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Old 09-27-2008, 03:13 PM   #21
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almost there,

Have you done any research regarding health care and health insurance for Ecuador? Do they have a national health system that a foreign retiree can participate in?

Thanks
George
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Old 09-27-2008, 05:42 PM   #22
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Almost there --

My FIL lives in Quito as an expat. Likes it a lot. It helps that he's married to an Ecuadorean. We've been to visit. Things to consider:

1. English books are hard to come by (it's getting better, but it's still spendy). If you're an avid reader this could be a challenge.

2. Traffic is insane, so driving is very dangerous and difficult. Being a pedestrian isn't terribly safe, either, because of the wacko drivers.

3. Health care standards are not the same as here, and preventive care / chronic disease care are much less available than here (or in other countries). This may improve with time.

4. Wouldn't recommend buying or living in Banos. It's a great town to visit, but it's been evacuated for months or a couple of years at a time (recently, as in last year, I think) because it's smack-dab up against an active volcano (that's where the hot water comes from).

5. My FIL says Ecuador is cheaper for his wife than him, because she's local and he's always stuck paying the "gringo tax." (his words, not mine). Basically, no matter how hard a bargain he tries to drive, he never gets quite the deal she does. However, he also points out that $1 is nothing to him and might be a day's wages to whoever he's bargaining with, so he doesn't really care.

6. Corrupt government. Makes some things difficult.

7. Residential / personal security : more of an issue, crime can be a problem in Quito.

8. Building codes. Ecuador is in a seismically active area, and I'm not sure the buildings I saw going up in Quito would meet the earthquake standards of CA, for example.

Not trying to rain on your parade. We found it to be an interesting, complex country with ample amenities. But it's also a developing nation with the issues that come along with that. Our biggest concern as my FIL ages is going to be healthcare.
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Old 09-27-2008, 05:59 PM   #23
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4. Wouldn't recommend buying or living in Banos.
Was this town named by a Spanish linguist?!?
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Old 09-27-2008, 06:02 PM   #24
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almost there,

Have you done any research regarding health care and health insurance for Ecuador? Do they have a national health system that a foreign retiree can participate in?

Thanks
George
Hi George,
I've read that Quito has excellent medical facilities. Beyond that I couldn't tell you anything. Mexico has a system you can particpate in.

Regards,
Wade
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Old 09-27-2008, 06:38 PM   #25
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Almost there --

My FIL lives in Quito as an expat. Likes it a lot. It helps that he's married to an Ecuadorean. We've been to visit. Things to consider:

1. English books are hard to come by (it's getting better, but it's still spendy). If you're an avid reader this could be a challenge


Hopefully continued improvements in online downloading will make up for that. One reason I've considered Malaysia where Borders has several stores.

2. Traffic is insane, so driving is very dangerous and difficult. Being a pedestrian isn't terribly safe, either, because of the wacko drivers.

One of the ways I'll save money is doing without a car. But a calmer place would definitely be a plus.

3. Health care standards are not the same as here, and preventive care / chronic disease care are much less available than here (or in other countries). This may improve with time.

That hopefully will improve. Time will tell whether health issues will send me elsewhere.

4. Wouldn't recommend buying or living in Banos. It's a great town to visit, but it's been evacuated for months or a couple of years at a time (recently, as in last year, I think) because it's smack-dab up against an active volcano (that's where the hot water comes from).

Yes, aware of the volcano. Due to ever changing 3rd World politics I personally will stay a renter. Volcanic activity is closely monitored in Banos so I believe that if one chose to live there it can be done safely. Just be ready to leave when told. Ultimately I would prefer a bigger place but Banos has a unique lifestyle for a town that size in South America. There's a comparable place in Argentina, San Martin de los Andes. But it's colder, a ski town, and it's more expensive.

5. My FIL says Ecuador is cheaper for his wife than him, because she's local and he's always stuck paying the "gringo tax." (his words, not mine). Basically, no matter how hard a bargain he tries to drive, he never gets quite the deal she does. However, he also points out that $1 is nothing to him and might be a day's wages to whoever he's bargaining with, so he doesn't really care.

