Where To Retire In France And Argentina

French Dreams And Argentine Drama—
More Personal Bests

July 29, 2014, Panama City, Panama: Lucy Culpepper and Lief Simon name their personal favorite overseas lifestyle havens, including France, Medellin, Buenos Aires, and Barcelona.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

Yesterday I shared some of our editors' revelations for their personal top retirement and lifestyle picks worldwide. Today, more biased, nonobjective, 100% unscientific and personal recommendations from key Live and Invest Overseas correspondents, this time in Europe and the Americas…

Euro-Correspondent Lucy Culpepper: France

During the past three years as managing editor of the Overseas Retirement Letter, I have been inspired by so many correspondents' reports. The locations that have intrigued me most and that will join my must-visit-in-the-next-10-years list are Medellin, Colombia; Na Trang, Vietnam; Pai, Thailand; Christchurch, New Zealand; Johor Bahru, Malaysia; and Belize (all of it!).

A country I visited many years ago that I'd like to explore again is Chile, especially the Lake District. It was one of the most beautiful, tranquil places in the world, and my guess is that it still is.

However, my personal current favorite place for living and retiring overseas would have to be France. Why France in general? I love the history, the culture, the language, the markets, the hugely varied, beautiful landscape, and the ease of travel within and to other European countries.

Where specifically? It's hard to pin down one place, so I'll share my France dream: I'd have an apartment in Paris, a home on the Atlantic coast near Biarritz, and a home in the Languedoc region, specifically the tiny village of Roquebrun for its beautiful light and tumbling river.


Live And Invest Overseas Editors Name Their Favorite...

Editors' Choice—Here's What We Really Think

July 28, 2014, Panama City, Panama: Live and Invest Overseas editors name Paris, Hanoi, Chiang Mai, and Cambodia as their favorite overseas retirement havens.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

Our Live and Invest Overseas team is fully occupied these days debating the answer to the question:

Where is the best place in the world to retire?

Our editors are compiling data, reviewing statistics, comparing property values, updating budgets, and arguing over interpretations of things like "spring-like climate." We'll be unveiling our picks for the best places in the world to live or retire overseas in the special expanded August issue of my Overseas Retirement Letter...a complimentary copy of which will be distributed to every attendee at this year's Retire Overseas Conference in Nashville Aug. 29–31.

This ambitious effort is reminding me that, statistics, data, and costs aside, the only real answer to the question where is the best place in the world to retire is...don't ask us. Because the only answer that matters is your own. Best made, the choice for where to retire overseas is thoroughly personal.

That's why, in the August edition of my Overseas Retirement Letter (ORL), we're supporting our spreadsheets and data-crunching with the biased, nonobjective, 100% unscientific, and personal recommendations of key Live and Invest Overseas correspondents.

If you could live anywhere, where would you live?

Here's how some among us who've seen a lot of the best of what this world has to offer answer that question...


How To Plan Your Retirement Overseas

Start A New Life Overseas? Piece Of Cake

July 27, 2014, Panama City, Panama: Here’s an eight-step plan for how to prepare for retirement overseas.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

"I'm ready to make my move, Kathleen," explained an attendee at our recent conference in Medellin, Colombia. "I'm ready to go for it.

"But I'm so confused. I mean, what do I do first? And then what do I do second?

"Could you break it down for me, as though I were a child? Seriously, speak to me like one of your children. I need a step-by-step plan..."

Here you go:

Step 1: Identify a destination. Where depends on what's important to you, what kind of lifestyle you want to lead, and how much money you have to fund your retirement...

Step 2: If you intend to relocate full-time, arrange to meet with an attorney in your chosen destination, one experienced helping foreigners established residency, to determine the best residency visa option given your circumstances. If you don't intend to relocate full-time, skip to Step 3...

Step 3: Speak with a tax advisor (an attorney who specializes in taxation is best) in your chosen destination...and, as well, with a tax advisor (again, an attorney experienced with international tax issues) in your home country. If you're an American, it's especially important that you identify two advisors and connect the dots of your new tax life with those of your old one...

Step 4: Research real estate options in your destination. I strongly recommend you rent first, to give yourself a chance to try your new home (country, town, neighborhood, street, beach) on for size before committing to a real estate purchase...but there are times when buying can make sense, too...

Step 5: Research health insurance options, comparing local, in-country policies (cost, coverage, restrictions) with those of international options like Bupa...


