"Argentina, specifically Buenos Aires, is a destination that has welcomed immigrants and expats since the mid-1800s. Much of the population claims Italian or Spanish heritage or both. The connections are clear when you walk the streets of Buenos Aires. Everywhere are pasta and pizza shops, and Spanish is spoken with a noticeable Italian inflection. These traits are blended with cultures and traditions from all around the world, including afternoon tea time, popular English sports like polo and rugby and the French architecture in the Recoleta neighborhood. "At the same time, Argentina has its own distinct culture. The cow is elevated to almost holy heights in this country, and care and concern are taken as to how it is grown, fed and ultimately prepared. Red meat is a staple of the Argentine diet, and Argentines gather for asados with friends and family at least once a week. "One of the most important things for retirees in Buenos Aires to adjust to is this city's schedule, which favors the nocturnal. The average workday starts at 9 or even 10 a.m. and goes until 6 p.m. Lunch is taken around 1 or 2 p.m., a snack around 5 p.m. and then dinner at 9 p.m. Many restaurants that serve lunch and dinner close at 4 p.m. and then reopen for dinner at 8 p.m., meaning you aren't going to eat any earlier. "Keep in mind, too, that seasons are swapped here in the Southern Hemisphere, and Buenos Aires enjoys all four of them. Christmas is celebrated in the balmy days of summer, and summer can be hot, with temperatures in the 90s. "Buenos Aires can be an easy place to slide into as a foreign retiree. Much of the local population speaks English and is eager to practice with foreigners, as well as to show off their city. And it's easy to connect with fellow foreign transplants. Many expat meeting groups are active in the city, and many online resources and forums are dedicated to helping expats and foreign retirees, including, for example, BA Expats. "The main appeal of retirement in Buenos Aires is the city itself. However, retirees here will find that their budget can stretch far. You can have a lavish steak dinner with wine, appetizers and accompaniments for less than US$20, even at some of the nicest steakhouses in town. Still, the city is not the secretly cheap steal it once was. This is a world-class city on par with other cosmopolitan capitals around the world, and prices generally reflect that. Furnished apartment rentals start at around US$500 a month for a studio or one-bedroom. From there, the sky is the limit, because Buenos Aires is a place where a true luxury-level lifestyle is possible. "Argentina is not one of the world's current bargain destinations, and establishing legal residency can be a challenge. So, Buenos Aires might best be considered as a part-time retirement choice. You could spend winter here (remember, the seasons are reversed), enjoying one of the world's most intriguing and exciting lifestyles while the snow is falling up north, and spend the rest of the year somewhere more affordable and closer to home..." Kathleen Peddicord Editor's Note: Karina's complete guide to living or retiring in Buenos Aires is featured in the November issue of our Overseas Retirement Letter. If you're an ORL subscriber, you should have received the issue in your in-box on Nov. 15. If you're not an ORL subscriber yet, you can become one here now. Or purchase the complete Buenos Aires report on its own, including all photos and videos, here. Both the Overseas Retirement Letter subscription and the Buenos Aires Retirement Report are on sale right now as part of our mega-Black Friday/Thanksgiving Weekend event, which continues for less than 24 hours more. Go here now to shop our Bookstore for more Black Friday savings before the holiday event ends.
Cpmtinue Reading: Jobs Teaching English In Honduras
An added bonus of the Languedoc region is that it's just three hours' drive to my joint-favorite European city, Barcelona! Lief Simon: Medellin and Buenos Aires I prefer cities over more rural areas. Two of the best cities in Latin America to spend time in, whether it's full- or part-time living, are Medellin, Colombia, and Buenos Aires, Argentina. In Medellin, the weather is pleasant year-round—though some would argue that it isn't "spring-like" weather as it's generally referenced to be. Temperatures regularly break 80 degrees. Having grown up in Arizona, that's like winter weather for me. In other words, it's all relative. It's pleasant enough to walk around Medellin, which is important to me, though I wouldn't call this a walking city. Medellin has First World infrastructure and amenities (also important to me), and museums, festivals, gardens, and parks all add to the variety of activities available in this city of about 3.5 million people. And, to make the point, despite its history, Medellin is fairly calm these days unless you wander into the gang neighborhoods. Bigger and livelier is Buenos Aires, which also has four seasons. I like change and contrast, so I like this part of the world a lot. Argentina rides an economic roller coaster that cycles harder and faster than economic cycles in any other country I could name, thanks to general and gross mismanagement by the government. Argentina is right now close to another breaking point. I'm watching for the coming next crisis, which will be another good time to be considering an investment here. From a lifestyle point of view, Buenos Aries offers all the activities that Medellin does and more. It's a city of about 15 million people (around one-third of the total population of the country). It has a tremendous variety and diversity of restaurants, shopping, museums, and parks and does qualify as a walking city—though it's too big to walk across in one go. For me, Buenos Aries' core neighborhoods of Recoleta and Retiro offer an ideal way of life. Just be prepared for big ups and downs and lots of drama. For me that's all a big part of the charm of this place. Kathleen Peddicord P.S. The countdown is on. You have three days remaining to register for this year's Retire Overseas Conference in Nashville next month taking advantage of the Early Bird Discount. More details here.
