The Benefits of Living Overseas

The Internet is a wonderful thing. From a small condo high in the Ecuadorian Andes Mountains, my wife, Suzan, and I can view properties for sale in Omaha, Nebraska. (Which, by the way, is the perfect way to see properties in Omaha at this time of year if you no longer own a parka and mukluks…)

It’s fun to keep tabs on things like property prices and cost of living back home, especially when we don’t live there anymore. When we see some of the prices and remember how much the overhead costs are to live there, we feel almost like geniuses for moving to Ecuador.

Example… a beautiful 2,520-square-foot, two-floor condo in Omaha’s trendy Old Market neighborhood that was listed at $310,000 four years ago is now asking $210,000. A nice price reduction, you might say… except that the taxes and homeowners’ association (HOA) fees and utilities haven’t gone down a bit in that time.

Annual property taxes are about $6,500 (or almost $550 per month), and the HOA runs $265 per month…

Heating and air conditioning costs aren’t included. And in Nebraska, heating and air conditioning are not luxuries—they’re necessary for survival.

Add it all up, and throw in another $65 a month for homeowners insurance and the carrying costs alone for this place each year are about the same as our total annual budget in Ecuador—and that’s for everything… food, utilities, taxes, water, electricity, Internet, satellite TV, transportation, HOA dues, and a steady supply of Chilean wine.

In other words, we can live for an entire year on what the owner of that condo would pay just to keep the walks shoveled, the pipes from freezing, and the tax assessor off his back.

So are we really geniuses?

No. We just learned that we had options. Lots of them.

There are dozens of places… some far from the U.S., but many pretty darn close… where the cost of living is much lower and the weather is considerably better than in many parts of the U.S. That adds up to significant savings and comfort… which in turn adds up to improved quality of life.

All you have to do is know where those places are, what it takes to get to them and live in them, and be willing to think outside the U.S. box.

It’s a time-proven formula that people living overseas have known for years: better weather plus lower cost of living equals a better life. And depending on where you choose to live, you can do all this without sacrificing a thing in quality health care and other modern services.

Where are these places, and what does it take to move to and live in them?

Entire conferences have been devoted to answering those questions… like the one we’re attending on the Riviera Maya, Mexico, this May. We participate in several of these events a year, and they’re very nearly the only things that can entice me off the mountain at this point. But I’m happy to suffer sultry tropical air, the gorgeous sand beaches and turquoise waters for the time it takes to introduce you to the possibility of living in one of the many warm, affordable places we’ll dig into at this event.

It’s nice to see how people’s eyes light up when they compare property prices and cost of living in these better-weather (and often more visually appealing) destinations to their homes in northern climes, like Suzan and I still do on an occasional winter afternoon.

Except for us, our winter temperatures now average about 75 degrees. Not hard to take at all…

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