Chapter 20When the Hammock Gets BoringWhat to Do after You Retire and Move Overseas

WE HAVE TWO FAMILY MEMBERS WHO, up until a few years ago, were looking forward to retiring in the next few years to a small beach community. He’s already retired, in fact, from his work as a police officer. She’s a high-powered attorney for a multinational company, currently on assignment in China.

Before their posting to China, they’d never lived overseas or even traveled much beyond a few trips to Mexico to visit us. They wanted nothing more from their retirement than to hang in a hammock with a good book (her) and to drink beer on the terrace overlooking the water (him).

Today, though, their retirement wish list has changed a bit. Living overseas has been an eye-opener for them, especially for our now-retired male relative. It was a struggle for him to make friends at first, since most of the expats in China were still working, as was his wife. And most of the nonworking spouses were female. He soon learned that drinking beer and watching the world go by was fun for a while but wasn’t what he wanted to do in his retirement years.

As we said, today this couple has a more realistic vision of what retirement will be for them. They still think they’d like to live on the beach, but in a bigger locale with more offerings for cultural and other activities. He’d like to play golf and she’d like to volunteer in a mentoring-type position. They’ve decided that instead of a small, isolated village, they’d ...

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