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Old 12-05-2015, 03:13 PM   #41
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In my experience the number one predictor of someone's ability to be an expat long-term is the quality of the friendships they form in their chosen place - and unless you marry into your chosen host culture (and quite possibly even then) most of those sustaining friendships are likely to be with fellow expats from your own culture.

That's why expat havens in Mexico like Lake Chapala and San Miguel de Allende work so well, ditto Costa Rica, Ecuador and Panama.

India, even though I love some aspects of it, would be about as tough as it gets. It's maybe not quite as xenophobic as Thailand but has far worse infrastructure problems. You take your life in your hands, literally, going on the roads and the air pollution in major cities is the worst in the world - the equivalent of a several pack-a-day smoking habit.

The rule of law issue that others have mentioned is certainly real anywhere in the developing world. Mexico, where we've lived for several years on and off, functions amazingly well for a country that has, essentially, no rule of law, but you have to realize there will be no recourse of any kind if you're the victim of robbery or petty theft and plan accordingly. Day-to-day life in the highlands of Mexico is great though, with phenomenal weather, great food year-round at a small fraction of U.S. prices and far better and more affordable health and dental care for starters.

Another thing to look at is realistically how often you will feel the need to return to the U.S. Air travel and other expenses can quickly eat up an entire year's worth of expat cost savings, and if you choose to live in a country without access to consumer goods you covet those trips back home can get so expensive you'd be better off staying put.

Between ACA subsidies and living in a late-model mobile home we own outright in a beautiful but low-cost area we've found it quite possible to live in the U.S. on about what we spent in Mexico but it isn't easy and is certainly nowhere near as stimulating and colorful.
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Old 12-05-2015, 06:22 PM   #42
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In my experience the number one predictor of someone's ability to be an expat long-term is the quality of the friendships they form in their chosen place - and unless you marry into your chosen host culture (and quite possibly even then) most of those sustaining friendships are likely to be with fellow expats from your own culture.

That's why expat havens in Mexico like Lake Chapala and San Miguel de Allende work so well, ditto Costa Rica, Ecuador and Panama.

India, even though I love some aspects of it, would be about as tough as it gets. It's maybe not quite as xenophobic as Thailand but has far worse infrastructure problems. You take your life in your hands, literally, going on the roads and the air pollution in major cities is the worst in the world - the equivalent of a several pack-a-day smoking habit.

The rule of law issue that others have mentioned is certainly real anywhere in the developing world. Mexico, where we've lived for several years on and off, functions amazingly well for a country that has, essentially, no rule of law, but you have to realize there will be no recourse of any kind if you're the victim of robbery or petty theft and plan accordingly. Day-to-day life in the highlands of Mexico is great though, with phenomenal weather, great food year-round at a small fraction of U.S. prices and far better and more affordable health and dental care for starters.

Another thing to look at is realistically how often you will feel the need to return to the U.S. Air travel and other expenses can quickly eat up an entire year's worth of expat cost savings, and if you choose to live in a country without access to consumer goods you covet those trips back home can get so expensive you'd be better off staying put.

Between ACA subsidies and living in a late-model mobile home we own outright in a beautiful but low-cost area we've found it quite possible to live in the U.S. on about what we spent in Mexico but it isn't easy and is certainly nowhere near as stimulating and colorful.
Finally some good advice after a bunch of buzz kill post's.
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Old 12-05-2015, 07:13 PM   #43
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Didn't mean to be a buzz kill; just trying to set expectation.
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Old 12-05-2015, 07:21 PM   #44
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Sorry, didn't mean to try to kill your buzz. Only happy talk from me from now on.
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Old 12-06-2015, 06:40 PM   #45
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We are still looking. Been looking and travelling for a few year. Not so much about cost as where we want to live. We are enjoying looking.

So far we have ruled out the UK, USA, Costa Rica, and Thailand. We plan to go back to Mexico for a second look at PV, perhaps Panama, and then southern Spain or Portugal. Plan is to spend seven months away and five months where we currently live.
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Old 12-06-2015, 11:35 PM   #46
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I sometimes feel that common sense takes a holiday when this topic comes up. 3rd world is great if you are looking for adventure, and additionally are either fairly young or very rich.

But an understanding of language and culture and laws and peoples attitudes is hard to come by. Some people are not even very good at syncing with the people one town away from where they were born.

I can live nicely in a good part of an attractive US big city, and not need to spend much time on infrastructure or learning the lay of the land or how to behave. For the most part, I can look in the mirror before I leave home in the morning and combined with the way I speak, and the fact that I am generally looking to minimize any appearance of not fitting, I know a good deal about the way things are likely to go. I also understand the local weather, the background attitudes of different types of people here, how people usually drive, on and on. This to some people may be boring, but to me it just clears the deck for all the activities and interactions and relationships that are the real purpose of my life.

