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Dreaming of leaving icy winters behind me
Old 02-18-2009, 06:04 AM   #1
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Dreaming of leaving icy winters behind me

Hello

I am not yet retired but thinking of spending my time in a warmer climate, probably in Latin America. At the moment I live and work in Switzerland, but plan to travel to Chile and Ecuador towards October this year. I have already spent some time in Ecuador but wish to see other places to make a good decision.
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Old 02-19-2009, 01:45 PM   #2
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Not sure I'd want to go that far south, but many people write favorably about it.

My original "retirement plan" was to put the snow thrower in the back of the pickup truck and drive south until people started asking "What is that thing for?"

Unfortunately, DW had other ideas.
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Old 02-19-2009, 05:29 PM   #3
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How about Spain or Portugal? Closer to 'home' and within the EU healthcare system.

Northern Chile has its attractions.
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Chile, Spain
Old 02-20-2009, 12:21 AM   #4
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Chile, Spain

Unfortunately, my DH does not share my dreams, that's why I excape winters only and not for good.

Spain would be a good solution too, Portugal not so much for me because I prefer the spanish language and feel that where I live, I have to be able to manage a language at a very high level to participate, and this is the case for me in Spanish. The reason why I am hesitating for Spain is, that cost of living is twice as high as Chile when enjoying the same quality of life, and the immigration from Africa is at a high level now and increases criminal rate and drug traffic. The wide lands of Chile are much less populated and more attractive to me. But still, Spain would be a reasonable alternative.
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Old 02-21-2009, 09:10 AM   #5
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I empathize with you 100% about the weather. I moved out of Chicago at age 18 and never came back to the snow again (except to ski). When I retired 8 years ago I moved to Indonesia - because I was single, the weather was muchas buenas - even the ocean water is 78 degrees. Being single and without strings I could consider more options than you.

One problem/ mistake people make around here is the housing. Naturally, you want to have your own place to keep your things and fix up the way you want it. But leaving a house vacant for 6-8 months is dangerous because the caretakers just don't understand how to do things "the American way". I've seen people try to do this and they spend a lot of time, money and effort putting the house back into good shape again. Plus renting it out is always a disaster if you are not there.

On the other hand, staying in a hotel room is the pits. I bring this up without a really good solution. The best thing you can do is to first settle on the country and town where you want to stay. Then spend some time looking for a good solution to the problem of where to stay. Once you get to know the local expat community, you may be able to find somebody who has a little extra land and will allow you to build a small bungalow for modest rent. That way your place is under the watchful eye of a Westerner.

Finding suitable accommodation is a big problem for part-time residents in foreign countries.
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Old 03-01-2009, 07:02 PM   #6
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Unfortunately, my DH does not share my dreams, that's why I excape winters only and not for good.
I have the same situation with DW.
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Old 03-01-2009, 07:06 PM   #7
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How about taking a caravan to Spain? Or a boat in the Med?

How about the coast of Dalmatia?

Crime is a major concern, I know.

I gather that property in Spain has taken a big hit in the present economic collapse. Perhaps it is not as expensive today as it used to be?

Cheers,

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Old 05-22-2009, 12:34 PM   #8
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How about Spain or Portugal? Closer to 'home' and within the EU healthcare system.

Northern Chile has its attractions.
Yeah! Come to Spain!
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Old 05-22-2009, 03:05 PM   #9
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Andina,
Why do you want to go to South America?
If it is only for the weather you could easily come to the South of the U.S.
AFAIK you can get cheap health insurance from Europe (travel health insurance?) and flights between Europe and U.S. are much less expensive and it takes less time to travel.
If you only want to escape the winter then you can rent pretty reasonable here.

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Old 05-23-2009, 12:07 AM   #10
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2good, there is no cheap health insurance for the US, not even from Europe.

Andina, you may find Mexico attractive. Cheaper than Chile. There are places for expats--especially for Spanish-speakers--that are both nice and safe. Try Lake Chapala area.
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Old 05-24-2009, 10:42 AM   #11
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If you are looking to retire overseas, and want to take a scientific approach to the idea, I notice there are a dozen or so good sites for a Google search, "Which countries have a low cost of living". If you go to the right country, you can live very comfortably on Social Security benefits exclusively.

The was a particularly informative site: Living Abroad: How to Choose the Country Best for You

It has some good links that show crime rates, corruption rates, etc.

Another site: Cheapest Country in the World
makes a good pitch "for the 10th cheapest country in the world, and our top pick, is Uruguay. [It is] one of Latin America’s First World countries; a country with one of the continent’s highest standards of living, lowest levels of corruption, best infrastructures, and lowest cost of living.

I think this kind of research can pay off big dividends in the long run to make the rest of your life a lot happier.

