New to International Living?
Start Here With These 8 Easy Steps To Help You Retire Overseas This Year
International Living has been helping people retire overseas for more than 30 years, so if you’re new to the idea of retiring overseas, you’ll find everything you need to know here.
Below is a video from International Living editor Dan Prescher. Dan and his wife, Suzan Haskins (who also writes for International Living) moved overseas 13 years ago and haven’t looked back.
They have been living overseas in some of the most beautiful and affordable destinations in the world…and have learned a lot from their experiences.
Dan says: “I have to tell you, I would have preferred to learn some of those lessons BEFORE we sold the house, put all our worldly goods in storage, hopped in the car with our dog, and headed into the unknown.
“Hindsight is always 20/20, of course, but I also have to tell you honestly that, after a decade living and working outside the U.S., my only real regret is that we didn’t do it sooner.”
Suzan and Dan have lived in various countries in Latin America, where they have enjoyed a perfect climate, great health care and a low cost of living. Right now, they live in Ecuador and their utility bills… water, gas, electricity, everything…amounts to less than $40 per month. And best of all, Dan says, the air is pure and the water is clean, and they get all the exercise they need and then some simply walking around town each day.
See this video from Dan below to help you through the 8 easy steps to make your own transition to a happier, healthier, more affordable life overseas that much easier and quicker. And then see the links below this video to find out more about how International Living can help you to your new, dream life overseas.
8 Easy Steps to Help You Start Your Dream Life Overseas
Step 1: Get our free e-letters and free reports
The first thing you should do to get started is sign up for International Living's free daily postcards. In these postcards you'll learn about retirement, property, travel and lifestyle opportunities from around the world. Read about the destinations you've always wanted to know more about... and some you may not have even heard of yet.
Sign up in the box below to receive our daily postcards and immediately receive a free report on the World's Top 10 Retirement Havens:
Get Your Free Report Here
Our free Fund Your Life Overseas e-letter will help you to find out more about how you can make money overseas. Whether you're interested in starting a business in a new country, or you just want to help fund your travels, this free e-letter will give you the advice and direction you need to get more bang for your buck… and more bucks so you can get started sooner.
Get Your Free Report Here
Step 2: Discover the best country for you
If you're looking for information on a particular country of interest, go here to see our top recommendations. You can also check out our drop down menu on the left hand side of each page on our website. You'll find information on almost every country in the world—from Costa Rica to China...Italy to Australia…76 countries are covered there.
If you're unsure of which country is right for you, take our quiz to find out which country suits your needs.
Step 3: Read about other people—just like you—who are living their dream life overseas
Don’t just take our word for it… For inspiration, see our Expat Profile section to learn more about readers who have successfully made their own move overseas.
Step 4: Watch our videos on IL TV and listen to IL radio
The next best thing to being there yourself is to check out International Living’s videos from our editors and contributors around the world to really get a feel for a country that may be on your wish-list as the perfect retirement or relocation destination.
And then, tune in to IL Radio—featuring information on the best places to live, retire, travel and invest overseas.
This is where you'll really get the first-hand information straight from the horse's mouth... people who are living the good life abroad right now tell you in their own words how they did it, what worked for them, and just as importantly, what to avoid in your own adventure abroad.
Step 5: Browse our free magazine sample and other publications
Be sure to take a look at our free online sample issue to find out more about our monthly magazine, International Living. This is one of our best resources if you're really serious about moving overseas. In each issue we detail in-depth information on moving or retiring overseas, making money, saving money and learning all the ins and outs on buying property abroad.
Then check out our Bookstore and stay in the loop with all our latest products. From moving overseas and real estate, to travel and asset protection, you'll find a book, a kit, or a publication on every topic you need to know, written by the experts.
Step 6: Connect with us via IL Social Media
Follow us through our various social media outlets (Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter). Note that we have various Facebook pages. You'll see a lot of our editors and writers on the International Living Facebook page, where you can keep you up to date with all our latest content and news.