Even a moderately expensive US city is not that expensive if one is opportunistic about real estate cycles among other things. NYC, LA beach communities, and good parts of SF and Berkeley cost a lot. And these are very desirable places, but now are out of many budgets and certainly mine. But if you don't mind drizzle you can have an excellent life fairly cheaply in Seattle or Bellingham or Portland.

I bought my condo outright, so my main expenses are food and medical care and property tax/HOA-and of course all these things are exceeded by income tax which follows wherever one might go. And I live in the middle of things, so I don't need a car. So much is going on that it is basically impossible to get bored. I imagine there are many other places like this, or at least some of them.

Ha
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Old 12-07-2015, 08:00 AM   #47
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I think people should live elsewhere only if they promise to report here on how it's going for those of us who live vicariously. I love reading about it. Photos are good too.
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Old 12-07-2015, 09:13 AM   #48
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We plan to live elsewhere but probably not for less. For awhile we will change locations every 6 months or so enjoying what each has to offer. When we travel now we always go off the tourist trail and go where the locals live. Have never been afraid and I do not expect or want things to be safe and predictable.
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Old 12-07-2015, 09:26 AM   #49
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I think people should live elsewhere only if they promise to report here on how it's going for those of us who live vicariously. I love reading about it. Photos are good too.
+1, but photos are a must. Didn't Confucius or someone say that a picture is worth 1000 words?

PS. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_pict...thousand_words.
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Old 12-07-2015, 10:06 AM   #50
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How many times are articles written that state the best place to retire on low incomes is in other countries? The articles sound wonderful until you research and read what expats and other people who live there tell you.


Not every place is bad but I want to know if you need bars on the windows, or never to leave the house with electronics in the house, or you are only safe if you reside in a gated expat community. Never go out with expensive items or in the evening. In some poorer countries when you have money you are targeted.


Do your homework before you sell everything and move. Many expats are trying to get back to the USA because they read the articles without checking the country out first.


Sorry if this is a downer post but just like investing you should always research before jumping into anything.
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Old 12-07-2015, 12:19 PM   #51
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Sorry if this is a downer post but just like investing you should always research before jumping into anything.
Above all, no discomfort shall befall the customers.

If they find out they have blown a huge amount of money and a lot of time when they sell up and move, well at least they didn't listen to fear posts from "haters".

All together now, "It's all good!"

Ha
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Old 12-07-2015, 12:24 PM   #52
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If they find out they have blown a huge amount of money and a lot of time when they sell up and move, well at least they didn't listen to fear posts from "haters".
Which ones are the haters? I don't see any around here ..
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Old 12-07-2015, 12:28 PM   #53
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Late to the party but I traveled a lot internationally for work over the years and it is hard to appreciate the rule of law we have in here the US until you visit other countries where officials can essentially do as they please with little repercussion.
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Old 12-07-2015, 12:41 PM   #54
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Sorry, I should have put up a flag, "this is a satirical post."
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Old 12-07-2015, 01:10 PM   #55
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Sorry, I should have put up a flag, "this is a satirical post."
Sorry, my misunderstanding
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Old 12-07-2015, 02:39 PM   #56
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People like the OP, who speak from a position of being there are more likely to be successful.

In any case, he just wants to spend 4 months a year there. If things don't work out, he can always catch an early flight back or to some other low cost country.
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Old 12-07-2015, 08:22 PM   #57
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The traveler/expat mind is a peculiar one. The lifestyle isn't for everyone. Perhaps only a few. Always learn the local language if you want to stay long term. Move abroad because you love adventure. Never move to another country only because it lowers costs. IMO never buy foreign real estate. It rarely works out well for expats.
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Old 12-08-2015, 12:17 AM   #58
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Live for Less Elsewhere

We are starting this experiment soon although Puerto Vallarta is not India. Retiring 12/15, driving to Mexico on 12/30 for about 6 months. We own a condo there now, after visiting for 16 years.

I will report back. With pictures if I can figure out how to post them here.


Sent from my iPhone using Early Retirement Forum
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Old 12-08-2015, 10:51 AM   #59
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You call it fear, while I call it prudent planning. Obviously, we have different outlooks. As long as you understand the potential pitfalls of any new situation and are prepared to accept the consequences, I see no problem with that.
The good news:
Our Florida friends bought a house right on the beach.

The bad news:
The house is right next to a public right of way.

That means that very very often they're woken up by undesirables/homeless banging on their ocean-side door at 3AM asking for them to call the police, use the bathroom, give them water/money etc. Or people who've been partying on the beach deciding that a midnight cannonball into their pool might be fun.

Guard dogs are often a good idea. "Good boy!"

Having said that, I always get skittish when I see bars on windows and doors.
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Old 12-08-2015, 10:13 PM   #60
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Having said that, I always get skittish when I see bars on windows and doors.
I have read of homes with a terrace on the top floor getting invaded with a grappling hook and climbing rope. That is hard to defend against.

PS. Oh never mind. One simply puts bars on the windows and doors that open to the terrace.
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