The Five Best Places To Own Real Estate Overseas Right Now
“OK, Kathleen, where should I go?” Bloomberg’s Trish Regan started the conversation when I joined her on the air Friday afternoon.
“Well, what are you looking for?” I asked.
“I want to live somewhere with a big house and a lot of help…somebody to help cook and clean. Plus I want to be near a hospital.”
“Panama“, I suggested. “Panama is a place where you can afford the kind of fully appointed and supported lifestyle you’re describing even on a modest budget. And there’s a Johns Hopkins-affiliated hospital in Panama City, meaning legitimately international-standard health care.”
“I like horses,” Adam Johnson interjected. “I’m a horse guy. And I like Ireland. Would that country make sense for me?”
“Ireland is a great choice,” I replied. “In fact, Ireland is a better choice right now than it’s been in a generation. This country’s economy and property markets have collapsed, meaning property prices are 50% and less what they were even six or seven years ago. This isn’t good news for Irish investors of the time, but it’s great news for retirees.”
“Kathleen, I see that you’re also recommending Colombia,” Trish continued. “That’s a beautiful country…but you’re specifically recommending Medellin! Medellin? Is that safe?”
“Right, Medellin is the land of the drug cartels, isn’t it?” Adam asked.
“Yes, yes,” I said, “but, remember, Pablo Escobar is dead. There’s still a drug problem in Colombia, of course, but Medellin is not what people think. This is a beautiful and, yes, a safe city. I have an apartment in Medellin. We invested about two years ago. We spend as much time in Medellin as we can. We’re taking our kids there for their Spring Break later this month.”
“How about Brazil?” Trish wondered.
“Brazil can be an appealing choice with many lifestyle options. However, this country comes with a risk to do with exchange rates. The retiree with a nest egg denominated in U.S. dollars (meaning any American retiree) has a concern in a country like Brazil where the local currency’s value fluctuates daily versus the U.S. dollar. In a country that uses the dollar as its currency, such as Panama or Ecuador, this risk is removed. You’ve got dollars, and your spending dollars. No problem. However, in a country like Brazil, whose real moves daily against the dollar, the retiree can run into trouble.”
“I had a friend,” Trish continued, “who retired to Mexico…”
“Yes, Mexico is another great option,” I replied. “Here my top pick would be Puerto Vallarta. There’s an established retiree community in Puerto Vallarta, plus golf courses, marinas, restaurants, shopping, nightlife…lots to do. And all on the Pacific Ocean…”
Editor’s Note: You can watch Kathleen’s live Bloomberg interview last Friday afternoon in full here.
Kathleen remains in New York for interviews and appearances to support the release this week of her new book “How To Buy Real Estate Overseas.”