Thursday, June 10, 2004

Outsourcing Eldercare

The dynamic U.S. economy continues to be a magnet for immigrants. The pluses and minuses of open borders will always be debated but there is no denying that this means that the U.S. labor force will not age as quickly as that of other advanced economies. This is no small advantage in light of all the fretting over how growing cohorts of the elderly will support themselves -- and how they will be supported.

Yet, international migration is a two-way street. Many U.S. social security recipients have already discovered the joys of taking their U.S. pensions and savings in some lower cost-of-living place. Calculators are available that give an inkling of the possibilities: move from Boston to Barcelona and cut your cost of living by 25%.

It's not for everyone (and it is not a political platform) but some of the pressures on our system can be alleviated as more people consider the options. Tomorrow's elderly will be more likely to have traveled abroad and many should be less averse to a new chapter of their lives in some semi-exotic place where they can kick up their standard of living.

Not only that but, as with most migrations, there will be economic gains at the origin as well as at the destination.