Live and Invest Overseas http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com Our Expertise Unlocks The World Thu, 27 Aug 2015 23:12:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 Retiring To Granada, Nicaragua http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/retirement-living/retiring-to-granada-nicaragua.html http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/retirement-living/retiring-to-granada-nicaragua.html#comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 12:30:10 +0000 http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/?p=13802 How This Couple Of North Carolinians Reinvented Their Lives In Spanish-Colonial Granada We’re just a couple of normal people. I used to be an operational manager for a large finance firm. My wife Amy was a rep in real estate. Like many people our age, we’ve traveled overseas quite a bit. However, unlike many people [...]

The post Retiring To Granada, Nicaragua appeared first on Live and Invest Overseas.

]]>
How This Couple Of North Carolinians Reinvented Their Lives In Spanish-Colonial Granada

We’re just a couple of normal people. I used to be an operational manager for a large finance firm. My wife Amy was a rep in real estate. Like many people our age, we’ve traveled overseas quite a bit. However, unlike many people any age, in 2006, we moved from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Managua, Nicaragua.

Now, about 10 years later, we are permanent residents of Nicaragua and are considering becoming citizens. We like the idea of having two passports, plus that’d mean we wouldn’t have to renew our residency every five years.

Why Nicaragua? Like everybody, we checked in on all the usual suspects. We looked at Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Panama, but we kept coming back to Nicaragua. Over a five-year period, we stayed in Nicaragua several weeks at a time, and we liked it. I don’t know what else to tell you. We just liked it here. Beautiful country, diverse, low cost of living, which is a big factor. Plus we felt there were opportunities here for us. We knew we weren’t interested in a sunset-and-drinks-on-the-patio retirement. We knew we wanted to stay busy.

At first, we based ourselves in San Juan del Sur on the ocean, but we hated it. We sold our house there after four months. At that time, San Juan Del Sur just didn’t have couples our age. We weren’t able to connect with people who shared our interests. San Juan del Sur has changed a great deal since, but at that time we just didn’t enjoy it.

From San Juan del Sur, we moved to Granada. We bought a 150-year-old colonial house with a large patio, and we knew right away that this was the place for us. Everything in Granada is within a short walk of everything else. Most people here live within four to six blocks of the city center, so many don’t have vehicles. We’re close to Managua and the international airport, which is 35 to 45 minutes away. And the Pacific beaches are only an hour-and-a-half drive away. Living in Granada really is convenient.

Venders come to our door selling fruits, vegetables, soap, animals, about anything you could imagine. We enjoy the unexpectedness of it all.

We are extremely busy, busier than we were back in the States. Amy has an arts studio and gallery, teaches five days a week, and is on a number of community committees. I am on a library foundation, I work with the embassy, and I’m involved with a couple of other projects, including a website for expats looking to move here.

You tend to reinvent yourself when you make a move like this. I never wrote before in my life, but now I write a lot. Amy has always been in art, but she never taught before. Whatever you’re interested in, there’s something here for you to do. We’ve got the American Legion, the Rotary, Lions Club, book clubs, monthly expat dinners, volunteer organizations, church groups, health clubs, and on and on.

Plus the fishing is great, both saltwater and freshwater. We go to Managua for movies. We play golf. There are some concerts and plays. It’s a pretty good life.

The cost of living here is one of the biggest pluses. We live on about US$2,000 a month, and we live very well. We have two vehicles, and we have a maid.

Of course, life here isn’t perfect. This is a different country and a different culture. That’s why it’s interesting. For us, that’s why it’s appealing. If you are open to new experiences and willing to learn some of the language, everything will work out just fine. However, every day won’t be rosy.

One thing I’ve learned is not to push the authorities. A clerk here has complete control. So when the tax assessor comes to your neighborhood, give him dinner, house his family, and your tax will go down every year. We have a friend down the street who kept demanding her “rights as an American citizen.” Her tax bill is up 800%.

Say I’m late for work and carrying heavy things, so I decide to take a cab. I’m the second one in the taxi, and the first person is going somewhere else. I am running late, but I get to see a good part of the city before arriving at my destination. You just have to go with the flow. I’ve learned humility.

You have to remember that you are the outsider. We’ve seen some cocky Americans, for example, going up to Nicaraguans saying, “You should do it like this, not like that” or “Why do you only have one fishing boat… you should have a fleet.” That kind of thinking will get you nowhere. The only thing it will do is make you unhappy.

These people know how to relax. On the happy meter they rate much higher than we do. We love Nicaragua, but it is not for everyone. Only the adventuresome need apply.

For us, though, the only regret is that we didn’t move down here sooner.

Darrell Bushnell

Editor’s Note: Darrell Bushnell will be one of several expats to address the group at our upcoming Live and Invest in Nicaragua Conference taking place Nov. 2-4 in Managua.

Nicaragua is our top pick for budget retirement in Latin America. In this country, you could live a comfortable, adventure-filled life, either in colonial-jewel Granada or on the dramatically beautiful Pacific coast, with a budget of as little as little as US$1,000 at the current rate of exchange.

Find out more here. And reserve your place in the room taking advantage of the current Early Bird Discount here.

