Since so many baby boomers are close enough to retirement to be giving it serious thought, BoomerCafé thought you might find this perspective particularly interesting. Suzan Haskins and Dan Prescher ran a marketing business in Omaha but in 2001 they escaped the grind and moved to Ecuador. In a nutshell, as you’re about to read, they love it, especially in their Andean mountain village of Cotacachi. Not just because it’s interesting but because it’s cheap. They have written a book about retiring overseas, and their latest piece for InternationalLiving.com is, Five Reasons to Stay Retired Overseas.
Why retire overseas? That’s a personal decision and everyone has a different reason for doing it.
And once you are happily living overseas, take it from us, you tend to find more and more reasons to stay overseas. Here are five of the best:
#5 — You are distanced from U.S. politics. (If you’re not from the U.S., insert your own country here.) In the U.S. you are bombarded with news from all sides (left, right, north and south) about politics. Who said what, why it was a lie, what might happen, what might not happen, and on and on…
And now that we’re living in Ecuador, it’s not that we don’t care… or that we’re not paying attention to U.S. politics, because we do. But we do so on a much smaller scale and only when we want to tune in. Thankfully, we’re no longer smothered by mainstream media, as we watch television far less and only for entertainment and not for news. The world of politics goes on, as it always has, without us and our full attention. Try it, you’ll love it.
#4 — You spend more time amongst like-minded people. People who retire overseas are interesting. Everyone has a story. They’re off on an adventure and tend to be outgoing and kind to one another (in other words, they listen to our stories and we to theirs). They may have a different political leaning than we do, but see above. We never talk about politics — we have far richer things happening in our lives to discuss.
# 3 — You are healthier than ever. If you think politics in the U.S. is smothering you, take a look at processed foods and big pharma. Unless you shop organically, you cannot eat a healthy diet. Restaurant chains can’t possibly feed you a healthy meal in the portions heaped on your plate for the amounts they charge. Where does the food come from? A lab somewhere. And that’s why every other commercial on television is for a drug of some kind.
But before we dismount our high horse, we’ll just say that our diet in Ecuador is healthier than ever. We may be getting older, but we feel better than ever. At a health check-up in the U.S. last year, the doctor told us we looked better and were healthier than 99-percent of his patients. “Whatever you are doing, keep it up,” he said.
So what is it we’re doing? Nothing more than walking instead of driving (we don’t need a car where we live) and eating fresh-from-the-farm food that we prepare ourselves at home, and the same when we go out. We have no chain restaurants where we live and everything is made from scratch and with care.
#2 — You can actually save money. We’ve written many times about how living overseas … in the right place … can save you money. So we won’t belabor that point here. If your retirement income is low to begin with, you may not save money by living overseas, but neither will you go into debt. Or worry about where your next meal will come from. Or whether you can afford your prescriptions for the month. (And we’re not advocating that you move overseas if you have serious health issues. Remember, Medicare does not apply outside the U.S.)
But the point is, it’s difficult for a couple like us (who are not prone to sacrifice) to spend more than $2,000 a month in places in Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, and more. Our own budget of about $1,500 a month allows us to put money away for a rainy day and do fun things like travel.
#1 — Living overseas is fun. There’s no better reason to retire overseas than this one. The weather is better so we can enjoy being outside every day (even in the rain). There’s a fiesta every other week. A national park or a secret beach or a local artisan’s market to explore … hot springs to soak in … and entertainment costs are low. Eating out is affordable. We enjoy spending time with friends over a café latte at our local coffee shop (just $2.25) or a glass of wine at the local bar ($3). Yes, there are challenges, but even they’re interesting and, often, laughable challenges. Every day is an adventure. And it’s all a lot of fun.