World’s Top Retirement Havens

The World Map This First Of The New Year

Jan. 1, 2012, Baltimore, Maryland: On this first day of New Year 2012, here’s how the world map looks from the perspective of the foreign retiree, global investor, and international entrepreneur.

Dear Overseas Opportunity Letter Reader,

Looking at the world map as we launch New Year 2012, here's what we see:

Perennial Bests

Yes, still, Panama. Panama City is no longer cheap, but elsewhere in the country sure can be. And, for such a little country, Panama serves up tremendous diversity, meaning you can find almost any retirement lifestyle you might be looking for, from cosmopolitan Panama City to Caribbean island hideaways, Pacific coast fishing villages, colonial cities, mountain towns, and expat enclaves.

In addition, Panama offers more than a dozen options for establishing residency, international-standard and very affordable health care, downright cheap health insurance (if you qualify), and the best infrastructure in the region. This country is safe, stable, and accessible...everything a retiree could be looking for.

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How To Retire Overseas In 2012

Make Your Own Reality In 2012

Dec. 30, 2011, Baltimore, Maryland: The best reason to retire overseas is not a reduced cost of living but an increased quality of life and a broadened, more positive outlook on the world.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

Standing in line in Target earlier this week, our cart overflowing with super-discounted stuff we'd decided we couldn't live without and had to buy to lug back to Panama with us, Lief asked me the question that we can't help but return to from time to time:

"Why do we choose to continue living overseas? Wouldn't it be easier and maybe even cheaper to move back to the United States?" he wondered.

Some things would be more affordable, yes. (Thus the Target shopping spree.) Important items in our budget, though, would become dramatically more costly, especially health care and health insurance. And, returned Stateside, we wouldn't be able to afford little luxuries like full-time help around the house.

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Global Real Estate Investment

Back In The USA—Just In Time For The Bottom?

Dec. 29, 2011, Chicago, Illinois: This may be the bottom of many U.S. property markets, meaning it’s a good time for those seeking global real estate investments to be buying property in the United States.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

I write today from Chicago, Illinois, the U.S. city where I got my start as a global property investor about 19 years ago.

The U.S. real estate market is at a dramatically different point today than when I was living in the Windy City nearly two decades ago. Pundits say that property markets across this country are at the bottoms of their falls. They've been paying closer attention than I have, but I'd agree. Right now seems like the time for an investor to be scouting in this part of the world.

I'll follow that recommendation with another: If you're not a seasoned real estate investor with experience across a number of different markets, don't jump in just because everyone else is. Take time to get your bearings.

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Christmas In Stowe, Vermont

Fresh Snow And Sleigh Bells—The Best Of The Season In Stowe

Dec. 28, 2011, Stowe, Vermont: Stowe, Vermont, is one of the most beautiful, delightful places in the world to travel for Christmas.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

There may be an un-nice person in Stowe, Vermont, but we haven't found him or anyone who's heard tell of him. The folks in this part of the world are as genuinely welcoming, gracious, and helpful as any we've met anywhere.

Our families thought we were nuts, but, last Thursday, we left sunny, sultry Panama and traveled north to Stowe, with the kids, in search of a white Christmas. When we arrived, all was green, and temperatures were relatively warm. Then, Friday morning, we awoke to flakes falling and thermometers dropping. All's been frozen and white ever since, just as we'd hoped.

Arriving in Stowe village this time of year is like being dropped inside a Christmas garden. Every house, church, porch, lamppost, streetlight, timber fence, and wooden bridge is dressed with fresh wreaths, white lights, pine garland, red bows, and sleigh bells. It's Norman Rockwell come to life.

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Doing Business In Panama

Why We Continue To Choose Panama

Dec. 27, 2011, Stowe, Vermont: Four reasons Panama is the best place in the Americas to base and operate an international business.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

When looking around the world in search of a place to base your business, these are the factors to consider:

  1. Corporate tax rates
  2. Availability of qualified labor
  3. Import and export duties
  4. Infrastructure (including options for air and/or sea transportation, internal roads, and telecommunications)

Each of these factors will be more or less important depending on the business you want to operate.

Taking a very big-picture perspective, considering all these criteria, Panama comes out on top in Latin America. That's why we chose Panama, four years ago, as the place to base our Internet publishing business, and it's why many, many other businesses, including many very big international operations, are also choosing to settle in this country.

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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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