Three Things To Remember As You Plan Your New Life In Ecuador (Or Anywhere)
Feb. 13, 2013, Quito, Ecuador: Ecuador offers tremendous opportunity for the expat, foreign retiree, and entrepreneur, in diverse destinations from Quito to Cuenca, from Salinas to Otavalo, from Manta to Loja.
Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,
“Don’t judge Ecuador by Quito,” I said to the 150 folks gathered with us for the Live and Invest in Ecuador Conference taking place in Quito this week.
“Quito is but one face of this country.”
As friend Lee Harrison, in Quito to help host this week’s event, puts it, “Ecuador is a land of mega-diversity.”
The lifestyles on offer are many and dramatically varied. Quito is a big city. Cuenca is a smaller city, more manageable, more welcoming. Otavalo is a small mountain town. Salinas is a beach town. All are interesting and appealing in different ways, for different people. When you are considering where to retire in Ecuador, it depends on what kind of lifestyle you’re looking for and, also, important, on your budget. Otavalo is more affordable than Cuenca, which is more affordable than Quito, for example.
“Where’s that US$6.50 steak you wrote about the other day, Kathleen?” one attendee here asked me last night. “The steak listed on the hotel’s room service menu is US$20!”
The US$6.50 steak dinner I recommended earlier this week is to be had from a small restaurant in the center of the historic district of Cuenca. Right, a room service steak in a five-star hotel in the middle of the business district of Quito is going to cost more.
That was my first recommendation to attendees here in Quito for how to approach the discussions to come over the next three days–remember that Ecuador is many places, many options, many lifestyles, many budgets. You can’t try to process it as one choice. It’s many.
My second recommendation was to think comparatively.
“Nothing is absolutely true,” I pointed out. “So, as you consider options for living, retiring, investing, or starting a business here in Ecuador,” I told the conference-goers gathered with us this week, “focus on the comparisons.”
There’s no such thing, for example, as perfect weather. And what qualifies as ideal weather for me is likely different from what qualifies as ideal weather for you. Maybe ideal weather for you is no rain, ever. Or maybe you want to live with flowers and greenery all around…everything growing…and you understand that, for that to be the case, you’re going to have to put up with some rainfall.
When you consider your options for living or retiring overseas, you must address a handful of key issues–weather, yes, and, as well, cost of living, cost of real estate, health care, taxes, infrastructure, etc. And, again, I recommend that you consider all these things comparatively. Is the cost of living in Cuenca higher or lower than in Salinas? Is the quality of the available health care better or worse in Otavalo than in Cuenca? Is Loja more or less accessible than Vilcabamba? Is the per-square-meter cost of real estate in Cotacachi more or less than in Manta? Etc.
Then, to help you layer some perspective over things, draw comparisons between Ecuador and other countries you’re considering. Compare the cost of living, of real estate, and of health care…the tax situation…the options for and ease of establishing foreign residency…the accessibility…the opportunities for recreation and culture…etc., between places in Ecuador and places in Colombia, Panama, Belize, Nicaragua, Uruguay, etc.
There is no perfect retirement spot, and no single retirement option is ideal for everyone. Everything is relative…so think relatively.
And, while you’re doing that (I offered as my third recommendation to attendees at this week’s event in Quito this morning), remember what’s most important to you.
Before you begin the work of considering all your good options for living, retiring, and investing overseas, first identify and prioritize what matters to you most. What kind of life do you want? Start there.
“The world is alive with opportunity,” I told attendees here in Quito this morning. “That sounds like rhetoric,” I admitted, “like so much marketing speak…”
But it’s the truth. It’s the reality of the world we live in. There’s more opportunity all the time.
The problem with so much opportunity is that it demands you make some decisions. You can’t do everything at once, and we’ve each of us got only so many years to do anything at all. So you’ve got to make choices. Make them based on what you like, what you prefer, what you enjoy.
More on current opportunity in Ecuador tomorrow…
Image source: Annom