Now Is The Time To Be Considering Nicaragua For Retirement And...

Why We Think It's Time To Take A Fresh Look At This Longstanding Favorite

Sept. 9, 2014, Managua, Nicaragua: Nicaragua is at the bottom of its post-2008 crisis cycle, meaning this is the time to be paying attention to this beautiful country.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

"Forget about the Sandinistas. They're obsolete."

That was Violeta Chamorro's advice in September 1989 when asked about her chances for defeating the Sandinistas in Nicaragua's first presidential election after the Contra War. To the surprise of sitting El Presidente Daniel Ortega and all Nicaragua, Mrs. Chamorro won that election in February 1990. The Sandinista Ortega stepped down graciously, and Doña Violeta began the work of rebuilding her country.

I visited Nicaragua for the first time three years later. Managua, thanks to the earthquake of 1972, the revolution, and the civil war, was a near disaster zone. No reason at the time to stick around Nicaragua's capital city back then. Gringos like me migrated instead either slightly south or west, to the Pacific coast, where, by the early 1990s, speculators had already begun snatching up stretches of this country's primo beachfront, or inland, to the colonial city of Granada.

Visiting Granada for the first time during that initial scouting trip in 1993, I found a single hotel, the Alhambra, recognizable (still today) by its long, breezy porch overlooking the central square. A rocking chair out front of the Alhambra remains the best perch in this city.

While Granada and Nicaragua both historically have been and can still be short on amenities, they have always been long on heart. This country when I discovered it was pulling itself up by the bootstraps. In the towns and traveling along the dirt roads back then, you saw men and boys in olive green military garb, sometimes carrying weapons. They seemed intimidating, until you stopped to speak with them. They talked openly of their desire for peace. These Nicaraguans were tired of fighting, worn out by decades of watching their once-prosperous little country dissolve into chaos.


Live And Invest Overseas Conferences Make Live And Retire...

How Darren And Wendy Are Making Their Live Overseas Dreams Come True

Sept. 8, 2014, Panama City, Panama: Live and Invest Overseas’ conferences are the best way to jump start the process of reinventing your life in a new country.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

Five days ago, on Sept. 3, my wife and I celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary. This is the last one we will spend in the United States, for we are on our way to Medellin, Colombia. We consider the launch of this adventure the best anniversary gift we have ever given ourselves.

My wife Wendy is 48 and has practiced law since 1991 when she graduated college. I am 49 and have spent many years as a wine and spirit wholesaler. More recently, I have worked as a financial consultant and have been trading the stock market. This is what I will continue to do to drive income for us in Colombia, while we think about other streams of income.

How do we find ourselves on the eve of launching new lives in a new country at these relatively young ages?

It all started in the fall of 2011 when we attended a Live and Invest Overseas conference in Orlando. Our main motivator for considering a move, frankly, was climate. We had been looking for a better climate than where we were living at the time in northern Illinois. At first, we looked in the United States, but then we realized that to live in a place that had the weather we wanted, we would have to take a cut in our standard of living. So we began looking outside the United States. That was what led us to the Live and Invest Overseas conference.


Where Is Your Best Bet For Gaining Residency Overseas

World's Eight Most Retiree-Friendly Nations

Sept. 7, 2014, Panama City, Panama: Retiree residency options and details from eight overseas destinations.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

Our Retire Overseas Conference in Nashville last week was built around a series of seven workshops, one for each of the critical questions the would-be retiree overseas must address...including residency.

Before you spend a lot of time and money conceiving a plan for a new life overseas, take a close look at the options for establishing residency in each country on your list. Understanding the various visa options available to you is an important part of making your ultimate where-to-retire-overseas decision.

Some countries make it difficult for foreigners, including or even especially retirees, to take uecuasidence (New Zealand and Australia, for example). Other countries, on the other hand, roll out the welcome mat, offering many, even turn-key retiree residency options that come with discounts, tax breaks, and other perks and benefits for those who qualify.

Belize, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Panama all offer well-publicized retiree residency programs known as pensionado visas. These are all similar but vary in the minimum monthly incomes required to qualify, as well as the particulars of the tax and other discounts. Coming from behind with a relatively new program, Nicaragua beats out all the competition with the most affordable minimum monthly income requirement by far. And this program, like those in Ecuador and Panama, can mean savings on everything from in-country travel to dining out for those who qualify.


Paying Bribes In Foreign Countries

My Recommendation Is: Don't Pay...Ever

Sept. 5, 2014, Baltimore, Maryland: What should you do if someone in a foreign country asks you to pay a bribe?

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

One of the presenters at last week's Retire Overseas Conference spoke about bribery and corruption overseas.

I read statistics recently from a relevant study in Ecuador. Something close to 80% of the people surveyed had at some time been asked either directly or indirectly for a bribe when dealing with an Ecuadorean government official. The survey didn't stipulate what kind of official—could have been anything from a police officer to a clerk in a government office or a minister.

The more interesting thing for me was that, according to the study, of the people who were asked for a bribe by a government official but refused to pay, some large percentage still got what they wanted. Further, a not insignificant percentage of people who did pay the bribe when asked did not get what they wanted.

Paying and still not getting what you're after would be frustrating. What recourse would you have? You couldn't go to the guy's boss and complain, saying, in effect, "I paid this guy to do something for me that he shouldn't have done...and he didn't do it."

Most retirees living in a foreign country won't ever encounter a direct request for a bribe. The exception might be a request from a traffic cop about to issue you a citation, for example. Otherwise, unless you are doing business in a country, you are, again, very unlikely to have to grapple with this issue.


9 Top Expat Retirement Communities

Where Have All The Expats Gone?
9 Top Expat Havens

Sept. 4, 2014, Baltimore, Maryland: These nine places are home to the world’s biggest expat retiree communities.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

As we explained to all in attendance at last week's Retire Overseas Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, one of the fundamental issues you should consider early on in your retire-overseas planning is this:

Do you want to live among the locals or in a more private, perhaps gated setting with fellow expats for your neighbors?

If you choose to relocate to an established expatriate community, you'll have no trouble slipping into the local social scene and finding English-speakers who share your interests.

On the other hand, going that route, you might end up with little real experience of the new culture you're adopting.

This important early decision may not have occurred to you. But I encourage you to consider the question directly, for the answer sets you on one track or another, and they lead very different places.

It can be easier, frankly, to seek out a place where your neighbors would be fellow North Americans, where you might hear more English in restaurants and bars than local lingo, and where you'd have like-minded compatriots to commiserate with over the trials and tribulations of daily life in a foreign country.

This can make it a terrific first step for some, a chance to dip your toe in the retire-overseas waters rather than diving in headfirst. You're living overseas and enjoying many of the benefits (great weather, affordable cost of living), but the surroundings and the neighbors are familiar in many ways. You can shop at Wal-Mart or PriceSmart (in some cases), meet up with fellow Americanos for bridge on Thursday evenings, and never have to travel far to find English-language conversation.


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Kathleen Peddicord

Kathleen Peddicord is the founder of the Live and Invest Overseas publishing group. With more than 25 years experience covering this beat, Kathleen reports daily on current opportunities for living, retiring, and investing overseas in her free e-letter.

Her book, How To Retire Overseas—Everything You Need To Know To Live Well Abroad For Less, was recently released by Penguin Books.

Read more here.


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