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Expat Life

Gen Xers are hot on Baby Boomers’ heels in considering moving abroad; affordable living, increased opportunities are biggest draws

Although the oldest Generation Xers are only 58, the Gen X population is hot on the heels of the baby boomer generation exiting North America seeking a better life abroad.

Ecuador is the favorite South American destination for North American expats.
Ecuador is favorite South American destination for expats.

The Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Gen Ys, and Millennia’s are familiar terms that reflect popular beliefs of differences among North American generations.

Demographers, historians, and commentators use beginning birth dates ranging from early 1960’s to the early 1980s to define Generation X (wikipedia.org). Generation X is most likely to work and live internationally with their spouse and/or children. Expat Generation X are more ‘internationally minded’ than the preceding generations, including Baby Boomers.

Gen Xers’ tend to have an easier time adjusting to new cultures, have more of an adventurous spirit, and are more willing to forfeit stability (that Baby Boomer crave) for a chance to explore new opportunities. Given the continuous trends for globalization, expatriates of the 21th century differ in many ways from the ones of the 20st century.

Expat Generation X are are close to reaching the peak of their careers and are the largest generation of working expatriates today. Gen X expats are highly educated, motivated and are ready and eager to jump at the chance to work, live and play abroad. Generation X is more willing (than Boomers) to re-invent themselves abroad.

The first waves of Boomers exiting North America were not doing it necessarily to re-invent themselves. From the early 2,000’s to 2008 baby boomers flooding into Latin American destinations, didn’t think they were risking their security when investing in real estate for a second home, or income property, they were expanding their portfolios. Following the U.S. housing plunge and the 2008 global economic recession, the Baby Boomers were looking for ways to outlive their nest egg and many moved because they had lost their nest egg.

Most Gen Xers have at the least 15 years to retirement, and in many cases do not see a viable end game in North America. According to Forbes, many Gen Xers, as well as Baby Boomers, may need to downgrade their lifestyle in North American retirement. High debt, low assets are dragging down both generations.

According to a report by Pew Charitable Trusts, Baby Boomers in general may be “the last group on track to retire with enough savings to maintain their financial security through their golden years.” the study finds. But the next generations are struggling — especially Generation X.

In a recent TCRN poll of North Americans interested in moving to Latin America, just over 40% were Gen Xers.

Why do expats want in a life abroad?

The answers: Less stress, 14%; Affordable living, 46%; More opportunities, 32%; Other reasons, 8%.

Lack of an affordable lifestyle and opportunity in America are key driving factors for a majority of those seeking to expatriate.

According to a report called “Counting the Uncountable: Overseas Americans,” published on the Migration Policy Institute web, up to 6.8 million Americans live in another country, either on a temporary basis or permanently.

In Costa Rica, the number of expats living is reported to be somewhere between 30,000 and 50,000; however as many as 200,000 are here living temporarily trying to build a better life. In Central America, Costa Rica trails only Mexico in total number of expats.

In South America, Ecuador leads with an estimated 50,000 expats although the U.S. ambassador to the country recently said the number could be over 100,000. The city of Cuenca, in the country’s southern Andes, has an established community of expats from North America and Europe that numbers between 6,000 and 7,000, according to demographers.