Shifting gears, might I suggest the DH and DW spoken of with great love and affection but with no desire to relocate, might benefit from a little education about the benefits of moving. For one thing, most of the popular countries offer cheap labor - so it is quite possible to have a full time housekeeper and gardener for less than $100 per month each.

The same low salary holds true for repairmen and craftsmen. If you need something repaired or perhaps a hand-crafted canopy bed made from hardwood - all of these are available at 25% of the US. But don't think you are lost in the wilderness when it comes to technology. Thanks, to satellites and parabolas, you can get international TV complete with football games and the latest movies. Cable quality computer connections are also available via satellites - so you are not out of touch with the world.
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Old 05-24-2009, 01:19 PM   #12
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I was always in the camp of feeling that whatever can be had anywhere can probably be had as well and likely as cheaply in the US. I mean, where can sun be found any more cheaply than in Florida? At least assuming first world infrastructure?

But recent political changes and trends make me not so sure any more. But I am like Andina, if I can't talk or learn to talk about abstract topics in the language of the host country I am not going to live there. I have visited with groups of Americans living in Mexico and Costa Rica who pretty much talk among themsleves only.

The only languages I have ever known are English, Spanish and French. The only one that I am any good at today is English. Spanish is reachable for me I think, if I really get down to it before my brain starts to rot. I am trying to do this now.

I have a Greek-American friend who recently returned after living many years in Lyon, Fr. He was very happy there, but returned to be nearer to his children as he gets older.

A typical Northern-Euro-American with very good language skills and locally purchased clothing and the acting ability to adopt local gestures and style would not usually attract attention in Argentina. Fat chance of this in the Andean countries or Mexico.

For me, I think I would be most attracted to temporary stays in Mexico. If I get seriously ill I am close to the US. Likewise, if some mess blows up politically there are several ways home. And most important, I could get home for family events. If I lived in Uruguay, how often could I afford to come home?

Ha
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Old 05-25-2009, 12:11 PM   #13
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I live in Indonesia which didn't even make the list of "cheap cost of living". There is a HUGE difference in the cost of living - mostly for those things produced or grown in-country. Fruit, vegetables, fish, beef, chicken are 1/4 the price of what it is in the US.

Imported products, like cars, air conditioners, TVs, etc. are about 1/2 the cost of the US. Why? Because the cost of transportation, retail stores, employee salary, etc. are all lower. In the US, the typical item imported from China is marked up by a factor of 20. Simply unloading the container at the dock is expensive in the US.

Another factor is the standards - cars don't have air bags, emission controls, fancy electronics, etc. so they are about 1/2 price. The price of registration and a driver's license is about $20. No sales tax. No gas tax. No income tax. My property tax bill was $1.70! The cost of a skilled laborer is $5 per day; a general worker is $3 per day. A maid or gardener is about $40 per month - I have 3. Materials such as wood, stone, roof tile - everything that is made locally - is very cheap. No building codes, no insulation (not needed).

Health care cost is hundreds of dollars not $10's of thousands, so I don't need health insurance. I pay out of my pocket. If I get a broken leg, the cost is $150. If I get a brain tumor, I die - I don't care! I can buy blood pressure medicine, thyroid medication, and a few other things for less than $50 per month.

Airplane trips to exotic places like Singapore or Hong Kong is about $300. A two week trip back home to the US costs me about $3000 (cheap hotels, rental car, take the train, etc.)

You total up all that stuff, and I can live like a king on $30,000 per year. Oh yea, my house and 1/4 acre of land near beach would sell today for about $100,000 - I have a nice house. Oh, yea, satellite computer dish, and satellite television - that's modern enough for me.

I loved learning a new language - it keeps my brain active. Plus English is universal for everything important. I only need the local language to bargain at the market to get a local price rather than the tourist price + helps when flirting with the young girls who love to hang around to watch TV and eat good food.

Maybe you need to take a realistic look at living overseas - and not just the old ideas you have in your head about 3rd world nations.
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Old 05-25-2009, 12:21 PM   #14
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Hobo, your life sounds very pleasant, no doubt about it!

Ha
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Old 05-27-2009, 03:27 AM   #15
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Andina,
As haha said, why not Florida? I've always seen lots of europeans, especially Germans in the fort Lauderdale/Hollywwod area. True that the euro/US$ is not that attractive as a couple of years ago, but I believe the cost of living, especially rent must have gone down quite a bit since then. And you can embark in those 3 or 5 days cruises to the Bahamas for less money than just the nights at a medium hotel.
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Old 05-27-2009, 10:05 AM   #16
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our top pick, is Uruguay.
And you can always go next door to Argentina for good medical care.
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