2017 Best Place For Retirement Overseas – Be Ready For A Surprise

Best Place To Retire Overseas

Best Place To Retire Overseas

Retirement Overseas

As you consider locations for where you might reinvent your life overseas… comparing and contrasting one to the others… I recommend thinking specifically… practically.

If you were to live in FILL IN THE BLANK OVERSEAS DESTINATION… what would the view be from your bedroom window each morning… or your back terrace each afternoon?

How would you get from here to there each day… and what sights would you see along the way?

How would you spend your Friday nights and your Sunday afternoons?

Focusing your thinking this way helps you to imagine what your new life overseas might be like long term.

Think about what your routine life would evolve to look like in each place where you’re considering basing yourself. Would it be an improvement over your current routine life?

Wouldn’t want to go to all the hassle of relocating yourself to a new country only to find you don’t like how people in that place spend their time.

When we were living in Waterford, Ireland, for example, our Friday evenings and our Sunday afternoons and all the time in between were spent out-of-doors.

After a year of searching from one end of County Waterford to the other, we found and purchased a 200-year-old Georgian-style country house that had been sitting vacant for three years. It was nearly overtaken by brambles outside and, inside, rotting away from damp.

We broke down the challenge of restoring our little County Waterford homestead—the pastures, gardens, and outbuildings surrounding the old stone country house—into pieces and then addressed each piece in series.

Lief and I were working full-time… building a business… and we had young children… so we knew we needed help.

We hired a hand, an Irishman named Ian. Monday through Friday, Ian worked according to our directions.

Ian reclaimed flower beds, rebuilt tumbling-down stone walls, and repaired barn doors…

He planted trees, mulched gardens, and trimmed hedgerows…

Then, Friday after work straight through until Sunday after dark, Lief and I and the children would pick up where Ian had left off the week before.

We had 2 kids, 4 chickens, 3 horses, a dog, and 10 acres… and, on these Irish country weekends, we embraced them all.

Jackson took his first steps in our back garden one Saturday afternoon while “helping” me to repaint our mud room door… then he tumbled head first into a red clay pot. No damage done to Jackson or the pot.

Twelve-year-old Kaitlin was tasked several weekends in a row with painting the picket fence around our kitchen garden. The photo of her, one such Sunday, splattered hair, knees, feet, and fingers with white paint and looking up into the camera as though to plead for parole or pardon is one of my favorites and sits on my dresser today.

On weekends in Ireland, Kaitlin would ride then brush down her pony and clean out his stall…

Jackson, as he grew, would run up and down the white stone drive and from end to end of our green fields, trying to keep up with our Irish sheepdog Daisy.

While Lief mended horse fences and stacked firewood, I weeded the cottage garden and oiled the black iron front gate…

We’d work from breakfast until dark… in the fog and the Irish mist (that is, the rain)… bundling sometimes three layers beneath our waxed jackets… and we learned to appreciate every weekend that delivered sunny skies.

Our six years living in Lahardan House in Ireland, that was the routine of our lives. It suited us at the time and provides for sweet memories all these years later.

Our weekends in Paris were spent walking. It was both a practical necessity and our favorite pastime.

You don’t need to own a car living in central Paris, so we didn’t. Why mess with the hassle of keeping and parking a car on these city streets, we wondered, when wandering them on foot is one of the world’s best forms of entertainment?

Every Saturday and Sunday, we were up early and out the door with long to-do lists. Sometimes we’d divide the lists and go off in separate directions—to the market, the bakery, the dry cleaner’s, the bank, the hardware store, the wine shop—but, if possible, we stuck together—Lief, me, and our two children—turning weekend errands into family outings.

Our apartment in the 7th arrondissement was less than a five-minute walk from three Metro stops. Sometimes, when we were loaded down with heavy bags and packages, we’d take the Metro back home.

But each Saturday and Sunday morning we set out on foot.

It was a 20-minute walk along Boulevard Saint-Germain to the supermarket we liked best… and 30 minutes to BHV, Paris’ department store that is also one of the city’s biggest and best source of supplies and materials for do-it-yourself home-improvement projects…

It was 5 or 10 minutes down rue du Bac to our local butcher, baker, fromagerie, and wine shop…

And about 15 minutes to W.H. Smith.

