Given all this, should you retire to Panama...or to France? To Argentina...or to Thailand? I have no idea. You've got to do the work of considering the 22 destinations on our World's Top Havens list in the context of your personal preferences and priorities yourself. You've got to connect your own dots. For example: If you're looking to retire on a limited budget, look closely at Ecuador, Nicaragua, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam, the world's most affordable places to live comfortably. If you want a temperate climate year-round, put Cuenca, Ecuador, and Medellin, Colombia, at the top of your list. If you want four seasons, think about Argentina, Chile, Croatia, France, or Italy.Get the shakes at the thought of life without reliable Internet? Take Nicaragua off your list and parts of Ecuador, too. If top-tier infrastructure is a deal-breaker for you, I'd recommend reconciling yourself to city living in Latin America and Asia in general. You can't count on regular, reliable Internet in the "interiors" of most countries in these regions. Don't like bugs? Don't retire to a tropical beach. Get sad without sunshine? Don't move to Ireland. Want to start a business? Come to Panama, the most business-friendly jurisdiction in the world today...or Malaysia if you want to be on that side of the planet. Travel a lot? Come to Panama in the Americas or France in Euro-land. From Tocumen you can get anywhere in North or South America with ease...and from Charles de Gaulle, you're no more than a couple of hops away from anywhere, period. Value regular nights of culture? Consider Buenos Aires, Paris, or (more budget-friendly) Medellin.Want to be far away from the troubles of the world? Think about Cayo, Belize, where life continues safe, simple, and separate. "Retiring" with children? Education is your number-one priority. In this case, consider France, Panama, or Argentina. If you have an ongoing health concern, medical care facilities are your top priority. Put, again, France, at the top of your list if budget is not another of your key criteria...and consider Panama, Malaysia, and Colombia if it is. Panama is an international banking center...Nicaragua is not. Foreign ownership of property is restricted in Thailand, if that matters to you. Argentineans enjoy drama—in their politics, in their economic policies, in their cocktail party conversation. Will you find that entertaining or unnerving? France is one of the most legislated places on earth. The French, though, simply ignore the rules and the restrictions as suits them. Could you? Taxis in places like Panama City, Panama, and Granada, Nicaragua, often come minus things like door handles, air conditioning, and tail lights. Will that bother you? Latinos live life loud and in the street and don't value their own time let alone yours. The French are reserved and formal. Asians don't have the same ideas about personal space that North Americans do.Which of those things make you uncomfortable?OK, over to you. You'll have to continue this line of thinking for yourself, but you get the idea.Meantime, as we begin the countdown to the New Year, we're gearing up to do everything we can to support your connect-the-dots efforts. We want 2015 to be the year your new life overseas dreams become reality.Kathleen Peddicord
Continue Reading: How To Send Money Overseas
My favorite part of Salinas is Chipipe, close to the naval base. It draws a quieter crowd and, because it's at the end of the beach areas, sees less traffic than elsewhere in Salinas. The beaches are wider and nicer than anywhere else in town, and just a couple of blocks in from the beach is a pleasant downtown area with fine old homes and lower property prices.
Salinas is famous for sport fishing and holds a number of world records for sailfish, tuna, and black marlin. The year's best weather starts in November, with sunny skies and pleasant temperatures. February through April, this weather gives way to sunny mornings with showers in the afternoons, still quite pleasant. April through November, it's often cool, dry, and overcast. If you burn easily, you might like it; if you crave sunshine, you won't.But Salinas benefits from the school schedule in Cuenca. The kids are out of school in Cuenca in June and July, and that's when a lot of families go on vacation. So there's a demand for vacation rentals during the time of year with the least-pleasant weather.This is good news for North American investors, who can escape their winter to enjoy Salinas' best weather and also enjoy local rental demand during the off season.Bottom line, what makes Salinas such an appealing property-purchase location is the low cost. Here are examples of properties currently on the market:
I recommend Salinas as your best coastal choice in Ecuador if you're interested in a place where you could live part time and rent your place out when you're not there. You'd enjoy great weather during the North American winter and rental traffic during North America's summer.
