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Anyone considering moving abroad in retirement?
Old 08-11-2016, 08:09 AM   #1
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Anyone considering moving abroad in retirement?

There is a lot of info about retiring in a foreign country on the web letely. Anyone, moved to Panama, Ecuador, Mexico etc. part time or full time?

I find it difficult to believe everything I read about "Utopias" abroad where folk can live on SS alone (Not that any of us would).

I personally do not want a place where it is sweltering hot all year or too cold either.

There was a couple who posted some time ago that spent a lot of time in Chang Mai Thailand and wrote a blog about it, every time I visit there it is too hot to move.

Would love to hear from people with experience. Particular interested in Healthcare, real estate and general COL.
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Old 08-11-2016, 08:19 AM   #2
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lol, one man's Utopia is another man's Hell.

I never thought about "moving" permanently simply because I have a very close large family and I definitely would not want to move away from them (although there are days where an remote island by myself is appealing.

I've heard some folks move to Latin American countries for lower health care cost.

I would love to hang out in some cities for extended periods of time. I love Paris and go as often as I can afford so I would love to spend 6 months there.

but I can't give you much help, I'm firmly a "yankee doodle dandy" gal.
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Old 08-11-2016, 09:01 AM   #3
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We lived 3+ years full-time at Lake Chapala, Jalisco, Mexico and have also lived in San Miguel de Allende and traveled extensively around both Mexico and Central America. Currently we live in Tucson AZ for about 8 months and spend the summers at Lake Chapala and visiting family in Washington State.

I believe the couple you had in mind when you mentioned Chiang Mai was frequent ER forum contributors Billy and Akaisha Kaderli (their excellent web site is called Retire Early Lifestyle). They and Paul and Vicki Terhorst are the leading figures in the joyfully frugal "perpetual traveler" lifestyle world.

We've lived on a SS-level income for years and in the aforementioned expat havens it buys you a decent middle-class lifestyle, while in the U.S. you'd just be scraping by. As for weather, the highlands of Mexico, and for that matter Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Ecuador, have mild climates that are only rivaled in the U.S. by places like Santa Barbara and San Diego. Here at Lake Chapala where I'm writing, year-round highs are in the mid-70's to 80's (except for a brief spike to around 90 in May and early June), with lows in the 50's and moderate humidity year-round.

Lower medical costs were certainly one of the biggest drivers for us spending time here, and we know many self-described "U.S. health care system refugees" whose rent and food costs here are less than what they spent for monthly health insurance premiums back home. Obamacare/ACA has allowed us to be U.S. based for now, but given its uncertain future and the ongoing attacks on it we live year-to-year and still get our dental work and routine medical stuff done down here.

In this area as in other expat havens I would guess around 60% of the foreigners are seasonal (snowbirds mostly, a few "sweatbirds" like us coming from Florida, Arizona, etc.). Being a full-time expat is only for a few, for the reasons already mentioned in this thread: most people by the time they hit retirement age are too enmeshed in networks of family and friends to pick up and move. Perhaps most important, those who do the expat thing on the basis of fleeing something (U.S. health care costs or politics, whatever) rarely seem to make it, while those who have the positive motivation of loving exploring other cultures, wanting to learn a new language and skills - in short, growth and adventure - do very well.
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Old 08-11-2016, 09:06 AM   #4
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We lived 3+ years full-time at Lake Chapala, Jalisco, Mexico and have also lived in San Miguel de Allende and traveled extensively around both Mexico and Central America. Currently we live in Tucson AZ for about 8 months and spend the summers at Lake Chapala and visiting family in Washington State.
Thanks for this:

Do you rent or buy property wise? Also any good websites you can recommend to read up on the rules etc.
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Anyone considering moving a broad in retirement?
Old 08-11-2016, 09:09 AM   #5
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Anyone considering moving a broad in retirement?

No, I think I'll leave her here.
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Old 08-11-2016, 09:14 AM   #6
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No, I think I'll leave her here.
"My wife's in the Caribbean."

"Jamaica?"

"No, she went on her own accord."
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Old 08-11-2016, 10:11 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by ShokWaveRider View Post
I find it difficult to believe everything I read about "Utopias" abroad where folk can live on SS alone (Not that any of us would).
<snipP
I personally do not want a place where it is sweltering hot all year or too cold either.
This book is from a couple who lived in San Miguel de Allende on SS alone.

https://www.amazon.com/Falling-Love-.../dp/0978728629

The last I heard one of them developed a health problem that required moving back to Arizona to be in drier air and closer to family. But they did it for many years.

