Retiring in Guam
In this article, we run through the main things you need to consider if you plan to retire in Guam.
Guam has no specific retirement age that is mandated by law.
Many financial experts recommend saving at least 15 percent of your income for retirement.
Its tropical climate, cultural scene and low taxes are some of the reasons people choose to retire to Guam.
Its high cost of living and distance between Guam and mainland US are some of the factors people decide not to relocate.
Guam has a higher cost of living than the US average; the average monthly spend for a retired couple living in Guam could be over $3,600.
Tamuning is one of the more popular choices for retirees due to its central location and proximity to shopping centers, restaurants, and medical facilities.
What age can you retire in Guam?
Guam 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 Guam:
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, if you choose to retire before age 65, you will need to find alternative healthcare coverage until you become eligible for Medicare.
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 the region.
Why do people retire to Guam?
Tropical climate: Guam has a tropical climate with warm temperatures and a constant breeze, making it an ideal destination for retirees who enjoy warm weather year-round.
Outdoor activities: Guam is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and offers numerous opportunities for outdoor activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, hiking, and fishing. The island also has several parks and beaches for picnics and relaxation.
Cultural scene: Guam has a rich history and culture, with several museums and cultural centers showcasing the island's Chamorro heritage. The island also hosts several festivals and events throughout the year, including the Guam Micronesia Island Fair and the Guam International Film Festival.
Low taxes: Guam has a lower tax rate than many other US states, making it an attractive destination for retirees who want to keep more of their retirement income.
What puts people off retiring to Guam?
Cost of living: Guam's cost of living is generally higher than the national average, which could be a concern for retirees on a fixed income. Housing and healthcare costs, in particular, are higher than in many other US states.
Isolation: Guam is a small island in the Pacific Ocean, which could be a concern for retirees who want easy access to mainland US or other parts of the world. Travel to and from Guam can be expensive and time-consuming.
Natural disasters: Guam is prone to natural disasters such as typhoons and earthquakes, which could be a concern for retirees living on the island. However, Guam has a well-prepared and organized emergency response system in place to mitigate the impact of these events.
If you’re still undecided, why not speak to an expert? A financial advisor can review your unique situation and help you create a retirement plan. Find your SEC-regulated financial advisor here.
How much does it cost to retire in Guam?
The Guam cost of living is higher than the US average.
According to the Guam Chamber of Commerce, approximate monthly expenses for a two-person household include:
$2,200 monthly rent for a 900 Sqft furnished apartment
$350 for basic utilities – heating, electricity, gas
$110 for cable
$5.24 per gallon of gas
$910 in other monthly expenses
Just considering these costs, the average monthly spend for a retired couple living in Guam is over $3,600.
While these monthly reoccurring costs are important to consider, you also need to think about the cost of physically moving yourself and your belongings to Guam. If you’re weighing up your options, it’s wise to seek out professional financial advice. An expert financial advisor can review your retirement savings and help you create a plan to make your retirement dreams a reality. Find a financial advisor with Unbiased here.
Where are the best places to retire in Guam?
If Guam is your chosen retirement state, here are some of the best places to retire in:
Tamuning: Located on the western side of the island, Tamuning is a popular choice for retirees due to its central location and proximity to shopping centers, restaurants, and medical facilities. Tamuning is also home to the famous Tumon Bay, which is known for its white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters.
Hagåtña: The capital city of Guam, Hagåtña, is a historic city that offers a mix of old and new. Retirees can explore the Spanish colonial architecture and visit historical landmarks such as the Plaza de España and the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica. Hagåtña is also home to the Guam Museum, which showcases the island's history and culture.
Dededo: Located in the northern part of Guam, Dededo is the most populous village on the island and offers a variety of housing options for retirees. Dededo is also home to Micronesia Mall, which has a movie theater, food court, and numerous shops and boutiques.
Yona: For retirees who prefer a more rural lifestyle, Yona may be a good option. Located in the southern part of Guam, Yona offers a peaceful and tranquil environment with lush vegetation and scenic views. It is also home to the Guam National Wildlife Refuge, which is a great place for birdwatching and hiking.
Talofofo: Another option for retirees seeking a more rural lifestyle is Talofofo. Located on the eastern side of the island, Talofofo is known for its stunning coastline, secluded beaches, and rugged terrain. It is also home to the Talofofo Falls Park, which features a waterfall, river, and hiking trails.
Is Guam a good place to retire?
Guam is a unique retirement destination for many Americans seeking a tropical and diverse environment with access to outdoor activities, cultural events, and a vibrant community. With its beautiful beaches, mountains, and rich history, Guam offers a retirement experience that attracts many retirees every year.
According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau in 2020, Guam had a population of approximately 170,000 people, with over nine percent of the population being over the age of 65, making it a great destination for retirees.
However, when making such a big decision about where to spend your retirement, it's important to seek expert financial advice to weigh up all of the costs associated with retiring in Guam, including property taxes, insurance, and living expenses. In order to make an informed decision about whether Guam is the right choice for your retirement, get in touch with an SEC-regulated financial advisor today.
Kate has written for leading publications and blue chip companies over the last 20 years.