Sunday, April 7, 2013

More Places to Retire Overseas

Baby Boomers are well-traveled and love new experiences.  As a result, many of them are giving serious consideration to retiring overseas.  Consequently, a number of different websites have produced their own lists of some of their favorite places to retire outside the United States.  In December, 2012, U.S. News published the list they had compiled.  All the locations on their list are fun, interesting places where you will not be lonely.  Most of them have thriving ex-patriot communities made up of retired Americans.  Below is the U.S. News list, along with some basic information and my personal impressions of each.

Where to Retire Overseas

Cuenca, Ecuador

Ecuador is considered one of the more affordable places for Americans to retire.  As I have mentioned before in this blog, some retired friends of ours were actually house-hunting in Ecuador when the wife was stricken by an unexpected brain aneurism.  The doctors and medical facilities in Ecuador were amazing, and she was able to receive life saving brain surgery there.  Of course, their plans to move to Ecuador were interrupted, and now they are back in the United States while she recuperates.

According to U.S. News, a retired couple could live in the charming colonial city of Cuenca for about $1,200 a month.  A small condo there can be purchased for as little as $40,000. This means that many Americans could pay cash for a nice condo in Ecuador by using the equity in their current home, and live comfortably on their Social Security benefits.  It was this affordability that first attracted our friends, as well as many other people.

Granada, Nicaragua

This is another charming city in Central America with an affordable cost of living and low real estate prices.  The government of Nicaragua has had a bad reputation in recent years, so many people may be reluctant to visit this area.  However, there is an ex-patriot community of Americans living in Granada, and most of them feel very comfortable living there. 

Cebu, Philippines

The island of Cebu is another popular and affordable real estate location.  Many members of the U.S. military have chosen to  retire here because they can live so well on their military retirement.  There are some restrictions on purchasing real estate in the Philippines, but it is still possible for Americans to purchase a condo.

One of the more interesting comments the U.S. News article made about the Philippines was that many American men in their 50's and 60's move there to find wives and start families!  That is the first time I have ever read that about a potential retirement location.

Medellin, Columbia

According to the U.S. News article, this South American city is safe and beautiful.  There are also large literary, artistic, industrial and financial communities in the city.  However, personally I was surprised to see Medellin on the list.  Isn't that the location of the Medellin drug cartel?  Before flying off to this city, I suggest that my readers check the State Department website to make sure there are no travel warnings for that location.  Currently, the State Department website says "security in Columbia has improved significantly in recent years ... but violence linked to narco-trafficking continues to affect some rural areas and parts of large cities."   Later, the website talks about the danger of both violent and petty crimes. 

This brings to mind the fact that we should all do our own research and use our own judgement before moving to another country, even if we see a location on a list from U.S. News or some other reputable news source.

New Zealand

I have known several friends who vacationed in New Zealand, and they always returned full of enthusiam for this dramatically beautiful country.  This is considered a good place to retire part-time, because it is so difficult to become a full-time resident.  However, you can stay for six months at a time, return to the U.S. to visit friends and family, and then return to New Zealand. 

Another option that U.S. News recommends is that you spend six months of the year in New Zealand and six months in another country, like Panama.  This would give you a perpetual summer.  It is an intriguing suggestion, although I think many Americans might want to spend at least part of each year back in their old neighborhoods in the U.S., especially if they have left family behind.  One advantage of New Zealand is that they speak English.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

My husband and I first traveled to Puerto Vallarta in the early 1970's.  Back then, a number of celebrities, including Elizabeth Taylor, had vacation homes in the town. We fell in love with this tropical paradise and have returned several times since then.  Unfortunately, the area has become more developed and more expensive since the 1970's.   While it is not as cheap as some of the other spots mentioned here, it is beautiful.  There are fabulous beaches, golf courses, restaurants, shopping, marinas and five star hotels with great entertainment venues. However, in recent years I have also heard reports of increased crime in the city. 

Samana, Dominican Republic

Are you hoping to enjoy a relaxed Caribbean retirement?   The Dominican Republic is one of the more popular Caribbean locations.  It is very affordable and real estate is less expensive than in many other Caribbean countries.

One of our daughters went on vacation there with some friends.  The trip was very inexpensive, and there were lots of fun things to do.  They found the country to be both relaxing and vibrant.  They felt comfortable and safe while they were there.  Of course, it never pays to get careless about your personal safety in any country.

Rural France

This U.S. News suggestion surprised me.  I have actually heard rural Spain mentioned more often as an interesting and affordable place for Americans to retire.  U.S. News admits that France is not a budget retirement choice.  However, my husband and I have traveled to France several times and loved it, and so have many other couples we know.  There is no question that there is plenty to do, although not everyone can afford to retire there.

Belize

I was delighted to learn from this article that Belize is one of the safest countries in the world.  It is a tiny country.  Although I have not been inside Belize, my husband and I have spent time on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, just north of Belize, and were fascinated by the Mayan ruins and the mountainous jungles. It is an awe-inspiring part of the world.

Although it has been decades since our visit, I understand that most of that area has changed very little over the years.  There is no reason to feel lonely if you retire there. Ambergris Caye in Belize is home to a close-knit expat community of like-minded people.

Before You Move Overseas

If you are thinking about retiring to another country, there are certain things you need to take into consideration.  Not all of these countries have easy access to medical facilities.  Some of them have restrictions on your ability to buy real estate.  Other countries have restrictions on how long you can stay.

In addition, governments change and sometimes they may not always be friendly towards foreigners who have moved there.  As always, I suggest that my readers check the State Department website if they are visiting or moving to another country.  Pay attention to any warnings that may be issued.

Another issue you should consider is whether or not you will be happy living so far away from your current friends and loved ones.  While it may seem like an adventure at first, you may begin to feel lonely, especially if you lose your spouse.

However, if you are up for an adventure and you want to have the experience of living in another country, US News has provided us with a great list of potential countries.

Sources:

http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/On-Retirement/2012/12/04/best-overseas-retirement-options-for-2013

http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1090.html

If you are trying to decide where to retire, you may also be interested in reading some of the other posts that have been written for this blog.  Links to all of them can be found in the index articles listed below.  In particular, you may be interested in checking out the articles in "Great Places for Boomers to Retire Overseas."

Gifts, Travel and Family Relationships

Great Places for Boomers to Retire Overseas

Great Places to Retire in the United States

Health and Medical Topics for Baby Boomers

Money and Financial Planning for Retirement

You are reading from the blog:  http://baby-boomer-retirement.blogspot.com

Photo of Ecuadorian art courtesy of http://www.morguefile.com

1 comment:

  1. What wonderful information! I'm intrigued by the notion of living for 6 months in one country and 6 in another. Interesting concept.

    ReplyDelete

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