We have visited some Mexican beach towns and did *not* enjoy the heat and humidity. And San Cristobal de las Casas was *wonderful* but, in the end, we found it a bit too rainy and chilly for our tastes. Lake Chapala is pretty much perfect. Basically you have to find the right altitude.
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Old 08-11-2016, 10:17 AM   #8
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Kevink,

Just curious... do you pay the full year for the ACA or just sign up when you get back

I would think that if you have a home base that you would need to sign up normally and live with the policy for the whole year... I guess if you rent then you are 'moving' so can sign up anytime...
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Old 08-11-2016, 10:18 AM   #9
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Here at Lake Chapala where I'm writing, year-round highs are in the mid-70's to 80's (except for a brief spike to around 90 in May and early June), with lows in the 50's and moderate humidity year-round.
What part of Lakeside do you guys stay in when you are there? We tend to prefer the Ajijic central area...
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Old 08-11-2016, 10:23 AM   #10
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I would like to add a little divergence to the SS affordability thing. My DW and I being Canadians (As well as UK and USA Citizens) are seriously considering Vancouver Island BC. Not so much Victoria but Maybe 30 or 40 minutes Out.


I would also love to add Vancouver Island into the Mix. NOT Vancouver Real as Real Estate is way OTT.
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Old 08-11-2016, 10:59 AM   #11
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kevin's comment about motivations is very relevant, at least to me. Problems, if you have them, will follow you wherever you go, and can become magnified in a place with perhaps looser social ties, restrictions, mores. This speaks more to the single person leaving the US than a couple like yourselves, but there is a real danger of becoming unmoored by the lifestyle in another country, far removed from any support group.
Just my $0.02.
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Old 08-11-2016, 11:09 AM   #12
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Thanks for this:

Do you rent or buy property wise? Also any good websites you can recommend to read up on the rules etc.
I think it is wise to rent for the first couple years. Often times when people visit an area and think about living there it is during the best weather seasons.

I plan on expatriating at least part of the year. I never plan on owning real estate. Too many places to visit and experience and I don't want to be tied down.
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Old 08-11-2016, 05:08 PM   #13
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There are a couple of decent books on Lake Chapala (e.g. "Moving to Mexico's Lake Chapala" by Lisa Jorgensen on Amazon) and the Kaderli's website which I mentioned above has lots of info and a useful downloadable ebook.

We maintain our U.S. health coverage and pay out out of pocket for doctors and dentists when in Mexico. We also buy trip insurance from World Nomads.

Each of the Lake Chapala area villages has its own character. A newcomer would most likely rent in central Ajijic at first and then explore. I would never own property outside the U.S. Makes no sense economically, residency rules could change at any time and - in the case of Lake Chapala - the market is glutted with several years of inventory to boot.
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Old 08-11-2016, 06:11 PM   #14
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No, I think I'll leave her here.


I shouldn't encourage you!!
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Old 08-11-2016, 06:29 PM   #15
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I like living in the usa
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Old 08-25-2016, 10:01 PM   #16
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Lol! Even though I am a "broad", I'd like to move to Portugal for retirement. Have been there, but curious to know if anyone here has stayed there for extended periods.
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Old 08-25-2016, 10:15 PM   #17
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We Americans of the middle class live like the wealthy in most countries.

After traveling extensively in Europe, I realize our cost of housing, automobiles, taxation and food are so much cheaper than anywhere over there.

Go to Scandinavia and see how you like paying $4 for a Coke or cup of coffee in 7-11. No wonder they're so skinny--because the cost of food.
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Old 08-26-2016, 12:15 AM   #18
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Lol! Even though I am a "broad", I'd like to move to Portugal for retirement. Have been there, but curious to know if anyone here has stayed there for extended periods.
Here's a blog that might be of some small assistance:

Julie Dawn Fox in Portugal travel and expat blog
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Old 08-26-2016, 12:34 AM   #19
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Lol! Even though I am a "broad", I'd like to move to Portugal for retirement. Have been there, but curious to know if anyone here has stayed there for extended periods.
Word is that Portugal is the one of the easier countries in Europe to get a resident visa. Never been there myself but would like to give it a shot one day.
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Old 08-26-2016, 03:53 AM   #20
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Anyone considering moving abroad in retirement?
Yes, we should complete the move next year when we buy a house in N. Yorkshire. Currently renting a place there at present. (although we are in the middle of a 2 week stay in Ypres at the moment).

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