Desperate Times…Desperate Measures?
“Question: If someone has a budget of US$5,000/month, why don’t they move somewhere in the USA?” wrote a reader in response to my report last week on “Paris v. Panama City…Counting the Costs.”
The question assumes that the only reason to live anywhere other than the United States is because you can’t afford to live in the good ol’ US of A.
The truth is, you can live cheap in the States right now. Not in Manhattan or San Diego, maybe…but in many places in the middle, for example, the cost of living and of real estate can compare favorably, especially as real estate markets across the country continue to crumble, with the costs of living in many of the places we write about.
Could you live as cheaply in Small Town, Idaho, as you could in Cuenca, Ecuador, our pick for the world’s most affordable retirement haven? Maybe…
But you’d be in Small Town, Idaho.
On the other hand, I know a couple, Billy and Akaisha, who have been embracing the retire overseas dream for the past 18 years…yet they maintain that Mesa, Arizona, is the best value-for-money-spent place they’ve ever lived.
So why don’t they live there full-time? As they explain:
“Because it is bland. Everything looks the same. Houses are painted different shades of beige…there are strip malls on every corner.”
That’s why Billy and Akaisha spend part of each year in Mesa…and part of each year in Chapala, Mexico.
“In Chapala,” Akaisha continues, “horses wander down the cobblestone streets, vendors sell their wares door-to-door, and the houses are painted whatever color is on sale at the paint store. Kids play in the streets or the park without fear, and everyone is proud of his community.
“We hear mariachi music from nearby restaurants wafting through the air each afternoon starting around 4. Neighbors greet us with smiles and questions about our family. There’s an openness that’s missing in the States. This place is colorful, engaging, and teeming with life.
“For us, it’s not the cost of living that’s the big appeal. There are places in the States, not only Mesa, where you can live very cheaply. But there’s much more to it than that. It’s the day-to-day quality of life living in a foreign place that’s so appealing.”
The number of Americans, especially, considering the idea of retiring beyond their own borders is growing fast. Baby Boomers are embracing this idea in a bigger way than any generation before them.
Some are doing it out of panic. They’re realizing (maybe you’re realizing, dear reader) that you aren’t going to be able to afford to retire in your homeland…so you’re looking, almost in desperation, for a lower cost alternative.
You’ll find it. We’re hitting you over the head daily with details on places where you could retire and live comfortably, as a couple, on US$1,200 a month or less.
But I hope this cost-of-living agenda isn’t keeping you from realizing the other benefits of making this effort.
This is an opportunity to enrich your life…to discover…to grow…to explore…
To learn a new language…to find out how people live in a new place…to allow yourself to see the world from a different point of view.
You could escape cold winters…you could live with less stress…you could reinvent your life and yourself from whole cloth, no matter what your age.
What a thing to be given that chance.
Friend Jay Snyder, living part-time and doing business in Granada, Nicaragua, for the past few years, puts it like this:
“It can be very frightening to think about creating a whole new life for yourself in a foreign place. But you can’t let that fear keep you from acting on chances for fun, for adventure, and for possible profit.
“All I can tell you now is that I’m thrilled. My adventure in Granada has been one of the most satisfying experiences of my life.”