My husband, Jeff, and I get up early to cycle—in our flip-flops—to the local juice bar about 25 minutes away…along a bike trail next to the turquoise shores of the Caribbean. We stop to snorkel around the pier for an hour before getting back to connect with our patients online in the early afternoon and evening.
In 1862, a small Mexican militia soundly defeated a much larger French army at the Battle of Puebla. The victory would not end French attempts to control the country, but Puebla’s citizens still remember it with great pride.
If you’ve watched in disbelief as the American Dream you grew up believing in has seemingly evaporated into thin air, do not despair. Your dream of a comfortable, prosperous retirement is alive and well. It may just be waiting somewhere you never thought to look. That was the case for my wife Diane and me. And it turned out better than we ever could have hoped. We’re just two of the millions of North American retirees who have made their dreams of a comfortable, active, and engaging retirement come true, in one of the many locations around the globe that offer a better lifestyle at a much lower cost of living. And there’s no reason why you can’t do it, too.
We got as far as the town square in the small village of San Vicente on Ecuador’s northern coast when our car ran out of gas. I pulled to the side of the rutted, muddy road among a huge crush of writhing, smiling people as sultry Latin rhythms shook the windows of the car.
I am a bad traveler. That may seem like a strange admission to make for an expat. Travel is, after all, part of the deal…you can’t really live abroad without traveling—at least to the country in which you plan to settle. And to be sure, I love to see and experience other towns, cities, beaches, mountains…the lure of foreign lands and exotic adventures has not diminished for me during my years abroad.
Even if your coffers are bare, you can take a six-month trip if you save $10 a day for two years, or save $13 a day for three years to globetrot for a full year. You may have a healthy savings account already, but there are always ways to cut your expenses and make some extra cash. And it doesn’t have to be difficult, either.
“You know Mr. Murray, you are in the gayest hotel in the gayest city in Mexico.” That was the greeting I got from the hotel clerk in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
It’s at times like these I realize how being part of International Living can take you to the most interesting and unusual places! And that’s how I ended up in Puerto Vallarta…I was here on an exploratory trip to find out what this well-known vacation destination, on Mexico’s Pacific coast, offered as a retirement location.
Sometime in the next two months, a small group will gather to celebrate the retail launch of a new building in Cabo, Mexico. They’ll launch floors three and four of that building to the local and expat market. Pricing will be in the $220,000 range. But in the coming days, members of my Real Estate Trend Alert group will have the opportunity to snap up an ocean-view condo on the first or second floor of that same building…for only $149,000.
Way before I ever make a recommendation for a foreign real estate buy, I know exactly what the market is doing—and how certain real estate trends are likely to play out. Identifying and understanding market trends is key to smart real estate investment overseas. It’s the difference between buying a nice and low-priced property that will stay at the same price point for years to come…and buying a property that’s set to rise quickly in value over the coming years.
My husband and I had no intention of retiring to Mexico when we came to Lake Chapala for a visit nearly three years ago. Our original plan was to spend six months traveling the U.S. in our travel trailer and six months outside the country, in an exotic location. But that changed when we came to Chapala.
Lake Chapala is paradise for retirees like us, who want to be active and be involved in the community. The area has a large expat population, so we were able to find many options for Spanish language classes, local tour groups, and social organizations. We felt “plugged in” right away. By the time we had been here for three months, we had joined a church, enrolled in Spanish classes, and found volunteer opportunities.
In another life, I worked as a charge nurse on a hospital unit. It was a nice hospital, and I was reasonably fond of my co-workers and patients. But 12-hour shifts are long and somewhere around 3 a.m. I would find myself wondering about other options.
My fascination with Mexico’s various cultures, wonderful people, and its simplicity began on a two-week vacation. It evolved into so much more.
And because I wanted to fully experience everything Mexico has to offer, I ended up selling almost everything I own and finding a way to turn my career skills into a portable income.
Wealth creation…asset protection…and income for your retirement: These are all things that foreign real estate ownership can do for you.
Marty and Michelle Kramer know that the road to paradise is not always direct. They’re okay with that. As they will tell you, what counts is being happy where you end up. They found the right fit for their retirement dreams in the bright and breezy beach town of Playa del Carmen, on Mexico’s famed Riviera Maya.