And, again, you can position yourself here right now for as little as US$40,000.Lee HarrisonEditor's Note: Lee Harrison, our Overseas Property Alert editor, will be revealing all of his current top global property investing recommendations at our 2015 Global Property Summit.Registration for this once-a-year event will open within the next 24 hours.Go here now (this is your last chance) to get your name on the pre-registration list to enjoy VIP attendee status and perks.
Continue reading: Funding Your Retirement With Cash Flow From Rental Property Investments Overseas
This is where you might expect a hard-luck story, but we don't have one. We walked away from Dubai willingly. Purposefully. The bank didn't foreclose on our home. We weren't downsized. We didn't lose our retirement nest egg to nefarious Wall Street bankers or bad investment decisions. We moved because we wanted more out of life than Starbucks-filled shopping malls.Some told us we were crazy to "retire" to Ecuador at the age of 44, and, looking solely at the numbers, they had a point. They didn't get it and probably never will because our departure from Dubai was not about money. If money were our priority, we'd still be living in Dubai. In Dubai, everything looked great on paper, but, in reality, we were experiencing a steady decline in the quality of our lives with no end in sight.During a trip to Ecuador, we saw an opportunity to reverse that trend. And reverse it we did, agreeing to buy our current home five minutes after seeing it on our first day ever in South America. Carpe diem! We hadn't even seen the nearby town of Vilcabamba yet. FYI, it's not a strategy I recommend for everyone.With the deed to our nearly 2 acres of "dream come true" property firmly in hand, the decision to walk away from Dubai was easier to make. So, one year later, we put aside a life of much in Dubai for a life of so much more here near Vilcabamba, and we have never looked back.While you may be considering Ecuador for its lower cost of living, we saw a chance to live in a place that is remarkably beautiful and where the weather is just the best. So are the locals. Even though the health care is not, it's more than adequate and affordable enough that pay-as-you-go really is a viable option. While Ecuador is not as safe as Dubai (few places are), with more than seven years of experience living in this country, we feel as secure as we would in most rural areas of the United States or Canada.Some say there's nothing to do in Vilcabamba, but I'm busier now than when I was working. Since moving here, I've been designing houses, working on graphic designs, building furniture, doing some public speaking, traveling a bit, writing, and taking lots of photographs. Sue's been busy helping me as she continues to hone her baking skills while dabbling in things like welding and cement crafts.And we both tend to our property. That alone can be a full-time job the way anything green grows here in Ecuador. It's a rewarding experience eating homegrown bananas. And using them to make banana bread. And banana muffins. And banana cream pie. And banana jam. And banana pancakes. And...well, you get the idea.We used to "look forward" to getting up at 5 a.m. to beat Dubai's rush-hour traffic. Now we look forward to just getting up each day. Our rooster can't wait either. In theory, we traded more for less moving from Dubai to Vilcabamba in 2007, but we'd say today, seven years later, that we definitely came out ahead. We made a change in our life because we wanted a better life, the kind that is measured not by cost but quality.Of course, we've enjoyed the budget benefits of being in Ecuador, too. The low cost of living is a great perk for a country that already has so much to offer.So while economics may be a driving force in your considering a move to another country—for example, Ecuador—I urge you to explore other motivations too. You'll be glad you did. By doing so, you'll increase the chances of being happy in your new home. The low-cost-of-living benefit can be there, but move to a new country solely for that reason and you're limiting your upside.John Curran
Continue Reading: Part-Time Retirement In Cuenca, Ecuador, And Medellin, Colombia
