This past week, Diane and I have been participating in the 10th Annual International Living Ultimate Retire Overseas Conference here in Cancun. This conference is one of two annual conferences designed to provide an overview of many countries; the best countries to retire. International Living Correspondents and Editors as well as numbers of expats from across the globe flew into Cancun and made presentations on their overseas home country and area.
Diane and I were there to represent Cancun and the Riviera Maya region of Mexico; essentially Mexico’s Caribbean Coastline. Other countries represented included Ecuador, Costa Rica, Malaysia, Belize, The Dominican Republic, Thailand, Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Mexico, Uruguay, Brazil, Panama, Nicaragua and Colombia. There were also numerous workshops on tax advantages, visas, moving overseas solo, learning Spanish and tons of additional information from experts on finance, real estate, investment strategies, banking and others.
The conference was well attended by hundreds of people seeking information about moving overseas. Diane and I spent hours at our table or mingling with those who wanted additional information about Cancun, Mexico or mostly just about what it’s like to live in a “foreign country.” All of the speakers were available to meet and discuss our lifestyles with those in attendance. There is another similar conference coming up in September, in Las Vegas. We always enjoy talking to those who are trying to figure out if they, too, can make such a significant change in their lives.
I remember listening to Diane speak to a retired school teacher who was single. She shared that her total monthly retirement income was about $1200 per month and she was having a very difficult time making it in the States. Could she really do this? Would she be okay? Which country was best for a single woman? Over the course of about 3 days, I saw this woman connect with Diane several times, for some lengthy conversations. The fact of the matter is that less than 50% of all retirees have enough money for a comfortable safe retirement, despite their best efforts. Moving overseas provides a viable option for many. No, it isn’t a perfect solution. There are no perfect solutions but it is viable and can provide one with a comfortable, stress-free option for living out their final chapters, most often for far less expense than one can live in the states.
In fact, living overseas often adds vitality to an otherwise shuffleboard life in some plain vanilla community. It can restore one’s sense of adventure and inject numerous stimulating activities and experiences into the void of an empty retirement. These days, with numerous internet forums devoted to those living and retiring overseas, it is quite easy to connect with those who have already made such a move. You can actually arrive in your new home country with a safety net of new friends waiting for you.
It is certainly normal to approach such a significant change with some apprehension. We heard numerous stories from those who feared “downsizing” their lives after spending decades collecting all their stuff. Others expressed fear of leaving family and friends behind, wondering if they would be chastised or criticized for making such a “wild” decision. In the end, many folks expressed some level of fear. Well guess what? All of us who have moved overseas did so despite some level of fear that we all experienced. As I’ve said many times before, you cannot let fear be the thief that steals the life you could have. Do your research and then make your move, despite the fear. If things don’t work out, you can always move back to wherever you started, knowing that you actually tried!