Plus, the Istrian Peninsula, we'd observed for some time, serves up some of the most delightful scenery on this planet. The land seems to rise up to embrace you. Everywhere you look, something nice is growing—olives, grapes, figs, tomatoes, pumpkins, blackberries, wildflowers... Even the buildings seem to be of the earth, built of its white stone and red clay. In some parts of the world, Nature outdoes herself. In others, that which man has built is impressive. In Istria, Nature and mankind have worked together over centuries, starting with the Romans, to create a land of delights you have to see to appreciate. So, that rainy morning in that muddy farmyard, with Kaitlin (and I'm sure others, too) questioning our sense, Lief and I decided that we'd found the old white stone house that fit our bill, made an offer to the Istrian owner, and agreed the terms with a handshake. The seller sealed the deal by making a gift to us of lavender oil his wife had bottled. Then we returned to our lives and got distracted. Finally, recently, nearly a decade later, we got back to Istria, to check in on our little stone farmhouse and to see how things have changed on this peninsula in the intervening years. And we were happy to find that we're as enamored of this region now as we were back then. This sun-soaked peninsula continues to offer an appealing Old World lifestyle amidst one of Europe's most impressive landscapes and at a more affordable cost than across the way in Italy. Before you're ready to retire, you're likely to notice places around the world where you'd like to be able to spend time. Not just once every several years or so in a hotel, but more regularly, as often as possible, in the company of your family and friends, and in a place of your own. That's the realization we made years ago in Istria, Croatia. When you identify a destination that meets this description, I recommend you take stock of it bigger-picture, considering, first, whether that destination is also a place where you think you might like to spend time in retirement and, second, if the real estate market there presents potential for capital appreciation or cash flow. If the answer to either of those questions is yes (and certainly if the answer to both of those questions is yes), then you've found your ideal second home overseas. In our case, with Istria, the answer to both those taking-stock questions was enthusiastically positive, and, so, we proceeded to stake our small claim. We invested in a little farmhouse because Lief and I agreed that this is a place where we can see ourselves coming back to long term, a place we'd like to make part of our eventual retirement plan. When it comes time to flip the switch to retirement, Lief and I hope to have organized our lives so that we're able to move around during that phase of life among a handful of destinations where we most enjoy spending time, with established infrastructure in each so that we can come and go as residents, not tourists, with friends and connections, social circles and, important to us, homes of our own. When making your own plan for retirement overseas, the starting point, key to the success of the adventure, is to be honest with yourself as to what kind of lifestyle you're after. When Lief and I ask ourselves what kind of lifestyle we want in retirement, the answer is: varied. City and coastal, Caribbean and highland, spring and summer, fall and winter, developed and emerging, sophisticated and raw, refined and gritty, we appreciate it all. So we've conceived a retirement plan, that we've been working for some years to engineer, that will allow us to enjoy it all, perpetually, in turns. Whatever your plan, I encourage you to start developing it as soon as possible. An easy first step can be the purchase of a piece of property in a locale where you want to be able to spend time now and that you think eventually could become part of your retirement plan. Meantime, whenever you're not using the property yourself, it could be generating cash flow from rental, and, over time, it could be increasing in value, too. Your future retirement residence could be a nicely appreciating asset on your balance sheet. That's the ideal situation—when the holiday home-cum-retirement plan you buy also qualifies as an investment. This was what tipped the scales for us with the farmhouse purchase in Istria. The old farmhouse we bought came with a bit of land. On that land, we'd daydream, we could cultivate olives, figs, even grapes. Maybe we could try making our own wine! We could go for long hikes in the hills, exploring the medieval villages nearby, by day, then read by firelight come evening. Croatia's Istrian peninsula is a wonderland of vineyards and olive groves. If you've any romance in your soul, I defy you not to fall in love with this region that the ancient Romans called Terra Magica, the Magic Land. Perhaps the best part is that, unlike Tuscany, the region of Italy that Istria is most often compared with (with good reason, as the geography and the history of these two regions have much in common), the average person can afford Istria, where you can buy a small, renovated cottage with lookouts over a valley and vineyards, perfect for regular visits, for rental, and for retirement, for as little as US$100,000. Retiring to Croatia, you'd be in good company. Diocletian, the only Roman emperor to abdicate his position (that is, to retire) was also the first person to retire overseas. Diocletian built a palace on the Dalmatian coast (his birthplace was Dalmatia), the location of current-day Split, and it is here, with the glorious Adriatic Sea spread out before him, that he chose to live out his days. Kathleen Peddicord P.S. A holiday home-cum-retirement plan that also qualifies as an investment is the global property investing trifecta. Identifying and following through on such a multi-agenda purchase will be one important topic of discussion during our second-annual Global Property Summit, taking place in March 2015. In addition, we'll be using our 2015 Global Property Summit as a forum to introduce three new property investment markets we've been tracking and vetting, markets of considerable opportunity that you should be looking at right now. We'll be opening registration for this, the only property event on next year's calendar, within the next week. Meantime, go here now to get your name on the Hot List for special discounts and VIP perks.
