Questions Before you Retire Overseas

Lief, your recent short essay on suing and personal responsibility cut to the quick. Far too many in our culture assume they have a right to everything instead of the right to earn by their hard work and effort the things they want and need. Here in the U.S., you see the Constitutional abuse every time you fly. Our few rights guaranteed by the Constitution are rapidly being usurped in the name of anti-terrorism. Thanks to the recently passed defense appropriations bill, we, as American citizens, now can be arrested and held in a military prison indefinitely with no charge and no outside contact. Does this sound like freedom?”

–Bob M., United States


“Kathleen, my husband and I had the pleasure of meeting you on many different occasions and have been following you for at least 12 years. Your advice is very informative, but, after living in both Panama and La Paz, Mexico, for a number of years, I’d say there are really only two questions you need to ask yourself before considering a move to a Central or South American lifestyle.

“#1: What is your intolerance for mind-numbing inefficiencies? and…

“#2: How much of a sense of humor do you have?

“Do you have the personality to tolerate things being done over and over and over again before they are done right? Can you laugh off the fact that you just spent the whole day (or week or even month) waiting for someone to show up to fix or do whatever it was they were supposed to do for you? And when they do show up, you can bet the farm that they will mess up two other things in the process.

“I am not being mean-spirited when I say these things, I am just being honest. There is a fantasy and a reality to every situation. The fantasy is you will be in warm, sunny weather, and the birds will be singing. The reality is that, yes, but all of the above, too.

“I’m not saying don’t try it. I’m just saying you need to be honest with yourself. If you like things done on time and in an orderly fashion and you like to deal with people who will do it right the first time, then maybe heading south of the border is not for you.

“Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go outside where it is warm and sunny and wait for Jorge to show up to fix my washing machine…”

–Terry D., Panama and Mexico