Step 7: Fast-track your new life of profit and adventure overseas with International Living’s Events
The International Living Events section will really start you dreaming. Our world-class conferences and seminars are held in some of the most beautiful and historic cities on earth, and that's where you'll get to meet the International Living writers and staff members you've seen in videos and read in the daily postcards and in International Living magazine. These conferences have helped countless people find just the right locations, protect themselves from the falling dollar, network with other expats and experts, slash their cost of living, and avoid the most common mistakes made while moving or investing overseas.
Step 8: Explore our website
So get on in here... browse around by using the navigation bars or see some of the articles below... and take advantage of more than 30 years of International Living research, writing, and experience as you plot your own course to a happier, healthier, more affordable life abroad.
Welcome to International Living!
Below are some articles to help you get started straight away with your new life overseas.
So you’ve decided to move to Costa Rica. Now you have to figure out how to get yourself, your stuff, your pets…your life…down to your new home in the tropics. It may seem overwhelming. But keep in mind that this country has been a haven for retirees and other expats for more than 30 years and tens of thousands of people have gone through the process just fine and are enjoying their new lives in Costa Rica. It’s a well-trodden path and there are services in place and strategies that have been perfected over the years…so your transition will be easier than that of the trailblazers who came before you.
With spiraling costs compelling more and more North Americans to retire overseas, retiring abroad has never been more attractive. But finding the right location among the myriad options available can be daunting. That’s what our Annual Global Retirement Index does. Using input from our team of correspondents on the ground all over the world, we combine real-world insights about climate, health care, cost of living, and much more to draw up a comprehensive list of the best bang-for-your buck retirement destinations on the planet. Keep in mind that, even though only 25 countries feature on our list, all of them are worth your attention. We selected them from among all the countries in the world for their qualities as retirement hot-spots, so even the lowest-ranked nation on our index is still very much an option worth considering.
I’ve always loved to explore the areas in which I live. Whether I was bushwhacking through wild Alaskan terrain or driving down dusty country roads in Minnesota farm country, I relished the thrill of seeing what’s around the next bend. It could be a fantastic little family-owned apple orchard or a mama moose with newborn twins.
Dreams of leisurely roaming the cobblestone streets of mountain villages floated through our minds. The thought of listening to the surf from a comfy hammock with a fruity drink in hand wasn’t a bad vision either.
There’s a lot to love about Ecuador—the amazing biodiversity; great weather; the low cost of living. And in the larger cities like Cuenca, where I live, the excellent medical care and cultural amenities are an added bonus. I’ve been kept up to date on the miserable winter in the States through Skype conversations with my two children. Right now I’m looking out the window at blue skies and am looking forward to yet another day with temperatures in the 70s.
I visited San Miguel de Allende recently while working on a video project, and I had a chance to catch up with an old friend from when my wife, Suzan Haskins, and I lived there back in 2007 and 2008. It pleased me to find him doing well and to hear that his two children were growing into handsome, intelligent young adults. Part of the reason for that, he told me, were the chances they’d had to travel.
We at International Living are sending one lucky winner (along with a friend or spouse) to Coronado, Panama for a full month in 2014—free. The prize includes round-trip flights from the U.S. or Canada to Panama City, furnished accommodation in the beach-resort town of Coronado, plus a living-expense stipend of $1,500.
We’ve already lived in seven communities in four different countries. We’ve had some time to honestly assess ourselves and what we need to live somewhere for more than just a month or two a year. By now we have some pretty clear criteria for what we really need a location to provide.
