Overseas Retirement Guide
|By: bajadock, 4:25 PM GMT on June 07, 2013||+0|
by Doc Dougherty, aka Bajadock, 5 June 2013
It must be the summer travel season that brings out so many “best places to retire on a budget” and “overseas retirement” internet articles. Most of these puff pieces are written by someone who has vacationed to these spots. Or worse, they are written by realtors.
And too many of these overseas retirement articles aren’t date stamped. You may be reading about Costa Rica from a 1995 perspective. In nearly 20 years, things have changed, youbetcha.
Panama, Thailand, Spain, Ecuador, Belize and the Mexico Highlands are often in the “top ten” lists in most of these articles. Hey, I have been to a few of these spots and there are many happy ex pat retirees enjoying those paradises.
So let’s get back to you poor working stiff baby boomers contemplating life after Cleveland, Ohio. Most live in their pre-retirement location due to circumstance. Work, family or other needs put you in that 3rd beige house on the 2nd cul-de-sac on the left. You make the most of it and work your ass off. But, now that retirement is near, set your sights a tad higher. Why not find retirement overseas? Before you throw your dart at the world map, here is my list of questions and options to ponder about your ideal retirement spot.
1. Lifestyle…If your retirement needs include weekly Nordstrom visits, 5 star dining and opera, a rural mountain village is going to expose your inner “Deliverance” character. What are your ABSOLUTE MUSTS? Massage, Beauty Care, Sporting Events, Music, Culture, Wine, Exercise Facilities, Pet Care, U.S. Television Programming, High Speed Internet (actual speed often disappoints overseas) and more choices are so individual that no location will fulfill all of your needs. And within each country you are exploring, cities and locations 60 miles apart will offer completely different choices. I’m single, but, I’ll warn couples that you will have lots of negotiating(what’s new, you ask?) on your differences about all of this. Make your MUST list, find out how to get it and how much it will cost in your new target location. My secret MUSTS: U.S. sports programming, eccentric movies and $10-$12 red wine values.
2. Local Climate…Many internet articles on retirement are written by real estate types who exaggerate their local climate. “Mild”, “Cooling Breeze”, “Temperate” and other subjective adjectives are the warning signs. “Average year round temperature of X” is also a red light. If Denver, Colorado’s avg year-round temperature is 60F, whattheheck does that tell you about the climate??? Try Weather Underground for locations and use the historic data available there. My favorite climate line was from someone in San Felipe, Baja, trying to tell me that 80s temps were most common with a few days in the 90s during summer. That 80s line was true… at 4am. And there are a few days with high temps dip into the 90s. But 100-110F is the norm in “San Flippy”. A September 2005 visit to Vancouver Island convinced me that I would live somewhere on the Pacific Ocean.
3. Your Ideal Climate…Suppose you have lived most of your life in the Great Lakes area of the USA. You have romantic ideas of living on a tropical beach. How much sand can you stand pouring in through your windows and doors. How will the salt air affect your appliances and furnishings? Will the soothing surf sounds become a pounding drum that keeps you awake at night? Will you miss seasons changing? Humidity, bugs and imprisonment in air conditioning are not my thing. I love outdoors and I enjoy weather variety. I’m glad I figgered out that a tropical climate is ok for my vacations, but, not ok for my everyday activity. My January 2006 visit to Panama helped with my climate choice. That and regular visits to Florida reenforced my need to escape extreme heat+humidity.
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Eccentric adventurer in Ensenada, Mexico seeks extraordinary fun in ordinary life and people.
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