Guest Blogger: Akaisha Kaderli
While moving overseas isn’t the answer to fulfilling everyone’s retirement dream, more and more people are leaving their home countries to live elsewhere and for very good reasons. Below we have listed seven of these reasons.
Take a look. Perhaps a couple of them could solve a problem you are facing in molding your future retirement.
1. Affordable Cost of Living
Compared to the United States and Canada, many of these Latin American countries offer a considerable drop in the Cost of Living. Daily life in countries such as Mexico, Panama, Guatemala and Belize will offer you big savings. Overall, rent is within reach, cost of food – either fresh at the markets or even in dining establishments – are based on what locals can pay, and chances are, you are better off financially than most locals. Public transportation options are varied and much cheaper than what you would encounter up North of the Border. Utilities are less and pricing for domestic help like gardeners and maids is economical. Access to quality medical care, a large sector of retirement spending for some, is also cost effective.
All of these savings point to a better quality of life for less spending.
2. Large Expat Communities Already in Place
In locations such as Chapala, (Mexico), Boquete, (Panama), or Antigua, (Guatemala), large Expat communities are thriving. If you are looking for people who speak English, various associations for volunteer opportunities, clubs for activities like bridge, gardening, hiking, tennis, golf, or even Zumba classes, you will find them.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, and there are many places to contribute, thereby utilizing your talents. It’s a great way to make new friends.
3. Access to Quality Medical Care and Assisted Living Options
Cost of medical care is a concern for many retirees. Even though American Medicare is not available to use outside the U.S., there are other options.
Mexico, for instance, offers their residents access to IMSS, which is their government health insurance program. There are also international insurance plans available from companies like Bupa, Globality Health and IHI. And, the pricing for medical services outside the States is so affordable that it is completely reasonable to think one can pay out of pocket.
Even assisted living and long term care options are feasible.
4. Easy Access to the States and Canada to Visit Family
Some retirees are concerned that they will lose touch with family and friends if they move overseas. But more and more flights are originating both in Central America and the US making travel between these countries a breeze. The location of Latin America allows for same day arrivals both coming and going and isn’t really a hardship to manage.
In between times, of course, there are VOIP services like Skype, Facetime, WhatsApp, and Magic Jack, not to mention the ease of email and Facebook.
5. Variety of Climates, Sizes of Towns/Cities, Beaches and Mountains to Suit You
Latin America’s geography provides amazing variety. No matter if you are a beach person, prefer mountain scenery, or enjoy a large metropolitan city with museums, theater, and high-end dining establishments, there is something for everyone in Latin America.
Oaxaca, Merida, Mexico City, all located in Mexico, and Antigua, Guatemala all offer city charm and amazing architecture.
The funky towns of Panajachel, Guatemala or Boquete, Panama are both smaller and provide artistic divergence and small town charm.
The beach towns of Zihuatanejo, Puerto Escondido, Puerto Vallarta all located in Mexico, or Bocas de Toro, San Blas in Panama, or Ambergris Caye or Placencia in Belize allow for you to enjoy putting your toes in the sand, swimming, diving, snorkeling, sailing, fishing in the sea and sunsets over the ocean.
Most of Guatemala, and much of both Panama and Mexico offer vast vistas from mountain tops and a cooler climate.
Even if you choose one environment, domestic and private flights can take you to another one in a matter of hours for a getaway.
6. Friendly People and Culture
Latins are known for their easy ways, their ‘mañana’ attitude, and their love of family and friends. Seems there is always an occasion to celebrate and – at least in our experience – they don’t hesitate to invite you in.
Fiestas, native rituals, and national holidays are colorful and many times LOUD. Just relax and enjoy it. And, even if you only speak a bit of Spanish, that’s enough to open the doors to new and memorable experiences.
The Mayans are some of the most authentic humans we have ever encountered on this earth. They are ready with a smile, and willing to engage in jokes, conversation or to render help.
Living with the Maya it’s easy to forget that there are crowded cities and other locations where people don’t look you in the eye and say hello to you on the street as a daily occurrence. They have spoiled us.
7. International Airports
International airports are dotted all over Latin America. If you want to take a trip to Europe, Asia or South America for instance, it’s easy to find a hub that will connect you to an international destination. If you choose to move to this area, you are not necessarily stranded from society or world travel. You can still take that trip of a lifetime to a distant locale.
So as you can see, Latin America offers quite an attractive package to spice up your life. Many retirement bases are covered such as social activities, access to quality health care, cost of living savings, and quick and reasonable choices to visit family or take a trip somewhere if you are feeling stale.
Why not open yourself up to the many opportunities available, and test drive Latin America?