Continue Reading: The Benefits Of Traveling Overseas

The post Retiring To Granada, Nicaragua appeared first on Live and Invest Overseas.

]]>
http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/retirement-living/retiring-to-granada-nicaragua.html/feed 0
The Benefits Of Traveling Overseas http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/mailbag/the-benefits-of-traveling-overseas.html http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/mailbag/the-benefits-of-traveling-overseas.html#comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 12:00:03 +0000 http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/?p=13807 “Kathleen, I take issue with Andy D.’s comment on Aug. 21, firstly because I’m Irish by ancestry and second citizenship and secondly because such petulance is uncommon in a seasoned world traveler but not in a wanna-be sophisticate. “Arguably, out of the countless benefits extensive traveling brings to humanity, wisdom and understanding are some of [...]

The post The Benefits Of Traveling Overseas appeared first on Live and Invest Overseas.

]]>
“Kathleen, I take issue with Andy D.’s comment on Aug. 21, firstly because I’m Irish by ancestry and second citizenship and secondly because such petulance is uncommon in a seasoned world traveler but not in a wanna-be sophisticate.

“Arguably, out of the countless benefits extensive traveling brings to humanity, wisdom and understanding are some of the most beneficial. This unless there’s something wrong clicking there in the back of our minds.

“With the same narrow mindedness and lack of vision anyone could regard the bulk of southern U.S. states and Midwest as boring backwater country. The exception would encompass a few big cities losing in crime what’s gained in sophistication.”

–Nancy L., United States

Continue Reading: Retiring To Granada, Nicaragua

The post The Benefits Of Traveling Overseas appeared first on Live and Invest Overseas.

]]>
http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/mailbag/the-benefits-of-traveling-overseas.html/feed 0
Irish Antiques And The Waterford City Auction http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/travel/irish-antiques-and-the-waterford-city-auction.html http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/travel/irish-antiques-and-the-waterford-city-auction.html#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 19:43:20 +0000 http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/?p=13702 The Best Fun In Waterford Is Also A Business Opportunity “Gilt and alabaster French clock under dome… 100 euro… who will give me 100 euro… do I hear 100 euro…” Auctioneer Rody Keighery’s voice greeted me as I walked through the side door of his Waterford City Auction Rooms Monday morning. Starting at 10:30 a.m. [...]

The post Irish Antiques And The Waterford City Auction appeared first on Live and Invest Overseas.

]]>
The Best Fun In Waterford Is Also A Business Opportunity

“Gilt and alabaster French clock under dome… 100 euro… who will give me 100 euro… do I hear 100 euro…”

Auctioneer Rody Keighery’s voice greeted me as I walked through the side door of his Waterford City Auction Rooms Monday morning.

Starting at 10:30 a.m. that morning, Rody took his position behind the sizable and solid wooden podium at the front of his auction room, heavy wooden gavel in hand, and began calling out the first of a total of 1,231 lots he would offer for bid that day. The room was full, every seat taken and standing bidders in the back and along the aisles.

Rody flies through 100 lots per hour, on average, meaning he and his staff would be at it for the next 12 hours, give or take. During those 12 hours, Rody wouldn’t leave his post or pause his banter.

A couple of hours in the audience of one of Rody’s auctions is first-rate fun and entertainment. It’s also a chance to buy antique furniture, jewelry, watches, silver, crystal, prints, oil paintings, carpets, collectibles, and, at this auction, vintage toys for absolutely bargain prices.

Rody hosts an auction every six weeks or so, turning over an enormous volume of inventory in a year. Where does it all come from? Houses around Ireland.

“We cleared a house in Limerick earlier this month,” he told me, “and came away with some beautiful French pieces. They’re not in this auction but will be in the next. Come on back into the shop and have a look,” he invited.

Ireland is Europe’s attic. Antiques from across the British Isles, France, and beyond have been finding their way into Irish homes for centuries. When circumstances change, these prize house contents re-emerge. In the auction this past Monday, Rody featured four matching six-arm Waterford crystal chandeliers. Where would you find four matching antique crystal chandeliers? Under the bed of a nice old Irish lady who finally decided it was time to clear her house and move in with her son.

In Waterford, Ireland, these items have value. However, they’re also in ready supply. In other parts of the world, New York or Boston, say, where Old World craftsmanship is appreciated, these items can have far greater value, because they’re much harder to come by. Dealers from those cities are sometimes seen in the audience at Rody’s auctions, buying low to fill containers they then ship back to their Stateside shops, where they’re able to sell much higher. At one of Rody’s auctions, you can find hunting prints, gilt-framed and beveled mirrors, hand-painted cabinetry, inlaid chests, and, occasionally, original oils on canvas by important Irish painters, all selling for one-half, one-quarter, or less than you’d pay for the same thing in an East Coast antiques shop… if you could find the same thing.

Living in Waterford years ago, Lief and I were regulars at Rody’s auctions. The garden urns always seemed a particular opportunity to me. You could (and still can today) buy a pair of painted iron garden urns on pedestals for as little as 150 or 200 euros. The same pair of urns would sell for US$1,000 in antique shops I know in Baltimore, Maryland… which is not a top-drawer town.

