Where To Retire Now

No question, this is a good time to be thinking about getting out, moving on, and starting over.

But where?

Our far-roving Correspondents offer three tempting options this week:

  • New Belize Correspondent Ann Kuffner extols the virtues, the advantages, and the many attractions of life in this Caribbean nation: “Initially, I was attracted to Belize by its natural beauty and environment, including the opportunity it offers for scuba diving and water sports.”Thinking back to when this country first got my attention, I realize that, then, I wasn’t in a hurry. I had a lucrative career. I wasn’t thinking of making an international move. Instead, my husband and I invested in a vacation home on the island of Ambergris Caye. For eight years, we traveled to Belize yearly, to relax and to scuba dive.”I wanted to be sure before committing to something as dramatic as a move to another country. When I did think about the idea, I mainly considered living in Belize part-time.”But then came 2008, and everything changed. My best friend and co-worker, a 50-year-old senior VP, lost her ‘secure’ management job. Would I be next? I knew the time had come for me to get serious about making a move, even a full-time one. As more financial and political landmines exploded around me every day, I began to plan my escape.”In the end, I chose Belize because it provided me with a safe haven in this difficult time. And moving here allowed me to retire eight years earlier than if I had remained in the States.

    “Through Belize’s QRP program, I obtained my residency in less than four months. That part was easy. The difficult part was making the decision to make the move in the first place…”

  • “Vicki and I stayed in old-town Dali in southwest China for 10 days,” reports intrepid Correspondent Paul Terhorst. “It’s such a comfortable, livable place. Some 50 or so Westerners have already retired here. If you’re looking for an easy-going lifestyle in an exotic, scenic, and charming place, consider doing the same.”Last year, the Chinese changed both the property and the visa rules, and they’re still working them out. Before, overseas Chinese and others were buying up properties in the big eastern cities (Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen), and prices were soaring. To calm the speculation, the government decided that only residents could buy property. I’m told that in Dali, though, it works the other way around–that is, you can still buy property to become a resident.”The government changed the visa rules last year, too, primarily to keep people away from the Olympic Games. On this trip, Vicki and I picked up our visas in Chiang Mai, Thailand. We got double-entry visas to be used within six months, each entry good for a 30-day stay. We met up with a Canadian friend here who got multiple-entries with each entry good for a 60-day stay. If you work on it, you should be able to get a three-month stay and extend the stay for two, one-month periods.”That’d mean you’d have to leave–fly to Hong Kong, say–every five months.”I emphasize that the Chinese are still working out both the property and the visa rules. You’ll have to comply with the new guidelines, whatever they turn out to be, or wait a few years until the rules change again.

    “Meanwhile, come on over and take a first look at this exciting possibility. You’ll be a pioneer…”


  • This may be the best option for overseas retirement living I’ve ever seen.And it comes with something else you should be in the market for right now: a guaranteed yield from rental income.I’m talking about an opportunity on the Pacific coast of Mexico, specifically, on the stretch from Puerto Vallarta 100 miles north to colonial San Blas, a region that FONATUR targeted for development early this decade and then dubbed the Riviera Nayarit.This stretch of coastline is primo. If you like blue sea, white sand, and regular sunshine, really, you can’t ask for better. Plus, there are golf courses, archeological sites, spas, every water sport you could name (including swimming with dolphins and whales), colonial cities, Aztec history, deep-sea fishing, five-star restaurants, wine and cheese shops, trendy cafes, art galleries… The region’s transformation is well along.This part of Mexico is safe, stable, and easily accessed from anywhere in the United States, Canada, even Europe. There are world-class hospitals and top-quality private bilingual schools.

    There’s also a proven rental market. Nuevo Vallarta hotels regularly see 85% occupancy, and the demand for condo rentals in the region increased 300% from 2007 to 2008.

    This is a location that checks all the right boxes: Beautiful beaches; great weather year-round; safe; affordable cost of living; easily accessible; 21st-century infrastructure (not only for roads and highways, but for Internet, telecommunications, etc., as well); lots to do; established and expanding expatriate community; top-notch medical care; and, again, a track record for rentals.

    It’s easy to understand why so many expats, from North America and beyond, have sought out this part of Mexico for both part- and full-time escape.

    But I predict that the best of Nayarit is just now coming online…in the form of Taheima, the first luxury wellness condo-hotel in Latin America. This is a development product whose time has arrived. And right now is your chance to buy pre-construction, for what amounts to the lowest per-square-meter cost in the region, while locking in (if you choose) two years of guaranteed rental yields of 7% per year. (You get free maintenance of your property during these two years, too.)

    There are lots of private development communities throughout Mexico, offering golf, spas, fishing, etc. Taheima is different. It has been conceived as an alternative for the “new retiree”…the Baby Boomer who is looking for options outside the States and who is gearing up, during this phase of his life, for anything but retreating to the sidelines.

    Taheima is for the would-be retiree who wants to be active and engaged, both physically and intellectually. The focus is on education and wellness, of body and of mind, with daily classes in yoga, painting, dancing, languages, sculpting, cooking…and wellness and nutrition classes and clinics with professional trainers.

    Specifically, at Taheima, you can choose from a junior suite, a one-bedroom apartment, a two-bedroom residence, or a three-bedroom penthouse. Every unit comes fully furnished and with full rental and property management services in place. You’d never have to touch up the paint or change a light bulb, if you didn’t want to.

    You can finance your purchase (up to 70% loan to value). This isn’t a time-share. This is full titled ownership of a condominium in the most impressive overseas retirement community I’ve ever seen.

    Full titled ownership of a condo that could pay for itself, over time, through rental income. To start, you can guarantee yourself two years of rental yields of 7% a year.

    This makes sense from so many angles. This is an interesting investment opportunity of the kind that I believe you should be focused on in the current climate (it’s yield-producing in a proven market).

    It’s an ideal second home in the sun if you’re looking for part-time escape to the beach. Riviera Nayarit beaches are among the world’s best. (Remember Night of the Iguana?)

    And if you’re not, you could rent to someone else who is. I say again: Taheima qualifies as a top option for the 70-million Baby Boomers set to retire over the next 10 years.

    Plus, Taheima caters to the fast-growing wellness market, augmenting the rental potential.

    Finally, and perhaps most important, Taheima could be the ideal place for you to think about basing your new life in retirement overseas. The property comes with everything the would-be retiree could ever ask for.

    Buy today and rent until you’re ready to take up residence yourself…

    Kathleen Peddicord

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    P.S. What else this week?

  • Four important things to consider before making a property investment in another country in the current climate…
  • Like a maharajah in India…the best way to experience the best this country has to offer…