Securing Your Overseas Retirement

Three Key Elements to Securing Your Overseas Retirement – EFAM | Escape From America Magazine | EFAM

3 essential things to consider before taking the plunge and retiring abroad

Record numbers of baby-boomers are fast approaching retirement in the US, and one thing they all have in common is a yearning for a comfortable retirement.

The economic state of the nation means that for many Americans, retirement abroad will be the only way they can ensure they have the comfortable life they dream of however.

To ensure that your overseas retirement is a success, there are three key elements that need to go into the planning of it, as we will now illustrate.

1 – Money Matters – More Than Anything Else!

Sometimes it’s considered crude to talk openly about money. However, when it comes to affording a decent retirement, openly looking at your financial situation and discussing your money matters with a professional is critical rather than crass.

We work our entire lives, pay our taxes and save as much as we can whilst ensuring our family has a good life – and then we retire! At this point we all really hope that our pensions have been well invested and that our guaranteed income from our investments will provide for a comfortable life.

However, with improved healthcare and better living standards many more of us can now look forward to a very long retirement. And believe it or not, this is not entirely good news. When it comes to money matters it is critical to ensure that the wealth you have accrued is well invested and protected to ensure it lasts as long as you do!

One of the reasons driving many American baby-boomers abroad is affordability. That is they are well aware that their pension income can go much further in a lower cost country overseas. This is a fact – but it is not one that removes your need to carefully look at how money is managed to make sure it will really provide for a decent income throughout retirement.

Take the time to assess your wealth status with the assistance of a professional, qualified and correctly regulated adviser. Use their expertise and services to correctly save and invest your money so that it is properly structured to enable you to achieve everything you want to once you move overseas.

You may need to look at where you bank your money and whether you will need to open a bank account in the country you’re relocating to. You might have to think about currency conversion too if you receive your pension in US dollars but live in a country with a different currency.

You might want to think about whether any savings and investment programs that are still running are best invested in terms of taxation and also risk. Note: many advisers prefer to encourage retired clients to take a less risky approach to the investment of their wealth.

Finally, look very closely at the cost of living in your chosen overseas country. Factor in day-to-day grocery costs, any taxes you may have to pay, real estate related costs, medical or health insurance fees, utilities and transportation.

Get a really good assessment of the cost of living, ensure you can comfortably afford it and only then should you make the commitment to relocate overseas.

2 – Location, Location, Location – Research is Essential…

If you do a search on ‘cheapest places to retire abroad’ you’ll find countries as diverse as Panama, France and Argentina listed. However, one man’s affordable country is another man’s luxurious and unaffordable dream. So bear in mind, cheap is relative to how wealthy you are!

When searching for a place to call home in retirement affordability is a very critical factor. Additional critical factors are elements such as the climate (too hot can be unbearable, too cold can cost more in terms of heating bills). Security and crime levels are important; considering local economic stability is also vital.

You will also need to look at the healthcare standards locally, and what treatment costs. Accessibility is a factor for those who want to be able to maintain contact with family and friends. What about the language barrier? And are there cultural or even religious obstacles to your comfortable integration?

You may have thought that picking a country to retire to was the easy part – however, to get it right on all levels a wealth of research needs to be done into how suitable a given nation is for your personal retirement requirements.

When you have drawn up your shortlist for consideration you need to visit to make sure what you think is true about a country is actually accurate. If possible visit for a prolonged period of at least a few months before you commit to a permanent relocation abroad.

You can rent a home and get a good feel for what day to day life is like if you spend longer in a nation than just a week or two. You need to see life up close and personal, rather than just seeing a country through the eyes of a holidaymaker.

Going on vacation overseas is a vastly different experience to living abroad.

3 – Home is Where the Heart is – Where Will You Lay Your Hat?

The final key element to securing your overseas retirement is finding the right house to call home. A property that drains your financial resources and your physical energy with its demands for repairs or heating, for example, will not be the best place for you to lay your hat in retirement.

A further advantage of making an extended visit to your chosen nation before you relocate permanently is that you can rent a home and get to know all the different neighbourhoods.