Starting up a small import-export operation isn’t easy (no business is). However, if you were up for figuring the logistics (shipping, customs, inventory, fulfillment, etc.), Rody’s auction house in Waterford could keep you supplied.

Now you can even shop Rody’s inventory online. His Old World business has entered the Internet age. Take a look.

Kathleen Peddicord

P.S. Everywhere we’ve traveled across Waterford this past week we’ve been greeted like family returning home. The Irish are as welcoming and hospitable as you’ve heard. This is one of the many reasons this country truly would be an ideal place to retire. Specifically, we recommend County Waterford’s dramatically beautiful Copper Coast, which Lief and I toured with local friends last weekend.

Continue Reading: Retiring Overseas Is A Cultural Experience

The post Irish Antiques And The Waterford City Auction appeared first on Live and Invest Overseas.

]]>
http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/travel/irish-antiques-and-the-waterford-city-auction.html/feed 0
Retiring Overseas Is A Cultural Experience http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/mailbag/retiring-overseas-is-a-cultural-experience.html http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/mailbag/retiring-overseas-is-a-cultural-experience.html#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 19:38:40 +0000 http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/?p=13703 “Chère Kathleen, all your information is usually quite accurate. However, I have recently noticed a small mistake, in your story of your first trip to Europe many years ago. Icelandair was not flying to Frankfurt at the time you reference but to Luxembourg. It is true that they were offering a bus connection to either [...]

The post Retiring Overseas Is A Cultural Experience appeared first on Live and Invest Overseas.

]]>
“Chère Kathleen, all your information is usually quite accurate. However, I have recently noticed a small mistake, in your story of your first trip to Europe many years ago. Icelandair was not flying to Frankfurt at the time you reference but to Luxembourg. It is true that they were offering a bus connection to either Paris or Frankfurt.

“Enjoy your last days in Paris and keep telling your fellow citizens that they have too many preset ideas about France. All the best.”

Alain C., France

Indeed… you are correct. Thank you for filling in a gap in my memory!

***

“Kathleen, I have to respond to Andy D. who points out the lack of cultural sophistication in places like Nicaragua and Panama (relative to Dublin, Ireland, or Paris). Certainly the cultural sophistication of Dublin/Paris/Medellin/Montevideo/etc. is far different than the cultural sophistication of Nicaragua, Panama, Haiti, Thailand, or the Masai of East Africa. But, make no mistake, the culture is indeed there in almost every locale you can choose. If the sophistication of western education and arts is all you want to recognize, then forget about the millennia of rich and ancient cultures of the Thai and the Masai. Different, of course, but each equally as rich in its own right as anything the traditional West has to offer.

“If one really wants to appreciate the richness of the myriad of cultures in the world, one must put aside the biases of one’s own heritage and approach each new cultural experience with a clean slate and an open mind. Give your experiences enough time to be savored, not just a passing glance. Embrace that which pleases and/or intrigues you. Reject that which bores or displeases you. But evaluate each in its own right and don’t let your cultural biases get in the way. Though I realize that sometimes this is easier said than done!

“There is nothing wrong with not letting go of your cultural biases but please don’t look down on other cultures because you don’t or can’t understand them.”

George F., United States

Continue Reading: Irish Antiques And The Waterford City Auction 

The post Retiring Overseas Is A Cultural Experience appeared first on Live and Invest Overseas.

]]>
http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/mailbag/retiring-overseas-is-a-cultural-experience.html/feed 0
7 Simple Steps To Retire Overseas http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/how-to/7-simple-steps-to-retire-overseas.html http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/how-to/7-simple-steps-to-retire-overseas.html#comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 15:22:42 +0000 http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/?p=13603 How To Retire Overseas In Seven Steps Millions of Americans have retired to other countries in recent years, and more are choosing to retire overseas all the time. How do you make such a dramatic move? That is, how do you get from the life you’ve been living to a new, better, perhaps cheaper life [...]

The post 7 Simple Steps To Retire Overseas appeared first on Live and Invest Overseas.

]]>
How To Retire Overseas In Seven Steps

Millions of Americans have retired to other countries in recent years, and more are choosing to retire overseas all the time.

How do you make such a dramatic move? That is, how do you get from the life you’ve been living to a new, better, perhaps cheaper life in retirement overseas?

You break the adventure down into steps.

Step #1: Determine how much money you have for retirement.

The question isn’t: How much does it cost to retire overseas? The question is: How much money do you have to live on in retirement? To answer this question, calculate what your retirement nest egg amounts to on a monthly basis, including pension, investment, Social Security, and any other income. The key is to approach this monthly.

Step #2: Identify the places where you could afford to live comfortably on the retirement budget you’ve calculated.

