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Ecuador or Bust
Old 09-22-2008, 10:35 PM   #1
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Ecuador or Bust

Hi Everyone,
I'm 46, have limited savings but few bills, getting serious about leaving work no later than 55, sooner if possible. I'll have a small pension, $13k a year at 55. Will have maybe $70k in savings by then.. Obviously I won't be living the high life but that's fine with me. I'm hoping to find a wife in the Philippines but that's a whole other subject. After years of reading about Mexico, the Philippines, Thailand, Costa Rica, Panama and a few others I've decided Ecuador is my best bet.
Why Ecuador? Beautiful scenery and great climate in the Andes. Great beaches too.. They use the American Dollar for their currency. You can get permanent residency by doing one of 3 things: 1. Buy a home worth at least $25,000, or, 2. Deposit $25,000 in a bank there, or 3.Demonstrate guaranteed monthly income such as a pension of at least $800 a month. Permanent residency grants you all the rights of citizenship except to vote or run for office.
The capital, Quito, has all the amenities but Ecuador has numerous beautiful places attracting expats. And if you choose a smaller place you can get Directv Latin America with most of the U.S. channels. One thing I just found out is that USAToday has on online edition identical to their print edition for $14.95 a month so I can read my favorite paper anywhere.
It's not perfect, but for someone retired, not needing work or trying to run a business, there's plenty to do and see. And at about 1/4th to 1/3rd the cost of living in the States.. I just wanted to share this, not hawking real estate or have a vested interest. Regards!
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Old 09-22-2008, 10:49 PM   #2
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I don't know if you will be going to the Galapagos Islands, but IMO I would consider living there because of the natural beauty, and the slow paced life. We were there in 2000, and we met few Americans, but plenty of Europeans, or European descended people. At that time, they were looking for English teachers.
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Old 09-23-2008, 10:51 AM   #3
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I don't know if you will be going to the Galapagos Islands, but IMO I would consider living there because of the natural beauty, and the slow paced life. We were there in 2000, and we met few Americans, but plenty of Europeans, or European descended people. At that time, they were looking for English teachers.
The Galapagos are definitely unique but it's my understanding that they are much more expensive due to everything being shipped in. In the Andes there are native markets everywhere selling fruits and vegetables at nearly giveaway prices. The bigger cities have multiplexes playing American movies in English with Spanish subtitles. Quito has restaurants with about every cuisine imaginable. The southern city Cuenca is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Beautiful colonial architecture everywhere. It's probably the biggest expat destination in Ecuador now. Another plus is seniors 65 and older get discounts on many things, including 50% discounts on flights to the U.S. on 3 airlines. I think there are quite a few cities in other countries that offer a high quality of life. Chiang Mai, Thailand for example. But it would be hard to find an entire country that offers as much as Ecuador, especially for the cost.
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Old 09-23-2008, 11:43 AM   #4
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I was contemplating Chile... I might have to look at Ecuador too...
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Old 09-23-2008, 12:59 PM   #5
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I had a friend with a sailboat who home-based in Ecuador for a while and said it was quite nice. He sailed there from Charleston over the course of a couple of years. He just set sail last month from Ecuador heading to Fiji.
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Old 09-23-2008, 04:56 PM   #6
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Knew I was forgetting something. Ecuador is the newest member of OPEC. Gas is currently $1.58 a gallon there. And if you're looking for some place small but with good amenities, research Banos. It's about 12,000, has hot springs bathing, many international restaurants, stunning scenery, hiking, mountain biking, many waterfalls, whitewater rafting. Check out Banos on Google Images. If it were in the U.S. it would be another Aspen or Jackson Hole. Another small town getting attention is Cotacachi. Dramatic scenery with condos being built. Just read of one couple buying a new penthouse condo for $46,000. Close by is Otavalo, South America's largest native market. Otavalo is about 50,000, alot of tourist amenities.

Again, I'm not pushing anything. I could tell you about numerous places in Central and South America, Southeast Asia too. Chile is more expensive but if you can afford it you would live very well. I'm just a poor fellow whose company terminated it's traditional pension so I'll be getting about half of what I planned for. So I looked at my options and every possibility of staying in the States led me to the conclusion I will have to work until I physically can't, then hope my family will take me in. Not the future I want. I'm not looking to throw away the States. I'll stay connected and visit when I can. Just looking to live decently in a place I'd enjoy. If anyone can tell me of a place that's better I'd love to hear about it. In terms of quality for low cost of course.
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Old 09-23-2008, 07:08 PM   #7
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Knew I was forgetting something. Ecuador is the newest member of OPEC. Gas is currently $1.58 a gallon there. And if you're looking for some place small but with good amenities, research Banos. It's about 12,000, has hot springs bathing, many international restaurants, stunning scenery, hiking, mountain biking, many waterfalls, whitewater rafting. Check out Banos on Google Images. If it were in the U.S. it would be another Aspen or Jackson Hole. Another small town getting attention is Cotacachi. Dramatic scenery with condos being built. Just read of one couple buying a new penthouse condo for $46,000. Close by is Otavalo, South America's largest native market. Otavalo is about 50,000, alot of tourist amenities.