A suburb or city, hill top location or quaint village that initially looks ideal may turn out to be too noisy, lively, dead or deficient in terms of amenities. So you need to spend time looking at where you would most like to live before seeking out your ideal home therein.

When it comes to looking at real estate you need to understand the rental or ownership rules and laws in the new nation. It may be that foreigners cannot own property, or it could be that taxes for purchase are very high.

You might prefer to build your own house or rent somewhere fully furnished or totally bare! In other words, you will have a lot of choice therefore it will be your responsibility to get it right.

Do your research on the ground once you have retired overseas – and don’t rush to commit long-term to the first apparently suitable house you come across. As stated, an initially ideal location may prove to be unsuitable – but only a little time will tell.

Rent first before ever considering buying, and rent short-term so that if you want or need to move on you can easily do so.

Remember that real estate markets in different nations are built on different fundamentals, laws and economic elements. So, ensure you understand the dynamics and prospects for a market before you buy in and commit for the long-term.

About the author: Rhiannon Davies is the editor of ShelterOffshore, and writes extensively about living abroad and achieving the dream of a new life overseas.

Expatriate or Smart Retiree?

It should come as no surprise that the largest segment of The world adult population (Baby Boomers) is about to, trying to, or considering, their retirement options.

There is also a growing list of the population not just in the United States but other countries also considering a Life overseas. The majority of those folks that do take the leap will relocate or retire to what may be considered a “third world’ country”. The growing trend is for a place outside of their current home that will include great beaches, incredible sights, exotic foods, opportunities to learn new languages and cultures, and most importantly, offer a more affordable lifestyle than they currently have.

This last year has brought a flurry of articles that talk about how many people are planning to handle their future; what are their prospects for survival? There’s also talk that their choices are dwindling and their hopes and dreams of a perfect retirement are looking bleak, due to concerns such as safety, health, finances, cost of living, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and the ever growing cost of healthcare.

In the U.S.just 10 years ago, states like Florida, Nevada , Arizona, Pennsylvania, Vermont, North Carolina, were all heavy retirement destinations. Today they have all but climbed out of reach for many in these groups and they’re discovering costs are much higher than they ever anticipated they would be during their retirement planning. So new places all over the globe have popped up for Expatriates (also called Expats)and retirees to escape the high costs of living. Places like Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Belize and Nicaragua are becoming more and more popular retirement hotspots.

In January of 2007, an article in the latest McKinsey Report made the following statements:
*McKinsey research finds that U.S. workers are far more likely to be forced into early retirement than many of them expect and that many significantly underestimate the costs they’ll face in retirement.Almost half of all pre-retirees expect to work past age 65, yet only 13 percent of current retirees have done so.

Living or retiring overseas is not for everyone; it requires flexibility, particularly if you live in a developing world. Learning a new Language is hard. Integrating into the local community can be difficult. Getting things done in a timely manner can be stressful.

Every potential retirement locale has benefits and drawbacks. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all retirement haven, and no retirement choice is perfect. Believe it or not, There is NO paradise.

There are those that may say if you chose to live outside of the US or another developed country you have different or no values at all. Well it certainly brings you to the question of whether you want to be considered an Expat or just a smart retiree?

Many others who have made the transition are proud of being in a small select group that is doing something that others would like to do, and fiercely proud of all the associated challenges that have had to endure but successfully overcome.

Moving a hundred miles in your own country and surviving for ten years probably won’t impress anyone. Moving from England to a tree house in Brazil and surviving ten years certainly would. Bragging rights come when you get to live somewhere difficult and make a success of it.

What are your main reasons for even considering a place to retire outside of your home country? Is it greater prosperity, better early retirement opportunities or perhaps more travel confidence? Or if you are nowhere ready for retirement but are considering relocation could it be the changes in technology making it possible for you to work remotely from anywhere in the world?

The best advice for people thinking of moving abroad should focus on the foreignness of the new surroundings, the legal aspects, medical, schooling and overall lifestyle choices. You should make it a must to visit any potential country you have an interest in and contact other ex-pats who live in the area you are considering moving to and ask them detailed questions. The advantage to you will be they speak your language. They have probably made all the mistakes that you would like to avoid. But most importantly they will be a wealth of useful information.