"Rule #4: Acknowledge your bad Spanish. "I've found that this gets you a lot of points. Unless your Spanish is legitimately fluent, begin any conversation with, 'Excuse me, my Spanish is not very good, but...' First, this makes the Spanish-speaker more attentive to what you're saying, but it does something else, too. It lets the person on the other end of the conversation know that you're not a cocky American who's going to barge in and belligerently demand what he wants. It signals instead that you're asking for help. That really puts someone in a different state of mind. "Rule #5: Pedestrians do not have the right of way, ever. "Lots of people get run over. One trick when crossing a street with a stop sign is to cross behind the lead car. Locals don't ever cross in front because that car is watching the traffic. When there is an opening to go, they will go whether there is someone in front of the car or not. The pedestrians are just expected to scatter. It takes some getting used to, but you can't expect crosswalks to be honored or for pedestrians ever to have the right of way. "Rule #6: You've got to drive aggressively. "If you're a yield-to-the-right-of-way person, you're going to be sitting at the first intersection you come up to until doomsday. Ecuadoreans are very aggressive behind the wheel. They don't let people in and they don't show courtesy, neither to pedestrians nor to other drivers. If you can't drive like them, you're better off not driving. I found it fun, so much more fun than driving in the States, when I got used to it. "Rule #7: Forget your ideas about personal space. "We tend to treasure a little space around us and don't touch or rub up against each other in public. Once in this country I was taking the bus and sitting next to a 12-year-old girl on her way home from school. As we were riding along, she fell asleep on my shoulder. When we got to her stop, she woke up and got off. That's a kind of closeness we're not prepared for. "Rule #8: Don't get in a taxi without agreeing the fare in advance. "I just read that Cuenca now has metered taxi. Guess what? Cuenca had metered taxis in 2002 when I was living in that city. They became law, but the taxistas refused to use them. They still do. They get away with it because customers don't complain. The taxista just puts a rag over the meter so you can't see it. So you want to get an idea of what the fare should be before getting in. "About a year ago, I arrived at the Cuenca airport and asked a driver, 'How much to downtown?' He said, 'Six dollars.' I said, 'I don't think so. I live here!' He said, 'Two dollars.' "Rule #9: Don't wait to be seated and other restaurant etiquette. "In the United States we wait to be seated, but here you seat yourself. Also, in our culture, a waiter is designated to certain tables, and you only ask your waiter for more water, etc. That doesn't happen here. All the waiters are happy to help. If you need something, don't worry about who took your order, just grab the next guy you see. "Also, you need to ask for the check. I can't tell you how many times I've seen folks angrily waiting for their checks while the restaurant has wanted to close 20 minutes ago. All the waiters stand shoulder-to-shoulder by the kitchen wishing the people would just ask for the check so they can go home. It's a standoff that happens all the time. It would be rude for a waiter to bring the check before you ask for it. By asking for it, they know you're done. You can say, 'La cuenta, por favor.' "Restaurant bills here include a 10% tip. If you want to leave something extra, that is fine but not expected. If I know the restaurant owner doesn't distribute tips to the wait staff, I leave cash on the table. "Rule #10: Bring patience with you. "Know that nothing will be as efficient as where you're from. Be patient. You're gonna' love it here if you learn to appreciate the differences." Kathleen Peddicord P.S. Lee Harrison was master of ceremonies for last week's event in Ecuador. His presentation on Ecuador etiquette was recorded, along with every other presentation. These audio recordings are being edited now to create our all-new Live and Invest in Ecuador Home Conference Kit, which will be available for fulfillment two weeks from today. Meantime, you can purchase your copy pre-release and save more than 50%. Do that here now.