David Sexton is his American counterpart. David relocated, on our offer of employment, from the U.S. capital to the Panamanian one, about two months ago. David is a few years older than Denis but shares the same approach to life and work.
This morning, when I checked my e-mails, I found one from David that read:
"Kathie, attached is something I've just written. Maybe you could work with it...find some use for it..."
Reading on, I was delighted with what David had to say. I thought you might appreciate it, too.
Here you go--David's open letter to retirees back in the States:
"My grandma--Nanaw, as I call her--retired recently for the second time. The first time was from the federal government nearly 15 years ago. More recently, she retired from a voter registrar's office in small-town Virginia.
"Nanaw 'gets' this whole retire overseas beat I'm covering now, but she's got a few years on the average retiree. Plus, she's too drained from the latest election cycle to earnestly consider relocating her life to a new country right now.
"This doesn't stop me from daydreaming about where I'd want her to move--that is, where I'd be most excited about visiting her if she were ever to retire overseas.
"I am 26, which makes me part of the Millennial generation. Sadly, we Millennials struggle to find time to visit dear old grandma and grandpa. I don't make excuses for our behavior, but it occurs to me that I would probably be more likely to visit Nanaw more often if she were enjoying her retirement overseas. What follows, therefore, are five excellent international retirement options, and why, if you move to one of these, you may see much more of your Millennial-generation grandkids.
Italy or France
"Why you'll see more of us: Millennials enjoy food, wine, and high culture.
We're fairly sophisticated, if we do say so ourselves. We're well-educated, and, when given the opportunity, we like to enjoy the finer things in life. So consider a country known for its world-class food, wine, and culture. Italy and France top my list in this regard. Be advised, though: The debt from that art history degree we wound up with is killing us, so you may need to pick up the tab at all café outings we enjoy together. (Side note: our impractical, liberal education is one of the chief reasons we'll appreciate your new home in either Italy or France and look for any chance to visit.)
"Why you'll see more of us: Millennials need a break.
"Millennials do a pretty good job of managing the vast interconnectedness and dizzying speed of modern life, but it does overwhelm us at times. And I can think of no better place in the world than Belize to get away from it all. How sweet it would be to have an off-the-grid retreat or a Caribbean island hide-a-way in the family to run to whenever the need to unplug the iPad and recharge the soul overtakes us.
"Why you'll see more of us: Millennials love cities.
"Millennials are attracted to things they didn't have growing up. As we enter adulthood, we're choosing adventure over safety, connectedness over isolation, convenience over inconvenience, car-independence over car-dependence.
"Put another way: We despise the suburbs from whence we came. Downtown, with its excitement, intimacy, and ease of living, is our preferred habitat. I put Buenos Aires on this list simply because I like it, but you can replace it with any of the world's brand-name cities, and, I promise, the grandkids will show up.
"Why you'll see more of us: Millennials love natural beauty (and hobbits).
"That Millennials are city-dwellers does not preclude an appreciation for natural beauty, particularly the unspoiled variety. Even the least outdoorsy of us loves snapping Facebook-profile-worthy photos in front of striking, natural landscapes. And, thanks to 'The Lord of the Rings' movies, when Millennials think 'striking, natural landscapes," we think New Zealand, and we really want to go.
Why you'll see more of us: it's Thailand.
Thailand seems to be either the Millennial's favorite country or at the top of their travel bucket list, so it's a great way to lure the grandkids to you. Bonus: It would be fun for us to say, 'Phuket, I need a vacation; I'm going to visit my grandparents in Thailand!'" Kathleen Peddicord
P.S. What else this week?
"Always keep Ithaca in your mind. To arrive there is your ultimate goal. But do not hurry the voyage at all. It is better to let it last for many years; And to anchor at the island when you are old, Rich with all you have gained on the way, Not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches. Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage. Without her you would never have set out on the road. She has nothing more to give you..."
-- Constantine Cavafy, 1863-1933
"What?" I asked, barely registering his question, trying to tidy up the bathroom before we headed downstairs and out the door.
"What are we doing, here in Panama?" he asked...
But...what does it cost to get there in the first place?...
But there's a world beyond these Americas that can also offer good weather and a low cost of living...plus, in some cases, some things you won't find here...
Having lived in both Montevideo, Uruguay, and Medellin, Colombia, I think I can help compare the two...
PLUS--From resident global real estate investing expert Lief Simon:
Agricultural land has taken a priority position among real estate investors over the last few years. Yield-generating investments are a critical part of any portfolio right now, and agricultural land not only throws off a yield, but it also can be expected to appreciate in value as arable land around the world becomes scarcer and demand for food increases.