If you have considered Nicaragua as a possible retirement destination you will find it to be a country with all the modern conveniences that you could find in the US or Europe at half (or less) the cost. The roads and airports are modern and safe. The people are warm and friendly. You can experience greater health benefits by being able to eat fresh fruits and vegetables that are grown right where you live.

Living in Leon, Nicaragua you will find a pretty city with a beautiful surrounding area.T exits here a more genteel way of life than you’ll find in most of Latin America. Real estate values are a bargain. Modern conveniences such as cable internet cell phones, Theaters, supermarkets etc. are all part of this ever evolving city. Is it scary to pack your bags and move to another country? You better believe it is! Is it scary wondering if your retirement check or pension will be enough for you to live a moderately comfortable lifestyle in years to come? You better believe it is!

Did you say Nicaragua??

Many people who have not traveled extensively outside their home nations in recent years may have images of life in nations like Nicaragua that are no longer relevant. Some folks expect to find a nation that is predominantly rural with most of its people struggling to make a living on little farms. Or perhaps there are some that picture a country with streets filled with uniformed soldiers patrolling through towns with heavy artillery and land rovers.

Nicaragua is a beautiful country with friendly people eager to show the remarkable changes happening within the country. Leon, is a quaint city with amazing architecture and an influx of Americans and other foreigners who are being drawn to this part of the country.

As History played out, a Sandinistan Revolution began in 1979. The United States (being such a close neighbor) intervened with the revolution, sponsoring many anti-Sandinistan contra guerrillas through much of the 1980’s. Free elections came around in the late 90’s and in 2001 the Sandinistas were voted out and defeated in a democratic election process. Now post conflict, the country has stabilized politically. The economy is now growing at a rapid pace and Nicaragua is learning from its neighbor Costa Rica and has begun an unprecedented promotion of tourism as a main form of income for many of its lesser fortunate people.

Nicaragua has a magnificant coast line on the Pacific coast. Just like its next door neighbor Costa Rica, Nicaragua is blessed with volcanos, ecological wonders, rainforests, jaw dropping landscapes, breathtaking beaches, modern cities with great infrastructure and a fascinating history. In Leon, you’ll find English speaking guides, hotel employees,serving in restaurants and stores. You’ll find it to be a wonderful and vibrant city with open air markets and lots of great museums. a must see on your visit is The Cathedral of León, the largest cathedral in Central America.

As a whole, The Nicaraguan people are warm hearted and welcoming. If you are even just considering a trip to a new country or pondering a relocation or retirement; Or perhaps you are just looking for a vacation home, I urge you to not pass up the opportunity to visit Nicaragua.

Why Nicaragua?

Now is the time to discover the new and emerging Nicaragua.This Latin American Jewel is one of the most beautiful countries in Central America. Contrary to popular belief, Nicaragua is a peaceful nation, with current President Daniel Ortega committed to tourism and a free-market economy. This is not a “war strifed” communist, or third world country as many people choose to describe it. There has not been civil disturbances here since 1980 more than 30 years ago!

The New Nicaragua is a safe, friendly country with warm people and rapidly attracting international vacationers, eco-tourists, retirees and investors from all over the world.   A recent study by the Inter-American Institute on Human Rights and a survey of police forces in the Americas shows that Nicaragua is the safest country in Central America and one of the safest countries in the world. In September  2012, Nicaragua was  dubbed the safest travel destination in Central America,  after recording the lowest homicides in the region last year. If you have been contemplating retiring overseas you owe it to yourself to consider visiting or retiring in Leon, Nicaragua, a graceful city filled with old world colonial charm. New hotels, resorts, restaurants and bars are also opening up on the  pacific coast and around  colonial cities, like Granada and San Juan Del Sur.

LOCATION

Nicaragua is tucked in sharing a border to the north with Honduras, and to the south with Costa Rica. It’s surrounded to the east with the Caribbean Sea and to the west with the Pacific Ocean.

Nicaragua,  also known as the land of “Lakes and Volcanoes”, is the largest country in Central America. Managua, the capital is located on the Pacific side and has been the capital since 1852. The country is well known for its colonial cities that are very well preserved until today. Granada and León are two of the most beautiful representations of the colonial architecture and the oldest cities in the western hemisphere.

