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Diane Rehm Show Focuses on Retirement Living Abroad

Category: International Retirement

November 8 — One of our favorite radio show talk hosts, Diane Rehm, recently had a great program called U.S. Expatriates in Mexico and Beyond. Use this link to listen as she and her fascinating guests discuss this topic that interests so many retirees.

Diane’s November 6, 2007 show explored how reverse migration appears to be on the rise as more Americans relocate and retire abroad. She and her guests took a look at what drives their decision and what life is like once they take the leap.

Her guests included: Caren Cross, who made the documentary “Lost and Found in Mexico” about her experience in moving to San Miguel de Allende;
Debra Lattanzi Shutika, professor at George Mason University and author of the forthcoming book, “Beyond the Borderlands: Mexican Transnational Lives, New Destinations, and The Sense of Place”; and Lee Harrison, roving Latin American editor, “International Living” magazine.

The guests indicated, not unsurprisingly, that Mexico is the most popular retirement destination for U.S. expatriates. Costa Rica and Panama also attract many U.S. citizens. The exact number of Americans living abroad is difficult to determine, since our government apparently doesn’t track that statistic. About 1 million U.S. citizens are estimated to be living in Mexico. Two of the towns with the most Americans are San Miguel and Aijic (in the Lake Chapala region). One of the guests estimated that up to 16,000 Americans reside in San Miguel during our winter season.

Costa Rica View
Ocean View in Costa Rica

Lee Harrison cited 3 different kinds of buyers of Central or South American real estate:
– Second home buyers who can’t afford what they want in the U.S.
– People who want to change of their lives or start a new career
– Retirees driven by economics; they either want to improve their life style on a fixed income, or they want to retire earlier

One of Harrison’s most interesting points was in response to Diane’s question about what types of retirees are happiest abroad. His reaction was that although many people start out with money as their biggest motivation, the happiest people tend to be those who embrace the new lifestyle they find abroad.

Other guests explored broad-ranging topics such as culture, how they happened to come to live abroad, finances, impact on the local environment, friends, etc. If you are contemplating retiring abroad, we recommend listening to this podcast!

For more information see these Topretirement resources:
Buyers Guide to Buying Real Estate in Costa Rica (Part I)
What it’s Like to Retire in Mexico

Posted by Boomer1 on November 8th, 2007


  1. It is cold in Kentucky today. I have been thinking of living abroad for some years now but don’t know anyone who does. I was in the Air Force from 1968 until 1972 and was stationed at San Vito Italy. I did learn some of the language and customs while there and would say their lifestyle is a bit slower and uncomplicated than it is here in the states. They seemed to a store for everything. You get your eggs here and you get your bread there etc.
    Here is my situation. My home is paid for. It is worth maybe 85000. I have a couple of cars that are paid for. I am still about 8 years from full retirement age. I get a small disability check from the VA which amounts to about 600 per month and I have a job. I am interested in Mexico or maybe central or South America. Is anyone out there who could give me some guidance?
    Tks, Gerald

    by gerald nix — January 1, 2008

  2. Hi Gerald,
    Italy would be a friendly, inexpensive place to retire with things to do and good weather to choose from from mountains to southern sea climate. Portugal would be another similar place to consider. In the 1950’s many people who retired from a company my mother worked for retired there on the South coast of Portugal.
    I wish you the best of luck now and in retirement.

    by kmp — April 13, 2008

  3. Seeking group to travel to Costa Rica for 4-7days… consider retirement

    by Don Archie — March 1, 2013

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