INTERESTED IN LIVING ABROAD? International Living's annual conferences -- called their Ultimate Event -- are fabulous. Four jam-packed days of experts sharing ideas, expats sharing experiences, legal safeguards, all the insiders' scoop ... everything you would need to know about living abroad. If you just missed one, check out their website to see if you can buy recordings of the sessions!
My goal for 2009: moving to Mexico. Now that I've downscaled to my South Florida 'Mobile-Mansion' and cut my expenses back to nearly nothing ... I'm ready for a new adventure!
I know, I know: Mexico??!?? With all the chaos on the U.S.-Mexican border, why would I want to go there? Because there are still fabulous places in that huge country, far from the drug disturbances. And, by the way, I don't see the one million Americans and Canadians already living there rushing back to the U.S. or Canada.
While living abroad may not be your first thought for retirement, more and more Americans of every age group are taking advantage of the lower cost of living in certain countries. Not every country makes sense, but several do have the right combination of elements to make them a great choice. And you'd be surprised which they are.
Living abroad is an excellent way to stretch your retirement savings, in some cases the equivalent of doubling your retirement resources. But it obviously has to work for you on all levels: general cost of living, cost of real estate, legal and tax issues, level of security and personal safety, available medical services, workable distance from the U.S. (or wherever 'home' is for you), and on and on. My most important goal with this section is to create a comfort level for you to seriously investigate living abroad as a retirement option.
No, it's not for everyone. But for those with a slightly greater spirit of adventure, it can be an ideal solution. (In fact, the stories of people actually opting for early retirement abroad are plentiful ...)
To jumpstart your investigation process, I'd like to point you towards a valuable resource: a publishing company called International Living. International Living has been providing up-to-date details on living, traveling and investing abroad for over 25 years. Its information is all based on hands-on, feet-on-the-ground reporting by expatriates who are living the life they're proposing. Nothing theoretical. No hype. No glossing over the little challenges that are to be expected when dealing in a different culture.
Want some more input? Pick any city or country you might be interested in, then go to Google and type in blog (that city) or blog (that country) ... without the parentheses. That will bring up all sorts of blogs written by expats who are living in those places right now. No better reality check than that! I admit I spent a whole Saturday reading a year's worth of blog by a woman who journaled the entire renovation of a historical house in the same city where I just bought my 'old walls' ...
Is living abroad affordable?
Well, a recent ad for one of International Living's many publications says:
"Discover 6 countries where you can live or retire in comfort and style on $1,200 per month, including a nice home, groceries, utilities, country club dues, even entertainment and travel. (Our findings may surprise you.)"
How can International Living be useful to you? First check out the International Living website, and sign up for some of their free enjoyable newsletters (their postcards are GREAT!) to start getting a feel for the range of options open to you. Maybe pay to subscribe to their monthly publication that covers locations all over the world. Then, if you find a country or region that interests you, look into buying some of their in-depth publications. And before you move or invest anywhere, be sure to attend one of their conferences on that location.
Here, for example, is part of an email they sent out, entitled "I Found Your 'Home in the Sun' -- and it's Less Than $100,000!" which promotes one of their publications:
... As you pause in a sidewalk café to enjoy a rich, aromatic coffee and watch the world go by, you bask in perfect comfort at the ideal 5000-foot tropical elevation.
In today’s world, the antiquities of this city have been joined by art galleries, theaters, fashionable cafes and restaurants. You can enjoy fine international dining, featuring European cuisine as well as an exciting fusion of European and Central American dishes. Perhaps best of all, the strict, two-story limit on construction here has kept uncontrolled development from spoiling what remains one of the Americas’ best preserved colonial settings.
But stop: there’s more to this city than meets the eye.
And this is where [this International Living publication] delivers what a potential buyer really needs.
This same colonial town is also one where you can live easily on just $1500 per month, with some expats doing quite well on less.
Dinner for two—with a bottle of wine included—will set you back only $25.
The expat community here is thriving and diverse.
You can rent a nice house for less than $500 per month, or an upscale apartment from about $450.
A three bedroom, two bathroom home with a garage and patio can be found near the central market for just $125,000 (or rented monthly for $500)
You can learn to speak like a native in one of the city’s many world-class (and world renowned) Spanish language schools ...
| - International Living promotional email|
Do sign up for my free twice-weekly newsletter below, to keep up-to-date on more and more information and resources on living abroad. I'll announce each new part of this growing website as it rolls out!