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The world we cover at International Living isn’t the same one you hear about on the nightly news. We seek out opportunity—not ratings. This frees us, mercifully, from the “if it bleeds, it leads” mandate. So we can seek out the fortuitous instead of the unfortunate.
Take to the streets in Santiago, Chile, from January 3 to 20 for the Santiago a Mil international theater festival. You’ll find large-scale spectacles like “the noise of colors” extravaganza, a forest of paper giraffes, and outdoor performances of Romeo and Juliet.
The bane of cell-phone using travelers, the roaming charge is one of those expenses that can sneak up on you, ruining your happy memories when you get that exorbitant phone bill. Here’s a tip on how to save on these charges in France.
Coconuts and limes…briny breezes and salty skin…a translucent sea… This is Bocas del Toro, Panama. The risks of buying untitled property here keep me from recommending Bocas as a full-time retirement destination. But the fact remains that it continues to beckon to people from all over the globe with the brilliant, blinding beauty of its beaches.
- Coastal Ecuador is a Buy Today—Prices Are Already Rising
Posted on December 20, 2012 by Ronan McMahon
Right now it feels like civilization has forgotten about this place. It’s the coast of Ecuador, running from north of Canoa to Pedernales. One of the last stunning and undiscovered stretches of Pacific coast in the Americas, it is now set to be developed. And if you are interested in buying best-in-class real estate at deep, early-in values, this is a stretch of coast that should be on your radar.
The aroma of coffee wafts through the open bedroom door. I wipe the sleep from my eyes and follow my senses to the kitchen, where I find a double espresso and a plate of fresh fruit waiting for me. My husband Gordon is making fresh-squeezed orange juice. He stops what he’s doing to give me a kiss good morning.
Louise Orr finds it hard to stay in. Though she retired early at the age of 53, she doesn’t have much free time. “There are days when I say, thank God I don’t have to be anywhere,” she says. “Days when I can just work in the yard, or read a book.” It’s not that Louise is tied down to a business or a job…it’s just that there are so many fun and worthwhile things to do.
- The “Sweetness of Doing Nothing” in the Hills of Florence
Posted on December 20, 2012 by Barbara Diggs
Forty years ago, long before Under the Tuscan Sun was a twinkle in Frances Mayes’ eye, my parents-in-law bought a 14th-century stone house on a woodsy Tuscan hillside just outside the city of Florence. The foundation of the house dates back to the Roman period and the jagged bits of stone wall found on the lower terrace, underlining a stretch of silver-hued olive trees, is Etruscan.
When I first learned about volunteering in Spain to speak English with Spanish executives, my reaction was “What fun! I can meet and get to know Spaniards without needing any Spanish!” I instantly filled out the application. For that reason alone I would have done it. Of course, free room and board at a four- or five-star hotel in exchange for talking seemed like a good deal, too!
1. Pensioner’s. For expats with retirement income, this is usually the preferred option, since it requires no major capital investment. It’s the route I personally chose. You must show permanent income of at least $800 per month to qualify. An additional $100 per month income is needed for each dependent.
The tops of the palms wave cheerily in the breeze like giant green feather dusters against a soft blue, cloudless sky. I’m bobbing contentedly in the warm turquoise waters looking back at the beach, its silky white sands speckled with tiny seashells. Despite it being mid-summer I’m the only one swimming in this small cove…the only one enjoying this flawless slice of beach this morning.
Exotic tropical islands, temperate mountain valleys, miles of deserted beaches, First-World cities packed with ultra-modern amenities, and ancient vineyard-shrouded hill towns… Among the top retirement spots in the world this year, you’ll find great variety in the cultural offerings, climates and lifestyles.
One of the best ways to create cash flow right now is through stock dividends—especially through stocks with exposure to the emerging markets. Cash flow is the amount of money your portfolio “pays you” each year. And by buying a diversified basket of dividendpaying stocks, it can be surprisingly stable.
U.S. tax laws are changing. In fact, they’re changing even as they’re being implemented—and if you’re confused, you aren’t alone. There’s a lot of false information making the rounds about the HIRE Act and FATCA—the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.
When Willy and Monika Krauskopf visited Costa Rica’s Lake Arenal 20 years ago, it was a life-changing event. The couple spent 10 days driving around the country. But they found themselves especially drawn to Lake Arenal because of the natural beauty and unhurried pace of the area.
- Travel with a Twist: Becoming a Professional Best Friend in Paris
Posted on December 20, 2012 by Barbara Diggs
Wouldn’t it be great to have a best friend who lives in Paris? She could take you to the secret cafés and corners that locals love but the guidebooks miss. She could give you tips on dealing with surly French waiters, and boost your confidence as you test your high school French. She’d be someone to call if you get lost. And someone to laugh with over a glass of wine.
Whether you dream of a pastel-painted, old colonial home surrounded by lush gardens or a super-modern condo just yards from the beach, in locations all over the planet you’ll find incredible value. Affordable, good-value real estate is a “stand-out” factor of the world’s best retirement havens.
Malaysia is a melting pot of colorful Indian, Chinese, Malay, and Euro-Asian contradictions, making it one of the most fascinating countries in the region. It’s also a great base if you enjoy scuba diving…for surrounding Malaysia are some of the most beautiful, dive-worthy islands in the world. When you need to just get away from it all, they offer a welcome retreat.
Thailand is a steamy and tropical place, so when you arrive in the northern city of Chiang Mai, the cool and pleasant climate can come as a surprise. Nestling among the highest mountains in the country, Chiang Mai enjoys blissfully cool months from October straight through to January…the perfect time to visit.
Set in Panama’s lush and green Chiriquí Highlands in the interior of the country, Boquete is a go-to destination for expats. Local officials estimate that 14% of the town’s population is made up of foreign residents. They come for the weather—at 4,000 feet, Boquete’s temperatures are mid- to high-70s F year-round.
Panama’s a place of sunshine, 365 days a year. You have hundreds of miles of beach…highland retreats with green valleys where the weather is spring-like, even in January and August…and a genuinely cosmopolitan capital city, too, with one of the world’s largest financial districts.
You can study all the collected data, analyze real estate statistics, crunch the cost-of-living numbers, study weather patterns and more, but nothing surpasses your gut instinct when it comes to choosing a place to live.
I have realized the American dream …. in Ecuador, South America. Today was closing day on my second story apartment in downtown Cotacachi. I now own it free-and-clear; no mortgage. I have heard that most Americans never realize the American dream because they trade-up every five years, or so, and always have a mortgage to […]