Again, I'm not pushing anything. I could tell you about numerous places in Central and South America, Southeast Asia too. Chile is more expensive but if you can afford it you would live very well. I'm just a poor fellow whose company terminated it's traditional pension so I'll be getting about half of what I planned for. So I looked at my options and every possibility of staying in the States led me to the conclusion I will have to work until I physically can't, then hope my family will take me in. Not the future I want. I'm not looking to throw away the States. I'll stay connected and visit when I can. Just looking to live decently in a place I'd enjoy. If anyone can tell me of a place that's better I'd love to hear about it. In terms of quality for low cost of course.
Have you gone there for a few months yet? I lot of things sound better in print, which is almost always hyped, than they are on the ground. Ecuador has recently joined some other Andean nations with a fairly intense anti-US polical stance.

It may be great, but so may be becoming an aprartment manager for your rent and a little salary, right here in USA.

Ha
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Old 09-23-2008, 07:26 PM   #8
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Have you gone there for a few months yet? I lot of things sound better in print, which is almost always hyped, than they are on the ground. Ecuador has recently joined some other Andean nations with a fairly intense anti-US polical stance.

It may be great, but so may be becoming an aprartment manager for your rent and a little salary, right here in USA.

Ha
Good point. I'm basing my posts on the experiences of people living there right now. There's an excellent Yahoo Group, Ecuador Expats, with many members living there. Also over the years I've seen many positive posts on Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree forum.

The current Ecuadorean president, Corretia, has refused to renew the U.S. base at Manta. He's less of a firebrand than Evo Morales of Bolivia, and definitely not Hugo Chavez. But he has aligned with the anti U.S. sentiment. That hasn't affected Americans living in Ecuador and they're actively promoting Ecuador as a retirement haven.

I'd wager living there would be much better than managing an apartment house.
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Old 09-23-2008, 08:38 PM   #9
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I'd wager living there would be much better than managing an apartment house.
Might be. The young guy who manages my building has a very nice life.

Re: reports from those who are there. They may be less reliable than one might hope. First, they are there. Those who didn't like it and could afford to leave left. Second, they may have gone out on some pretty long limbs to settle there. We have that old cognitive dissonance problem to allow for. I have taken some real risks, spent a lot of money, and am pretty well committed here. Do I like it! Hell yes I do! And what would make me feel even better about this situation? Why to convince a bunch of other people to come here too!

ha
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Old 09-23-2008, 09:03 PM   #10
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Might be. The young guy who manages my building has a very nice life.

Re: reports from those who are there. They may be less reliable than one might hope. First, they are there. Those who didn't like it and could afford to leave left. Second, they may have gone out on some pretty long limbs to settle there. We have that old cognitive dissonance problem to allow for. I have taken some real risks, spent a lot of money, and am pretty well committed here. Do I like it! Hell yes I do! And what would make me feel even better about this situation? Why to convince a bunch of other people to come here too!

ha
Well gee, no one is holding a gun to anyone's head, making them move there. Anyone contemplating moving overseas or to the next state in the U.S. should do their own investigation. Hey, Ecuador is a developing nation and isn't perfect. But it's not a hellhole either. And here's the secret to a good life in such a place: have enough money! $1000 a month is more than twice what an average family makes. You can be very comfortable on that much and can get by on less. With neither snow and ice or excessive heat to boot. If you can show me a similar place in the States I'll gladly live there.

I've worked for a major corporation for 20 years. They've systematicly stripped us of our benefits while constantly promising better pay down the road. The rank and file of this corporation and many others have had to accept less and less while our mgrs have done well. So I don't feel that I've got to stay in this country out of some sense of patriotism. Our ancestors came here looking for something better. If there are now better options elsewhere, then that's where I'm going. The United States is fantastic if you're wealthy. A grind if you aren't.
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Old 09-23-2008, 09:13 PM   #11
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If you can show me a similar place in the States I'll gladly live there.

Hey, it would suit me fine if you lived in Antarctica. I thought we were having an abstract discussion. No desire to rain on anyone's parade.

Ha
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Old 09-24-2008, 10:35 AM   #12
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Friends of ours who've traveled widely are in Ecuador right now for an extended stay, and are looking at as a place to possibly call home, Almost There. Our own situation is not so different from yours, so the topic's of keen interest.

Clearly for now the numbers do work for a low-cost, culturally-rich retirement there. Where things will be at in 8-9 years (the time frame you're talking about), who knows? It was about that long ago that almost no one was talking about Panama for retirement; now, it's over-run and expensive. The baby-boomer retirement wave has just started, and with the economy being what it is the number of people who had little or no interest in retiring outside the U.S. who will feel compelled to in order to have any semblance of a middle-class lifestyle surely will be huge.

