Who’s Covering the Retirement Bill?
Written by Lawrence Gonzalez, CFE and Financial Literacy Educator
About four years back, it hit me. I’m a “granmoun” (Haitian Creole to English translation: Old folk) which means that my mom is pretty much an older old person as well.
“When you are your parent’s retirement plan“, it’s time to step up your game and knock it out. Like a lot of first-generation millennials, we will really have to draft out the family game plan moving forward. No matter if you are Jamaican-American, Bahamian-American, etc-American or even African-American; this checklist will be pivotal to help you put everything in the proper context. This will be broken in small digestible reads and will not be extremely comprehensive (special cases are just that special cases).
Things to consider because you are a serious coffee-drinking adult now (Even Soulja Boy thinks of his future)
Huffington Post posted the 7 Easiest Places To Retire Overseas On A Budget. There are hundreds of wonderful places to retire overseas on a budget, but some are much easier to move to and settle in than others. However, I’d argue with a bit of bias that Haiti could be considered one of the places. Before we jump the gun, what makes for an “easy” overseas retirement destination?
Pluses of living in Haiti:
Check out “The Haitian American” FB page, “Lunionsuite.com” on Instagram, or “SeeJeanty” Youtube to really get a behind the scene glance of life on the island and the colorful moun (colorful people).
- Lower costs of living (in comparison to the US, Canada, or France): $25k retirement income (juiced by US Social Security benefits) places you squarely among the petit elites. Enough for a mansion. I’m not even kidding. By the way, 85% of the Black community aren’t saving enough in retirement. So before you run for the hills, this might be the plug. If you are lucky, your parents might be stashing money to ease the burden. Consequently, if not, each parent will cost you at least $15,000 annually for starters.
- Lower levels of stress: no one is checking for you, en deyò (outside of the capital of Haiti). If you want to be free from all the CNN and Fox News, this is where you go to just relax. As a result, there is a new wave of innovation coming to ease access to fast travel, in-country adventure excursions, and even night light. It’s a blank canvas where you can keep it blank poolside.
- Build your vacation home of choice: pretty much where you want. And guess what, it’s also your vacation hideaway or your ultimate, “drop your kids for the summer experience“. It’s not a bad plan. In Brief, a short flight and VOILA, you can be hanging out with celebs at Decameron, kicking it in Cap Haitian, or touring La Citadelle. The options are pretty endless and culturally significant. Being there is like being part of the tapestry.
- A higher level of social mobility: basically, you will be able to vibe with anyone and dance Kompa every weekend or weekday. Haitians are friendly. The country was founded as the first true free independent society. Therefore, it doesn’t even feel like there is anything hanging over you. If you are black, it’s comfortable on steroids. If you are white, you are fine too. As stated before, very friendly.
- Eat better locally farmed “organic” produce. I put “organic” in quotes because Haiti has been organic long before Whole Foods showed up. Fresh juices with cancer-fighting properties and lower health concerns. By the way, Haiti boast a great diversity in cuisine.; mixing African, French, and Spanish elements. The new-age Chefs are pushing la Gastronomie Creoleto new levels. You will be in for a treat. A dine-in or dine-out experience. Haiti’s food is rich in natural flavors.
- Opportunity for additional part-time work: which can include Teaching English, Nursing, Technology, Hospitality, Travel, just farming in your own area, or you can draw/paint stuff for all you care (Haitians are renown for art and even Harlem Renaissance poets caught their flow on the island). Don’t count yourself out. You are bringing years of expertise. And it’s all useable.
Minus of living in Haiti:
Because there are some downsides to Retiring in Haiti.
1. It’s not the same Haiti as before.
Give or take your parents left circa the 1980s. And yeah, they came back and forth but they haven’t stayed there for months on end. Things have changed. You have become accustomed to the nicer things like Publix, Krogers, Walgreens, Chick Fil a, and even Walmart. Setting expectations is key. Comcast installation might suck but the resources to get you up and running and stable will be harder to come by. It’s different from America with even less local govt. Federal govt. or general accountability. pssst – corruption ahoy.
2. Insecurity concerns
I suggest connecting to myHaiti Insider since Insecurity is always ramping up (for some reason). With an influx of future cash flowing expats, just know that people will notice. Driving in a new car is a tell-tell sign of a bit of luxury and wealth. However, treat people right and less showboating and voila you are part of the proletariat.
3. Price inflations ahead: full steam.
Food prices, gas prices will bump up due to the influx of need and opportunity. Since there is already price instability today, I’d suggest you take full advantage of small sustainable farming and solar energy. It’s just a thing that happens. More people show up, prices will magically go up. Haitian restaurants are notorious for not having a fixed menu. Keep one eye open, Pirates (not sure where all the pirate puns are coming from). But you get my drift. Imports are about to go up and retirement funds are going to get depleted. Someone has to get all this money. And you might not get paid well. Just saying.
That’s a “huge” issue, like “huge” to quote #45 (U.S. President Trump). Getting in and out of the country is a mess especially if there is insecurity or pending natural disaster. The infrastructure just isn’t at the level you’d expect. Most major cities aren’t directly connected; and if you need a guide, than it’s a No. That’s an extra fee.
This is a vesting issue waiting to blow up. When they get hit with that doulé, where are you going? Where are the pharmacies and what are the hours of operation? Depression and lost, are they mentally ready for those changes. Where are the communities for that? Does Haiti have a long term strategy? <– that’s a No! Access to the right medicine or the right specialist can quickly escalate to life/death scenarios. But don’t worry too much about the downside, like Marc Joseph, Haitian Entrepreneur stated: “you can get really low-cost insurance (Single-digit/month) that will helicopter you out of Haiti for a medical emergency.” <— You have to do the leg work.
6. Separation Anxieties (from family, friends, and community)
Grandkids, what about the grandkids?! You will lose those precious moments. Next time you see the kids, they won’t speak creole. Those sell-outs lol. How are you going to reach people especially when your parents expect you to call them but won’t pick up the phone? The questions. And with looming natural/national disasters, that’s a toxic bouillion of stress and no communication for a couple of days.
There is a lot to consider. It can be a fun ride or an unplanned catastrophe. This ends Part I… no really, it does lol.
It’s all about considering all of the planning phases. Is it a good idea? Yes. Can it work? Yes. Are there risks? Yes. Haiti can be a unique retirement opportunity with loads of new industry growth due to the influx of new money (or dare we say old money). From festivals to tapas to luxury quiet villas, Haiti isn’t perfect, but it has its perks. Here’s hoping you are using Net/Max so you can jumpStart your parents’ lives (Part Deux – the granmoun financial breakdown plan).
For even more content, stay connected with my Linktr.ee/GQ_accountant. Furthermore, as always, share, like and definitely begin having the conversation about money before it is too late. We love comments.
Bonus Resources from the author:
Between Mint.com and Personal Capital, I’m gonna go with Personal Capital because A. they give you $20 Amazon gift card with my referral link (once you complete it), B. It’s what the big CEO-types use. Why not? No matter how you slice it, it’s FREE to use. https://lnkd.in/dD9K_-5. Additionally, download and print out the NetMax Plan that help me go from NEGATIVE $110,000 to POSITIVE $200,000 in net worth in 5 years. We also have them for NetMax Plan – Single Parents, and for NetMax Plan – couples.