From the first time I flew from the mainland to Ambergris Caye—in a small turbo-prop plane—I was hooked on Belize. Gazing down onto the crystal clear Caribbean waters, and at the waves breaking on the Mesoamerican Reef, I was overwhelmed by the scenic beauty around me. This stunning seascape was my intro to Belize. What later convinced me I could live full-time in Belize were the vibrant communities and comfortable lifestyle… So what makes Belize so appealing? I’ve outlined the top seven reasons to live here below:
When Jo realized I was serious and that our move was a matter of weeks away, she said something I heard more than once before leaving the U.S: “I could never do something like that!” Of course, people have different reasons for thinking that way. And I’ll grant you, our move to Ecuador wasn’t what’s called “normal.” At 55 and 62 years of age we were supposed to be settling into a routine, shopping for rocking chairs…
It’s great to have step-by-step guides, especially for big and potentially complicated tasks. Moving yourself out of your home country to a completely new and different culture…and language…certainly qualifies as a big and complicated task. It involves many more steps than just five, but considering only the preparatory phase—the phase before the actual move—here are five essential steps to take before you move to Ecuador.
Sometimes things happen when they’re supposed to happen…and that includes books. My wife, Suzan, and I recently finished writing a book about how to move abroad and live a great life on $2,100 a month or less, so I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about why now is such a good time to move overseas. In fact, I don’t think this book could have been written any time but now, and there are three reasons I can think of for that.
As we approach our lucky 13th year of living overseas, my husband, Dan Prescher, and I are fortunate to have shared so many wonderful, memorable experiences in so many far-flung corners of the world—from Southeast Asia to Europe, and nearly every country of Latin America. We’ve lived in Mexico, Panama, Nicaragua, and Ecuador… In fact, we’ve lived in more than one destination in some of those countries. We’ve learned to speak Spanish, we’ve bought and sold property…
Sometimes my old friends back home have a hard time understanding why I moved abroad. Just last week I was wrapped up like a polar explorer in borrowed coats, helping a friend I was visiting back home for the holidays shovel the drifting, blowing snow off his driveway. “What’s the fascination with living abroad anyway?” he asked through the scarf wrapped around his face to avoid losing his nose to frostbite.
Not long ago, I received a note from a high-school friend I haven’t seen in many decades. “Did you follow a dream to South America?” he asked. “Yes,” I replied, “but I’m not finished. I’m still following my dreams.” The thing is, I don’t know where my dreams will take me. I have a very full bucket list of places I want to visit. Who knows how long I might be seduced into staying in any one of them?
Five years into my expat life, I look forward to downsizing. In fact, I recently bought a small, manageable, lock-and-leave property in Guanajuato, in the Colonial Highlands. It’s a far cry from what I thought I wanted when I first moved to Mexico… Then, I’d wanted a good-sized house, instead of an apartment as I’d had in the U.S.
“I don’t like being called an ex-patriot,” my friend Jack said. He’s a former elected official and about as red-white-and-blue as they come. His wife is a former trial judge. But now that they’re retired they’ve chosen to live in Ecuador…for the adventure, the pleasurable lifestyle, and definitely for the lower cost of living.
We first met Laura and Joel (not their real names) a decade ago on the shores of Mexico’s Lake Chapala, where they were vacationing. He was retired and she was happily working as a network television sales executive. He wanted her to quit her job and move to Mexico with him and she was having none of it.
Three years ago my wife Christine and I started a new life overseas. We fell in love with Cuenca, Ecuador, South America’s city of festivals, because it had everything we had ever wanted in a home…
I don’t like to admit it, but for my first 45 years I had my head in the sand…going through life with blinders on. I had very little choice about how I lived, and wasn’t even aware of it.
Take our 45-second quiz and instantly discover your ideal overseas haven. Plus, you’ll get a free country report you can use right now. It takes less than a minute.
What do you do for health insurance if you retire abroad at age 65 or older? Some U.S. expats are relying on their Medicare coverage. But this only pays for medical care performed in the U.S. Why not use your Medicare as part of a three-pronged health-insurance strategy that also includes local health care and a medical-evacuation policy for emergencies?
Several years ago, I found the dream car I’d always wanted, sitting on a lot in Phoenix, Arizona. It was a 1988 Mercedes 560SL—a two seater with a removable hardtop—with only 40,000 miles, for just $15,000. And for just another $800, the guy even delivered it to my driveway in Vermont.