Thinking Of Retiring Abroad?

Linda J. Brown Backpacking Around the World - Alone - At 78

Linda J. Brown Backpacking Around the World – Alone – At 78

You’re not alone if you are evaluating retirement and finding it wanting both in money and purpose. At least, you’re not in the sink-into-the-armchair and wait to die crowd. The secret is to find all the useful components within your present situation; jettison the rest, and head on out with lots of optimistic faith in your future.

If you are considering living outside of the country:

Check out both the offshore expat life and the prospects of international house-sitting. Expating can be more under your control if you can combine them.

Having ownership of a house can be a big help, if you can turn it into a money machine. Can it generate enough money to pay the mortgage and aid you, too, financially while you are away? Can you sell it and use the money for your new lifestyle? Can you turn possessions into cash to jump start your new life? It depends on how determined you are to make the transition.

If your Social Security has started, but isn’t going to be enough; or if you have awhile to wait before it kicks in, you’re in roughly the situation of needing to live cheap or earn money. In either case, you are far better off living offshore in expat recommended countries. Dive into all the lessons that International Magazine has to teach about expating and the most desirable countries and cities to settle into. It’s expensive to live in the U.S. but there are fantastic destinations in Central and South America, a few in Mexico, some in Malaysia, Thailand, even in Spain.

You don’t need to know the language. I speak English only. All recommended countries are very user-friendly and make it easy for seniors to settle quickly within a warm and welcoming expat community.

After traveling twice around the world, I started my expating life with Uruguay and I absolutely love, love, love it; but it gets cold in their winter and is more upscale than other South American countries, so it’s almost as expensive as here.

Ecuador is probably your best bet; and Cuenca is the city to pick. I lived there for over two months and it’s everything they say. Super livable and friendly with a big expat community, so you’ll have instant, built-in friends. You can live very well for under $1000 a month, or perhaps less. It’s a beautiful city on the equator so the weather is very pleasant year-round. I highly recommend it.

Belize, in Central America, has inexpensive beach life and English is their language. Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, are all high on the Central American recommended list. It’s really a smorgasbord and you could easily do as I did and sample many of them, one at a time. Plane fare to all won’t break the bank. I’m a habitual one-way flier. Flights to all of those countries are not so long, nor expensive. So, just hop a plane and make your own track.

If  you need to make money to support an expat lifestyle, there are creative ways, such as teaching English in local schools in nearly any country; or helping other expats run their businesses – restaurants and shops; or starting your own, if that appeals to you. Again, the solution is always to get creative.

Do a little research; figure out your best approach to your U.S. property and personal finances; even for a way to leave the U.S. for a test season or two; and just play it by ear, step by step. Don’t obsess over it; don’t get opinions of too many of your friends (they might discourage you). Pick the brains of experts offering practical advice and just Trust the Process! Forge your own way.

At this time next year, you could be passing out your own advice to people who want the same freedom you have found. This is the way to prevent decline and to keep a young and curious heart. It really is easy if you really desire to do it.


  1. Oooops, I’m only 77.5, so far.

  2. Sorry, I didn’t provide the full name of the best magazine/organization for Expat Advice. It’s INTERNATIONAL LIVING MAGAZINE at

    And the estimated monthly cost of life for Cuenca, Ecuador, expat living, per person, is approximately $1000 or even less. For a couple, it’s roughly $1500 per month.

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