When I was looking at the Philippines kept seeing references to the "Kano" tax, short for Amerikano. A way around that is to have a maid do all your shopping. Maids are very affordable in the Philippines, may not be worth the extra cost elsewhere. But it's a fact of life in many places that "rich" Americans have to deal with.

6. Corrupt government. Makes some things difficult.

Read that Ecuador ranks 2nd for corruption in the Western world. Avoid red tape issues when possible!

7. Residential / personal security : more of an issue, crime can be a problem in Quito.

Suppose to be a push on to clean that up in Quito. But definitely a problem.

8. Building codes. Ecuador is in a seismically active area, and I'm not sure the buildings I saw going up in Quito would meet the earthquake standards of CA, for example.

This one makes me nervous!

Not trying to rain on your parade. We found it to be an interesting, complex country with ample amenities. But it's also a developing nation with the issues that come along with that. Our biggest concern as my FIL ages is going to be healthcare.
I appreciate the very good info. I have to weigh the desire to retire early against the compromises needed to accomplish that. I probably won't be able to retire in the States at any resemblance of a good life. I'm willing to take some risks, and modern communications should make up for a lot.
Regards.
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Old 09-27-2008, 07:33 PM   #26
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Well, it sounds to me like you need to go directly to this website. Lots of info about reducing expenses here at home and also living in various countries. Plus, the website authors are a charming and friendly couple.
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Old 09-28-2008, 11:17 AM   #27
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We spent some time a few years ago looking at eventually living in some other countries some day when we're old empty nesters. Hey Nords, bet you never thought about escaping to another country once your daughter went off to college?

We looked at several communities in several south american countries...what we found was that most of them werent much cheaper than well established places like Lake Chapala in Mexico. Focusing on that, it seemed that the quality and availability of goods and services, english language stuff, and in particular crime and its associated quality of life were potentially very big issues.

If you look around the US, you can easily find very low cost places to live with similar crime and QOL "issues", a short distance from major metropolitan areas, and you dont have to mess around with problems with insurance, taxes, residency requirements and so forth.

I think a lot of people who would never consider living in a crime ridden US locale where they're a 'minority' wipe a lot of that negativity away when they look at foreign countries using a cloth soaked in the romance of living in a foreign land. Remember that in a lot of these places you can be robbed by bandits if you drive too far from town, and its not unusual for the local cops to stop you for nothing and ask for a bribe to be on your way...

Heck, if you're looking for the feeling of living in a foreign country with a lot of people speaking other languages, you can get that too!
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Old 09-28-2008, 12:12 PM   #28
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NOt to mention a little different kind of robbery--we lived in Central America for a few years while I was young and I remember my parents having to pay a little consideration a few times to officials for things such as licenses.... Not judging that, just thinking that could make life there either cheaper (pay an official who then waives the fee) or more expensive (pay an official plus pay the fee).
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Old 09-28-2008, 03:26 PM   #29
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We spent some time a few years ago looking at eventually living in some other countries some day when we're old empty nesters. Hey Nords, bet you never thought about escaping to another country once your daughter went off to college?
You know we'd have to wait until the bunny went to his great reward before we'd truly be empty nesters! Either that or we'd have to find a long-term bunnyhousesitter.

We've lived all over the world before becoming parents, and we're looking forward to doing it again afterward... under slightly better living & liberty conditions!
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Old 09-28-2008, 03:28 PM   #30
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Old 09-28-2008, 04:30 PM   #31
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If you look around the US, you can easily find very low cost places to live with similar crime and QOL "issues", a short distance from major metropolitan areas, and you dont have to mess around with problems with insurance, taxes, residency requirements and so forth.

I think a lot of people who would never consider living in a crime ridden US locale where they're a 'minority' wipe a lot of that negativity away when they look at foreign countries using a cloth soaked in the romance of living in a foreign land. Remember that in a lot of these places you can be robbed by bandits if you drive too far from town, and its not unusual for the local cops to stop you for nothing and ask for a bribe to be on your way...