Continue reading: Motivations For Relocating Overseas
April 22, 2014
"Kathleen, I was reading your best places to buy and wondered why you had not suggested Turkey. I myself am selling a property there right now, at a loss I might add. "They are overdeveloping in parts of Turkey just like they did with Spain, in particular around Alanya. I am unsure if I have done the right thing by deciding to sell now, having heard that it is the best time to buy and that prices are likely to go up! "I wondered if you had any thoughts on this. Also many Russians are buying into this area, and I do hear that some people are selling because of that alone. I would really appreciate your thoughts. "Thank you so much." --Beth N., United States Resident global property expert Lief Simon replies: I haven't paid much attention to the Turkish real estate market until recently. I know that, yes, as you suggest, some parts of that country's coast have been developed like the coast of Spain has been developed—which is to say badly and without proper planning. However, I do think there could be opportunity in Turkey now and that prices could be poised to appreciate. Kathleen and I are planning a two-week visit to the country in early July. I'll have more to report then.
When shopping for a piece of real estate overseas, it’s important to balance the investment projections for return against your personal interest in spending time in the place where the property is located.
April 17, 2013:
"Kathleen, we saw you on Fox Business Channel. Very impressive. Thanks for letting us know you would be on."
--Armand B., United States
"Kathleen, enjoyed watching you on the Bloomberg interview! Well done.
"In the interview, you focused on Panama. Have you changed your opinion on Belize in favor Panama considering citizenship, ease and taxation of consulting business, currency, financial stability, and cost of real estate/living?
"I almost have my wife convinced to make an exploratory visit to Belize. Should I flip her over to Panama?"
--Randy J., United States
No, no, I haven't changed my position on Belize, not at all. Both Belize and Panama are great choices. Which one might be better for you depends on what you're looking for.
Belize is my top pick for a place to go to leave the rest of the world behind and one of the best places in the world to pursue what I refer to as a resilient lifestyle. Also, the language in Belize is English, which can be a plus if you intend to do business.
Belize is also a tax haven...but so is Panama. And the way is well paved in both countries. That is, both Belize and Panama are home to sizable and growing expat communities.
The healthcare is better in Panama than in Belize.
In Panama, the folks speak Spanish (mostly) but use the U.S. dollar as their currency, meaning retirees have no exchange rate risk, which can be a big plus.
Panama is a country mid-boom. Belize is, has been, and I'd say always will be boom-free.
Residency is easy to establish in both countries. Note, though, that neither the pensioner's visa in Panama nor the QRP in Belize leads to citizenship. Other residency options in both countries can, though.
Again, both Belize and Panama are great choices. It all comes down to what's important to you.
"Kathleen, I'm working on a very long to-do list and planning to make my move to Panama first week of July. Very exciting and just a bit scary at the same time. 'Ballsy' for a single woman 69-years-old, but what the hey? Life should be an adventure, and I'm all in."
--Libby H., United States
I could not have written this global property adventure memoir without the help of my husband, Lief Simon. Lief has been my number cruncher, tax advisor, currency converter, spreadsheet guru, and partner for every overseas real estate investment I've made throughout my career.
With one exception--the accidental developer experience I found myself involved with a few years before I met Lief, on the south Pacific coast of Nicaragua. For that adventure, I have Bill Bonner and Mark Ford to thank, and I do.
In the pages of this new book, I also share stories of the overseas real estate adventures of friends with personal experience living, buying, and selling in the countries I feature, especially Paul Terhorst, who gives brilliant insights into why Argentina is the lovable basket case it is, and Lee Harrison, Lucy Culpepper, Ann Kuffner, Wendy Justice, and Coley Hudgins.
The book will hit bookstores and be available for purchase online starting in April. Meantime, you can order a pre-release copy of "How To Buy Real Estate Overseas" on Amazon now for just US$15.48 (that's 38% off the release price).
Over the coming weeks, in advance of the book's appearance in bookstores across America and online wherever e-books are sold, I'll share excerpts...to tease and tempt you (I hope) into wasting no time ordering your copy!
Kathleen PeddicordContinue Reading:
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An Expert Guide To The Advantages And The Challenges of Investing In Real Estate Overseas..." Learn More
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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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