Finally, we’re nearing the end of the Financial Uproar retirement series, the literal best series in the history of time. And none of you read it. It’s like you guys are trying to suck.
Just in case those destinations aren’t enough for you, let’s expand the search around the world before we mercifully take this series out behind the barn and put a bullet into it. Like before, we’re going to examine things like proximity to airports, living costs, the affordability of housing, climate, medical care, and so on. We’ll focus a little less on taxes this time around based on the assumption that taxes are almost universally cheaper in the developing world than they are here.
Let’s get the party started.
According to estimates I found after Googling for a few minutes (RESEARCH FOR THE WIN), Mexico has close to a million U.S. expats living there. And surprisingly, not all of them are shot up in the drug-related shootings I assume happen every 14 seconds.
This has led to the rise of communities (mostly close to the U.S. border) which are teeming with Americans. Puerto Vallarta is probably the most popular destination. Thousands of expats spend serious time there, with thousands more popping in on vacations to enjoy the beach.
As long as you’re willing to stay away from the beach, real estate isn’t terribly expensive. Puerto Vallarta is a popular medical tourism spot, so you’re not going to get leeches attached to your wounds. The airport has plenty of flights to the U.S. and Canada, and most of the locals speak English.
There are a few downfalls. Drug violence is common, although not usually in the types of cities expats call home. Corruption is also rampant.
Okay, I may be biased here on account of spending so much time there, but South Korea is a decent place for Canadians looking to retire.
Stuff is relatively inexpensive, and housing is reasonable. The climate is better than in Canada, especially if you spend time in the southern part of the country close to the ocean. They have a young population who (mostly) speak English. Medical care is every bit as good as you’d get here, and paying out of pocket for services was reasonable enough I almost didn’t bother with travel insurance when I went over there.
Plus, Canadians can stay for up to six months without leaving the country. In fact, if you travel to Jeju Island, a small autonomous island just south of the mainland, you can buy yourself a South Korean residency permit for an investment of 500 million Korean Won, worth about $575,000 Cdn. today.
We all know the reason why many people want to retire in Thailand, and that’s hookers. Here at Financial Uproar, we will not squash your hooker-related dreams. We’ll just remind you that, for the love of God, wear a rubber. Maybe even two.
But there’s more to it than that. We’ll start with the two main downfalls to retiring in the country, the government bureaucracy and the political instability. Thailand has coups more often than I change my underpants. And good luck if you have to deal with the government for anything. And if the last year is any indication, 100% of all flights either going to or from the country end up crashing.
There’s also the issue with real estate. The country will allow you to own real estate, but it restricts new developments so foreigners can only own a certain amount. It’s still cheap, but often a white guy will end up spending much more than his Thai neighbor for equivalent places. And you don’t have an many rights as an owner than a native would.
Thailand has a special program for retirees that will let you stay in the country if you can prove you have 800,000 Thai Baht in a bank account in the country and 65,000 Baht per month in income. This works out to $31,000 in deposits and $2,500 in monthly income in Canadian Dollars, which I’d hope most retirees can pull off.
Don’t laugh guys. Cuba is on the verge of really turning things around. I can feel it. Plus, they recently got a very generous gift from some nice American visitors.
We won’t spend much time on Costa Rica, since it seems like everybody wants to retire there.
Two of Costa Rica’s major industries are tourism and catering to expat retirees. So the country is gradually evolved from the typical Central American place to something that more resembles the U.S. but further south. This also means U.S. type prices, which takes away a big advantage to retiring in Costa Rica. You’re not saving as much money as 15 years ago, that’s for sure.
Like with Thailand, it’s at least easy to get the proper visa. All you need to prove is a pension of more than $1,000 per month and you’re in. If you’re a little younger, you’ll need to either prove an income of $2,500 per month or make a deposit of $60,000 into a Costa Rican bank. Again, these aren’t hard to accomplish.
Honduras saw the number of expats heading down to Costa Rica and decided they wanted in on that sweet action. So they pretty much copied them.
The big advantage is cost. Costa Rica is so popular the country has started to get expensive. Honduras offers many of the same perks for lower costs. You can easily own real estate with no restrictions, and Honduras has pretty much the same visa requirements as its neighbor. If you stick to the Roatan area, you’ll find plenty of people who speak English.
Final thoughts on retirement
To be honest, I don’t really get this whole thing where you move somewhere to retire. If you’ve spent your adult years somewhere, why leave just for the sake of leaving? You’ll abandon your friends, family, and favorite branch of Subway. As far as I’m concerned, you do that kind of stuff when you’re young.
There is one big benefit, and that’s getting away from winter. I can understand why you’d want to do that. So instead of moving somewhere for good, just take a nice three month vacation. You can even switch it up each year. You won’t have to dick around with visas. And then when you come back, you’ll miss your friends. And even if you’re only going to Thailand for the hookers, you can still do that on an extended vacation. Just don’t marry some Thai girl.