Heck, if you're looking for the feeling of living in a foreign country with a lot of people speaking other languages, you can get that too! [/QUOTE]

I'm sure you've read that the U.S. will be less than 50% white by 2050. May be sooner. If that's the trend, why not look elsewhere if that's what you can afford? I've lived all over the U.S. with my job. Some places considered highly desirable too such as Connecticut, Seattle, Santa Fe, Central Florida. Doesn't matter how wonderful a place is if you can't afford to do anything.

This forum is dedicated to being financially independent. Is that only for those who make alot of money and are young enough to enjoy it? Are you saying those with limited means should just accept their lot in life and work themselves into the ground to serve those more deserving of the good life?

I've found that any place in the American West that's desirable due to it's climate and/or scenery is too expensive to live in on my budget. I like Ecuador because it is affordable, with great scenery and weather. If safety was my major concern, then Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay have lower crime rates than the U.S.. Don't kid yourself, the U.S. has enough problems to make a number of countries viable alternatives.

Regards,
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Old 09-28-2008, 04:37 PM   #32
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Was this town named by a Spanish linguist?!?
Um, I think it was named by the same linguist who named Bath, England "Bath."

Banos is a natural-hot-springs town (and boy, I mean, HOT, like 120F hot). There's also a really pretty church there dedicated to the Virgin of... I forget, most of her miracles seemed to be saving people from falls into abyssal Andean canyons. There were also lots of kids pulling taffy at shops and plenty of guinea pig-on-a-stick (roasted, whole. We tried to get it chopped up, rabbit-style, but couldn't, so I can't tell you what it tastes like. Eating a largish rodent, whole, on a stick, was just too much for me. Especially since I had guinea pigs as pets as a kid).
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Old 09-28-2008, 04:41 PM   #33
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Are you saying those with limited means should just accept their lot in life and work themselves into the ground to serve those more deserving of the good life?
Wow, I dont think I said anything like that.

I said if you dont mind crime and living in a 2nd world country in exchange for low cost of living, you can get that right here. And still have the benefits of a 1st world country.

Crime stats are pretty funny things because you sort of need to weed out what you want.

What you want isnt what the crime rate is for an ecuadorean against another ecuadorean, you want the crime rates of the average ecuadorean vs a wealthy white american that just moved into town.

I've read plenty about people in the nicer americanized areas in mexico having their cars and homes regularly broken into, getting mugged and having to pay bribes with an unpleasant regularity. Sounds like some of the lousier areas near LA.
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Old 09-28-2008, 05:10 PM   #34
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What you want isnt what the crime rate is for an ecuadorean against another ecuadorean, you want the crime rates of the average ecuadorean vs a wealthy white american that just moved into town.
To anyone who has lived for an extended period in a third world country this would be obvious.

But what we have here is a guy who is reading and dreaming of escape; just as I read the Whole Earth Catalog in 1971 and dreamed of living in a house made of straw that I would build for $50. Little did I realize that living at Venice Beach in a bungalow made of concrete block was infinitely superior and with fewer mice.

It will likely work out fine for him, things usually do.

Ha
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Old 09-28-2008, 08:44 PM   #35
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Wow, I dont think I said anything like that.

I said if you dont mind crime and living in a 2nd world country in exchange for low cost of living, you can get that right here. And still have the benefits of a 1st world country.

Crime stats are pretty funny things because you sort of need to weed out what you want.

What you want isnt what the crime rate is for an ecuadorean against another ecuadorean, you want the crime rates of the average ecuadorean vs a wealthy white american that just moved into town.

