Expat Living…Good Idea/Bad Idea
I have always dreamed of returning to Italy on day soon. My son and I were discussing the growing popularity of Expat living among retirees. Until recently, I had only skimmed articles here and there and I curiosity got the best of me. Was this something I could do? There is a consensus among retirees, which I understand better now that I am at that retirement age, to have the ability to live without the worry of running out of money and quality of life. And let’s face it, with medical advancements today, we are all living longer. I think the 60’s is now considered the “new 50’s”. Give it a couple of years, and it will be the new 30’s. Who knows how long we are going to live after the age of 65, we could live for another 20+ years. The AARP estimates between $1 million to $1.25 million. Wow!!! I don’t know about you, but the “average” person may find that amount daunting. I know I do, and I’m nowhere near that figure. Kind of scary; isn’t it? The subject NOT taught in our schools are how to be financially responsible.
In fact, I will be working, hopefully only part-time, well into my 70’s. I’m lucky, though. My career allows me to work remotely from home. I need a phone line, a fast internet and my equipment. What is my job? I am a broadcast captioner. Yep, those little words you see on your T.V. screen rolling across the bottom or the top, that’s done by a live person for the Deaf and hard of hearing. (More on that in another post).
Here Are My Concerns:
- Cost of living
- Medical expenses and accessibility to healthcare
- A safe place
Nobody knows how long they are going to live. There are many factors that determine longevity. As science and technology advances, we could live for a very long time!
There is this little place in Italy I am researching presently, Pizzo, Italy. It is sometimes referred to as Pizzo Calabro. There’s a little B&B I want to stay at, I want to learn the language and explore the area. It’s a small coastal village and if it is anything like Belastrade, I’m already in love. There are approximately 9,000 inhabitants. Small enough for me. I love the fact that all the markets are within walking distance. Every market is separate, one for fruits and vegetables, meat, fish and dairy. And lastly sweets, oh, how I love the sweets! I don’t mind walking through the hilly landscapes and taking my time to enjoy the sights and sounds. I love most how everybody gathers at night in the piazza, the children play soccer and the women are sequestered near the coffee shop while the men smoke and joke around.
(More after my visit)
Next, I was thinking about visiting Costa Rica. A friend moved there recently and loves it. I understand that a budget of $1,300-$1,600 a month would be adequate. From research I have done, there are five expat havens. I want to be near an airport so I can visit my family state-side (unless I can convince them to follow me), close to hospitals, and living near like-minded retirees. Again, I would want to learn the language to be able to communicate. The weather would be a key factor, too. I don’t like too hot nor too cold. And lastly, how safe is it? The world the way it is today one never knows, are any of us really safe? But look at that countryside? Can you imagine the history hidden in the landscapes, hill and caves?
I think Panama is worth looking into. There is a large expat community and there’s a good deal of English spoken. My research indicates that you can live in Panama for as low as $1,000 a month (I can handle that). The cost of living is estimated to be in the range of $1,120-$8,000. You only need your passport and a visa, and if you are going to retire you can visit the Embassy of Panama website. High speed internet is available (important for me). It says it is “relatively” safe (Relatively translates differently per individual). Also the water is safe to drink (I only drink bottled water anyway). Panama City is cosmopolitan, but I’m more interested in rural living. Food is listed as a mixture of African, Spanish and Native American. (I could live with that). Here is a more detailed view from a Expat living in David, Panama for expenses in 2015. I can’t imagine they could have risen much since.
Here is a link to a book called “The Boquete (Not For Tourists!) Handbook, the Insider’s Guide to Surviving Life in Boquete”.
That is my “starter list”. I would never move anywhere that far unless I thoroughly investigated the country and policies. Also, I want to make time to roam around the countryside and look at housing and talk to the residents. More importantly, I really must take a hard look at being away from my family. I have my three kids and one grandchild whom I would really miss. Of course, I could always live 6 months here and go back home, have a home base and become a vagabond. The possibilities are endless!
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