Retirement Lifestyle Options In Cartagena, Colombia

Colombia's Walled City On The Caribbean That You Can't Afford To Miss (Especially At Today's Values)

Jan. 22, 2015, Cartagena, Colombia: Cartagena, Colombia, is a top retirement option on the Caribbean.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

There are few things that I enjoy more than the charm and splendor of a well-kept Spanish-colonial city. The plazas, cobblestone streets, courtyard homes, and flowered balconies take you back to Spain's grand colonial era. As a long-time expat and writer, I've had the chance to visit dozens of the best colonial cities in the Americas. Among Spain's grand cities on our side of the ocean, I'd say that Cartagena is the most beautiful, with a lot to offer the potential expat.

Cartagena offers a unique cultural blend that combines the best of old Spanish America with the richness of the Caribbean. The courtyard homes and narrow streets take you back to old Spain, while the bright colors of the houses add a Caribbean flair. The traditional Colombian cuisine in places like Cafetería Bocaditos may be reminiscent of Madrid, but the women walking about with giant trays of fresh fruit balanced on their heads remind you that you're on the shores of the Caribbean. 

Restaurants are varied and diverse. You can enjoy everything from traditional Colombian arepas from a street vendor or fine Italian dining at Enoteca on Plaza Santa Teresa to a traditional Cuban ropa vieja or a Middle Eastern kibbe

Cartagena is not only an example of Spanish-colonial splendor, but it's also one of the world's few remaining walled cities, surrounded by almost 7 miles of massive stone wall. And if you like the sea, sun, and sand, you'll be more interested in Cartagena's many attractive beach areas just a few minutes away by cab. 

From a practical perspective, Cartagena gets high marks. The infrastructure is great—the water drinkable, the streets well-maintained, the Internet high-speed, and the international airport just minutes away.

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Colombia Is The World’s Next Top Lifestyle And Retirement Haven

My Craziest—And Surest—Recommendation Of All

Jan. 21, 2015, Medellin, Colombia: Colombia, especially Medellin, is an emerging top retirement, lifestyle, investment, and second-home choice.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

I was one of the first people in the world to recommend that North Americans consider the idea of retiring to Costa Rica. That was 30 years ago. People told me I was crazy. Why would anyone want to retire to a Third World country when they could retire to Florida or Arizona instead?

People called me crazy, too, when, a few years later, I started recommending Belize as a place to relocate in retirement. In this case, no kidding, I think I was the first person to make the endorsement. I was first with Roatan, Ecuador, Panama, Nicaragua... and, every time I published one of these new retirement picks, readers, friends, family, business colleagues, and strangers would get in touch to point out that I was speaking nonsense, acting irresponsibly, even embarrassing myself.

I won't belabor the history further. I want to get to my present-day point, which is maybe my craziest—and surest—recommendation of all:

Medellin, Colombia, meets all my criteria for a top retire-overseas choice. This is an emerging champion for retiring, living, investing, and owning a second home overseas.

Furthermore, the current exchange rate is handing today's buyers shopping with U.S. dollars a whopping 32% discount off the cost of real estate in this country and 32% off the cost of everything else, too.

In July 2014, the Colombian peso was trading at 1,850 per U.S. dollar. As I write, it's trading at 2,450 per dollar. Again, that translates to 32% more buying power today for U.S. dollar-holders than just six months ago.

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Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS) For Retirees Overseas

Living And Learning Overseas

Jan. 20, 2015, Panama City, Panama: Living or retired anywhere in the world, one way to continue your education is through free massive open online courses (MOOCS).

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

Henry Ford said that "anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young."

I think moving abroad amounts to one of life's great learning experiences. Live in a different culture for a while, you'll start to think like the locals do, at least a little bit. Before a trip to Turkey years ago, I asked an expert on Turkey how I could prepare. "Take your head off," he said, "and screw it back on the other way around."

Besides learning by moving, we learn on the job, by raising children, by reading and listening to others, and so on. But in recent years we've also been able to take classes online, free, at the world's best universities. I'm talking about MOOCs, or massive open online courses.

If you're interested in learning (and in staying young, according to Henry Ford), I encourage you to look at MOOCs. You can take a free course in just about anything you can think of, from computer programming to cosmology, calculus, or history. If you have Internet, you can take these courses from wherever you happen to be living.

