Personal Tagline – Playful Ponder

Some of us House Spouse folks have found ourselves as the Sandwich Generation.  No, it is not a quick meal.  But rather a situation.  We are dreaming of travel, golf, fishing, gardening, etc., but finding ourselves with elderly parents who need care, grown children who bounce back to “home,” or raising grandchildren…and consequently we can feel trapped between two generations who need help at times.

But it does not keep us from wondering about distant places to retire – halfheartedly in joking jest and the remaining 90% as an escape to adventure. People actually do retire to exotic places – and seem to enjoy it very much. How can I find out more?

But what if …where would you go?

There are remote places in the United States, but most of them are in relatively cold climates – the northwest mountains, Alaska, or even northern Maine.  Canada is also a consideration, but again if cold is not your cup of tea, these places should not make the list. So – rule one — know what you like and want in a location.

There has been a lot written about where you can go outside the country to enjoy retirement, and they all have their pros and cons.  So, let’s look at a few and see more about “escaping to adventure.”

USA Today did an article on retirement in Ecuador recently.  They said that Cuenca, Ecuador1830Ecuador, a city of 350,000 people, is home to about five thousand Americans.  These ex-pats can get inexpensive housing, decent affordable healthcare, and the U.S. dollar as currency.  The ex-pat community hang together in restaurants, bars, and community gathering areas.  International Living Magazine named Ecuador as the best place to retire!.  However, at  8,000 feet of elevation (a mile and a half up), it my take time for you to adapt to the altitude.  This mountainous area also gives you a steady spring-like climate all year round.

The country of Panama wants American retirees to come to their country.  Anyone with a lifetime pension of over $1,000 a month qualifies for a Pensionado visa that includes 15% panamaoff medical services, 50% off entertainment, 30% to 50% off hotel stays, 25% off air fare and 25% off electricity and phone bills.  A couple can live quite comfortably for under $2,000 a month.  You are also entitled to a one-time exemption of duties for importation of household goods up to $10,000.  Living in Panama has a lot of other benefits for the retiree – they want you to live there and spend your retirement cash there.

If you really want to get out of town, then Malaysia may be the place for you.  Housing is malaysiainexpensive – a house-sized apartment with a pool can cost you less than $1,000 a month!  It has been said that Malaysia is an old-world experience with all the modern conveniences.  Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam are close by, and travel to Japan, Australia and New Zealand is a lot more convenient when living in Malaysia.

spainIf Europe is on your list, Spain offers a great choice.  Food, culture, night life and fun are all part of living in Spain.  Here in the U.S., we think that Europe is a huge place…it’s not.  Based in Spain, travel around Europe is easy and fast.  And a couple can live in Spain for about $2,500 a month including rent, making it a great home base for a European life.

So what is the downside to escaping?  Baby Boomers tend to have a strong sense of duty, so leaving the family and responsibilities behind can be difficult.  Travel back to the U.S. can be difficult and expensive from some locales, so going “home” can be problematic, especially if there is an emergency.  Of course, there are cultural differences that will require retirees to adapt, including differences in healthcare, food and customs.  Language can also be difficult, even if there is a large contingent of English-speaking people – you are the foreigner and complete immersion means learning the language. Consider hiring a financial advisor to into financial considerations such as income taxes, Medicare, and asset management.

Find out more about it at some of the sites below:

International Living

Retirement Abroad  US Passports & International Travel

How to retire overseas US News & World Report  Money

Retiring abroad? Here’s what you need to know  Merrill Lynch