How I Funded My Early Retirement With Overseas Real Estate

How Real Estate Overseas Has Funded A Retirement Lifestyle Beyond My Dreams

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 as it turned out, this wasn’t the only time I 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 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 on 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—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.

In other words, I have found and shown through my own experience that real estate is an excellent strategy for achieving the retirement of your dreams.

Since I opted for leaving the 9-to-5 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 401k as a rental there, my total income was US$4,100 per month… easily 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… it 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… 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 allow you to take advantage of important opportunities and advantages, including:

  • Reliable rental returns
  • High yields
  • Non-dollar income
  • 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. By expanding your horizons overseas, you can…

  • Enjoy a dream home… or a dream retirement… while the property “pays its own way”…
  • Gain access to an entire world of properties outside the United States, at prices that you simply can’t find within the United States, meaning you can reinvent your life and your investment portfolio at the same time…
  • Take advantage of a super low cost of living while abroad, in some cases living well on as little as US$1,100 per month…
  • Enjoy the advantages of diversifying part of your assets outside the U.S. dollar (this objective has never been more important than it is right now)…
  • Lay the groundwork for obtaining overseas residency and a second citizenship, if desired… while greatly broadening your world view and enriching your cultural experience…
  • Generate an income to help sustain your dream retirement lifestyle…
  • Access profitable and reliable yield-producing investment opportunities…

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 know it’s possible… because I’ve been benefitting from this strategy personally… and enjoying a retirement I never could have afforded otherwise as a result… for the past 17 years.

Lee Harrison

Make a Profit And Have The Adventure Of A Lifetime