A Review of How to Retire Overseas
by Kathleen Peddicord
I’ve been following Kathleen for a few years now, and she definitely knows what’s what when it comes to living the expat life. She’s been in the business of helping people find new lives in new countries for 23 years, and has moved – with children! – from the US to Ireland to Paris and most recently, to Panama.
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In How to Retire Overseas, she breaks the process of deciding on a retirement destination into manageable chunks and provides reams of information about her recommended destinations.
“How do you get from the life you’re living now to the new, better, cheaper life you’re dreaming of for your retirement overseas?
“You break the adventure down into steps. …”
She then lists 10 steps to accomplish before you even set foot out of the country.
Step by Step
Step 1: Know yourself. Along with a lengthy explanation of what “know yourself” means in the context of retiring overseas, she provides a list and asks you to determine which points are most important and least important to you.
- Cost of living
- Cost of housing (both sales and rentals)
- Health care
- Infrastructure (not just roads and such, but electricity and internet connections)
- Accessibility to the US
- Culture, recreation and entertainment
- Special benefits for foreign retirees
- Education and schools (if you’re moving with children)
Subsequent steps include preparing a budget, finding possible locations on a map, researching residence options, planning your tax strategy and more.
Step 6 is Shop for Health Insurance. Kathleen discusses the pros and cons of in-country vs. international or travel insurance, and provides some specific information about both. This is information that is not readily available online, so you should read this part carefully.
In the next section of the book, Kathleen goes through each of the 12 “Know Yourself” criteria and recommends specific cities in specific countries that punch those buttons. So for the person who feels cost of living is the most important criterion, she recommends Cuenca, Ecuador, Chiang Mai, Thailand and León, Nicaragua and explains in detail why those are excellent choices for the budget-conscious retiree.
Paris, Buenos Aires and Kuala Lumpur tick the boxes for luxury living on a budget.
Is beach living your goal? She has recommendations for that, too, along with mountain retreats, best international schools, best countries for starting a business and much more.
The Author’s Top 14 Country Picks
The next section discusses each of her top 14 picks in detail. (Actually, there are more than 14 locations discussed, as several countries include discussions of 2 or more specific cities.) The 14 countries that offer the greatest advantages for the overseas retiree are:
- Dominican Republic
Specific recommendations include large cities and small town, beaches, mountains and everything in between, for a range of budgets. Each location is rated according to the 12 items in the “know yourself” list above and the ratings are thoroughly explained.
She finishes up by talking about the settling in process, and overcoming some of the inevitable culture shock and adjustments you’ll have to make in your new country.
Last but by no means least, an appendix includes detailed breakdowns of living expenses for each recommended location.
This is an excellent resource, and if you follow Kathleen’s advice you’ll happily end up in the retirement location that’s just right for you.