Where will the monthly retirement budget you’ve identified for yourself buy you the retirement lifestyle you’re looking for? Answering this question is easier today than ever thanks to the Internet and the many retire overseas resources available online. Here are short lists to help launch your thinking:

With a budget of US$1,000 per month, consider:

  • Cuenca, Ecuador
  • Granada, Nicaragua
  • Veraguas, Panama
  • Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • Nha Trang, Vietnam

With a budget of US$1,500 per month, consider:

  • Algarve, Portugal
  • Medellin, Colombia
  • Boquete, Panama
  • Carcassone, France
  • Mendoza, Argentina

With a budget of US$2,000 per month, consider:

  • Abruzzo, Italy
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic
  • Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
  • Costa de Oro, Uruguay

With a budget of US$3,000 per month, you could live almost anywhere you wanted, including:

  • Ambergris Caye, Belize
  • Paris, France
  • Panama City, Panama
  • Santiago, Chile
  • Copper Coast, Ireland

Step #3: Research residency options in the countries that have your attention.

First, a disclaimer. If you’re not planning to retire to another country full time but are thinking of spending only part of each year overseas, then you can skip to step #4. Options for establishing legal residency in your chosen overseas retirement haven are important only if you want to retire to that country full time.

If that’s the case, the good news is that some countries are rolling out the welcome mat for expat retirees today, offering special incentives, perks, advantages, and benefits for the pensioner crowd. They’ve seen what a boon to the local economy foreign retirees have been for Costa Rica and Panama, for example.

In countries offering special retiree visa programs, you typically qualify by showing a minimum monthly income. Other options include making an investment (in a business or a piece of real estate, for example) or having a certain amount of money deposited in a local bank.

Step #4: Consider your options for health insurance in the countries on your list.

Your U.S. health insurance likely won’t travel with you, and Medicare doesn’t apply overseas either. You’ll need to consider your other options for covering your medical expenses in your new country. You could arrange insurance in the country; you could purchase an international health insurance policy; or you could choose to go without insurance and pay health care expenses out of pocket. This last option is not as crazy as it may sound. Depending where you move, the costs of day-to-day medical care can be so low that it doesn’t make sense to insure against them.

Regardless of what you decide to do about health insurance, keep your Medicare. It won’t help you in your foreign country of residence, but it’s a good back-up plan in case of a serious or long-term health problem. If you had to, you could relocate back to the United States, where your Medicare would cover your care.

Step #5: Understand how your retirement overseas might affect your U.S. tax obligations.

It used to be that moving to a new country as a retiree, with neither earned nor investment income, was a tax-neutral event. Your U.S. tax obligations were unaffected. Still, if this is the case, the amount of tax you owe Uncle Sam should be unaffected. However, in this post-FATCA age, moving to another country, regardless of the circumstances, means additional filing and reporting requirements. You can read about these on the IRS website.

If, though, you will have non-retirement income while living overseas, you should seek advice from a tax advisor with experience helping Americans stay tax compliant. The good news is that, if you’re earning an income as a resident of another country, the first US$100,800 (that’s the amount for 2015; the amount is adjusted every year) is exempt from U.S. tax annually.

Note that, if you’ll be earning income in your new country of residence, you could also have associated tax obligations in that country, which you should discuss with a local tax specialist.

Step #6: Think through your options for renting or buying a home.

I recommend renting first and maybe renting long-term. However, sometimes, depending on your situation, buying a home of your own and even buying right away can make sense. Regardless whether you decide to rent or to buy, you need to arm yourself with a clear and comprehensive understanding of how to navigate overseas property markets. The first and most important thing to understand about real estate markets beyond North American borders is that most don’t come with multiple listing services, making it difficult to understand all purchase options that fit your criteria and nearly impossible to identify comps. Listings are not shared so the only way to find out what’s on the market is to work with a number of different real estate agents.

In addition, the key to success navigating foreign property markets is engaging an attorney experienced working with foreigners. You should hire an attorney to help (and to review contracts) not only if you’re buying, but also if you’re renting. Note that, in most countries, a contract, including a lease, is valid only if it is signed and filed in the language of the country.

Step #7: Prepare for the practicalities and administrative requirements of living in a new country.

The practical challenges of launching a new life in a new country include everything from opening a bank account and installing electricity, cable, and Internet to learning a new language and finding a good plumber. On this front, the overseas retiree’s job is easier today than ever and easier all the time, thanks to ever-improving technology. Today you can stay in real-time contact with family, friends, and business obligations anywhere in the world from anywhere else in the world you can get a good Internet connection.

The secret to practical success as a retiree in another country is organizing your life online as much as possible. Do this in advance of your move. It can be much tougher to accomplish what you need to accomplish from another country.

Make sure you can manage your administrative and financial lives virtually. This way, you won’t have to worry about not being able to access an account, to get cash, to move money, or to pay a bill. You want these critical functions to be hassle-free, not a distraction in your new life.

Start with your bank and investment accounts. These are perhaps the most critical pieces of this puzzle and the most important things to get set up correctly before you make your move.

Kathleen Peddicord

Continue Reading: Avoiding Retirement Boredom 

The post 7 Simple Steps To Retire Overseas appeared first on Live and Invest Overseas.

