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Retirees Increasingly Choose a Life of Travel

Retirees Increasingly Choose a Life of Travel

August 29, 2014

Social Sciences & Humanities

New York Times – Many American retirees have chosen to downsize to the extreme, choosing a life of travel over a life of tending to possessions. And their numbers are rising.

Between 1993 and 2012, the percentage of all retirees traveling abroad rose to 13 percent from 9.7 percent, according to the Commerce Department.

About 360,000 Americans received Social Security benefits at foreign addresses in 2013, about 48 percent more than 10 years earlier. An informal survey of insurance brokers found greater demand by older clients for travel medical policies. (Medicare, with a few exceptions, does not cover expenses outside the United States). While many retirees ultimately return home or become expatriates, some live like vagabonds.

Dr. Galit Nimrod, a research fellow at BGU’s Center for Multidisciplinary Research in Aging, says an extended post-retirement trip can assuage a sense of loss from ending a career.

Travel can “act as a neutral, transitional zone between voluntary or imposed endings and new beginnings” and “serve as a healthy coping mechanism,” says Dr. Nimrod.

“I kept telling myself, ‘This is home,’ ” says one traveler. “Where I am is home.”

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