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Overseas retirement & living on the cheap
Old 03-28-2008, 12:08 PM   #1
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Overseas retirement & living on the cheap

I just wanted to share my story and get any thoughts or advice. Husband and I both retired from the USAF (lots of overseas living and travel) loving every minute of it. We have no kids and as soon as we hooked up we made it our plan to get out and stay out of debt. We tried the civilian side of life with cars, jobs and house and it didnít suit. After 2 years being a civilian and many hours of internet research about the RV lifestyle (one of our dreams besides retiring cheap overseas) I found out about ďWorkampingĒ. Workamping is for those who live in their RV and pick up short term jobs wherever they are. Lots of seasonal work like amusement parks, NASCAR, campground hosting. Google workamping for all the background info. There is even a bi-monthly magazine (online version also) advertising available jobs in the US and internationally. About this same time our neighbor sold their house and I discovered we were in the beginning of the real estate boom in California. The only reason we were working was to pay for the house and this lifestyle we didnít like. We sold the house, doubling our money in 2 years and bought a 5th wheel trailer and truck. We sold everything (if it didnít fit in the trailer we didnít keep it, our friends thought we were crazy but envied us at the same time), lined up our first workamping job, invested our $$ in mostly mutual funds and left. It took us 3 years to circle the US doing all kinds of jobs. Most of them only required a day or 2 of work a week and gave us free trailer hookups. We had all kinds of jobs like cleaning toilets, selling Christmas trees and doing lighthouse tours. We were pretty much living on less than our military retirement with our only expenses being gas, food and vehicle maintenance. We were making about $500 month on our investments but didnít touch it. Our favorite job was volunteer camp hosting in the state parks. We had some wonderful views from our trailer window which changed every month or so. Once we reached Texas we met up with an old friend who was now working for KBR/Halliburton who offered us a job working as a contractor in Iraq. Wow, big bucks to be had. We were both politically against the Iraq situation but our greed trumped our politics. We sold most of our possessions once again and stayed in Iraq for 2 Ĺ years. We both were making about 90K a year with most of it being plowed into our portfolio since we had no debt. The only $$ we spent were on our vacations (every 4 months we had 10 days paid vacation). We returned to the US in one piece (well 2 if you count both of us) and after saying hello to our families we headed south to Mexico. We intended to stay for just a couple of months but found a sweet house sitting job for 7 months. We are staying in a big house (complete with 2 dogs) owned by a gringo who lives here only part time. We are staying for free (only paying utilities) and weíve been here almost a year now. We decided to move our $$ away from the USA in late 2007 and were waiting for the best opportunity. The Bush administration did not give us confidence. The opportunity came here in Mexico and right before everyone started screaming RECESSION so our timing was good. We are in a high tourism area and the real estate market had experienced a huge slump. We were able to buy into a high dollar vacation rental and now have a regular income from that. We plan to continue our slow travels, taking advantage of income opportunities as they present themselves, staying away from hotels and tourist traps that suck your money and traveling in countries where the dollar goes a long way. So now most of our $$ is out of the US, making us more $$ and we are vagabonds. We donít worry about health insurance. In the US we are covered by the military and overseas we are in countries where healthcare is not that expensive. If anything catastrophic happens we will be on the first plane to the US and we donít trust the local system we are on the first place back. We plan to move all our investing offshore and only leave our retirement funds in the US. Our retirement ages are late 40's. So thatís our story.
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Old 03-29-2008, 07:26 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hayesworld View Post