]]>
http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/how-to/7-simple-steps-to-retire-overseas.html/feed 0
Avoiding Retirement Boredom http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/mailbag/avoiding-retirement-boredom.html http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/mailbag/avoiding-retirement-boredom.html#comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 15:21:58 +0000 http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/?p=13602 “Kathleen, just a note to assure you that not all of us seek the cultural lifestyle that Andy D. has become accustomed to. “We’ve done our time and these retirement areas you write about are exactly what we seek after 30 years of a grinding, exhausting career. “I think Andy confuses simplicity and quiet with [...]

The post Avoiding Retirement Boredom appeared first on Live and Invest Overseas.

]]>
“Kathleen, just a note to assure you that not all of us seek the cultural lifestyle that Andy D. has become accustomed to.

“We’ve done our time and these retirement areas you write about are exactly what we seek after 30 years of a grinding, exhausting career.

“I think Andy confuses simplicity and quiet with boredom. Low-density living instead of face-to-butt commutes every day and everywhere.

“And the low cost of living permits us fortunate enough to live well and travel more extensively to other locales.

“Boredom is generally self-inflicted.”

–Robert J., United States

***

Doña Kathleen, your comments on Nicaragua are pretty much spot on. The Ortega government appreciates the positive effects of business, there is a growing middle class (many of whom spent the 80s in the United States), and the infrastructure is solid, especially roads and public transportation. It’s safe and the people are gringo-friendly. I have lived here 20 years and wouldn’t trade the life for a Malibu mansion.”

–Fred B., Nicaragua

Continue Reading: 7 Simple Steps To Retire Overseas

The post Avoiding Retirement Boredom appeared first on Live and Invest Overseas.

]]>
http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/mailbag/avoiding-retirement-boredom.html/feed 0
Living In Waterford, Ireland http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/travel/living-in-waterford-ireland.html http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/travel/living-in-waterford-ireland.html#comments Mon, 24 Aug 2015 12:30:36 +0000 http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/?p=13560 Renaissance In Ireland’s Oldest City Timing is everything. Waterford City on Ireland’s southeast coast, from where I write, has always been lovely at night. My first view of it, some 18 years ago, was at night, from the bridge across the River Suir that leads into town. The lights of the waterfront Georgian townhouses that [...]

The post Living In Waterford, Ireland appeared first on Live and Invest Overseas.

]]>
Renaissance In Ireland’s Oldest City

Timing is everything.

Waterford City on Ireland’s southeast coast, from where I write, has always been lovely at night. My first view of it, some 18 years ago, was at night, from the bridge across the River Suir that leads into town. The lights of the waterfront Georgian townhouses that line the quay twinkled in the harbor, and I could see Reginald’s Tower in the distance, in the moonlight, standing guard over the city as it has since the 11th century.

At night, viewed from the bridge into town, Waterford can appear magical.

Alas, when we lived in Waterford, the city by day could most kindly have been described as down-at-the-heels. Waterford has always been a working-man’s town, but, when we discovered it, opportunities for working were few. More than sleepy, Waterford, when we called it home, was lifeless.

Lief and I hardly noticed. We were just married, starting a family, and building a business. You could say we were accidentally in Waterford and paid the city itself little mind.

Back in Waterford this week for our first visit in years, Lief and I are taking a fresh look. We’re both impressed and, to tell you the truth, surprised by how much our former hometown has improved itself.

At dinner Friday evening, a friend in Waterford, a native of the city, insisted that Waterford’s time is coming back around.

“Waterford has so much to offer,” she assured her dinner guests. “This is a special city. The trouble is that no one realizes everything that’s here.”

I admit I was skeptical.

The next morning, Lief and I set out early to tour the city center. This is still a small, blue-collar town, but today Waterford has a spark. You glimpse imagination and ingenuity at work in new shops and restaurants with hip and fun products and menus, and you sense an entrepreneurial spirit that was nonexistent when we were living here. In our first year as Waterford residents and businesspeople, I attended a dinner for local entrepreneurs. We were a small group, and my fellows all struck me as distressed and beleaguered.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but this impression belied Waterford’s long and enterprising history. At one time, Waterford was one of the most important cities not only in Ireland but in Europe. The oldest city in Ireland, founded by Vikings in the ninth century, Waterford developed to become a thriving port town with an especially prosperous wine trade. The city enjoyed a golden age that extended through the 16th century, when Queen Elizabeth I counted on taxes from Waterford to subsidize the faltering economy in London.

In addition to French wine, Waterfordians of old made good businesses from textiles, glass (I guess they had to learn to make glasses for all the wine they were consuming), and, later, bacon. The town’s golden era came and went early on, but Waterford, it seems, was a lively and comfortable place to call home through the 20th century.

Then dockworkers went on strike (“decimating the city,” as our Waterfordian friend put it), the bacon demand disappeared (Waterford supplied much of the bacon and dried meat to feed armed forces during both world wars but was unable to find new markets thereafter), and, finally, in the 1980s, in a symbolically important blow, Waterford Crystal began to fail. More than one in three employees of the iconic glass factory was made redundant in 1987, and the shop closed for good in 2009.

By the time we arrived on the scene, Waterford’s days of wine and roses were well behind it. The Waterford that greeted us was gray and gloomy with few prospects and fewer distractions of interest. It was one of three spots around the country that the Irish Development Agency (IDA) was particularly keen to reinvigorate at the time. That’s how we ended up in Waterford in the first place. We were among the few foreign investors the IDA managed to persuade to set up shop here.