"Dear Team Live and Invest Overseas, I thought this might interest you... "According to my Weather Pro App (widely used by Irish farmers) we can see that our trip to Dubrovnik next week will be somewhat of a disappointment weather-wise compared with Portugal. I never expected that. Just goes to show your weather reports in your recent Retire Overseas Index report were spot on." --Bea D., Ireland
"Right now it's fall in Nebraska. While fall is a beautiful time of year, it's also a sad time because it signifies the end of the growing season. We don't have that here. The growing season is continual. As a kid, I knew what a poinsettia was. It came in a pot, and you bought it at Christmas time. Here poinsettias are trees. Impatiens, which were annuals back in Nebraska, grow to be bushes here. "I have a house with a yard and a gardener to take care of it, but I'm a Nebraskan. My parents taught me to mow the lawn. My neighbors all think I'm a gringita loca because I like to mow my lawn. They don't know what to make of it. The gardeners here pick something and stick it in the ground and, wow, it grows! There's joy in that. My second F-word for Ecuador is: Fantastic. "We tend to throw around the word 'fantastic' to the point where it ceases to have meaning. Fair enough. We should use it only when it really applies. 'Fantastic' means extraordinary. "I travel with some frequency to Ecuador's three major cities to try to stay on top of my businesses. On any given flight you can have a fantastic experience just looking out the plane window. The Andes...the volcanoes...these are fantastic sights. "One time in Baños, a little town with hot springs, our guide told us to go across the river and up the mountain and wait. At around 4:30 to 5 p.m., our guide told us, the clouds will part. So we went, and we waited, and, just as the guide had promised, the clouds parted...and there was the volcano. Not only that, but we could feel it rumble. I thought, 'Wow, this is definitely not Nebraska.' My next F-word is: Frustrating. "Now we get to the reality of living in a place that is not your home. After living here for nearly 15 years, I still have to remind myself not to become the person who thinks everything in the United States is turn-key, perfect, and efficient and then is unhappy because that's not how things are here in Ecuador. "Banco Pichincha is one of the largest banks in this country, and nearly everyone has an account there. On the 15th and the 30th of each month, there is a line like you would find at Disney World for their most popular ride that just snakes around and around outside the door of every Banco Pichincha branch. That's because everyone just got paid and is waiting in line to cash their paychecks. For me as a business owner, this can create huge frustrations. I can have to wait in line hours to make a simple deposit. But what are you going to do? Nothing. You just have to roll with it. "I applied for my citizenship here months ago. My lawyer and I compiled all the required paperwork and went to the immigration office. They told us, 'You're missing this paper.' "We got that paper and went back to immigration...where they told us that 'this document that you got two weeks ago was only valid for 10 days...' "After a few visits, even my Ecuadorian lawyer was frustrated. I finally said to him, 'I know what I have to do. Let me see what I can do on my own...' "I finally went by myself, said a prayer outside the building, and they took my application. "As I said, you've just gotta roll with it...all of it. Next F-word: Flexible. "This has to do with expectations and attitudes going into a new experience. If you expect that living in another country will be like a U.S. experience only in a different place, you'll struggle. But if you go into it with the attitude 'I'm gonna roll with whatever challenges come' and keep your mind flexible with a capital F, you'll be more likely to enjoy your experience. My final F-word for Ecuador is: Focus. "One thing that has really helped me make the most of my life here in Ecuador has been shifting my focus so that it's not on me and what I want but on other folks. For me this has led to becoming involved in the local community as a volunteer. Several years ago, in the English language church where I attend, they were asking for volunteers for the women's prison ministry. I raised my hand, and it's been life-changing..." Kathleen Peddicord P.S. Thank you to Conference Director Lauren Williamson and Master of Ceremonies Lee Harrison who have co-hosted this week's event in Ecuador for us...and who have provided me with from-the-scenes reports to make it possible for me to share some of the goings-on in Quito with you. More to follow next week... Meantime, as always, we're recording every presentation of this week's event, including Theresa's introduction to the F-words of Ecuador. We'll bundle this collection of audio-recordings and other materials to create our all-new Live and Invest in Ecuador Home Conference Kit, which will be available for fulfillment two weeks after the event has finished. You can purchase your copy pre-release and save more than 50%. Do that here now.
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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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