In case you haven't seen it, ER adventurers the Kaderli's have some great info on Ecuador on their site (Retire Early Lifestyle).

Hope it happens for you!

Kevin
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Old 09-24-2008, 11:35 AM   #13
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Ha, that is an interesting point regarding confirmation bias. It is true that we tend to focus more acutely on that information fitting our original hypothesis, and that it is difficult to say "I've done this all wrong", even if we have. Plus the idea that if you didn't like a place, you wouldn't stay.

I don't know what the answer is for folks looking to settle outside the US, but from the folks I've seen that can do it successfully, it takes a certain easy-going and relaxed attitude about dissent and disagreements to really make it.

I do think that my friends in Belize are the least easily ruffled people I know. And they have enough money to come back home frequently to see family and friends.
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Old 09-24-2008, 08:51 PM   #14
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Friends of ours who've traveled widely are in Ecuador right now for an extended stay, and are looking at as a place to possibly call home, Almost There. Our own situation is not so different from yours, so the topic's of keen interest.

Clearly for now the numbers do work for a low-cost, culturally-rich retirement there. Where things will be at in 8-9 years (the time frame you're talking about), who knows? It was about that long ago that almost no one was talking about Panama for retirement; now, it's over-run and expensive. The baby-boomer retirement wave has just started, and with the economy being what it is the number of people who had little or no interest in retiring outside the U.S. who will feel compelled to in order to have any semblance of a middle-class lifestyle surely will be huge.

In case you haven't seen it, ER adventurers the Kaderli's have some great info on Ecuador on their site (Retire Early Lifestyle).

Hope it happens for you!

Kevin
Thanks Kevin, You make very good points. I've watched the effect of retirees on Costa Rica and Panama with alot of concern. I'm all for people finding a better life but it seems some countries are being loved to death. I'm just hoping that when my turn comes I'll still be welcome.
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Old 09-24-2008, 08:57 PM   #15
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Hey, it would suit me fine if you lived in Antarctica. I thought we were having an abstract discussion. No desire to rain on anyone's parade.

Ha
Sorry if I came across a bit uptight. I've been planning this for 10 years and have continuously run the gamut of friends and family who believe I'll live in a hut without plumbing or electricity and eventually get beheaded by America haters. Gets frustrating sometimes.
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Old 09-25-2008, 01:10 PM   #16
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AlmostThere--

Maybe I missed something in this thread, but have you visited Ecuador? I hope so.

I traveled there last Jan. The Galapagos are amazing but there's not much there there for residents. Quito has horrible air pollution from lead based gasoline fumes. The Andes are absolutely stunning, but the only town where i'd consider living is Cuenco, which is lovely.

Lots of Americans love living in Costa Rica, especially men because the ladies are very pretty and friendly. It is still quite affordable, comparatively.
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Old 09-25-2008, 03:30 PM   #17
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Good comments. The more money you have, the greater the options of course. Since DW just finished chemo, we're headed to Costa Rica Saturday with two other couples. Maybe the climate will promote hair growth. I've often thought having a place in a small town in CR or similar locale might be a pleasant change in seasonal living. So far I haven't convince DW.

Interesting comments about the people that end up in expat communities. I noticed during my extended visit to Alaska 33 years ago that the vast majority of people living there seemed to be getting far away from something in the lower 48. But the normal line was to insist that they were really there because they loved cold weather, fishing and moose hunting for food, and living in a log cabin. Even in my mid-twenties this seemed like a stretch.Of course that was long before Sara Palin dropped onto the scene with her knife.
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Old 09-25-2008, 03:39 PM   #18
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I'll live in a hut without plumbing or electricity and eventually get beheaded by America haters.
Thats how it works out for a lot of apartment managers here in the US.
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Old 09-25-2008, 05:10 PM   #19
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Sorry if I came across a bit uptight. I've been planning this for 10 years and have continuously run the gamut of friends and family who believe I'll live in a hut without plumbing or electricity and eventually get beheaded by America haters. Gets frustrating sometimes.
E komo mai Hawaii!!
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Old 09-25-2008, 08:46 PM   #20
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AlmostThere--

Maybe I missed something in this thread, but have you visited Ecuador? I hope so.

I traveled there last Jan. The Galapagos are amazing but there's not much there there for residents. Quito has horrible air pollution from lead based gasoline fumes. The Andes are absolutely stunning, but the only town where i'd consider living is Cuenco, which is lovely.

Lots of Americans love living in Costa Rica, especially men because the ladies are very pretty and friendly. It is still quite affordable, comparatively.
So far my foreign travel has been to Mexico and Canada. I've lived in several places on the Mexican border and have a good idea about 3rd World conditions. My first trip to Ecuador will be next summer. Cuenca appears to be the top choice right now for expats in Ecuador. As for ladies, my heart belongs to a Filipina, who will join me there.
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