A reporter recently got in touch to ask how many people I’ve inspired to retire overseas.
Nearly 30 years covering this beat…hundreds of thousands of readers each year…26 years of conferences…as many as 12 per year…
My best and conservative estimate is that I’ve helped to guide at least 20,000 people to new lives overseas. And from where I sit, this trend is just getting started.
To inspire you to make 2014 the year you get on board, here are just a handful of recent real-life success stories. Following are notes from fellow readers who’ve taken the leap and written in to report of their evolving adventures…
“I retired from the Miami-Dade County government after 33 years of employment. A few months later, I flew to Panama. I’d been there only once before, but I had done research via your e-mail newsletters.
“I moved into a marvelous mountain cabin some 7.5 kilometers up Volcan Baru. I plan to be here for at least the next six months and maybe to base myself out of this paradise while I travel the world over the next five or six years, spending six months each year in the cabin and six months elsewhere.
“I also happen to be a 56-year-old totally blind man. I am pursuing this adventure solo (unless, of course, some charming young lady would like to tag along!)…”
“I am a single (divorced) retired female, 62, from Texas, who has relocated to Belize on Ambergris Caye. Following your advice, I took out a six-month lease to see if this is ‘where I want to grow up…'”
“My evolution has been from survival retirement at age 62 to what has become the most fun and rewarding part of my life today, 10 years later. In that time, I have developed successful tour and home construction businesses in Costa Rica. I have built a network of expats and Ticos who are working with me to accomplish more than any of us could have dreamed possible…”
“My wife and I retired in 2003 at the ages of 54 and 53, respectively. We moved to San Antonio Tlayacapan on Lake Chapala in Mexico in 2005, where we learned quickly that we would have to find a place to escape the cohetes (mortars) that are blasted up to 16 hours a day for up to 15 days at a time during fiestas! We stabbed our fingers at a map and came up with La Manzanilla del Mar on the Tenacatita Bay, north of Manzanillo. It was love at first two-week visit.
“We began spending more and more time in ‘La Manz,’ including house sitting for people who became friends. Two years ago, we bought a house just a three-minute walk from the beach. It is now our primary residence.
“Meantime, we have kept our US$320-per-month, two-bedroom, two-bath rental in Chapala. We sublet the house to an American snowbird for 6 1/2 months a year. The rent covers more than 10 months of our costs each year.
“About the middle of July, the beach at La Manzanilla starts to get oppressively hot and humid. That’s when we head north and lakeside. We then have three or four months of delightful weather during what qualifies in this region as the off season, which is our favorite. We think that we are living the ideal life, splitting our time between the ocean and the largest lake in Mexico…”
“My wife and I have been reading your overseas retirement materials for a dozen years or more, Kathleen. We recognized early in the game that selling everything and getting out and into a full-time life overseas would not be the right thing for us. Instead, we visit places outside the United States three or four times a year for two- to three-week periods. In each place, we rent a little apartment and experience living as a native.
“It works well for us, as we like some variety in where we go. In some places we have noticed important negative changes and have said to ourselves it sure is good that we didn’t buy and move here full-time.
“We get very good leads on these places to experience from our readings, so thanks for the hundreds of articles you have written over the years. They sure expanded our horizons, and we have enjoyed spending weeks in many of the places you have introduced us to!”
“Kathleen, we’ve just returned from two months in China. We were there to check out the country for possible retirement. I wanted to write to tell you that your Overseas Retirement Letter issue about Hangzhou was marvelous and a great help. We fell in love with the city and think it is the place for us.”
“We moved to Panama (Altos Del Maria) four years ago. Built a lovely home and lap pool in the mountains with breathtaking scenery. Year-round temp 76 to 82 degrees. Panama’s Pacific beaches are 30 minutes away.
“We moved here for the Panamanian government’s excellent retirement program, the cost of living, and the weather. We do not regret this decision. Although the house-building process was difficult.
“As you told us, Kathleen, well worth a look-see!”
“Medellin, Colombia, is the best place on your list by far. Money is no object for me, and I still choose Medellin for my working retirement. You can live like a king for US$1,800 per month and I live like royalty for US$5,000 per month. 1,000 times safer than all other locations mentioned.”
More than 20,000 real-life stories of success and counting…