One of the biggest concerns of NRIs (Non Resident Indians) or others who are retiring is healthcare. Healthcare and medicines are exorbitant in the US and with the aging population living longer and longer, the chances of needing longterm quality healthcare keeps looming. By retiring in India, you end up using the stronger dollar to obtain top notch healthcare, qualified, affordable staff and medicines, all are much cheaper. Many people prefer to retire in India because they are familiar with the culture and may have family and/or friends with whom they'd like to reconnect. Once you've answered a few questions and prioritized your needs while in India, you may decide retiring in India is a smarter option. Making a success of a new life overseas requires thoughtful and strategic planning. And, you may not have to make it all or nothing. You could do a soft launch - spend a portion overseas and still spend time back in the US.
Is India Affordable?
Before you pack up your bags and leave, it may be prudent to live for a month or two in your desired India location at a hotel or furnished apartment. Dip your toe rather than diving in headfirst. Try out different locations in India. This is not the time to live with relatives because it will not allow you to experience day to day life as a local not a tourist. Living as a local, dealing with day to day issues, may help you determine your ideal location, maybe, you find you don't like the pollution or air quality in New Delhi or the traffic jams in Mumbai. You may need to move to a different part of India and give it a trial run as a better option?
Can I find my own Retiree Community in India?
Once you've determined you definitely want to settle in India and have determined a city which works for you, you need to decide whether you'd like to live with the local population or with other NRIs or foreign residents.
There are many builders who specialize in creating communities specifically for the NRI resident/s. Many of these neighborhoods will seem like they were a transplanted U.S. suburb with the benefits of a much more affordable cost of living and the comfort and familiarity of being around other Indians.
Will my Health Needs be met in India?
If you're facing specific health needs, you may need to determine whether you want to live in a nursing home, retirement community or something which caters to your specific health needs. You also want to ensure that you’re within quick access of international-standard medical care.
If you're on Medicare, you may need to verify coverage in India. Sometimes, they cover it with a lot of phone-calls and paperwork but many times they do not. Does the quality of the healthcare work for you? Is it more prudent to fly back to the USA for a yearly medical checkup or treatment on Medicare rather than deal with the local India medics?
Retiree in India Check list
Take some time to reflect on what is most important for you, what everyday issues would bother you if you moved to India? Make a 'What I Want Once I Move' list. Put the most important things, the things you have to admit to yourself you would be very unhappy to live without, at the top. Focus on the top 3-5 because no place is perfect. You’ll have to compromise and make concessions. But don’t concede on your top priorities, the few top things you identify as being most important to you.
India Affordable - Trial and Error
You could go back and forth to India for years, trying out new places, learning about and meeting new friends. Enjoy the benefits of this new location with a dramatically reduced cost of living, better weather, cheap medical care, new friends and luxuries such as household help. What you’ll find is that, with each trip overseas, your confidence will build. And your plan will evolve. Next, extend the length of each trip. Also, begin the process of finding out about the paper work such as visa restrictions on length of stay, finding people who share your interests, volunteer opportunities, etc.... Eventually, you'll find your ideal location and be ready to sever your ties with the USA. Take it one step at a time and let your retirement journey and/or shift back to India develop organically.