Overcoming Colombia’s Reputation As A Drug Capital

That's Spanish For Cocaine, Right? 

Feb. 3, 2015, Colombia is not the dangerous country ruled by drug lords and cartels you might think it is.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

"Coca... That's Spanish for cocaine, right?" The TSA agent asked me as he read the package and eyed the dozen individually wrapped bags he had removed from my carry-on.

"I don't know, maybe," I lied. Of course I knew. Everyone knows that the original Coca-Cola recipe contained cocaine, thus the "coca" part of the famous brand name.

Play dumb. That's always been my go-to for dealing with border agents during the "random" extra screenings I am subjected to when crossing American and Canadian borders. I've come to suspect that there is nothing random about these screenings. Airport screenings may be the only instance when a young, well-presented white male is subjected to racial profiling. In other words, I guess I look like a typical drug smuggler.


Medellín, Colombia, Is A Top Choice Both For Fun And For Profit

Taking Our Medellín Retirement Plan For A Test Drive

Feb. 2, 2015, Medellín, Colombia: Medellín, Colombia, is a top choice for living, retiring, and investing overseas.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

"This sure will make a great place to hang out in retirement, won't it?" Lief mused Sunday afternoon.

For the past 17 years that we've been together, Lief and I have been working slowly, organically, year by year, to build the infrastructure required to support what qualifies for us as a dream retirement lifestyle.

Lief and I like to move around, and we appreciate change and contrast more than anything else, so our dream retirement isn't about one place but several. For this phase of life, we'll base ourselves in Paris, where we invested in an apartment about a dozen years ago. From that base, we'll move around among other spots that appeal to us, including Panama's Pacific coast... and Medellín, Colombia, where the two of us, sans children, enjoyed a quick escape this past long weekend.

Friday and Saturday were spent in business meetings (more on this in a minute). Sunday, we settled in to savor what Medellín has to offer.

We awoke early, opened the doors to the terrace and the windows all around the apartment to let the mountain breezes pass through. Then we brewed some tea and sat in the wicker rocking chairs overlooking the valley below us, enjoying the tea, the early-morning light, and the sounds of the first mass of the day (to be followed, we knew, by several more) at the little white church that is our next-door neighbor.


Retire Overseas Benefits Of Cuenca, Ecuador, VS Medellin, Colombia

Where’s Your Perfect Retirement Spot?

Feb. 1, 2015, Panama City, Panama: Cuenca, Ecuador, and Medellin, Colombia, are both top retire overseas options.

Kathleen is in transit today, returning from a quick visit to Medellin, Colombia. Kathleen's agenda in Medellin this week was twofold. First, she wanted to make final preparations for this year's Live and Invest in Colombia Conference (taking place May 11–13 in this country's City of Springtime and Flowers).

In addition, Kathleen was in Medellin with the intent to expand her investments in Colombia to take advantage of the current U.S. dollar-Colombian peso exchange rate. This country is more affordable for dollar-holders than it's been in five years.

Kathleen will be back at her laptop tomorrow to report on her Medellin adventures (personal and investment) these past few days. Meantime, today, she's asked Correspondent Lee Harrison to step in for her... with some comparative analysis between two top retire-overseas choices Lee knows well from firsthand experience...

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

"If you liked Cuenca, Ecuador, so well, why did you ever leave?"

I get that question a lot. I understand, because I recommend Cuenca very highly to potential expats... yet, at the same time, it's true that, while I lived in that city for almost six years, I chose to move on. 

In fact, since living in Cuenca, I've also lived in Uruguay, Brazil, and now Medellin, Colombia. I've loved each location for different reasons.

And my motive for moving from Cuenca had nothing to do with dissatisfaction. It was more a gradual evolution... a migration from one phase of my retirement to another. 

Thinking more objectively, how would I compare these two cities? They are surprisingly similar in a number of ways.


12 Items To Confirm Before Buying Real Estate In A Foreign Country

Check These 12 Important Items Before Buying Property Overseas

Jan. 30, 2015, Medellin, Colombia: Ask yourself these 12 questions before buying property overseas.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

I've bought a number of overseas properties—both for personal use and as investments—and I find that evaluation of a potential purchase always comes back to a few simple basics. It's a safe and secure process when you follow the rules and use the same good sense that you'd use in your home country.

Specifically, for any property you're considering buying overseas, I recommend you ask yourself these four questions:

#1: Is the location good? As anyone in the real estate business will tell you, location is paramount. You can fix almost anything else with enough time and money, but you can't fix the location. Make sure it's either good or that you have a strong reason to believe it's on its way to becoming good.

In addition to the neighborhood, also consider the distance to the airport and to good medical facilities. 


Medellin Is Attracting Expats, Entrepreneurs, And Investors

Making It Young In Medellin

Jan. 29, 2015, Medellin, Colombia: Medellin, Colombia, is not only a top choice for retirees but also for expats, entrepreneurs, and investors of all ages.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

A handsome couple in their mid-20s, Lauren Brown and Jason Richter are living an international lifestyle that most of us, unfortunately, don't consider until later in life. Most of us wait until after kids, mortgages, and careers to think about making the break from North America and setting off on the adventure of building a whole new life somewhere else.

Of all the somewhere elses you could consider, I'd put Medellin, Colombia, the city that Lauren and Jason have chosen for their adventure, at the top of the list. Recently I met with these two youngsters who've moved to the city that I've likewise chosen for my life's reinvention. Over coffee in the fashionable El Poblado gourmet ghetto of Carrera 37, I asked the young couple what brought them to fair Medellin. 

“I met Lauren at a conference in the States,” Jason explained. “She was being sent to Mexico with a San Francisco-based startup, and we ended up doing the long-distance Mexico-Canada thing for a year. Then when Lauren was offered a placement in Colombia, we talked about the idea of the two of us moving and starting a life together. 

“In the end, the placement with the tech startup didn't work out, but, by that time, we were excited by the idea of moving to Colombia... so we went ahead and made the move on our own. Now here we are.”


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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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