Retiring in American Samoa
This article takes you through the main things you need to consider if you're retiring to American Samoa.
American Samoa, located in the South Pacific, is an emerging retirement destination for those seeking a unique and tropical environment with access to natural beauty, cultural events, and a relaxed pace of life.
American Samoa has no specific mandated retirement age; there are some age-related benefits, such as Social Security and Medicare, that soon-to-be retirees need to be aware of.
Five percent of the American Samoa population is over 65, making it a smaller retirement population compared to many other states.
Retirees in American Samoa can enjoy living in a peaceful and beautiful environment that offers plenty of opportunities for relaxation and outdoor activities.
American Samoa has some limitations due to its size, including limited healthcare options, job opportunities, and limited access to travel and goods from outside the territory.
American Samoa enjoys a lower cost of living compared with the US.
What age can you retire in American Samoa?
Like many locations, American Samoa has no specific retirement age that is mandated by law. This means that individuals are free to retire whenever they choose, as long as they are able to financially support themselves. However, there are some age-related benefits and considerations for retirees in American Samoa:
Social Security benefits: The earliest age at which you can begin receiving Social Security benefits is 62, but if you delay taking benefits, your monthly payments will increase. Full retirement age (FRA) is between 66 and 67, depending on your birth year. Delaying benefits until after FRA can result in even higher monthly payments.
Medicare eligibility: Medicare eligibility begins at age 65, regardless of retirement status. However, since American Samoa is a territory and not a state, some Medicare coverage may not be available. Retirees should research their options for healthcare coverage.
Age discrimination: It is illegal for employers to discriminate against employees or job applicants based on age.
Retirement savings: Regardless of retirement age, it is important for individuals to start saving for retirement as early as possible. Many financial experts recommend saving at least 15 percent of your income for retirement.
However, like any location, there are both pros and cons to retiring in American Samoa.
Why do people retire to American Samoa?
Tropical environment: American Samoa is known for its tropical climate, beautiful beaches, and lush rainforests. Retirees can enjoy living in a peaceful and beautiful environment that offers plenty of opportunities for relaxation and outdoor activities.
Cultural scene: American Samoa has a vibrant cultural scene, with traditional dances, music, and food that reflect the Samoan way of life. The territory hosts several festivals and events throughout the year, including the Flag Day celebrations and the Teuila Festival.
Relaxed pace of life: American Samoa has a slower pace of life compared to many other locations, which can be attractive to retirees seeking a more laid-back lifestyle.
What are the disadvantages of retiring to American Samoa?
Limited healthcare options: Since American Samoa is a small territory, healthcare options may be limited compared to larger states or countries. Retirees should research their options for healthcare coverage.
Isolation: American Samoa is a remote location, with limited access to travel and goods from outside the territory. This could be a concern for retirees who prefer more accessible and connected locations.
Limited job opportunities: American Samoa has a small economy, with limited job opportunities compared to larger states or countries. Retirees should consider their financial situation and whether they will need to work during retirement.
What is the cost of living in American Samoa?
For those living in American Samoa, they can enjoy a lower cost of living compared with the US.
According to data from the Economic Research Institute (ERI), American Samoa is 33 percent less expensive than California when calculating accumulative costs across food, transportation, health service, rent, utilities, and taxes.
Buying property or owning American Samoa real estate is complicated. Non-native of American Samoa are not permitted to own land, meaning they cannot purchase property similar to how they would in the US. Instead, the majority of land is communal owned, with Matai leaders overseeing the control of the land. While US retirees may not be able to purchase land in the territory, they can enter into long-term leaseholds.
How can I enjoy an American Samoa retirement?
American Samoa offers a retirement experience that is becoming increasingly popular among retirees. According to data from the American Samoa Government in 2020, the territory had a population of approximately 55,000 people, with over five percent of the population aged 65 and over, making it a smaller retirement population compared to many other states.
If you dream of living in American Samoa for your retirement, it’s wise to seek out expert advice before you make the move. A qualified financial advisor can help you weigh up your options. From how much you’ll need to retire to how you plan to spend your money, your advisor will work with you to create a retirement plan unique to your needs and wants. Unbiased will help you find an SEC-regulated financial advisor. Find a financial advisor here.
Where are the best places to retire in American Samoa?
If American Samoa is your chosen retirement state, here are some of the best places to retire in:
Pago Pago: Pago Pago is the capital city of American Samoa and the largest town on the island of Tutuila. It is situated in a natural harbor and surrounded by lush green mountains. Pago Pago offers a variety of amenities, including shops, restaurants, and healthcare facilities, while still maintaining a relaxed island vibe.
Leone: Leone is a small village located on the western side of Tutuila. It is known for its stunning beaches, coral reefs, and tropical rainforest. Leone is a great place to retire for those who enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and swimming.
Aua: Aua is a village located on the southern coast of Tutuila. It is known for its picturesque beaches, clear waters, and scenic cliffs. Aua is a quiet and peaceful place to retire, perfect for those who enjoy a laid-back lifestyle.
Tafuna: Tafuna is a town located on the eastern side of Tutuila. It is home to the main airport and is the commercial hub of American Samoa. Tafuna offers a mix of urban and rural living, with shops, restaurants, and healthcare facilities, as well as lush rainforests and secluded beaches.
Ofu: Ofu is a small island located in the Manu'a Islands group, a remote and pristine area of American Samoa. Ofu is known for its stunning coral reefs, turquoise waters, and white sandy beaches. It is a peaceful and secluded place to retire, perfect for those who enjoy nature and solitude.
It is important to note that American Samoa is a remote and isolated destination and may not offer the same level of amenities and services as more popular retirement destinations. However, for those looking for a unique and tranquil way of life, American Samoa can offer a special retirement experience in a beautiful and culturally rich part of the world.
It's important to seek expert financial advice to weigh up all of the costs associated with retiring in American Samoa, including property taxes, insurance, and living expenses, in order to make an informed decision about whether the state is the right choice for your retirement. Find a financial advisor today.
Kate has written for leading publications and blue chip companies over the last 20 years.