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July 02, 2013


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Great post. I've read a few issues of International Living magazine where they highlight different countries you can retire in and talk about expat communities around the world. For those considering this option I highly recommend a subscription to the magazine. It's fun for dreamers (like me) who are still a bit from retirement too!

I think it's totally an option. My wife and I have discussed the possibility of retiring elsewhere and would be open to it. It would be hard to be so far from family, but are planning on looking into it at least.

With the saved money, one could fly home to visit family 4 times a year instead of twice per year if living in florida. Its a great option, especially for those seeking a bit of adventure in their golden years.

I have lived overseas most of the past 27 years. Mostly we have lived in Brazil. We are approaching 60 years of age and no idea where we might retire. Out children do live in the USA. If our children marry and have grandchildren that will become a big factor.

One of the big factors in living overseas is the exchange rate. We have seen the exchange rate double in a short period. Likewise we have seen in fall in half in a equally short period of time. That means that your disposable income can vary widely.

A country can start out being very inexpensive and in time turn expensive. I understand that after WW 2 Japan was very inexpensive and now it is one of the more expensive countries. Inflation coupled with a low dollar can really hammer income.

Another factor to consider is the cost of returning a body from overseas. We have long ago decided that if one of us dies overseas the body is buried overseas. But not everyone want to make that kind of commitment. It can run into ten's of thousands of dollars to get the permits, shipping fees, etc. to return a body from overseas.

These are not reasons to live overseas, but are factors that should be included as you consider the move. Maintaining life insurance may be necessary. If you move to a foreign country you need to have some room in your budget or you may find yourself making sacrifices in your lifestyle.

If you buy a house when the dollar is strong you get get a better sale in dollars if you decide that you need to leave because the dollar is down. But the dollar can go stronger and you don't receive as much from the sale of the house as you had planned. But be warned that buying and selling real estate overseas is not easy and the rules are different.

I plan to be a nomad when we're both fully retired. It would be great to spend a few years in different regions to explore.
Is the medical facility really that bad?
Crime - there must be good neighborhood in Cuenca too. I guess that's one big problem with less developed countries.

I have always wondered how the visa situation works for those wanting to retire abroad. How is it they are able to stay there so long and even buy property?

Yep, leaving country is a big deal. I have a Swedish cousin who considered moving to the U.S. for the lower costs but didn't want to deal with the crime.

You are totally right, FMF. I have thought about moving to a place like Ecuador myself if I lose decent paying employment. I could get by there with a much smaller portfolio and become fluent in Spanish (something I've wanted to do for a long time instead of being in semi-fluent limbo as I currently am). Obviously, it's not a viable option for everyone...but it's something more people should consider..and I think more people will do just that.

I'm usually one of the cynical doubters about living abroad. I'm mostly cynical because these stories tend to leave out a lot of important details or sugar coat the idea. But I'm also probably biased cause this isn't for me.. I don't want to leave the USA.

Cuenca doesn't seem bad though, if thats what you wanna do. It does seem cheap and pretty safe.

I found a blog from some expats living in Cuenca:
They were advertising a furnished apartment for $400/mo.

One thing they talk about is rising prices. Once rich gringos flood into an area all the sudden the rent goes from $350 to $400 to $450... and that pastry that was 13c last week is now 25c (for gringos).

Crime is not bad in Cuenca from what info I can find online. Theres petty rime problems (purse snatching, pickpockets) but lower violent crime in Cuenca. Ecuador has a higher murder rate than US but Cuenca apparently isn't bad for violent crime.
Healthcare there isn't fabulous and WHO ranks Ecuador #111 in the world versus USA at #38. But you can probably find good doctors and hospitals.

Nothing against Cuenca, but there are lots of places in the USA where it is pretty easy to live on $21,600 per year too. Spending $96k per year in Vegas is a pretty luxurious lifestyle, 10k/year in property taxes means they could easily downsize.

My brother retired south of the border in his early 40s and he's having a blast. He's building a house that he designed in a small city where it's springtime weather year round, and it costs less than a mobile home here. Getting hired help is a hassle (and a risk) here, but where he lives it's easily done and inexpensive. His next project is opening a restaurant to cater to the rapidly growing expat population around his new home.

Unfortunately I don't think it'll work for me though because I'm not interested in learning a foreign language, and pretty much all of the Anglophone countries are even more expensive than the USA. So I'll probably sell the house and do the RV thing.

I plan to retire to Spain. Everything is much cheaper over there, not to mention better weather!

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