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Dear Savvy Senior,

What are some financial factors to consider when retiring abroad? My husband and I will be retiring in a few years and are interested in living in a foreign country that’s cheaper than the U.S.

Frugal Couple

Dear Frugal,

Retiring abroad has become a growing trend for millions of U.S. retirees who are looking to stretch their retirement savings. Here are some tips and resources to consider that can help you prepare.
Researching Tools
For starters, you can find lots of information and articles on the countries and cities you’re interested in retiring to at websites like InternationalLiving.com and EscapeArtist.com.
Another good tip is to talk or network with some expatriates who have already made the move you’re thinking about making. They can give you tips and suggestions on many issues, as well as the advantages and disadvantages and day-to-day reality of living in a particular country. Some popular sites for finding expat resources are ExpatExchange.com and ExpatForum.com.
But before committing to location, most experts recommend that you visit multiple times during different seasons to see whether you can envision yourself living there and not just exploring the place as a tourist. Also, consider these financial factors:
Cost of living: Retiring abroad used to be seen as a surefire way to live beyond your means, and for some countries it still is. But the U.S. dollar isn’t what it used to be, so your money may not stretch as far as you think. See Numbeo.com for a country-by-country cost of living comparison.
Taxes: No matter what foreign country you decide to retire in, as long as you’re a U.S. citizen you must file an annual tax return reporting all income above certain minimums, not matter where it’s earned. For details see the IRS publication 54, “Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad” at IRS.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p54.pdf.
Health care: Most U.S. health insurance companies do not provide coverage outside the U.S., nor does Medicare. Check with the embassy (see USembassy.state.gov) of your destination country to see how you can be covered as a foreign resident. Many countries provide government-sponsored health care that’s inexpensive, accessible and just as good as what you get in the states, or you may want to buy a policy through Medibroker (Medibroker.com) or Bupa Global (BupaGlobal.com).
Also know that most people who retire abroad eventually return to the U.S., so you should consider paying your Medicare Part B premiums. If you drop and resume Part B, or delay initial enrollment, you’ll pay a 10 percent premium penalty for every 12-month period in which you could have been enrolled.
Banking: Opening or maintaining a bank account abroad has become more difficult because of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, a U.S. law designed to prevent Americans from hiding assets abroad. So, you may have to establish a savings and checking account with an institution that has international reach like Citibank. And/or consider maintaining your U.S. bank account that you can access online, and get U.S. credit and debit cards that don’t charge foreign transaction fees.
Rent versus buy: Buying a home in a foreign country can be complicated, so it’s usually cheaper and simpler to rent, unless you know you’re going to live there for a long time.
Social Security: You can receive your monthly Social Security benefits almost anywhere you live around the world (see SSA.gov/international/payments.html). Your benefits can be deposited into your bank account either in the U.S. or in your new home country, but there are some exceptions.
The U.S. State Department offers a handy checklist that can help you think through all the issues on retiring abroad. To access it visit Travel.state.gov and search for “retirement abroad.”
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation scientist Wan Hee Yoon, Ph.D.

The Robert Glenn Rapp Foundation has awarded the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation a four-year, $400,000 grant.
The grant will help two new scientists establish laboratories at OMRF. In their labs, they will study the cellular processes that lead to cancer, as well as diseases of neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
“Our family is pleased to play a small role in the important work underway in OMRF’s cancer research laboratories,” said Jilene Boghetich, managing trustee of the Rapp Foundation. “Cancer seems to strike almost every family in some way, and our goal is to help OMRF’s scientists discover new methods to detect and treat the disease.”
Founded in 1951, the Rapp Foundation distributes funds to a wide variety of charitable projects throughout the U.S. This new grant to OMRF represents the latest in a long line of gifts that have helped the Oklahoma City-based nonprofit strengthen its scientific infrastructure.
The new funds will help support the recruitment of a pair of new scientists, Wan Hee Yoon, Ph.D., and Jiang Li, Ph.D.
Yoon joins OMRF from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and his research uses fruit flies to understand the processes of cellular decline that lead to diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. Li also studies the basic cellular mechanisms underlying cancer and neurodegeneration, and he comes to OMRF from Northwestern University in Chicago.
The grant will provide funding for the purchase of sophisticated laboratory equipment and supplies for the new researchers. It will also help support salaries of personnel working in their labs.
“It’s hard to imagine OMRF as it is today without the enduring generosity of the Rapp Foundation through the years,” said OMRF Vice President of Development Penny Voss. “They’ve been true friends to OMRF and to medical research in Oklahoma, and they’ve invested in visionary projects that will benefit us all.”

