Spending Your Golden Years in a Foreign Country
I just got back from a week driving around Baja, Mexico with my wife and daughter, and we had a terrific time.
You might think it’s a little crazy to spend spring break taking a Jeep an hour off the nearest paved road just to find a secluded surf spot but it’s par for the course in our family. Heck last year we were in El Salvador – a country that has one of the highest murder rates in the world – doing pretty much the same thing.
I admit, it’s easy to let the headlines scare you off.
But for me, it is precisely that kind of sensationalism that creates opportunities for savvy travelers.
Spring Break in Baja
In Baja, we stayed in a luxurious house with a clear view of the best surf break in the area for less than I’ve paid at a budget hotel in Florida.
Tacos at the local stand ran $11 for our whole family of three.
In the Valle de Guadalupe wine area, we drank very good local Bordeaux blends for a third of what their French or California equivalents go for.
And a quick look at the local Farmacia would show you ridiculously low prices for some of the same medicines U.S. residents pay a fortune for.
I never felt threatened. It was very easy to get around and communicate with a limited amount of Spanish. The people are super friendly and helpful.
There are plenty of U.S. retirees living in Baja for precisely these reasons. You can literally move one hour across the border from San Diego and get the same basic life for a fraction of the price.
Obviously, that’s not for everyone and you do give up plenty of things in the process.
But I’m telling you all of this because it highlights some of the opportunities that are available outside of the United States … opportunities that can be reached in less than six hours from most major U.S. cities.
So let me ask: Would you ever consider retiring to a foreign country?
I’ve been all around the world – from South Africa to India … many countries in Europe … and throughout much of Latin America. And quite frankly, I could have stayed in just about any of the places I visited for months on end.
More importantly, just about everywhere I’ve been I’ve met fellow Americans who are doing just that – living out their dreams in picturesque towns that most people only see on postcards.
Indeed, more and more U.S. citizens are choosing to live abroad – even if it’s just through VERY extended vacations – so they can stretch their retirement dollars further, gain access to affordable medical care, have new adventures, even hire personal assistants for less than a daily meal at McDonald’s.
Consider Panama, a country I visited back in 2001 …
There are spectacular and affordable beachfront condos that you can rent for a few hundred bucks a month.
And on the kind of budget that wouldn’t even cover rent here in the U.S., an expat can retire in impressive comfort in Panama, thanks in part to the country’s special Pensionado program.
You’ve probably heard of it – a special program that allows income-earning foreign retirees to obtain indefinite residence in the country plus get a whole host of other benefits including big discounts on movies, concerts, bus fares, medical services, and a whole array of other things.
Or what about Thailand, which I traveled toten years ago …
I personally know a number of U.S. citizens who now live there at a fraction of what they spent here.
I’m talking about personal chefs, nightly massages, high-speed Internet connections, and beachfront accommodations for less than renting an apartment in Philadelphia or Kansas City.
Other Places to Consider…
And although it’s still on my “to visit” list, Ecuador also provides an attractive package for American retirees – including discounts on many services plus the ability to participate in the country’s national retirement system for about $60 a month.
I could keep going all day … Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Malaysia, and countless other places that provide bountiful benefits worth exploring.
Heck, I have one friend near retirement who plans on buying a sailboat and spending the first part of his golden years going wherever he wants!
At the end of the day, the point I’m trying to drive home is that increasing income is certainly one way to better your situation no matter what your age. But changing your perspective, cutting costs, and considering less-traveled paths is certainly another – and complementary – way to get the things you want out of life.
So get out there and do some research. You’ll be amazed at what you find. And if you’re already living your dream, don’t hesitate to write in and tell me about it!
To a richer life,
— Nilus Mattive
Editor, The Rich Life Roadmap