Monthly Budgets For Retiring To The World’s Top 21 Retirement...

Counting The Costs Of A Retirement Overseas

Aug. 25, 2014, Nashville, Tennessee: The cost of living, of renting a home, and of purchasing property are three critical figures to understand for any location where you’re considering retiring overseas.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

How should you go about choosing where to reinvent your life in retirement overseas? Best made, this is a thoroughly personal decision. You should think about retiring to another country because you feel at home there and enjoy the way of life on offer. Bottom line, your heart should lead the way.

However, your head should have a say, too, of course. That is, while the best place for you to retire overseas is the best place for you simply because your gut tells you it is, you do want to look at more practical factors when considering your options.

For many, cost is key, both the cost of living and the cost of real estate. You may intend to purchase a home in your new situation overseas or only to rent one. Either way, this housing expense will be a significant part of your overall budget and should be considered separate from other monthly costs.

That's why, for our hot-off-the-presses 2014 Retire Overseas Index, we look at three pieces of critical data for each of the 21 destinations featured—the cost of living minus housing; the typical cost of renting; and the average cost per square meter to purchase property.

For the purposes of this Index, we created a starter-budget template that includes utilities (gas, electricity, landline phone, cable television, and internet), groceries, and entertainment. These would be your basic costs (in addition to housing) retired anywhere in the world. You could, of course, add costs, depending on your lifestyle and priorities. Maybe you'd like to have help around the house. In many places around the world, household help can be a bargain, making full- or part-time help with the daily chores a potential big benefit of retiring overseas. The cost could be US$150 (in Nicaragua, for example) to US$300, say, per month. However, maybe you don't want to make that investment.


The World’s Best Places To Retire Overseas In 2014

This Just In: 2014 Retire Overseas Index

Aug. 24, 2014, Panama City, Panama: Live and Invest Overseas Announces The Best Places To Retire Overseas In Their 2014 Retire Overseas Index.

"There are lies, damned lies, and statistics."
--Mark Twain

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

This week we reveal the results of our 2014 Retire Overseas Index, our annual survey that rates and ranks the 21 destinations worldwide we have identified as offering the best current options for the would-be retiree overseas.

As we remind you often, though, in fact, it's impossible to name a single world's best place to retire. There's no such thing. It's a matter of priorities and preferences. No place is perfect. The advantages we perceive in one place could be turnoffs for you, and things that make a particular place intolerable for you could be the very reasons we enjoy spending time there.

But that sounds like a cop-out, doesn't it? We think so, too. That's why for this Annual Retire Overseas Index we set aside the disclaimers and take firm stands. This place is better than that one for these reasons, we say in this once-a-year survey, and this place is best of all.

To produce this Retire Overseas Index, our editors spend months collecting data, crunching numbers, questioning statistics, arguing results, and defending favorites.

For each of the 21 locations featured, we count doctors, hospitals, miles of paved road, frequency and duration of power outages, international airports, road accidents, cellphone providers, inches of rainfall each year, sunny days per annum, theaters, museums, libraries, residency visa options, burglaries, the number of expats in residence, the percentage of the population that speaks English...


How To Make Money Investing In Timber And Fruit Trees

The Key To Agricultural Profits

Aug. 22, 2014, Panama City, Panama: The key to making money from agriculture is identifying a buyer for your harvests.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

The Chinese couldn't source enough walnuts for their recipes so they started substituting pecans. A colleague from Georgia, where they grow tons of pecans, explained this to me earlier this week when I told him I'm more interested in agricultural investments than ever and aggressively trying to source new opportunities.

Pecans can be so profitable, my colleague continued, that some farmers who had been paid not to farm their land (gotta love government farming subsidies) have planted pecan trees and paid the government back its subsidy along with a 300% penalty. This despite the fact that the pecan trees they've planted won't generate cash flow for about five years. That's how great the eventual profits are expected to be.

Of course, to make money from trees (fruit or timber), you have to have a means to sell them. I own with partners a 10-hectare parcel on a river in Panama that had teak planted on it when we bought it. We made the investment for the location and the development potential of the land. The teak was a bonus...or so we thought.

One of the partners who owns this piece with me also owns thousands of hectares of teak in Panama's Darien. When we made the purchase, he figured that, when it came time for the next thinning of his Darien plantation, he'd simply have the company buying his trees come harvest ours, too.

No luck. After much discussion, his Darien buyer simply refused to make the detour to harvest our little parcel. We didn't have enough volume to warrant the effort. The good news is that the trees continue to grow while we try to figure out what to do with them.

Still, this situation makes the point. The end market is the place to start when considering an investment in any agricultural product. The projections for profits from whatever crop you intend to grow can be phenomenal on paper, but they won't materialize if you don't have a buyer for your harvests.


Moving To Cuenca, Ecuador, Can Mean Retiring A Decade Sooner

Moving Up By Opting Out And Retiring Overseas

Aug. 21, 2014, Cuenca, Ecuador: Lee Harrison retired more than a decade sooner than expected by relocating to Cuenca, Ecuador.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

"When I was 49, the engineering company I had been working for for many years went through a restructuring. The changes created an opportunity for those of us who were interested to take early retirement."

That's how Latin America Correspondent Lee Harrison recalls the starting point for what has evolved over the dozen-plus years since into a grand adventure overseas.

"My wife Julie and I were ready for a big change," Lee continues. "We wanted an adventure, to take ourselves as far outside our comfort zones as possible. So, when this chance came along to retire well ahead of the timeline I'd had in mind, I jumped at it."

Lee and Julie considered many options for where to retire overseas. Finally, they settled on Ecuador. It seemed to offer everything they were hoping for.

"Sometimes people who've retired to other countries boast that their lives in their new countries are hardly different from the lives they left behind back in the States," Lee says. "That's not the case with Ecuador. Living in Ecuador, you never forget that you're in a foreign country. For Julie and me, this was one of the biggest attractions."

However, the most important reason that Lee and Julie chose Ecuador as the place to reinvent their lives at this stage was the cost of living.


Why These Nine Expats Have Retired To Cuenca, Ecuador

Expats Of Cuenca

Aug. 20, 2014, Cuenca, Ecuador: The appeals of Cuenca, Ecuador, for the expat retiree are many, and the lifestyle options on offer in this colonial city are many.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

Who moves to Cuenca, Ecuador...really? And why?

Emily and Roger Romaine relocated to Cuenca four years ago from Colorado. For this couple of retirees, travel is a priority.

"We have always loved to travel," Emily explains, "and Cuenca is not only a great place to live but also a great launching pad for exploring Latin America."

Emily adds that, as an added bonus, airfares to Europe are generally cheaper from Ecuador than from the United States.

Sylvia Mitchell, a retired school teacher from Indiana, says she chose Cuenca because she wanted to stay active. In addition to volunteering for an animal rescue service and a domestic violence safe house, Sylvia enjoys card games with her friends and her weekly women's lunch group. She says she considered locating in smaller communities in Ecuador but is glad she didn't. For Sylvia, the cultural and volunteer opportunities available in Cuenca are a perfect fit.

David Edwards, a retired U.S. law school administrator, splits his time between Cuenca and a small farm an hour's drive south of town where he tends a garden and raises geese.

"For me it's the best of both worlds," David explains. "I love the country, and I love the city. Back in California I could barely make ends meet with a one-bedroom apartment. Here in Ecuador I can afford to indulge both my lifestyle interests."


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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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