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May 05, 2009


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Very exhaustive resource. Whew....

From a financial angle, yes, this is a great alternative. I personally would rather work longer than move to a place where I don't have my community of friends.

That's just me.

I love this concept! My wife and I have considered taking mini-retirements once we become debt-free by living in specific countries. There are some places a dollar can really go a long way. In addition, the ability to make even minimum wage online becomes a really powerful tool!

I've bookmarked this post and look forward to weeding through all these links!

You have to understand the visa issues for staying long term. Here in Thailand, these seem to change regularly. Also foreigners can't own land, only condos (where a majority of tenants in the complex are locals).

Also keep your money spread out around the world to hedge your bets. Easy to do in the 21st century.

As an American you still need to file and pay taxes however if you can pass a bona fide residency test in a foreign country (and spend less than 34 days in the US in a given calendar year) you can get an excemption on foreign earned income up to $87k per year. However you don't get any credit on foreign taxes paid.

It's a great way to open your eyes though. Obama lived overseas, so did Geithner (when he flubbed his taxes). Try it, the world isn't so big and people are people the world round.


I'd seriously look at the crime rates and infrastructure of these countries before considering moving. THe murder rate in Nicaragua, Ecuador and Panama is about 2-3 times the rate in the USA. The murder rate in Panama City would make it one of the 10 worst in the USA.

Also look at health and disease issues. Malaria and Tuberculosis are not uncommon in these countries. There are half as many doctors per capita in Panama compared to the USA.

I don't want to paint these countries as horrible or anything, but people should be well aware of all the differences that would impact quality of life if they consider moving out of the USA. We take a lot of stuff for granted in the US like not dying from malaria.

I live in a developing country (Chile) and it has enabled me (a 25 year old recent grad) to save up about 25k in a year because I work online earning a low U.S. salary. With about 30k my husband and I live excellent here.

However, "relaxed pace" is bullshit. That's actually code for "nothing, and I mean NOTHING works."

Nothing worked in the Dominican when I visited. But it was soooo beautiful.

I want to go back :/

Yes, living overseas can save a fortune! I currently live in Papua New Guinea. Here's how it saves us money:

1. A doctors visit is only 60 cents. Surgery is $7.50. It costs us $2 to mail a claim to our international health insurance company. Needless to say we don't make many claims. But, international health insurance has doubled in the last two years.
2. Pressure to decrease your lifestyle. My family of four lives in a moderate sized three bedroom house. The locals call it a mansion. We feel embarrassed to buy too much.
3. Can't find a T-shirt for $35. Right now I'm vacationing in Canada and went to a Roots clothing store and saw a T-shirt for $35. I couldn't even find a shirt in my hometown (Alotau, PNG) for more than $10. Someone couldn't ethically charge me that kind of money for a piece of cloth.

It seems very tempting to move to a cheaper country but I'm used to a certain amount of infrastructure, ie. things that work.
I'm not saying foreign countries are less desirable, I just might find it frustrating to deal with inefficiency.

The idea of moving away is good, but I'm skeptical whether it's going to be fun without friends and family. Which may not be a big deal when you're working, but when you're retired, with so much time on your hands... might be lonely. Mexico might be an option for Californians.

Another thing: I think inflation is higher in developing countries than in the western world (they're catching up with us, and prices reflect that). Over a long timespan (like 30 years) small percentages add up. I have no idea whether an extra 2% inflation is realistic, but say it is, then at the end of the 30 years your costs will have risen twice as fast as in the U.S. No foreign retiree seems to be thinking of this, but I think they're going to be surprised. My point: be conservative in your spending.

When I was in Peace Corps, the wife and I lived comfortably on a stipend of about $5000/year plus about $2500 worth of rent. This was in an Eastern European capital. One could easily live in the smaller towns for $6000/year and the life there is pretty good, but it would be lonely until you learned the language.

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