Two online sites provide most of the MOOCS: Coursera and edX. You can get a complete rundown on the MOOCverse hereCoursera, for examples, offers free courses from Stanford, University of Virginia, Yale, University of Tokyo, and many more.

I got started taking courses when a friend recommended one. He wanted me to accompany him in a Robert Shiller course at Yale on markets and money. I knew Shiller and was curious at what he had to say on the subject. I enjoyed the online course along with the email discussions with my friend.

I was hooked.

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Porte De Clignancourt A Shopping Neighborhood North Of Paris

Emergency Pit Stop At the Porte De Clignancourt

Jan. 19, 2015, Paris, France: The Porte de Clignancourt has been called a “no-go zone” northeast of Paris, but it’s the welcoming shopping neighborhood it’s always been.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

My two children and I had been driving in France in the region northeast of Paris all morning. Clignancourt wasn't our destination, but, as we approached the Porte de Clignancourt exit on the ring road, I urged my daughter, who was driving, to take it.

"I'm in desperate need of a ladies' room," I explained.

"Me, too!" she replied enthusiastically as she began pulling over to leave the highway.

Porte de Clignancourt, where we landed unexpectedly that day about six weeks ago, is a busy, crowded neighborhood historically famous for itsmarché aux puces, the biggest antiques market in the world. More recently, this area at the end of Paris Metro line 4 has become known for other reasons. 

That day not long ago when Kaitlin, Jackson, and I decided to drop in, we weren't thinking about the neighborhood's reputation and we were in no mood for shopping. We had a simple, basic agenda.

Driving along the narrow rues with cars parked on both sides and people coming and going everywhere, we couldn't identify a likely place to make our pit stop. Finally, we came to an open spot alongside the sidewalk and pulled in.

Kaitlin turned off the engine, and the three of us looked up and down the street. Jackson, 14, stepped out onto the sidewalk and called up to the young man standing on the steps in front of his shop.

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The World’s Top Retirement Havens For 2015

Big Year Ahead

Jan. 18, 2015, Panama City, Panama: These destinations are among the world’s top retire-overseas choices for 2015.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

We want to do everything we can to help make 2015 your year, the year you get up and get going to make your dreams of a new life in a new land come true. And we realize that we'd better get moving, because, as I write, we're already midway through January.

A big part of our role in this conversation, as we see it, is to provide options. Around the first of this New Year, I suggested a top 10 list for where to retire in 2015 (which you can read here if you haven't already).

The 10 destinations that made that short list are a great place to start, but they're not the only places in the world that might make sense for you. Maybe your ideal Shangri-la overseas isn't among the world's top 10, as we recognize them right now.

That's one question we put to ourselves when we sat down to prepare the 2015 editorial calendar for our Overseas Retirement Letter: Where else, beyond that top 10 list, offers opportunity and lifestyle upside for the would-be retiree overseas this year?

Our answer to that question became our Overseas Retirement Letteragenda for this New Year. That is, here's our ORL line-up for 2015. Subscribers can look forward to detailed and comprehensive reports on what retirement would be like in the following destinations:

George Town, Malaysia:

"Malaysia has a strong retirement-investment program, is English-speaking, and offers luxury living on a low to medium budget," explained Asia Correspondent Wendy Justice when making her case for why this city should be featured on this year's ORL calendar. Wendy's case was so persuasive that we decided to start the year here. That is,Overseas Retirement Letter subscribers can read Wendy's complete report on retirement in George Town in this month's issue, in their email inboxes the 15th of this month (last Thursday).

George Town is a busy, thriving city with a large expat community that has managed to retain its colonial charm (it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site). George Town is affordable, has a tropical climate, excellent health care, and an intriguing culture. Last featured in ORL in 2009, Wendy's feature piece this month brings you up-to-date on the many advantages and benefits from this top option for city living in Asia.

Barbados:

This Caribbean pick is from Correspondent Rob Carry, who writes: "There is no bad place to be in the West Indies, but Barbados offers the most for retirees. First up is the laid-back, fun-loving Bajan way of life. It's great to watch and a joy to slip into. Barbados also offers a gorgeous beach around every bend of every bay, exquisite seafood, and a climate to die for. Plus it's all underpinned by well-developed infrastructure, a solid democracy, and an English-speaking population. Although it's beloved by millionaires and celebrities, Barbados can be surprisingly low cost with the right insight (rents are especially low), and the excellent health care is available at a fraction of the cost of U.S. health care."

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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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