CLIMATE

Nicaragua has a diverse climate, due to the mountains that run diagonally through Central America from northwest to southeast. Nicaragua’s climate varies according to altitude. The Pacific lowlands are always  hot, but the air is fresh and the countryside green during the rainy season (May to November); the dry season (December to April) is typically windy and dry.

The Caribbean coast is hot and wet; it can rain heavily even during the brief dry season (March to May). The mountains of the north are much cooler than the lowlands. Cities such as Jinotega, Matagalpa and Esteli maintain temperatures in the 50′sF(10c). The average annual temperature is 27C.(80F)

Tourism figures for this country have been rising in the last few years, and Nicaragua celebrated a milestone in 2010 with more than a million tourists crossing its borders for the first time ever. About 5,000 expats, almost half of those from the United States, have chosen to settle here indefinitely. The Nicaraguan government has put the welcome mat out for visitors and retirees with a wide range of incentives.

Earlier last year the government increased expat retiree benefits and tax exemptions that will save investors thousands of dollars. Decree 694 from the Nicaraguan National Assembly was passed in order to better compete with programs currently offered in other Central American countries. These new incentives are similar to programs Costa Rica laid out in the 1980’s that attracted thousands of retired North Americans. People who are 45 and over who have a monthly income of at least $600 can take advantage of such perks as duty free imports of personal goods and vehicles and tax exemptions on real estate purchases.

You may have found yourself thinking that it’s time to find the perfect weather, where you never again have to shovel snow, scrape ice from your windows, or heat your house. Have you wondered where or how you could live more luxuriously than you ever could at home, for a fraction of the cost. Or perhaps you long to find more time to spend with your family, to write that book you’ve always thought about writing, or to spend your mornings fishing or snorkeling, or taking strolls along the beach. Could it be that you have health concerns and would like to change your eating habits/lifestyle? Eat healthier foods? Or maybe you are just a free spirit and would love to find another place….just for the adventure of it!  Or you might be one of those people that long to learn a new language, make new friends, and explore a new world.

For clients who enjoy tropical weather and exotic surroundings, Nicaragua may be the next best, if not more authentic, alternative to travel to Costa Rica.”
       ~ TravelAge West

If you’re interested, we can give you even more excellent reasons to explore a new life in Nicaragua. Whether you’re interested in vacationing, retiring, starting a new business or investing in the unbelievably lucrative opportunities that are unfolding here now.

Nicaragua is on the cusp of becoming Latin America’s latest ‘it’ destination….Whether you want your trip amped up or over-easy, this emerging destination delivers.”
       ~ Doctor’s Review Magazine, January 2011

Nicaragua creates a mysterious and magical destination for vacation travelers young and old. Curious but savvy world travelers are gradually starting to seek out the picturesque landscape of Nicaragua with its miles of white sandy beaches, rain forests and rugged mountains. Slowly but surely, new  luxury hotels, resorts, restaurants and spas are creating new landscapes here. It is highly unlikely  the folks at Wyndham Resorts would be set to unveil a world class resort and casino here, if they thought civil war was going to break out at any moment. http://info.grupomariana.com/seaside-mariana-wyndham-nicaragua-resort-casino

So forget what you’ve heard, and come see this emerging paradise for yourself and you’ll see why Nicaragua!

If you are interested in travel to  the NEW Nicaragua, but not quite sure where to start, email us and we would be happy to give you more information.

All About Retiring to León, Nicaragua

Nicaragua is quickly becoming “the next Costa Rica’. Besides having the distinction of being the largest country in Central America, this home to 4 million people has begun to grow in interest for tourists and expatriates worldwide. Nicaragua is more attractive than ever for one important reason: It’s a super-cheap place to live

It recently broke previous tourist visitor figures it just continues to gather popularity as a vacation destination. Compared to it’s other Central American neighbors, Nicaragua still offers low prices for land and tourism, and is without a doubt an ideal place for business ventures.

Beautiful countrysides, great beaches, an interesting history, and, since last year, a new-and-improved foreign retiree residency program…all making this the most attractive place to consider for retirement.

A Quick History

For tourist and relocation information when travelling to Nicaragua visit: livinginleon.wordpress.com