Since we left 11 years ago, Waterford has benefitted from some ambitious and forward-thinking city planning. At the heart of the city, still, is Reginald’s Tower. Today, though, it stands as the apex of the “Viking Triangle,” as this area has been packaged. Reginald’s Tower is a museum, and next-door is The Reg, a pub with the city’s only rooftop terrace bar.

Just beyond is the new Medieval Museum, which could be the best small-town museum I’ve seen anywhere in the world. Opened in 2012, this award-winning museum incorporates some of the city’s original walls within its structures and houses the only surviving piece of Henry VIII’s wardrobe (Cromwell burned the rest), a trend-setting hat.

Next along The Mall is the Bishop’s Palace, with a museum on the top floor that showcases Waterford’s more recent history. Nearby is the Theatre Royal, and across the street is the new House of Waterford Crystal. This is not the factory of old but a showroom. Other spin-offs from former Waterford Crystal craftsmen can be found around town, including the Kite Design Studio, where some of the factory’s master glass-blowers produce and sell original works.

Meantime, Waterford is much more accessible than when we lived here, thanks to the new Dublin motorway, cutting the transit time to and from the capital almost in half.

We met again yesterday with our friend who insists Waterford’s revival is in the making, and, this time, when she returned to her arguments, I listened more attentively.

Waterford is an increasingly interesting place to spend time. It is also at the bottom of its down cycle, I believe. Property values here fell by 50% and more post-2008 and have continued down through this year. While prices elsewhere in the country, including, notably, in Dublin, have been on the rise for the past year or longer, Waterford has lagged. But, again, I’d say this market has reached bottom. If you have any interest in a home of your own in Waterford, this would be the time to buy.

Kathleen Peddicord

Continue Reading: Establishing Residency In Nicaragua As A Pensionado

The post Living In Waterford, Ireland appeared first on Live and Invest Overseas.

]]>
http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/travel/living-in-waterford-ireland.html/feed 0
Establishing Residency In Nicaragua As A Pensionado http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/mailbag/establishing-residency-in-nicaragua-as-a-pensionado.html http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/mailbag/establishing-residency-in-nicaragua-as-a-pensionado.html#comments Mon, 24 Aug 2015 12:00:38 +0000 http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/?p=13561 “Kathleen, I constantly read your mails and enjoy them a lot because you describe the things just as they are. I enjoy the piece you made on Nicaragua recently. “Amazingly, I’m planning to go soon and start my retirement in Nicaragua. You see, in the 1960s, I left Haiti to study medicine in Leon, Nicaragua. [...]

The post Establishing Residency In Nicaragua As A Pensionado appeared first on Live and Invest Overseas.

]]>
“Kathleen, I constantly read your mails and enjoy them a lot because you describe the things just as they are. I enjoy the piece you made on Nicaragua recently.

“Amazingly, I’m planning to go soon and start my retirement in Nicaragua. You see, in the 1960s, I left Haiti to study medicine in Leon, Nicaragua. I did my post-graduate studies in the United States, where I’m still working as a physician. My wife, a Nica, and I own a house in Managua, and this is where we’re aiming to retire. I heard that, as a couple, we can transport our household goods including vehicle to the country without paying a thing to customs. I wonder if that is true, and if it is, how you go about it to get a permit?

“Mrs. Kathleen, you’re doing a magnificent job with your emails. Keep up the good words.”

–Serge P., United States

Yes, you’ve heard correctly. Under Nicaragua’s pensionado program, you can import your household goods into the country, along with a car, duty-free. You should speak with an attorney in the country to confirm the details of the pensionado program and to help you begin the application process.

Or you could meet us in Managua Nov. 2-4 for our Live and Invest in Nicaragua Conference. We’ll cover all aspects of establishing residency in this country, as a pensionado or otherwise, as well as all other ideas and opportunities of interest in Nicaragua today.

Continue Reading: Living In Waterford, Ireland

The post Establishing Residency In Nicaragua As A Pensionado appeared first on Live and Invest Overseas.

]]>
http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/mailbag/establishing-residency-in-nicaragua-as-a-pensionado.html/feed 0
My Move To Waterford And Falling In Love With Ireland http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/travel/my-move-to-waterford-and-falling-in-love-with-ireland.html http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/travel/my-move-to-waterford-and-falling-in-love-with-ireland.html#comments Sun, 23 Aug 2015 13:00:30 +0000 http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/?p=13450 Back In Ireland, Where It All Began Some 18 years ago, Lief and I, newlyweds, with eight oversized suitcases, our two laptops, and my 8-year-old daughter, moved from the United States to Ireland. Lief and I knew we wanted to be in Europe. Circumstances defaulted us into Ireland, specifically the small town of Waterford on [...]

The post My Move To Waterford And Falling In Love With Ireland appeared first on Live and Invest Overseas.

]]>
Back In Ireland, Where It All Began

Some 18 years ago, Lief and I, newlyweds, with eight oversized suitcases, our two laptops, and my 8-year-old daughter, moved from the United States to Ireland.