In 1999, the 50-year-old Valorie Gallagher fell in love while vacationing along Mexico’s Riviera Maya. She’d been looking for her perfect match for years, and once they met, she instantly knew that her life would never be the same. This wasn’t the typical affair of the heart, however. Valorie had fallen head-over-heels in love with one of the lesser-known jewels of Mexico’s Riviera Maya, the fishing village of Puerto Morelos. And 17 years later, she’s still in love with it.
“What would we do in Wisconsin in retirement?” says Lance Koehler, reflecting on his new life in beachside Tulúm. “Go to the mall, shovel snow. Here I love the warm weather, the sun, and going to the beach.” Lance and his wife Jeanette have found more than their place in the sun. They’ve also found their place in the local expat community.
The man was a powerful politician. He might not like to be identified…so I’ll call him John.
He came to visit me in San Miguel de Allende, the beautiful Mexican town where I have lived for 25 years, teaching Spanish to people of all ages.
John was working on his Spanish through my online program and had learned the basics. Now, he wanted to improve his command of the language, in the field…so to speak. But, in spite of his many successes over the years, this high achiever confided in me that he was nervous about taking what he had learned into the real world.
Cozumel is a perfect blend of laidback island life with tons of activities to enjoy. Here you can have as relaxed or active a retirement as you want. You can park yourself on a perfect stretch of white-sand beach for the day, listening to the waves as you read the latest best-seller, or don a snorkel to explore the world’s second-largest reef system, just offshore. Clear waters make it easy to see (and photograph) sea turtles, rays, and colorful clown fish. You can even make arrangements to swim with giant whale sharks.
Mexico’s Caribbean coast ticks all the boxes when it comes to real estate opportunity. It’s on an upward trajectory. Prices have risen strongly in recent years. But for now, there’s still opportunity to buy well and watch the value of your real estate rise.
Reading guide books and looking at photos don’t do the beauty of Puerto Morelos justice. This is a charming, friendly, and beautifully scenic beach town lying midway between Cancun and Playa del Carmen on Mexico’s Riviera Maya.
“You may have heard this before but it’s really true in my case,” says Nicky Simonyi. “I came down here on vacation and never left. That was 35 years ago.”
The 55-year-old Canadian is sipping a cool drink, just a few steps from the warm, Caribbean surf. You could easily toss a seashell into the turquoise water from where she sits.
If you happen to be hiking through the Himalayan country of Nepal this month, leave your Sunday best behind you. (Attempting Everest in a suit and tie probably wouldn’t end well, anyway.) In Nepal, the full moon on March 23 marks the end of winter and the start of the monsoon season. But local people don’t wait for the rain to get wet.
The clear, turquoise waters of Mexico’s cenotes (sinkhole ponds) are well known to visitors, and attract thousands of people seeking to explore the underground delights they have on show. But some of these enchanting sinkholes have a more sinister side. None more so than the so-called Pet Cemetery near the popular expat hub of Tulúm.
Mexico has been a firm favourite with expats looking for a retirement haven where they can make the most of their retirement. Mexico’s close proximity to the U.S. as well as its cost of living make it an ideal expat haven. From real estate to groceries, entertainment to healthcare, life in Mexico simply costs less.
Frank and Dale Reams took their first vacation to the quaint fishing village of Puerto Morelos on Mexico’s Caribbean coast in 1998 and knew, instantly, that they belonged there. “We fell in love with this area and after several more vacations, we decided that Puerto Morelos would become our retirement home when the time came,” says Frank.
For many retirees thinking of moving abroad, climate is a crucial factor. The climate rankings in International Living’s annual Global Retirement Index is one of the first comparisons many potential expats and international retirees will make between possible destinations. Here are the top countries ranked for climate on the 2016 International Living Global Retirement Index.
It’s that time of year again—the birds are singing, love is in the air, and hopeless husbands are trawling gas stations for that last bunch of flowers. It must be Valentine’s Day—that special day when you spoil the one you love, devote your attention to one another, and escape momentarily from the humdrum of everyday routine. It can be a wonderful time, no matter where you are, but it’s undeniable that some locations have a certain je ne sais quoi that adds that something special to the occasion.