The Property Investment Market In Istanbul, Turkey

A Country Of The Future That Is Booming Right Now

July 25, 2014, Istanbul, Turkey: The property market in Istanbul, Turkey, is appreciating at rates of 15% per year and more; rental investment properties in Istanbul are yielding 10% per year and more.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

The real estate market in Turkey wasn't hit as hard as others around the world in 2008 and 2009. Values in some districts of Istanbul dropped by maybe 25% at the height of the downturn (about the same as in Panama)...but in just a year-and-a-half prices had recovered. That rate of appreciation (10% to 15% per year on average) has continued through this year and is expected to carry on indefinitely.

Specifically, real estate values in Istanbul were up 11.6% on average in 2013, according to the real estate company in Istanbul I spoke with. And 2014 growth rates are expected to be greater.

Despite these impressive rates of appreciation, Istanbul real estate remains a bargain compared with other global-standard cities. With a starting market price of around US$1,000 a square meter, middle-class housing in the Turkish capital can be an excellent bargain.

That said, to put things into some perspective, the 11.6% average rate of appreciation isn't as impressive for the locals, as inflation in the country has been running about 9% a year. Still, real estate has been staying in front of inflation on average, making it a good place for Turks to park their capital. And I believe it'd be possible to realize appreciation well beyond the averages if you bought right. My real estate contact reports possible appreciation of up to 30% per year...again, if you know what and where to invest.

Foreign buyers also have to consider currency exchange rates. A foreigner who invested US$100,000 on Jan. 1, 2013, would have had an 8.5% loss in U.S. dollar terms on Jan. 1, 2014. On the other hand, rental yields in the 10% to 12% range could have made up for the capital loss. As real estate is a long-term investment, you can't worry too much about short-term currency fluctuations, but you do want to be aware of them.

Had you invested that same US$100,000 on Jan. 1, 2014, you'd be up 3.5% on the currency alone this year...and up better than 6% appreciation through the first half of 2014.

What's driving these levels of appreciation in property values? Inflation is one factor, of course. In addition, the GDP growth rate has been 4.5% to 5%. However, one of the most compelling explanations for why property prices have been going up as quickly as they have been is a big and growing local housing demand.

Half the population of Turkey is younger than 30 years old. The country sees 350,000 weddings a year. All these new couples want places of their own to live. And, thanks to a strong economy and relatively low unemployment, more of these young couples than ever can afford places of their own.

We witnessed this same phenomenon in Ireland during the property boom in that country. The difference in Turkey is that the Turkish economy isn't predicated on importing foreign business activity, as was the case in Ireland. Turkey has a population of 74 million (about 20 times that of Ireland when we lived there).


How To Decide Where To Retire Overseas

The 21 Best Places To Retire
The Whole World Considered

July 24, 2014, Panama City, Panama: Live and Invest Overseas’ Retire Overseas Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, will showcase the world’s 21 best places to retire.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

In these dispatches, I give a lot of virtual ink to Latin America. That's because it's nearby to North America (where most of our readers currently reside) and because it can be cheap and sunny (two things most would-be expats and retirees abroad actively seek).

But there's a world beyond these Americas that can also offer good weather and a low cost of living...plus, in some cases, some things you won't find here.

Asia boasts a number of the most cost-friendly places anywhere to call home right now. As friend and Asia expert Paul Terhorst puts it, "Everywhere you might want to live in Asia is cheaper than even the cheapest options in the Americas." Pockets of Thailand, China, Vietnam, and India, in particular, can be absurd bargains.

Living on this side of the planet, you'd also have access to some of the world's most beautiful beaches.

Your life would be full of the exotic, the unexpected, and the adventuresome. That is to say, the culture shock would be significant. For some, this reality is thrilling and invigorating...for others, intimidating, terrifying.

In Asia, as well, you could have an added challenge related to residency... though our Asia experts assure us that this is less true than it used to be.

An alternative can be not to approach Asia as a full-time choice but, instead, to create a retire-overseas plan for yourself that allows you to enjoy the benefits of Asia (super cheap and super exotic) part-time. Don't worry about trying to organize permanent residency. Stay as long as you can as a tourist and then move on.


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"I particularly appreciated your information today about the joys (?) of international rental property. What I admire is your honest, tell-it-like-it-is approach. A lot of people have been hurt by nothing but glowing reports about offshore living from various sources. Your honest, direct approach is a real service."

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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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