Lief and I knew we wanted to be in Europe. Circumstances defaulted us into Ireland, specifically the small town of Waterford on Ireland’s southeast coast. Beyond “we’ll be based in Waterford,” we didn’t have much of a plan when we arrived at Dublin airport all those years ago.

In Waterford this weekend for our first return trip in years, I’m remembering those early days fondly…

We had a reservation at the stately and Old World Granville Hotel, situated quayside in Waterford, where we lived for six weeks while we searched the city for a suitable house to rent. We ran our business from the desk in the hotel room… answered For Rent ads in the local paper, for both office space and a home for our little family…

We scheduled meetings with the Waterford elementary schools where we were considering enrolling Kaitlin… met with a banker at Bank of Ireland to begin the process of opening personal and corporate bank accounts…

We took day trips to Dublin as necessary to meet with our attorney there regarding our incorporation and other business set-up paperwork…

We walked around Waterford at all hours of the day and evening, trying to identify the best places, long term, to locate both ourselves and our new enterprise…

Our attorney told us about a local recruiter who helped us to find our first local staff. We were starting a direct-mail publishing business. No such industry existed in Ireland. Our first hires were hotel receptionists and horse groomers…

We visited the Irish immigration office (in the local gardai, or police, station) to begin the visa paperwork process, which would stretch over years, as, at the time, the country’s immigration infrastructure was overloaded trying to deal with an influx of refugee immigrants from Africa…

We visited every real estate agency in the city. We had no choice. Ireland, like most of the world, has no multiple listing service, meaning that, to get a real idea what’s available for purchase, you have to meet with as many different agents as possible, as each has his own listings and suggesting to an agent that he might share listings with other agents to make more sales (a suggestion we made often until we learned better) was likely to start that agent’s face twitching…

We bought a car… on a Monday. We wanted to buy a car on a Saturday but couldn’t. We had to take a day off work to shop for a car, as car dealerships were closed on Saturdays back then. When we asked our Monday salesman about it, he replied, “We tried staying open on Saturdays, but it meant our salesmen had less time with their families…”

We attended a live property auction to see how these worked. In fact, we almost bought a small Georgian townhouse in the center of Waterford City at auction. Fortunately, before we were able to pull the trigger on that bad idea, the attorney we’d been referred to sobered us up.

I can hear her now…

“You two have just arrived in town? Have you bought property at auction in Ireland before? How well do you know the city? How much do you know about the property purchase process? Have you spoken with a bank about financing?…”

And on and on.

Morette made her point in charming Irish fashion. At the time, Lief and I had no business buying a house in Waterford at auction. What were we thinking?

Thanks to Morette’s sobering questions, we passed on the auction purchase, then, about a year later, bought, with Morette’s help, the Georgian country house that would be our family’s home for the next six years.

In Waterford this weekend, we’re visiting with Morette and her husband David, who was our architect in Ireland. With David’s help, years ago, we renovated our old stone house in the country, as well as another old house in the city, this one into office space for our in-country staff.

In Waterford, we put Kaitlin through elementary school… we had a son, Jackson, born at Waterford Regional Hospital… we acquired Irish citizenship and today hold Irish passports…

We took the proceeds from the sale of our Irish country house with us to Paris in 2004, where, with those profits, we purchased a small apartment just off the river in the 7th arrondissement that was our family’s home for the next four years.

You know the rest of the story. After four years in Paris, in 2008, we relocated to Panama City, to launch the Live and Invest Overseas operation.

All along the way, we’ve enjoyed lives and adventures we never could have imagined way back when we arrived at the Dublin airport with our family, our laptops, and all that overweight luggage.

Kathleen Peddicord

P.S. In Ireland these several days, we’re reconnecting with old friends and also taking an up-close look at the current property market in this country, specifically in Waterford. We feel connected to this town where our family got its start. If we were to buy in Ireland again, it’d be in nearby County Kilkenny, perhaps in Inistioge.

I understand that our old house, in County Waterford, is on the market as a bank foreclosure. The couple who bought it from us defaulted on their mortgage, and the house has been for sale from the bank for some time. The price has been reduced and reduced. Today the place is available for less than we paid for it.

Seems like an opportunity.

The post My Move To Waterford And Falling In Love With Ireland appeared first on Live and Invest Overseas.

]]>
http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/travel/my-move-to-waterford-and-falling-in-love-with-ireland.html/feed 0
Comparing Nicaragua And Costa Rica http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/real-estate/comparing-nicaragua-and-costa-rica.html http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/real-estate/comparing-nicaragua-and-costa-rica.html#comments Fri, 21 Aug 2015 20:50:55 +0000 http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/?p=13448 Nicaragua Or Costa Rica? Daniel Ortega was re-elected president of Nicaragua in 2006. He’s since been elected for a second consecutive term, in 2011, and sits as Nicaragua’s president today. Those facts have worried some folks. Daniel Ortega was the leader of the Sandinistas, the group that ousted the dictator Somoza back in 1979, and [...]

