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How To Retire Overseas

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Casco Viejo, Panama

It’s a big world, full of opportunity for fun, adventure, and a new start. You can be spoiled for choice, even overwhelmed trying to make a decision where to go.

It helps if you can identify a primary agenda. Here are shortcuts, the most common reasons for seeking out a new life overseas…and where to look in each case to find a lifestyle that will surely satisfy those objectives.

For Cheap Living:

For Luxury Living On A Budget:

  • Paris: Whatever your idea of the high life, you can find it in the City of Light, and the best part about Paris is that some of the best it has to offer comes free. The sweetest pleasures of life are here for the taking. Picnics in the Luxembourg Gardens, long walks along the Seine, afternoons lost among the cobblestones of the Latin Quarter. These things cost not a sou…
  • Buenos Aires: This is the Paris of South America, and, with few exceptions, anything available in Paris is available as well in B.A., at lesser cost and with a Latin edge, including five-star restaurants, nightclubs, comedy clubs, open-air cafes, world-class live theater and ballet, art galleries, museums, indoor shopping malls and outdoor antiques markets, European-style parks, plazas, and gardens, plus classic architecture of the kind found in but a handful of cities around the world. If you want to live a life filled with art and history, culture and interesting company, but you can’t afford Paris, look to Buenos Aires…

For A New Life At The Beach:

  • Las Tablas, Panama: Within a 20-minute drive of the little Pacific-coast town of Las Tablas, Panama, you can reach five different beaches, all beautiful, all undiscovered. This is a big part of the reason why dozens of U.S. and Canadian expats have settled in this part of Panama’s Azuero Peninsula, about four hours west of Panama City.

The other draw is the cost of living. It’s dramatically lower in this region than in this country’s capital city. You could buy a fixer-upper beach house in Las Tablas for as little as US$20,000, and you could rent a small house, right on the beach, for as little as US$200 to US$300 a month, long term. A retired couple could live comfortably in this part of Panama on as little as US$1,100 per month, including rent and full-time household help.

  • Ambergris Caye, Belize: Belize’s biggest attractions are its natural beauty, its beaches, and its barrier reef, the second largest in the world, teeming with colorful fish, coral, and unusual marine life. Add to the list the facts that the people in this country speak English and that the cost of living is affordable, and you understand why this country’s biggest outlying island, Ambergris Caye, makes my list of Top 4 Overseas Beach Retirement Havens.

Furthermore, and worth mentioning in the wake of recent global banking debacles, Belize’s international banks are solid. Banking is the second-most-important industry in Belize (after tourism), and Belize banks are required to keep 24% of their assets on deposit liquid at all times.

Finally, Belize offers the world’s last hold-out offshore havens and boasts the most user-friendly foreign residency program in the world right now, the Qualified Retired Person (QRP) program, which allows you to “retire” to this country as young as 45.

  • Samana, Dominican Republic: The Dominican Republic, our other favorite Caribbean pick, is known for its beaches, which are world-class and attract big volumes of tourists every year. These powdery coasts, though, make sense not only as a vacation spot, but also as a place to consider longer term, for there’s much more to the D.R. than its beaches.

The Dominican Republic isn’t your typical Caribbean getaway. It’s more international than you might expect, more cosmopolitan. Have a craving for blue cheese, authentic French baguettes, or fresh gnocchi? In the D.R., you can find all of these things. French and Italians settled on the island about 30 years ago and have since developed an extensive and diverse culinary, business, and service infrastructure geared toward other expats.

No Language Barrier:

  • Ireland 

More later this week, including my top picks if you want tostart a business overseas…move to a new country with your kids…retire to an established expat community…retire overseas only part-time…or seriously mitigate your tax burden

Kathleen Peddicord

Editor’s Note: These shortcuts to a new life overseas are excerpted from Kathleen’s new book, How To Retire Overseas, in U.S. bookstores now!

Your New Life In Panama

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