I bought a beachfront home, directly on the sand, for less than US$62,000.
After furnishing the solid, 2,000-square-foot house, I proceeded to have one of the most enjoyable times of my life while living there. A retirement that dreams are made of.
And this house, on a bona fide tropical island, was not intended to be an investment property. On the contrary, I bought it strictly to enjoy the clear water, sandy beaches, fresh seafood, and great neighbors from all around the world.
I was not counting on the price going up when I bought the house… but, after nine months, I sold it for US$110,000.
So without really planning on it at the time, the vacation home turned out to be a great investment.
And this wasn’t the only time I have made money by making real estate purchases that likewise were not investment properties.
I grew up in the countryside, but a year in Manhattan taught me to appreciate the fun and convenience of life in a big city. I enjoyed having great dining and entertainment and all the other amenities of city life at my fingertips, without having to own a car.
And while I couldn’t afford a part-time retirement home in Manhattan, I could buy one in another city that really appealed to me—Montevideo, Uruguay.
Located directly in one of the city’s most attractive parks, it was an easy walk to the local tango clubs, orchestra, theater, street fairs, and some of the city’s best dining. A spacious apartment with two bedrooms, it was a great place to live and a great place to invite guests… and it even earned a modest rental income when I wasn’t using it.
Again, this apartment was fulfilling a dream… it was not an investment property.
But after about four years I sold the downtown apartment, in just one day, for 76% more than I’d paid.
What’s my point? Simply that real estate overseas can be an excellent strategy for achieving the retirement of your dreams.
Since I opted for leaving the nine-to-five workforce in 2001, I’ve enjoyed some of the world’s best locations for retirement… some full-time, and some part-time.
For almost six years, my primary home was in Punta del Este, Uruguay, South America’s #1 beach resort. With its fantastic beaches, fine dining, and nightlife, it’s a mecca for international travelers and offers a super quality of life for the money.
Since retiring, I have also enjoyed a part-time home in Ecuador’s Valley of Longevity. With pure air and water, the world’s best weather, and some of the Andes’ most staggering views, Vilcabamba is reputed to have the highest concentration on Earth of people over 100 years old.
The house in Uruguay went up 87.5% in value in six years (during the U.S. recession and housing crash)… in Vilcabamba, the home I purchased increased in value 120% in four years.
More recently, the apartment I purchased as a part-time home in Medellín more than paid for itself, earning me US$2,200 per month in rental income when I wasn’t in residence. When I add in the apartment that I bought with my 401(k) as a rental there, my total income was US$4,100 per month… easy enough to live on, from just two properties.
Now these gains and incomes are good (and real) but they’re not spectacular… you won’t see them in blaring, sensational newsletter headlines. But I appreciate the gains even more because the properties weren’t intended to earn money. That was just icing on the cake.
I bought each one of the properties to fulfill my dreams of a better lifestyle. I was creating my own version of the perfect retirement, and each real estate purchase has been an important part of realizing that successful objective.
At the same time, because I’ve also been buying in countries and areas that were on the upswing, the properties paid their own way… each one covering its carrying costs and generating a profitable cash flow.
Each real estate investment helped to bankroll both my next real estate purchase and the very appealing and adventure-filled retirement I’ve been enjoying all along the way.
I’ve owned and lived in a home in a beautiful riverfront mountain setting… two awesome downtown apartments… a large beach house on a tropical island… and a sprawling home in a famous beach resort…
And, collectively, these purchases have enabled the amazing retirement I’ve enjoyed.
Your version of success may be different from mine… but you can achieve it just as surely as I did.
Many people—maybe most people—would prefer to buy one carefully chosen overseas property and simply enjoy it indefinitely. The proverbial second home in the sun…
Others would like to retire abroad full-time in a dream location, someplace where they can savor the good life with a low price tag…
And others are interested in making money, pure and simple. Investing in real estate overseas can mean reliable rental returns, high yields, non-dollar income, and strong capital gains.
Regardless of the vision you have for your own quality of life or retirement, I can guarantee you that being an overseas property owner will be the most enjoyable way to make it a reality.
Whatever your lifestyle priorities or financial objective, buying property abroad will help you realize your goal. It can even be the key to generating an income to help sustain your dream lifestyle in the overseas paradise that’s calling your name.
In other words, you can have your cake and eat it too. You can enjoy the property of your dreams… and make a profit while living the good life.
I’ve been doing just that for the past 16 years, enjoying an incredible overseas adventure in series… fully funded by the real estate purchases I’ve made along the way.
This article was published in February 2018 and has been recently updated