I've read plenty about people in the nicer americanized areas in mexico having their cars and homes regularly broken into, getting mugged and having to pay bribes with an unpleasant regularity. Sounds like some of the lousier areas near LA.
What you seem to be saying is that living in poorer countries is the equivalent of living in crime infested areas of large American cities. As if no one from the U.S. can safely live there, especially if he's white. The State Department says there are currently 10,000 Americans living in Ecuador. Where are all the Americans fleeing in droves due to all the violence against them? Does violence happen? Sure, there was a murder of an American in Manta, Ecuador about a week ago. There are parts of Ecuador known for crime and violence. But not everywhere, and most of the Andes region is safer than the lowlands. I'm not looking thru rose colored glasses. But bottom line, living in the Andes is infinitely better than living in a city slum.
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Old 09-28-2008, 08:55 PM   #36
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What you seem to be saying is that living in poorer countries is the equivalent of living in crime infested areas of large American cities. As if no one from the U.S. can safely live there, especially if he's white.
I didnt say either of those things.

I think you're too effectively wired to counter criticism of the idea to accept the constructive aspects of it. Is there a point in asking for peoples perspective on your idea if you arent going to listen?

For the record, what I said is that there are plenty of inexpensive places to live in the US where you'd experience similar potential quality of life, both good and bad. And that a relatively well to do foreigner in south america might have a little more trouble with the locals than another local would. Which renders the usual crime stats irrelevant.

Good luck with your plan. It looks grossly undercapitalized even for low expectations in a cheap country. My expectation is that this wont work out very well for you.
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Old 09-28-2008, 09:13 PM   #37
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To anyone who has lived for an extended period in a third world country this would be obvious.

But what we have here is a guy who is reading and dreaming of escape; just as I read the Whole Earth Catalog in 1971 and dreamed of living in a house made of straw that I would build for $50. Little did I realize that living at Venice Beach in a bungalow made of concrete block was infinitely superior and with fewer mice.

It will likely work out fine for him, things usually do.

Ha
Well thanks for editing the Darwin remark. Did you know that Walmart and Sam's Club are all over Mexico, as well as most American fast food chains? In Guatemala City are many nice malls, and Quetzaltenango, Guatemala's 2nd largest city, has a mall with a 5 screen multiplex. Wendy's just opened there too. Ecuador has a chain of large supermarkets called Super-Maxi where you can get many American food products. Have you ever seen Panama City? More developed than Miami and an international banking center. Buenos Aires is called the most European city in the world outside of Europe and since their monetary collapse is probably the world's best big city bargain. High quality at low cost. While many Americans assume Latin Americans are mostly living in squalor, they've moved on. Sure, still plenty of poverty in many places. But the middle class is growing and life there is fine if you have enough income. When I'm in my solidly built home watching DirecTV and surfing the internet, I'll be thinking I could be doing this in the States for 3 times more money. And that'll be after watching the latest American blockbuster at the Cinemark multi-plex(American owned) and enjoying a nice restaurant meal for $15 for my wife and I.
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Old 09-28-2008, 10:53 PM   #38
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Well thanks for editing the Darwin remark. Did you know that Walmart and Sam's Club are all over Mexico, as well as most American fast food chains? In Guatemala City are many nice malls, and Quetzaltenango, Guatemala's 2nd largest city, has a mall with a 5 screen multiplex. Wendy's just opened there too. Ecuador has a chain of large supermarkets called Super-Maxi where you can get many American food products. Have you ever seen Panama City? More developed than Miami and an international banking center. Buenos Aires is called the most European city in the world outside of Europe and since their monetary collapse is probably the world's best big city bargain. High quality at low cost. While many Americans assume Latin Americans are mostly living in squalor, they've moved on. Sure, still plenty of poverty in many places. But the middle class is growing and life there is fine if you have enough income. When I'm in my solidly built home watching DirecTV and surfing the internet, I'll be thinking I could be doing this in the States for 3 times more money. And that'll be after watching the latest American blockbuster at the Cinemark multi-plex(American owned) and enjoying a nice restaurant meal for $15 for my wife and I.
Hey, have a ball.
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Old 09-29-2008, 11:50 AM   #39
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Old 09-29-2008, 12:54 PM   #40
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... and plenty of guinea pig-on-a-stick (roasted, whole).
Thanks, I think I'm just going to try to adapt one...
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