At least two Sundays every month I’d walk with my children across the river and through the Tuileries gardens to the English-language bookstore W.H. Smith. The trip was our reward. We made it Sunday afternoon, after all the weekend chores and shopping had been crossed off our lists. We lingered long, browsing, reading, and choosing. We bought two books apiece each visit. By the time we left Paris for Panama, we’d built a nice library.

Each Thanksgiving, Lief and Jackson would bring our turkey home, on foot, from the butcher who roasted our bird for us every year. Our Paris apartment-sized oven wasn’t big enough to cook a turkey. The walk from the butcher who offered this service was more than a mile. Lief carried the steaming hot turkey on a wooden platter. Jackson carried the bag of gravy.

Every Christmas, we dragged our tree home, on foot…

We brought everything home, on foot—gallons of paint, rolls of wallpaper, pots, pans, dishware, rugs, a vacuum cleaner, Jack’s pet turtle…

In every season… through crowds of tourists… the kids recruited to help and sometimes their friends, too… over the bridges of the Seine and up and down the stairs of the Metro… we schlepped and hauled every necessity of life on foot.

Then, weekend evenings, we’d set out on foot again. Within 15 minutes of our apartment were 10 movie theaters and more restaurants, cafés, and bistros than I ever took the time to count.

That was our routine of life in Paris… the routine of life for many in Paris…

What about Panama? What is our routine of life in Panama City?

Schizophrenic.

We moved from Paris to Panama with an entrepreneur’s agenda straight-up. The nine years we’ve been living in the Hub of the Americas have been focused on the Live and Invest Overseas business.

We’re at a different stage of our lives here in Panama, and our routine of life reflects this.

The sorry truth is that here in Panama we spend many weekends working. Our daughter is grown and married (and working in the business with us). Our son is graduating high school this year and preparing for his next steps, post our full-time involvement.

And Lief and I are hunkered down, like so many others in Panama City, building a business. This town is all about business. We fit right in.

And, like all the other businesspeople, entrepreneurs, and investors who call Panama City home, we escape the routine of life in this busy, frenzied boom town as often as possible.

Every Panama City dweller who can afford one has a home at the beach. Most prefer the nearby City Beaches.

Lief and I prioritize privacy and elbow room, so we travel farther afield for our weekend beach escapes… to the west coast of this country’s Azuero Peninsula and Los Islotes.

These weekends are the ones I call to mind when I’m stuck again in traffic or otherwise facing head-on the challenges of day-to-day life in this gritty metropolis.

Life out on the Azuero Peninsula is a world apart from life here in the big city…

What, specifically, practically, is the routine of life like out at Los Islotes on Panama’s Azuero Sunset Coast?

Honestly, I don’t know. I can tell you what it’s like to come and go from this beautiful coastal outpost as a weekend tourist, but I haven’t yet had the chance to get to know the region as a more full-time resident.

This will change soon. The house that Lief and I have been building at Los Islotes will be finished by May 1. We intend to spend as much time enjoying it and getting to know its neighborhood as possible as soon as possible.

Kathleen Peddicord

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P.S. What else this week?

  • This part of Europe today is as affordable as places in Latin America… Overseas Opportunity Letter Publisher Kathleen Peddicord shares why this sunny region of the Continent is also fertile ground for starting your own business…

“We’ve been working hard lately to make the point that it is possible to embrace the best of an Old World lifestyle in retirement even if your budget is what might typically be described as ideal for Ecuador.

“So… Ecuador or Portugal? It’s a legitimate choice.

“Portugal, specifically this country’s Algarve region, is legitimately one of the cheapest places in the world to retire right now.

“How cheap are we talking?”…

  • LIOS Publisher Kathleen Peddicord asks on-the-ground Portugal correspondent Luis da Silva about some of the compelling reasons why the Algarve region should be on anyone’s radar if they’re thinking about living, investing, or retiring overseas—even if on a budget…

LIOS: In your opinion, Luis, what are the five key attractions for expats of the two regions in the Algarve that you’re recommending specifically, Silves and Lagoa?”

