How about three months in Chiang Mai, where your retirement budget would stretch far indeed, followed by a few months in the south of France, say, or Tuscany? Which brings us to Europe. Most would-be retirees abroad dismiss Europe as too expensive, but this isn't necessarily the case. Sure, a retiree on a modest budget probably can't afford Paris or Florence, but have you considered southwestern France, where life is quintessentially French but, as well, surprisingly affordable, or Pisa, about an hour from Michelangelo's hometown but dramatically less costly? One of the big advantages of Europe, compared with other regional retire-overseas options, is the opportunity it affords for what a friend last week referred to as "high culture." Every country in the world has local culture, but not everywhere has world-class museums, opera, and live theater, for example. If you're interested in a life that includes what are conventionally recognized as cultural offerings of the high-brow variety, you should be looking to the Continent. Which is not to say it's impossible to enjoy an Old World Continental lifestyle anywhere else. Some cities in South America offer a fair imitation—Buenos Aires, for example, and Medellin, Colombia, to name two. Both are cities of open-air cafes, classic-style museums and theaters, art galleries and antique shops. And both, you'll note, are in South America, not Central America. The differences between these two regions, even between Panama and Colombia, next-door neighbors, can be striking. I'm speaking generally and could name exceptions to every point, but, again, generally speaking, South America offers what I'd call more polished options, a good place to look if what you want is culture on the cheap. Central America, by contrast, is, everywhere, rough around the edges. These are small, developing countries with nonexistent budgets for things like art museums. Making for a way of life that is, for some, charming. Romantics (like me) in Central America focus on the potential for what could be rather than the reality of what sometimes is. Others find Central America frustrating, disappointing, even appalling. On the other hand, this sun-blessed region can be but a quick plane hop away and a user-friendly place to establish foreign residency... Pluses and minuses...give and take. Kathleen Peddicord P.S. We'll be doing a lot of this kind of comparative analysis, region by region and country by country, during our Retire Overseas Conference in Nashville next month (Aug. 29–31). This one-of-a-kind program, the biggest retire-overseas event of the year, will focus on the top 21 retirement havens right now, the whole world considered. You have one week remaining to register taking advantage of the Early Bird Discount. More here.
May 27, 2014
"Kathleen, I read the Overseas Opportunity Letter every time it's in my inbox. I was wondering what experts in international legalities can I contact for specifics related to Canadians who want to retire or live overseas as I believe we have some differences from U.S. expats? Who may I contact in Canada to get information for Canadians? "Thank you for all the information. You all work very hard to get out to everyone considering this as an option in their lives." --Leslie T., Canada All information we provide is as relevant for Canadians as for Americans with one exception, which is taxes. The tax situation is different for Canadians than for Americans. The good news is that it is different in very good ways and much simplified.
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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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