A relentless pursuit of excellence in cardiac care has once again earned the Oklahoma Heart Hospital (OHH) a national ranking as one of 50 top cardiovascular hospitals by IBM’s Watson Health study, previously known as the Truven Health Analytics study.
“Although this is the fifth time OHH has been ranked one of the top heart hospitals in the nation, it’s our patients who are the real winners,” said Peggy Tipton, RN, OHH’s chief operating officer. “We set the bar extremely high – aiming to lead the nation in all areas of cardiac care. Our physicians and co-workers work together as a team to provide the best heart care.”
The 50 hospitals in the Watson Health study scored higher than their peers on clinical outcomes for heart attack and heart failure treatments, as well as coronary bypass and angioplasty surgeries. The hospitals performed better on mortality and complications, as well as 30-day mortality and readmissions. On average, their procedures cost less and patients had shorter hospitals stays.
For results, Watson Health uses the most recent Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) data from the Medicare Provider Analysis and Review files, CMS Hospital Compare and Medicare cost reports. With the data, the company produces the only study of its kind in identifying the best health systems in the nation. Health systems do not apply for consideration, and winners do not pay to market their award.
“While there are many published rankings of hospitals, the Watson Health survey is one of the most highly regarded by the health care industry,” said Dr. Brook Scott, OHH’s chief medical officer. “Being named one of the 50 top heart hospitals, and one of only 15 community-based hospitals, is a tremendous achievement.”
Oklahoma Heart Hospital, a physician-owned hospital, partners with Mercy and operates two hospitals with a combined 143 beds in Oklahoma City and many clinics throughout Oklahoma.
“Oklahoma Heart Hospital cares for Oklahomans across the state, and we are committed to providing the best care anywhere,” said Dr. John Harvey, OHH president and chief executive officer.

Date/ Day/ Location/ Time/ Registration #/ Instructor

Jan 4/ Thursday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 951-2277/ Varacchi
Integris 3rd Age Life Center – 5100 N. Brookline, Suite 100
Jan 8/ Monday/ Midwest City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 473-9239/ Williams
First Christian Church – 11950 E. Reno Ave.
Jan 9/ Tuesday/ Yukon/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 350-7680/ Kruck
Dale Robertson Center – 1200 Lakeshore Dr.
Jan 9/ Tuesday/ Midwest City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 691-4091/ Palinsky
Rose State Conventional Learning Center – 6191 Tinker Diagonal
Jan 10/ Wednesday/ Mustang/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 376-3411/ Kruck
Mustang Senior Center – 1201 N. Mustang Rd.
Jan 12/ Friday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 951-2277/ Edwards
S.W. Medical Center – 4200 S. Douglas, Suite B-10
Jan 23/ Tuesday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 773-6910/ Kruck
Healthy Living – 11501 N. Rockwell
Jan 24/ Wednesday/ Norman/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 515-8300/ Schaumburg Silver Elms Estate – 2100 36th Ave. N.W.
Jan 24/ Wednesday/ OKC/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 751-3600/ Palinsky Fountains of Cantebery (Town Center Rm – 1404 N.W. 122nd St.
Jan 29/ Monday/ Shawnee/ 9:30 am – 3:45 pm/ 818-2916/ Brase Shawnee Senior Center – 401 S. Bell St.
The prices for the classes are: $15 for AARP members and $20 for Non-AARP. Call John Palinsky, zone coordinator for the Oklahoma City area at 405-691-4091 or send mail to: johnpalinsky@sbcglobal.net

“3rd Annual Garden Boot Camp presented by Oklahoma Gardeners Association will be held Saturdays, January 27, February 3, and February 10, 2018, 9:00 am – 3:30 pm, at Will Rogers Exhibition Center, 3400 NW 36th Street, OKC. Three Saturdays filled with a wide range of gardening information presented by horticultural specialist from around our State. Great to give as a gift to family and friends. Gift Certificates available now. $45 for all 3 Saturdays. For more information or to register, visit our website, www.okgardeners.org or call 694-8456. Seating limited. Deadline for registration is January 12, 2018”.
Oklahoma Gardeners Association is a 501c3 organization. Thier mission is to educate the public using sound research-based horticultural information. We offer children’ programs, informational tables at fairs, garden shows and other events, and speakers who make presentations at various organizational meetings and garden shows in addition to the annual Garden Boot Camp in January and February each year to give gardeners information to start their gardening season right.

Make a Difference Volunteering for Resident’s in Long-Term Care

The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program serves residents in nursing homes, assisted living centers and residential care homes. An Ombudsman helps to improve the quality of care and life for the residents living in long-term care communities. As a friendly visitor and advocate, the volunteer has many opportunities to be of service and enrich the lives of the residents. Many residents never have a visitor after moving to a long-term care facility.
If you are interested in making a difference in the lives of residents in Canadian, Cleveland, Logan or Oklahoma Counties, we have opportunities waiting for you. If you are willing to be that friendly face and advocacy helper, it only takes a desire to be the difference in someone’s life. Potential volunteers are required to complete a two-day training class, become designated to a facility, attend a once a month educational training meeting, and commit to a minimum of only 2 hours per week visiting with residents. Sound simple? It is! Such a small sacrifice to make a huge impact in the lives of so many. Our aging community deserves a happy life. Will you help deliver some happiness?
The next training will be January 24th & 25th, 2018 held at Areawide Aging Agency, located at 4101 Perimeter Center Drive, Suite 310, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. There is no cost involved and refreshments will be served, but lunch is on your own. Each day classes begin at 9:00 a.m. and will adjourn at 3:00 p.m. This is a FREE 2-day training. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, or just want to learn more about the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, please RSVP by January 17,2018. Please contact Ombudsman Supervisor Tonya VanScoyoc, (405)942-8500. Hurry!! There’s limited seating so register to attend in order to save your seat.

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