As the author of a blogpost about visiting NYC on a budget, I was naturally attracted to this book about retiring overseas on a budget. The subtitle also caught my eye – “How to Live Well on $25,000 a Year.”
Of course, a major distinction between the two writings is that my NYC trip was to visit (short-term), whereas this overseas living is to retire (long-term). That distinction is why, before getting into the descriptions of various probable retirement locations, the authors explain how people should decide whether to retire overseas. The most important consideration:
- “If there is one thing and only one thing you take away from this book, it’s that your primary, overriding motivation for retiring overseas has to be a pure and unadulterated love of adventure and discovery. It just won’t work any other way.”
After an extensive discussion of the personality types that are suited for the expatriate lifestyle (incidentally, expatriate is not an offshoot of ex-patriot), the authors discuss two pervasive concerns – (1) medical care (usually good and always cheaper, but Medicare does not travel with you) and (2) language/culture adjustments (manageable if you love adventure).
After establishing a base of understanding, the authors describe the pros and cons of the most promising locations – Belize, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Uruguay, Europe, and Southeast Asia.
According to the authors, wise consumers can live cheaply in just about any country, especially in countrified areas of those countries. Of course, I suspect that is true of living in rural or small-town America, too. The difference is that exploring rural America is not as glamorous as exploring rural life in some other country. Which brings us back to the author’s initial point – i.e., living overseas is for the adventuresome. Living cheaper is a major benefit of living overseas, but the dominant motivator needs to be a thirst for something different.
The book concludes with the practical nuts & bolts associated with a move, but because I already know that I don’t thirst for the un-American, I glossed over the final section.
This is an excellent guide that is a worthwhile read, even if you conclude that overseas living is not for you.