I just wanted to share my story and get any thoughts or advice. Husband and I both retired from the USAF (lots of overseas living and travel) loving every minute of it. We have no kids and as soon as we hooked up we made it our plan to get out and stay out of debt. We tried the civilian side of life with cars, jobs and house and it didnít suit. After 2 years being a civilian and many hours of internet research about the RV lifestyle (one of our dreams besides retiring cheap overseas) I found out about ďWorkampingĒ. Workamping is for those who live in their RV and pick up short term jobs wherever they are. Lots of seasonal work like amusement parks, NASCAR, campground hosting. Google workamping for all the background info. There is even a bi-monthly magazine (online version also) advertising available jobs in the US and internationally. About this same time our neighbor sold their house and I discovered we were in the beginning of the real estate boom in California. The only reason we were working was to pay for the house and this lifestyle we didnít like. We sold the house, doubling our money in 2 years and bought a 5th wheel trailer and truck. We sold everything (if it didnít fit in the trailer we didnít keep it, our friends thought we were crazy but envied us at the same time), lined up our first workamping job, invested our $$ in mostly mutual funds and left. It took us 3 years to circle the US doing all kinds of jobs. Most of them only required a day or 2 of work a week and gave us free trailer hookups. We had all kinds of jobs like cleaning toilets, selling Christmas trees and doing lighthouse tours. We were pretty much living on less than our military retirement with our only expenses being gas, food and vehicle maintenance. We were making about $500 month on our investments but didnít touch it. Our favorite job was volunteer camp hosting in the state parks. We had some wonderful views from our trailer window which changed every month or so. Once we reached Texas we met up with an old friend who was now working for KBR/Halliburton who offered us a job working as a contractor in Iraq. Wow, big bucks to be had. We were both politically against the Iraq situation but our greed trumped our politics. We sold most of our possessions once again and stayed in Iraq for 2 Ĺ years. We both were making about 90K a year with most of it being plowed into our portfolio since we had no debt. The only $$ we spent were on our vacations (every 4 months we had 10 days paid vacation). We returned to the US in one piece (well 2 if you count both of us) and after saying hello to our families we headed south to Mexico. We intended to stay for just a couple of months but found a sweet house sitting job for 7 months. We are staying in a big house (complete with 2 dogs) owned by a gringo who lives here only part time. We are staying for free (only paying utilities) and weíve been here almost a year now. We decided to move our $$ away from the USA in late 2007 and were waiting for the best opportunity. The Bush administration did not give us confidence. The opportunity came here in Mexico and right before everyone started screaming RECESSION so our timing was good. We are in a high tourism area and the real estate market had experienced a huge slump. We were able to buy into a high dollar vacation rental and now have a regular income from that. We plan to continue our slow travels, taking advantage of income opportunities as they present themselves, staying away from hotels and tourist traps that suck your money and traveling in countries where the dollar goes a long way. So now most of our $$ is out of the US, making us more $$ and we are vagabonds. We donít worry about health insurance. In the US we are covered by the military and overseas we are in countries where healthcare is not that expensive. If anything catastrophic happens we will be on the first plane to the US and we donít trust the local system we are on the first place back. We plan to move all our investing offshore and only leave our retirement funds in the US. Our retirement ages are late 40's. So thatís our story.

What a great story!

There is got to be a book here between the two of you guys!
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Old 03-29-2008, 08:06 AM   #3
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Old 03-29-2008, 08:49 AM   #4
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Nice story,and i envy your lifestyle,but i would cover the medical bases as one medical catastrophe could put a big dent in any future carefree lifestyle.
Welcome to the forum..
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Inspiring!
Old 03-29-2008, 07:11 PM   #5
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Inspiring!

That's quite a life. It's totally inspiring. Thanks for posting your story.
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Old 03-29-2008, 08:42 PM   #6
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hayesworld,

Great story! Thanks for sharing with us.

By the way, if you have rental property in MX and are making income off it, you need to declare it to Mexico. There are horror stories of folks who didn't know that they must do so and got caught with big problems later.

Cheers!
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Old 03-31-2008, 10:58 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Ed_The_Gypsy View Post
hayesworld,
By the way, if you have rental property in MX and are making income off it, you need to declare it to Mexico. There are horror stories of folks who didn't know that they must do so and got caught with big problems later.

Cheers!
Also any capital gains you make upon eventual sale are taxed as ordinary income (around 30%) if not your principal residence.
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