Ask Natalie: Is retiring abroad a good idea?

Photo Credit Wiki Commons: This photograph shows an aerial view of Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. 

Column By Natalie Pace

Over the past month, I’ve received numerous requests from people who are interested in retiring abroad. A Baby Boomer couple thinks they need to relocate in order to afford healthcare and end-of-life care. A Gen X-er wonders if she could invest in the next “hot vacation destination,” buy a 3-bedroom home and rent it on AirBNB. A grandmother is considering a cheap villa (just $50,000!) in Costa Rica as her winter home.

So, is retiring abroad a good idea?

Rule #1 is to spend at least a month where you are thinking about moving. After 21-days, you’ll start feeling more like a local and less like a tourist. Ask questions of the locals and the ex-pats. Mingle with people other than the folks trying to sell you into the opportunity. What do the expats and the locals like about living there? What are the challenges? Are ex-pats welcomed or shunned by the locals? These are your neighbors. If you don’t fit into the ethos or the community, or ex-pats are unwelcome, then you have your answer. Don’t force yourself into a community that is unwilling to embrace you.

Below is a checklist that will help you to identify the red flags, the green lights, the caution signs and more.

Buying Abroad Ex-Pat Check List

Start with what you know and love.

  1. Pick the leader.
  2. Buy for a great, low price, so that you can sell for more later if you wish to.
  3. Know the Laws. (Are your property rights protected as an ex-pat?)
  4. Know Your Neighbors. (Will you get nasty notes on your door if you rent the place on AirBNB, or paint your place an interesting color?)
  5. Know Your History. (How did the country fare in the Great Recession? Is your country on the pathway to economic doom and high value-added taxes?)
  6. Know The Local Culture. Know what you are stepping into, and what kind of shoes you’re going to need to navigate the streets and mingle with the locals. Culture affects everything from the food you eat, to the local politics and religion.
  7. Consider the Environment and Climate Change. India is polluted. Many cities have unhealthful air days and finding clean water can be challenging. Hurricanes are more perilous and more frequent, affecting Japan, the Caribbean and the Eastern seaboard of the U.S. Some places are experiencing the worst droughts in history.
  8. Are The Locals “Your People?” Can you shine, or will you be shunned?
Photo Credit Wiki Commons: Cows rest on a beach in Goa, India.

If you go through the analysis, and you still feel great about the opportunity, then it is more likely to be the right answer. If you jump in without looking, you might find yourself in a sand trap money pit. We can get into a bit of a swoon while on a vacation. Real life can have a rainbow over the horizon, but only when you plan well.

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Natalie Wynne Pace is the author of the Amazon bestsellers The Gratitude GameThe ABCs of Money and Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is (aka You Vs. Wall Street). She has been ranked as a No. 1 stock picker, above over 835 A-list pundits, by an independent tracking agency (TipsTraders). The ABCs of Money remained at or near the #1 Investing Basics e-book on Amazon for over 3 years (in its vertical). Natalie Pace’s great, great grandfathers James Pace and Lorenzo Wright were some of the original pioneers of Graham County. Call 310-430-2397 to learn more about Natalie Pace’s books, private, prosperity coaching, and 3-day Financial Empowerment Retreats.