I can’t recall ever meeting or talking to any other retired expats who were unconcerned about the cost of living in their newly adopted country. I’m sure there are those with a huge monthly budget whose lifestyle reflects their affluence wherever they choose to live. I’ve not met them, however, and I’m certainly not one of them!
For most retired folks whose budget is based on a fixed monthly income, the cost of living anywhere is paramount. The hope of those folks is to find a place on the planet where they can improve their standard of living while maintaining their monthly budget and experience a bit of an adventure along the way. The initial supposition is that one can live better for less money in another country. That’s the goal, anyway. And in fact, that is possible but it is not guaranteed.
These days, most indicators point to a number of countries in Central and South America where the lifestyle and cost of living matrix provide a number of excellent choices for prospective expats. The Google thing is a great place to begin one’s research followed by a number of expat forums and blogs written by folks already living the dream!
Keep in mind that those countries with the least expensive cost of living are often those countries described as “developing” or “emerging”. Some would call them “third world”. That is not, necessarily, a bad thing. It truly depends on what priorities you place on a number of things necessary for your comfort and well-being.
Perhaps, most important is the understanding that any country is not the same throughout its borders. Where some cities will have a vibrant culture and mostly functioning infrastructure, other parts of that same country will be caught in a vacuum without consistent power or Internet or even good quality medical care. Such is the case with Ecuador. Some of the questions that are rarely asked…but should be asked regarding your prospective new home include:
1. How far away is the nearest ATM Machine? Is there more than one as “one” is often broken. Important as you gotta’ have money!
2. How far away is the nearest hospital with lifesaving equipment such as cardiac cath labs, MRI machines, functioning labs to conduct blood work, etc.?
3. Where is the closest WELL STOCKED pharmacy?
4. How far away is the nearest gas station?
5. How far away is the largest, modern shopping area?
6. How often do power and Internet go down?
Living in Cancun is significantly more expensive than was living in San Vicente, Ecuador. That said, the extra money we spend provides an increased quality of life that could not be had in Ecuador. A similar lifestyle in the states would cost substantially more than we pay here but that’s comparing apples to oranges. One cannot live on a Caribbean beach in the states.
I have said before that I think one can live practically anywhere in the world on a modest fixed income. However, one’s quality of life will be significantly different in each location. Like everything else in life, it’s all about compromises.
What are you willing to accept for the price you are willing to pay?
Tonight, Diane and I are having dinner with some folks who have followed my blog for a couple of years. They are here in Cancun for the International Living Investment Conference. It’s always great to connect with folks with whom I’ve communicated but never met.
So, if any of you ever get to Cancun…holler! The Babe and I are always ready to connect with other expats and future expats! I’d also be pleased to do a Skype call. donald.murray505 is my skype name.