades.

What I’m asking you to do is boil everything down to your current values as best you can. As I often tell people when it comes to dating, it’s key to be aware of your non-negotiables: the handful of attributes that you are unwilling to flex on, and the fewer of them there are, the easier it will be to find what you’re looking for.

The same thing can be applied to moving somewhere. In a potentially long list of things that you want, narrow it down to what you NEED in order to make decision making easier and keep the necessary sacrifice as painless as possible.

One way of doing this might also be by revisiting an oldie, episode 3, in which I helped a woman at a similar crossroads to come up with a pros and cons list based on a points system.

Simple, yet effective, and I’d recommend checking that one out as it pairs nicely with your question.

Moving Overseas For Retirement: Conclusion

So to end, I’m going to contradict myself a little bit from earlier and say that though this move is occurring a bit later in life when it probably feels as if more is on the line and more permanence is desirable, keep in mind that is still a reversible decision.

You can try it and change your mind even if that doesn’t sound ideal. Just be realistic about the fact that over time (which you have plenty of; you’re only 50) certain changes, such as traveling and moving, will become harder.

All right, everyone. That’s our episode for today. I sure hope it was of use to you, the listener, and anyone out there who’s hesitant to make a big change for any reason. It’s always possible, but the details surrounding it are ever changing and should be paid attention to. Nothing to fear, just requires little extra thinking. Unless you just want to throw yourself in, of course, and sometimes that works too.

Friends, if you’ve got a question you need help or support with, go ahead and send it in; we’d love to hear it. You can email the show at advice AT oldpodcast DOT com with your concern, we’ll answer it here and be in talks with you via email, too.

Don’t be shy. I appreciate you all listening to the end today, and I hope you’ll be back for the next one. I’ll talk to you then everyone. Have a great rest of your day.

Listen to Greg narrate this post on moving overseas for retirement in Episode 148 of the podcast Optimal Living Advice.

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Greg Audino

Greg Audino is a Rhode Island-born certified life coach, actor, and graduate of Goucher College. He is the host of the mental health podcast Optimal Living Advice and narrates dating, marriage, and parenting content over at Optimal Relationships Daily.
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