January 16, 2021 – Living the expatriate life in retirement can be great… or not so wonderful. So much depends on where you retire to, your preparation, and what you bring to the party. Almost 10 years ago we published an interview with Steven Anderson, who wrote a book about his bad experiences in retiring to Mexico: “Mexican Retirement Gone Bad: Can’t Wait to Get Back to the USA“. The article sparked over 160 Member Comments, and those actively continue to this day.
A minority of commentators agreed with Stephen’s negative experiences, while a significant majority talked about their wonderful Mexican and other expatriate retirements. The Comments make for interesting and informative reading, and even though some of them are a few years old, they should be required for anyone contemplating an expat retirement. Here in this article we take a sampling of both sides of the argument, but since more people responded with positive stories of their expat retirements we have included more of those. We hope you will agree that these Comments from actual people who have lived in Mexico are very useful.
February 26, 2020 — There is a small, but significant, number of Americans who decide to move to another country for retirement. Facts on how many do that and the countries they move to are in short supply, so we were happy to see the results from the 2019 Expat Insider Survey (which has a wealth of interesting information). The New York Times was able to get a breakdown of that survey showing the most popular countries by age groups: Millennials, Professionals, Families, and Retirees. Some of the results were very surprising, especially the number one country where retirees move to, Ecuador. Here are their top 10 for retirees:
We would have guessed that Mexico was number 1, and would never have put Bulgaria in the top 10. Note that these are the most popular countries, not necessarily the best. Overall, the 5 highest rated countries (for all age groups) were: Taiwan, Vietnam, Portugal, Mexico, and Spain.
February 2, 2020 — For Europeans and residents of the British Commonwealth, the answer to that question might be yes, it is a great choice for an expatriate retirement. The area around Cape Town at the southern end of the Continent is particularly appealing. This article, based on our recent trip to the country, will explore what it might be like to retire in South Africa, list some possible retirement towns, and provide the pros and cons of retiring here. Our visit was brief, so the impressions we formed on our own and from our guides are not comprehensive. We welcome those with more experience to chime in in the Comments section.
South Africa has long had the most prosperous economy in Africa. Much of that wealth came from gold, diamonds, and agriculture. Business is strong as well. Since apartheid was eliminated in 1994 the economy has softened, but still strong. Some people believe the Rand, the National currency, is undervalued by as much as 60%.
July 29, 2019 — There is a small but significant number of Americans who will retire outside the U.S. If you think you might be one of those people, Topretirements suggests you put Costa Rica on your list of possible countries. Located in Central America, it has many advantages and relatively few drawbacks. In this article we will explore retirement in Costa Rica, and why we think it just might be your best place to retire. This is Part 2 in a series, the first was “Costa Rica: Bucket List for Thrills and EcoTourism“.
About 413,000 American expats currently receive Social Security benefits outside of the U.S. The most frequent countries where they live are Canada, Japan, and Mexico. One estimate is that about 50,000 Americans (of all ages) currently live in Costa Rica. Proximity to the U.S. and family ties, often related to prior military service in those countries, are two reasons why some countries have so many retired expats. Americans also retire to a different country for economic reasons, trying to stretch their Social Security benefits and savings. Some move for a better climate or a different lifestyle. A Costa Rica retirement can certainly deliver on cost of living, climate, and lifestyle.
Costa Rica. The country is bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and the Caribbean Sea to the east. The weather is very good year round, although there is a rainy season. The beaches are fabulous and the interior is mountainous.
A few years ago our friend Dennis asked us where we thought the best place to retire was – internationally. The question took us by surprise, partly because it came from a man who has traveled the world extensively, and who also has a home in Costa Rica – wouldn’t Dennis have a better grip here than us? The question got us thinking.
November 20, 2016 — Editor’s Note: This article was written for our Tips & Picks section by Andrew Mastrandonas and Preston Gitlin, who lived and developed property in Costa Rica for many years (they have since moved on to other adventures). We have updated it and moved it here to the Blog so that people will have an easier time commenting on it. Their insights and advice remain true not only for Costa Rica, but for buying real estate in any foreign country. It is the First of a series.
Costa Rica is an alluring place for many people. With a terrific climate, stable and democratic government, proximity to the United States, lower cost of living, unbelievable scenery and wildlife, plus many outdoor and cultural activities, it is no wonder this country only the size of West Virginia remains one of the best in the world for retirement, investment, or a vacation. Over one million people visit Costa Rica each year generating about (more…)
December 17, 2014 — The Obama Administration and Raoul Castro opened up the way to a normalization of relations today. Although limited in scope, it appears that family travel will be permitted, remittances will be made easier, and the U.S. will open an embassy in Havana. Americans will also be able to bring back up to $100 worth of cigars and rum, which is likely to be very popular (your editor was in Cuba in November, and wished he could have done so!).
Everybody loves the 1950s American cars here
The news also has implications for retirees. For one, it will be easier to visit, (more…)
November 4, 2014 — Have you ever dreamed about retiring on an island? A relaxing place with warm breezes, the gentle sound of lapping waves, endless sunshine, and friendly locals? You certainly wouldn’t be the only person to share that dream. This article will review the pros and cons of island living, plus share 2 list of islands that might be good retirement spots – a domestic list we created and another, the 10 best tropical island retirements from NextAvenue.org.
There are islands – and there are islands
Some people’s idea of an island for retirement might be domestic, such as an island on a big lake in Michigan, one of the many off of the Maine coast, Catalina Island near (more…)
We realize that not everyone wants to own property even if they have the assets to do so. Some people might not want to tie up their net worth in real estate but they have cash flow upon which to live, perhaps to enjoy vacations and foreign travel. Maintaining a comfortable lifestyle in the States can be costly. You might still have a mortgage, there are home repairs and property taxes, the price for owning and maintaining a car is high, and don’t forget about dining out, groceries and entertainment costs. For a modest-yet-comfortable home life you can pay three to four thousand a month easily.
June 11, 2014 — Our friend Rick recently wrote us with a great question on how ex-pat retirees deal with healthcare and healthcare insurance when living in another country. We thought we had addressed this question in the Blog before, but after careful searching it doesn’t look like we did that in any great depth.
Here is the question:
Recently one of our Bayview Park tennis players was traveling to Mexico, where he fell gravely ill and needed an emergency operation… Now it seems, since he first got sick on the plane flying there, Medicare will reimburse him for medical costs in Mexico… I will be traveling to Mexico soon myself, where I used to live, and may be spending more time there again. My question is about medical care and coverage abroad. I understand there are Medigap policies that may cover this, but I was wondering if (more…)