Luis: Great weather, year-round. Existing expat community, with English spoken by many. Very competitive cost of living. Low or zero tax for those who qualify. And the cost of real estate, which is very competitive for Europe.”

LIOS: When is the best time of year to make an exploratory visit… or, to put it another way, is there any time of the year when the weather would make it difficult to get out and explore?”

Luis: There are no bad months…”

  • The southernmost region of Portugal’s earns straight-A’s on our report card for many reasons, including safety, climate, health care, cost of living, and more… Learn why this destination has scored so well in our books…

“For three years running we have named Portugal’s Algarve region as the best place in the world, all things considered, to live or retire overseas.

“Nowhere else in the world, we’ve proclaimed, could you embrace a better overall lifestyle experience than in this southernmost coastal region of Portugal.

“That’s a strong position to take. Let me back it up… by breaking it down.

“Here’s our Algarve report card…”

  • European residency is not out of reach for the budget-conscious; you just have to know your best options for where to look, and that’s where we come in. Offshore Living Letter Editor Lief Simon walks us through 5 of the 10 investment-for-residency options in one of our favorite destinations on the Continent…

“Obtaining residency in a foreign country can be one of the most valuable benefits of buying real estate abroad.

“We write frequently about obtaining residency through property purchase, and the examples of good programs are almost always in Latin America.

“But now it’s Europe’s turn… specifically, Portugal…”

  • As Overseas Living Letter Publisher Kathleen Peddicord dreams about relocating back to Paris later this year, she shares her seven top places anyone visiting the City of Light ought not to miss, especially if going for the very first time…

“Two expat friends in Panama are planning their first-ever trip to Paris.

“What should they be sure to see and do, they’ve asked me…

“Here is a bucket list for Paris virgins…”

Plus, From Offshore Living Letter  Editor Lief Simon: Buy Portugal Now…

In July 2015 I began paying close attention to the property markets in Portugal.

That was when my local contacts got in touch to say that real estate values in this country had bottomed out and begun to turn the corner after more than six years way down in the dumps.

Values were beginning to appreciate.

I’d been watching this market for some time leading up to this moment. Kathleen and I knew we wanted to take a position in Portugal. For us, it was an A-list market—underpriced and overlooked but with intrinsic value…

Plus a place where we personally wanted to be able to spend time long term.

When we identify a market that meets both our priority agendas—to make money while having fun—we pay attention.

So, back in 2015, we were watching… waiting for the right time to pull the trigger in Portugal.

Then, in July that year, we got serious.

We were focused on the Algarve because of its proven rental track record.

Prices were good across the region in general, but the apartment I identified for purchase with the help of a local contact (in the historic and coastal town of Lagos) was an extraordinary bargain.

The seller needed out. She had a mortgage she wanted to get out from under.

In the year-and-a-half since I closed on the deal, the property has been available for short-term rental. We’ve earned 6% per year on average from rental income… and have had use of the property a few times ourselves, including for a vacation visit with our son last summer.

Meantime, values in Lagos have appreciated at least 15% on average. I bought below market and estimate that my apartment is today easily worth at least 25% more than I paid for it.

I don’t tell you about my personal experience profiting from Portugal’s property market over the past 18 months to make you feel bad.

I share my story to inspire you (I hope) to take action yourself.

The window to get in has not closed… but I believe that this year could be our last chance at the best deals.

A bargain like the one I found is tougher to find today but not impossible if you do some deep groundwork.

I believe that, in key markets across Portugal, you could buy today with the realistic expectation of further steady appreciation both near and longer term… plus rental cash flow of 5% to 8% net per year.

The U.S. dollar stands today versus the euro more or less where it was this time last year, meaning the window for Americans to buy into this market at a strong rate of exchange continues.

However, again, I see this window closing. We dollar holders are rich in euroland right now… but this will not last forever. Indeed, I believe we have already turned this corner, too.

I appreciated my contacts on the ground getting in touch to alert me to the opportunity to buy into Portugal in July 2015.

Consider this your alert.

In addition to the Algarve, I like Lisbon for a renovation project.

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