Today, Kathleen and more than 70 of her far-flung Live and Invest Overseas experts and correspondents are convened in Orlando for the start of this year’s Retire Overseas Conference. At 1 p.m. this afternoon, Kathleen welcomed more than 300 attendees to this fifth-annual event, the biggest in Live and Invest Overseas’ history.
Here’s an excerpt from Kathleen’s welcome remarks to all assembled…
Welcome to Orlando… welcome to Live and Invest Overseas’ Fifth Annual Retire Overseas Conference.
We are here to consider your best options and opportunities related to retiring to another country.
Who would do that? Who would move, at this stage of life, to a new country? And why?
The fact that you’re here in this room with us this afternoon means that you understand at least some of the reasons why this idea, as crazy and as intimidating as it can seem on the surface, in fact makes so much sense.
A move like this is often motivated, at least in the beginning, by financial concerns. How will you be able to enjoy a rich, full, rewarding, comfortable, not to mention adventure-filled retirement even if your retirement budget is on the small side? Move to an interesting, appealing place where the cost of living is low. That benefit is straightforward enough and also very realistic. It is possible to embrace a rich, full, rewarding, comfortable, and adventure-filled lifestyle many places around the world where the cost of living is low or even bargain-basement.
However, the reasons to think about making a move like this go beyond budget. The real benefits of moving to a new country in retirement have to do with increasing your quality of life… reinventing your life… and chasing your dreams. What often begins as an exercise in financial planning evolves organically into the greatest adventure of your lifetime.
That’s the end game.
What we’re convened this week to discuss together is how to get from here to there.
The very big idea of retiring overseas can be broken down into three steps.
Step #1: Appreciate the benefits and the advantages retiring to another country can bring. You’ve done this. That’s why you’re here…
Step #2: Identify where you’d like to go…
Step #3: Make a plan for getting there.
Piece of cake, right?
Step #2 is the fun part. Considering the world map in the context of the best place for you to live or retire… that’s a lot of fun. Ask yourself this question: If you could live anywhere, where would you go? Start there.
Maybe you can’t afford your ideal retirement haven… but maybe you can. Many places can be more affordable than you might imagine, especially right now for those of you with U.S. dollars in your wallets and your retirement accounts. The U.S. dollar is soaring right now versus the euro and versus other currencies of note, as well, making places you might have written off as too expensive more realistic possibilities than they’ve been in a very long time. These options will be among those featured during this week’s presentations.
Our program has been conceived, first, to help you consider the world’s top retirement and lifestyle havens right now and then to help you determine which of them might be your perfect new home.
To this end, I’m joined this week by colleagues and expats from the world’s most interesting and appealing places to call home. In just a little bit, I’ll invite some of these folks up on stage with me. We’ll begin our Where Should You Retire Overseas discussions big picture, looking first at the Americas, then at Europe, and then at top choices in Southeast Asia.
These regions offer your best options for retiring overseas… and each is different from the others in important ways. In a few minutes, with the help of friends and colleagues who’ll speak from firsthand experience, we’ll draw out the differences… and we’ll make comparisons.
Central America is nearby, accessible, sunny, and, generally cheap. On the other hand, it can be a hot, humid, and frustrating place to call home. Pluses and minuses. Each region, each country, and each destination within each country we’re going to consider comes with upsides and downsides. We intend to address both. We realize we aren’t doing anyone any favors, especially you, by not pointing out the challenges along with the benefits of every option we present.
One more thing about this Where Should You Retire question: You’ve got to thin-slice the answer. That is, you’re not going to retire to Central America… or to Panama… but, maybe, to the small beach town of Pedasí on Panama’s Pacific coast, for example. You aren’t going to retire to Europe… or to France… but maybe to Paris (which can be more affordable and more of a realistic option than you might think… more on this later).
Just as you wouldn’t be retiring to the United States if you were planning to stay in the United States for retirement… you’re not retiring to any country overseas. You’ve got to think very locally when making this choice. Belize is a very small country, but life on Ambergris Caye, a little island in the Caribbean off mainland Belize, would be very different from life in Cayo, in this country’s rain forest interior.
We’ll begin our Where Should You Retire work today by showcasing the pluses and the minuses of the best options, thinking very big picture, in the world’s most appealing regions for the would-be retiree. Then, starting tomorrow and continuing over the three days to come, you’ll have the chance to hear in detail about the world’s 21 top retirement havens right now. In afternoon breakout sessions each day, you’ll discover the world’s best places to think about living or retiring right now with the help of people who know these places from firsthand experience.
Step #3—making a plan for getting from wherever you are today to wherever you’ve identified as the best place for you to think about reinventing your life in retirement is, frankly, not as much fun as step #2… but it’s every bit as important.
This step is best broken down into smaller steps. So that’s what we’ve done. Starting today and continuing over the coming three days, we’ll address the seven components involved with making a plan to retire to a new country.
To make a move like this, you’ve got to consider:
- Your budget…
- Your best options for establishing legal residency…
- Health care and health insurance…
- The associated administration—administrivia, we call it… though it’s anything but trivial and can be the difference between the adventure of your lifetime and a giant headache. I’m talking about things like setting up a bank account, paying your bills, getting a driver’s license, shipping your household belongings, etc….
- Taxes, both in your new country of residence and, if you’re an American, back in the United States…
- Buying or renting a home…
- Earning some income to supplement your retirement budget…
We’ve conceived a series of seven panel discussions, one on each of these big, important ideas. We’ll present Panel Discussion #1—on Getting Your Finances In Order—later this afternoon. Then we’ll carry on with Panel Discussions #2 through #7 tomorrow, Tuesday, and Wednesday, two each morning, and each one presented with the help of experts in each of these areas.
In addition, over the coming three-and-a-half days, we’ve planned presentations on ideas and opportunities of relevance to anyone considering making a move to another country. Our favorite offshore attorney will discuss what you need to know about FATCA… our preferred bankers are here to tell you what you need to know about banking in this post-FATCA, anti-money-laundering age…
And, as we’re Live and Invest Overseas, we’ve incorporated some interesting current offshore investment opportunities into the program, as well, most, but not all, to do with real estate, our preferred asset category.
That’s the formal program.
In addition, each day you’ll have several networking breaks. These are your chances to spend time both in the Exhibit Hall and also, importantly, speaking one-on-one with speakers and exhibitors. More than 70 experts and expats are gathered here this week. Whatever your questions, someone here can answer them… or, if not, can point you in the direction of where to find the answers you need.
That’s why we’re all here. Please take full advantage of us. Pin us down during the networking breaks, during the cocktail parties, in passing in the halls… I’m even used to being asked questions in the ladies’ room… so, please, don’t be shy. We, all of us, are here to help you, first, to decide where you think you might like to retire overseas… and, second, to put together a personalized, customized plan for packing up your life wherever it is now… and reinstalling it… reinventing it… wherever you decide you’d like to go next.
Now, without further ado, it’s time to get going. Let’s identify your ideal retirement haven… and let’s put together a plan for you to make that place your new home in 12 months or less… or whenever you’re ready to flip the switch to this next stage of your life.
Latin America Correspondent and 12-year Latin America expat Lee Harrison will get us started by walking us through the thinking involved with Timing Your Retirement overseas…