Growing number of Americans retiring outside the US

Markets Associated Press

In this photo provided by Joseph Roginski, taken May 13, 2011, Joseph Roginski, right, holds a package in a storeroom of the Misawa City Hall in Japan, where donations of clothing and supplies were being kept for earthquake relief efforts. He says ... that while the cost of living is higher in Japan, access to health care is not. “Things are very expensive here. It is impossible to live off Social Security alone,” said Roginski, who was stationed in Japan in 1968. “But health insurance is a major factor in staying here.” The former military language and intelligence specialist said he pays $350 annually to be part of Japan’s national health insurance. His policy covers 70 percent of his costs. The rest is covered by a secondary insurance program for retired military personnel. (Joseph Roginski via AP) (The Associated Press)

A growing number of Americans are retiring outside the United States.

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In many cases, they're looking for a way to stretch their retirement income.

The percent of American retirees living abroad rose 17 percent between 2010 and 2015. All told, the Social Security Administration says there are just under 400,000 American retirees living elsewhere.

Countries they've chosen most often: Canada, Japan, Mexico, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Viviana Rojas, an associate professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio, says not speaking the language or knowing the culture may be a hurdle for retirees moving to another country. Accessing health care also can be a challenge.

Olivia S. Mitchell, director of the Pension Research Council, says Medicare is not available to those outside the U.S.