When one mentions growing things in Colombia, the first thing that comes to mind is coca leaves...the raw product for cocaine. While the end product might make some people big bucks, the crop itself doesn't make the farmers much money.
However, Colombia has another major commodity crop: coffee, which offers big potential both short- and long-term.
This country is known for producing some of the best coffee in the world. Surprisingly, though, the industry is not nearly as efficient or as developed as you might expect. There are two major problems. First, the high-quality "specialty" beans are combined with lesser quality ones, at both the picking and the packing stages, meaning the end result is far inferior to what it could be.
In addition, farmers aren't incentivized to care about growing better coffee. They have been trained that they get paid the same going rate for their beans, regardless of the quality, good, bad, or somewhere in between. The local co-ops come around and tell the farmers that they are paying X per pound today...take it or leave it. So the farmers take it and carry on with their farming as best they can. They've got families to feed, after all.
Colleagues who have been researching the coffee business in Colombia have identified some interesting statistics. Colombia has more than a half-million coffee farms. The average size is a bit more than 1.5 hectares (that is, less than 4 acres...or very small). Within those half-million farms are what are referred to as "lots," or areas, of different types and qualities of coffee beans. In total, there are more than 9 million "lots" in Latin America, only 10% of which qualify as specialty lots (that is, high quality). The specialty lots are the good stuff, but, again, most are blended in with everything else, thanks to how the industry works.
Between underutilized land, thanks, in many cases, to farmers not having the money to invest in modern farming methods, and a lack of pricing incentive, a big potential exists to improve both the quantity and the quality of coffee farm production across Colombia. That's the opportunity that the guys behind Coffee Latin America (CLA) have conceived a strategy to take advantage of, a strategy that translates to a chance for you to own your own coffee farm in Colombia, professionally managed by the Coffee Latin America team. It's an opportunity of great interest, I believe, to the individual investor right now, as well as of great benefit to coffee farmers and the entire coffee-growing industry in Colombia.
Here's how this works:
Coffee Latin America identifies farms they believe they can help, by increasing both the yield of the land and the quality of the beans being grown. Investors purchase those farms (or parts of them), and CLA sends in its management team to get to work.
Implementing modern farming techniques--including using fertilizers, organic pesticides, and better planting techniques--CLA expects to be able to increase the average yield of farms from the current less than 50% of maximum potential to a more optimum level over the course of 10 years. Meantime, they will get better quality coffee from the current trees...and new plantings will be of higher-value plants, such as the geisha that Starbucks recently announced being available in some of its high-end stores.
The critical variables in CLA's plan are increasing total farm yield and raising the per-pound price for better-quality beans. Harvesting more coffee is relatively easy--you simply plant more trees. Right now, many farmers don't farm all the land they have available because they just can't afford to. Plants, pesticides, fertilizer...it all costs money.
Raising the coffee price is a less straightforward objective. CLA expects to accomplish this by taking better care of the trees, planting better coffee varietals, and using the direct marketing channels that CLA has created online to support its investment efforts.
The bottom line of all this is a turn-key opportunity for the investor. An investor buys a piece of property that CLA identifies, and CLA's coffee farm management company, Tiera Cafetera (TC), takes over from there. The selling farmer is given the option to continue to work the farm at a decent salary if he likes. TC provides the materials and tools required to improve yields immediately and puts a plan in place to increase the quality of the coffee beans being grown.
The coffee is harvested and packaged for sale through the CLA product chain, which targets both professional and home roaster markets directly, online, providing for an immediate increase in price.
As Colombia places no restrictions on foreign property ownership, you can buy as little or as much land as you like. The minimum investment is currently US$10,000, which buys a half-acre of an active coffee farm. That minimum will go up as CLA finds more farms and will vary depending on the size of farms available.
As the farms being purchased are already producing coffee, cash flow is generated from day one. However, it will take up to a year to make the necessary investments and see the accompanying improvements in yields and quality.
Projections show that investors should begin to receive small cash returns after the first year. As both yields and quality are improved, cash flow should increase, eventually resulting in an annualized return on investment of 19% per year.
Note that, while coffee plants live for up to 40 years, they produce effectively for but up to 12. A regular replanting schedule is required to keep a farm at optimum productivity. The cost of this is factored into the projected returns.
Remember, further, that this is an investment in the land itself. You own the farmland, meaning you could sell it at any time. TC asks a right of first refusal to be able to buy back your coffee farm should you decide to sell, so they can keep the high quality trees they are planting in their retail coffee system. While they can't guarantee they will buy back your farm when you want to sell, you can be sure they will be motivated to try to accommodate.
That said, you should plan to hold your investment for at least five years to allow the cash flow to increase enough to support a sales price that translates to a nice capital gain.
For more details on what I see as a very appealing productive land investment opportunity in a growth market, inquire here.
Kathleen Peddicord'sNew Book
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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.
Read more here.
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