Recently, on a Facebook post, someone recently referred to those of us in Ecuador as “Economic Refugees”, stating that we who had chosen Ecuador as our retirement destination did so as a last resort. The person, who stated he lived in Ecuador, went on quite a rant about why he didn’t like Ecuador and the problems he has had adjusting here. He complained about power outages, fear of crime, fear of illness, fear of the Ecuadorian people and several other things. He seemed to have many fears. He ended by saying that if these “Economic refugees had any other choice, they would not be here.”
I was surprised at the civil responses to his rant. There were a number of folks who kindly and calmly cited their experiences as being much different than the complainer’s experiences and in fact politely stated their reasons for enjoying their lives here in Ecuador. I chose not to weigh in. It wasn’t my job to make this guy happy or explain why I was.
Reading the rant, however, did make me question our own motives for selecting Ecuador as our retirement destination. The truth of the matter is that if we had unlimited funds…like we had won a large lottery or Power Ball or something like that…I’m sure I’d make another choice; Probably several other choices, each with a small private runway for several nice airplanes that would reside in a hangar right next to each of my homes across the globe.
So in a strict sense, we did select Ecuador for its economic advantages, from among a number of choices across the globe. We felt we could live an improved lifestyle here compared to the states or the other places we considered. Our retirement dollars go much farther here than they would anywhere in the states. Does that make us “Economic Refugees” or just smart shoppers?
In addition to the cost of living, we also researched climate and culture, government and economic stability of the countries we considered. Ecuador won!
To be completely honest, Ecuador is not Nirvana. The power does go out from time to time and we are aware of some crime (although we’ve not been victims). There are mosquitoes. Sometimes it rains and a few days in this past year, I wanted air conditioning. I also get frustrated at the drivers nearly every day but that’s becoming less frustrating as I now know to expect anything from them…at any time.
It is important to also acknowledge that there are many, many Ecuadors. The part of the coast that we have selected for our home does not have good emergency medical care. For routine illness and minor emergencies, medications and such things…no problem! But if one needs life-saving emergency treatment such as for a heart attack or a serious head injury, we are hours away from an adequate medical facility. That is our choice, for now.
Our standard of living is certainly much higher here than it would be in the states. As a matter of fact, our housekeeper will be here in about 15 minutes and we would not have a housekeeper in the states. We have adjusted and have traded off the minor inconveniences of living in a developing nation for the larger benefits we would not have in the states. Obviously, not all have been or will be successful in making that transition.
I do not think we are “Economic Refugees”. I believe we are simply great shoppers! We selected a lifestyle that works for us but would certainly not work for everyone. Hell…I know a person who doesn’t like ice cream and even one who doesn’t like sex! Some folks are just hard to please!
If we do hit the Power Ball…I’d still choose to have a home here in Ecuador. Maybe I should buy a ticket!