The post Comparing Nicaragua And Costa Rica appeared first on Live and Invest Overseas.

]]>
Nicaragua Or Costa Rica?

Daniel Ortega was re-elected president of Nicaragua in 2006. He’s since been elected for a second consecutive term, in 2011, and sits as Nicaragua’s president today.

Those facts have worried some folks. Daniel Ortega was the leader of the Sandinistas, the group that ousted the dictator Somoza back in 1979, and the same guy who, then, once in power, confiscated land and redistributed it to the poor. Investors have had concerns about what 21st-century Ortega might get up to.

I don’t see today’s Ortega as a worry. It’s a different world from 1979, and Ortega is a different guy who, in the intervening decades, has come to appreciate what capitalism brings to the party.

Nicaragua has suffered through a century of troubles, including, most recently, the re-election of the Sandinista icon Ortega, which scared some investors away, and the global downturn that started in 2008, which took many others out of the game. In the wake of these back-to-back events, not only investors but tourists, too, became thin on the ground.

Given the volume of traffic today in Granada, Nicaragua’s crown-jewel colonial city, I think it’s safe to say that the tourists have returned. The pedestrian street lined with restaurants that extends from Granada’s main square toward Lake Nicaragua is crowded with shoppers and diners every afternoon and evening. In fact, I don’t think this little colonial city has seen as much activity as it is seeing right now at any other time during its almost 500-year history.

It’s not only tourists who are feeling comfortable enough to give Nicaragua another chance but investors, too. The property market is returning. Sales are being made at greater rates than at any time since 2008. After nine years in office this time, Ortega hasn’t made a move against anybody’s property. To make the point again, today’s Ortega is not 1970s Ortega. Ortega today is the capitalist version of a Sandinista, with an understanding of the importance of personal property rights.

And Nicaragua today is a country worth your attention.

For tourists, Nicaragua is an absolute bargain. The super low cost of everything attracts backpackers, of course, but it also attracts others looking for a high-quality vacation at a bargain price. The country now boasts legitimately four-star hotels that charge nothing like four-star prices. You can stay at the La Gran Francia in Granada, for example, a hotel I’d rate as four stars, for US$85 a night, including breakfast and Wi-Fi.

For surfers, Nicaragua is a mecca. This country’s Pacific coast serves up some of the best breaks anywhere in the world. Those who make their way to try them out aren’t just 20-somethings with shaggy hair and empty pockets. Today’s surfer is as often a grown-up guy with a grown-up job and real net worth. He’s been surfing since he was in his 20s and sees no reason to stop now just because he’s a few decades older. These older surf dudes, with available capital, were an important part of the property boom Nicaragua enjoyed pre-2008 and are back in the country buying again, helping to fuel the return of this market.

For retirees, the attractions are both the long Pacific coast and the very low cost both of living and of beachfront property. Layer on the warm weather, the incredibly friendly Nicaraguans, and the country’s pensionado residency visa program (the world’s cheapest), and you’ve got the full retiree package.

Nicaragua is an appealing option for a retiree on a small budget. You could live well in Granada, for example, on about US$1,100 a month at the current rate of exchange between the U.S. dollar and the Nicaraguan cordoba. The minimum wage in Nicaragua starts at 2,701 cordobas per month. Right now, that’s US$100 per month. A retiree with income of US$1,100 is wealthy compared with most locals.

I also, though, see Nicaragua as a top choice for a retiree with a bigger budget who wants to stretch it to buy a “luxury” retirement. Increasingly, this is possible in this country. There are not only four- and five-star hotels and restaurants now, but international-standard development communities, too, especially along the Pacific coast. You could retire to one of these communities… furnish your new home with custom-made furniture… have a maid, a driver, and a gardener… eat out at high-end restaurants four or five nights a week… take regular weekend trips to explore the country… on a budget of maybe US$2,500 per month or less.

Of course, you have to keep this idea in perspective. Nicaragua remains a Third World country with limited—though improving—infrastructure.

We have been recommending Nicaragua as a much better value than Costa Rica for a long time. This is truer today than it’s ever been.

Costa Rica has always been more expensive, but it used to have better infrastructure and more destinations developed with the foreign retiree and expat in mind. Today, Nicaragua remains much cheaper than Costa Rica, but its infrastructure has improved. I’d say it’s now on par with that in Costa Rica. Meantime, real estate prices in Nicaragua are essentially what they were nine years ago for most types of property. Same low prices… improved and improving infrastructure.

For me it’s a no-brainer. If I were looking to make a coastal investment in this part of the world today, I’d go with Nicaragua over Costa Rica.

Lief Simon

Editor’s Note: This week we opened registration for our Live and Invest in Nicaragua Conference taking place in Managua, Nov. 2-4. This is the only Nicaragua event on our calendar for the next 12 months. Details are here.

Register now to take advantage of the Early Bird Discount.

Continue Reading: Comparing Investment Options And Lifestyle In Panama, Paris, Barcelona, And Ireland

The post Comparing Nicaragua And Costa Rica appeared first on Live and Invest Overseas.

]]>
http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/real-estate/comparing-nicaragua-and-costa-rica.html/feed 0