If you’re a regular reader of International Living, you see a lot of numbers.
And if you’re moving overseas, perhaps the most important number for you is property price. Of course, you’ll want that number to be low so that you can afford your new life overseas.
Fortunately, you’ll find a lot of small numbers in Latin America, so you can leave behind all those big numbers in the States. You know those numbers all too well. The ones used to quantify America’s debt, the cost of living, unemployment rates, etc.
While the numbers you often read on this website are useful to compare and contrast properties, they only tell you what that property is worth to the current owner or their real estate agent. But what will it be worth to you in the years to come?
If you think of property as purely a financial investment, then the numbers are all that matter both when you buy the property and when you sell it. However, if you are looking for something more, you need to think about more than just the numbers.
When my partner Sue and I decided to make a move and jump off our merry-go-round a few years ago, we weren’t thinking about the numbers. Sure, finding a small number for a property was important, but a monetary return on our investment wasn’t our primary concern. We were focused more on finding a property where we could realize a hefty return on an investment in our lives and ourselves.
In 2006, just outside of Vilcabamba, Ecuador, we found such a property. Not only does it allow us to benefit from a low cost of living while we enjoy the beautiful scenery, the pleasant weather, the healthy environment, the friendly people, and the great food…but we got a government that leaves us alone so we can enjoy all of the above.
But what really makes our property valuable is that it gives us something we didn’t have before—the time to lead a more rewarding life. Since moving to Vilcabamba, writing, designing, gardening, cooking, baking, sewing, reading, and yes, learning are just some of the things we’ve had more time to do. We’ve even had the time to discover things we didn’t know we wanted to do, like raising chickens.
We don’t get up each day dreading the commute, the boss, the bills, and the seemingly never-ending hassle just to get through the day. Instead, we look forward to each day and the possibilities it brings. So why wait to start doing all those things you want to be doing now but can’t because you’re too busy trying to stay afloat?
Yes, we got that small number, but more importantly for us, we got that return on the investment in our lives and ourselves. You can too. And this is one return that can’t be quantified with a number, but it can be done with a word. And that word is: Priceless.