Semi-Retired With 65% Lower Costs in Medellín, Colombia

“The grand plan was to retire at age 55,” says Kent. “But discovering Medellín made it easy to do that sooner. Our cost of living is 65% lower than it would be in Denver, Colorado.” Kent and his wife Carlene did lots of reading about retiring overseas before they took the plunge in mid-2017. “We came to Medellín first,” he explains, “because I had been reading about it in International Living magazine. We fell in love with it after only 10 days…we made the right choice.

“I consider myself semi-retired,” Kent says. He left his hectic life as a finance manager and now embraces a more relaxed pace, with plenty of time to do what he wants while still earning an income teaching English online with DADA-ABC. “I only work three hours each day,” Kent explains. “But it’s quite early in the morning, in order to coordinate with the students in China. The best thing is that I still have the rest of the day free to enjoy.”

Kent’s classes are one-on-one with Chinese children from 4 to 16 years old. Each class lasts 30 minutes. “There is no pre-work on my part,” he says. “All the lessons are prepared for the teachers and are uploaded two weeks in advance.” Teaching classes from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. takes a little getting used to. “I have to wake up at 4 a.m. and drink two cups of coffee to get going,” he says with a chuckle. “I’m logging in at 4:40 a.m. to start classes on time, but without having to leave my house.

“It’s a good job,” Kent says. “You can earn between $14 and $25 an hour, depending on your experience and time with the company. I get paid once a month by direct wire transfer into my U.S. bank account.” Having this part-time job allows Kent to have some cashflow but still retain his freedom and lifestyle. “When we traveled back to the U.S. to visit family, I was still able to teach my students,” explains Kent. “I didn’t have to request time off.”

Once the classes are finished, Kent spends the rest of his day going to the gym, reading, and taking an after-lunch siesta to recharge from the early sessions. In addition to walking his two dogs around the neighborhood and having weekly Wednesday lunches with a group of retired expats, Kent plays tennis two to three times a week. There is no need to belong to a pricey country club to play tennis: Kent reserves a court in the public sports complex in the Estadio neighborhood, just across the river from where he lives, for only $5 an hour.

Most weekends are reserved for riding his BMW 650 GS motorcycle out into the country. “I ride with a group of 22 gringos,” Kent says. “We do ad hoc riding and take weekend trips.”

The curvy mountain roads in and around Medellín are perfect for motorcycle riding. Winding along the well-paved roads and soaking up the stunning views of the lush, green, tree-filled countryside are reminders of why Kent is so happy with his decision to move to Medellín.

“My family in the U.S. thought I was crazy and having a mid-life crisis,” jokes Kent. “I didn’t speak Spanish when I arrived, so learning that is a work in progress. I spend part of every day on Duo Lingo, Coffee Break, or to improve my language skills.”

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