My wife, Suzan Haskins, and I do a lot of traveling. So we often find ourselves on the way to places. We find ourselves in airports. In taxis and shuttles. In planes and buses. In snow-bound cities and towns for holidays and family functions.
After nearly 10 years of marriage, my husband and I decided it was time for a change. We’d lived in a Minneapolis high-rise apartment with spectacular views of the Mississippi River and downtown for seven years, and while we loved our apartment, we didn’t love the weather (for six months of the year anyway). And I didn’t love my high-stress job or the fact that our cost of living seemed to be getting higher.
I’ve never had a taxi driver refuse a fare before. But there we were, just arrived from Mexico City on the first-class bus (WiFi, reclining seats, air conditioning, etc. for $22) in the charming colonial town of San Miguel de Allende, in Mexico’s Colonial Highlands. And after telling the driver the address of the apartment my wife and I had rented, he shrugged his shoulders and said the roads were closed.
Panama, Ecuador, Mexico, and Belize earn top rankings as the countries with the best retiree benefits and discounts in the newly published 2016 Global Retirement Index from InternationalLiving.com.
The 2016 Global Retirement Index lists the top countries where retirees can live better for less around the world. But as well as offering a lower cost of living, some countries stand out in the category of significant retiree benefits and discounts, including savings on transportation, entertainment, social services, visa costs, and healthcare.
Whipping and flickering across the night sky, the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, are on many travelers’ bucket lists. And northern Finland is one of the best places in the world to observe this stunning natural phenomenon.
Two years ago, I made my ﬁrst recommendation on jet-set Cabo, at the tip of Baja California. Members of my Real Estate Trend Alert group could buy a luxury condo in a luxurious community for $336,516. Those who locked down one of these condos—including me—have done well. A comparable condo now retails at $428,301—a paper gain of $91,785.
As exciting and adventurous as the idea of moving abroad can be, it sometimes packs a little zing of anxiety with it. It’s the anxiety you feel when you wonder how safe you’ll be in a foreign country. It’s a perfectly natural feeling. Safety— for ourselves and our loved ones—is one of our most basic needs. None of the other beneﬁts of living abroad mean much to us if we don’t think we’ll be safe in our new home.
A few years ago, my wife Diane and I packed our lives into six suitcases, Diane tucked our beloved Chihuahua, Carmine, under her arm and we set off to build a new life in a small coastal village on Ecuador’s northern coast, a country we had never visited.
Imagine a place where sunshine is ubiquitous, a high-quality lifestyle won’t cost the earth, and as a retiree, you’re treated like a VIP…you’ll get a red-carpet welcome and be rewarded for your age and experience. Places like this exist…and they have claimed the top spots in the “Benefits and Discounts” category in International Living’s 2016 Global Retirement Index. In many countries all over the world you can live better for less.
I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to travel severals time a year to places like Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, and Mexico. You might wonder how I became so lucky? Well, seven years ago, I came to Mexico to teach English as a second language. This allowed me to fulfill my dream of living abroad and immerse myself in another culture.
I live a block away from a gorgeous, 200-year-old park in the colonial city of Querétaro in the colonial highlands of Mexico. My apartment is located in the city’s centro historico, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the site of some of the most beautiful Spanish colonial architecture to be found anywhere, including a recently restored aqueduct from the early 1700s, made of pink quarry stone. The street plan in the center is basically the same as it was 400 years ago.
Retiring abroad is easier and more affordable than ever before. These days it really is possible to spend your days relaxing beneath palm fronds on a Caribbean beach, enjoying farm-fresh produce in a mountain haven with year-round spring weather, or wandering the storied streets of a historic and cultured European city…or all of the above. But with so many choices available, finding the right one can seem daunting.
I’m enjoying a cappuccino at a sidewalk cafe. The tree providing shade is a century old, the church across the way much older. The neighborhood is historic, with restored buildings lining narrow streets for a dozen blocks in any direction. I’m in Merida, Mexico, the third-largest Spanish colonial district in the world, after Havana and Mexico City, surrounded by centuries-old colonial homes, churches, and grand buildings.