Reasons To Retire To Vilcabamba, Ecuador

From Dubai To Ecuador—Walking Away From A Life Of So Much For A Life Of So Much More


Oct. 21, 2014 Vilcabamba, Ecuador The low cost of living is only one reason to consider retiring to Vilcabamba, Ecuador, which also offers a rewarding quality of life.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

Sue and I were living and working in Dubai, and we had it made.

Tax-free salaries, free accommodation, a transportation allowance, free air travel home each year, and 13 months' salary for every 12 months worked. It was a better deal than either of us could have received for comparable work in my home state of Wisconsin or in Sue's home province of Alberta.

Crime was almost nonexistent. The highways smooth and lighted. The communications fiber optic. The TV satellite. The government efficient. The snow skiing (yes, the snow skiing) indoors. It's the desert. It's 100 degrees outside. It's Dubai. Where else would the snow skiing be if not indoors.

We had access to those shopping malls Dubai is famous for, some of the world's largest. 

We had it made.

Now we live on the side of a mountain off a dead-end dirt (we aspire to gravel) road in a rural area of southern Ecuador.

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Brisbane & Sydney, Australia, Appealing Snowbird & Travel Options

The Ups And Downs Of Life Down Under

Oct. 20, 2014, Brisbane, Australia Brisbane and Sydney, Australia, are great travel and Snowbird choices but don’t try to retire here; they won’t let you.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

Vicki and I recently flew to Australia to visit friends in Brisbane and Sydney. 

By coincidence we were in Brisbane for the grand finale of the Brisbane Festival when 16 tons of explosives lit up skies. In my experience, fireworks usually shoot up from a platform or two. But, in Brisbane, the 30-minute Riverfire show shot up from numerous river barges and three bridges. We were treated to 360 degrees of lights, color, sound, and movement. 

We like Australia and have visited numerous times during the past 25 years. 

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Cost Of Living In Chiang Mai

Just How Cheap Is Life In Southeast Asia?


Oct. 19, 2014, Chiang Mai, Thailand: A breakdown of the monthly costs of living in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

Thailand is one place in the world where you can still enjoy aspects of first-class living at economy-class prices, as Asia Correspondent Paul Terhorst explains:

"A friend from Bangkok visited Vicki and me recently in Chiang Mai. The three of us had lunch at the five-star Shangri-La Hotel. The place oozes elegance. The weekday businessman's special lunch buffet is pasta, pizza, and dessert with espresso coffee, all for about US$8. When it's just Vicki and me, we eat where Thais eat. A plate of fried noodles—Pad Thai, a spicy curry with rice, or a stir-fry veggie dish—for just a dollar or two."

Paul continues:

"If you're in the market for an affordable and exotic place to retire, consider settling down in Chiang Mai, where a retired couple could live for as little as US$1,055 per month if they rent...or for as little as US$765 per month if you own your own apartment or condo.

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Restrictions On Foreign Ownership Of Property In Thailand,...

Top Property Markets In Asia For The Investor And The Retiree

Oct. 17, 2014, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Restrictions are placed on foreign ownership of property in Asian markets, but some still make sense for investment.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

A parking spot sold in Hong Kong this year for US$547,000.

Land in Hong Kong is expensive and the limited inventory of parking spaces has driven up the cost to more than that of a decent home in most of the world. Hong Kong, though, isn't typical of the region, and prices on this island shouldn't scare you off the idea of real estate in Asia altogether.

More daunting and potentially intimidating when shopping for real estate in this part of the world are the foreign ownership restrictions. Before entering any Asian market, you want to be sure you're clear on what you can and cannot own as a foreigner.

The Philippines restrict foreign ownership to condos...and in any given building foreigners can own only up to 40% of the units. Still, this country makes sense for both retirement and investment. Real estate prices in some parts of it are unbelievably cheap. Focus on the more active areas where you would have an easier time reselling on the local market. You don't want to be limited by having to find another expat buyer when you decide to resell.

You can find small apartments in Quezon City for less than US$60,000. That would buy you a one-bedroom apartment in a new building.

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Off-The-Beaten-Path Travel Adventures In Hanoi, Vietnam

"Tomorrow, Nice Hotel!"—Off-The-Map Adventures In Southeast Asia

Oct. 16, 2014, Hanoi, Vietnam: Discover Vietnam beyond the packaged tours for Western travelers.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

For my husband David and me, one of the most gratifying aspects of living in Southeast Asia has been the chances we've had to do local things. To get to know our local neighbors and to be treated as though we're one of them, a real part of the community.

Our friend Tuan owns a minivan and makes his living as a private tour guide. He is Vietnamese, and most of his customers are also Vietnamese. This year, a group of ladies from Saigon hired him to show them Vietnam's remote Northwest Loop. There were two extra seats available in the van, and he asked David and me if we'd like to ride along on the five-day trip.

We were excited by the opportunity. It would have been difficult to undertake this journey on our own. Many places along this 700-mile trip are so remote that planning the logistics ourselves would have been almost impossible. Navigating tiny, winding, barely maintained roads through high mountains and soaring passes presents plenty of challenges.

We asked Tuan if we would be staying in hotels, and he assured us that we would be very comfortable. Great.

We enthusiastically accepted Tuan's offer, and certainly we're glad we made the trip, but we realized quickly after setting out that this would not be like any adventure we'd had in Vietnam before.

We were not traveling as Western tourists but as part of a Vietnamese group. Fortunately most of our traveling companions spoke English, making it easy enough for us to communicate. By the end of the trip, we had all become good friends.

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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.

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