International Living

International Living

Considering Becoming an Ex-pat

I live in Hawaii and have for over 40 years. On Oahu, it is very beautiful with two mountain ranges on either side of me and Diamond Head and the ocean off in the distance. I love my Hawaii very dearly, but it is an expensive place to live. On my limited budget, I have had to face the fact that I may not be able to continue living here.

In light of this, I have begun looking into the possibility of relocating to somewhere less expensive. Other than a remote area in the U.S. or Canada, there appear to be international locations that offer culturally rich lifestyles in beautiful scenic settings – on a limited budget.  I say “appear” because I am still trying to determine what is myth and what is reality. 

A few of the places that I have found touted on the Internet so far and supposedly “affordable” are Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Mexico (becoming very popular with Americans and Canadians), Panama, Belize, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Thailand, and Malaysia. Certainly a good variety of choices, from Europe to Central and South America, and on to Asia. In reading about these places, I have discovered two basic questions to begin with: What is the definition of “affordable,” and how really physically safe is each destination.

If a couple is retiring with a half-million dollars, which I am told is considered modest by today’s standards, apparently they can live quite handsomely in some of these international locations. For example, Belize is a commonwealth country in Central America situated on the Caribbean Sea. English is the official language, which, I think, initially is a plus if someone is not bi-lingual or multi-lingual.

There are a couple of developments in Belize targeted for ex-pats (especially Americans and Canadians wanting to move to a foreign location), such as The Marina at the Reserve. However, from what I can tell, retirees would need more than a half-million-dollar nest egg to buy in one of these communities. However, Belize can provide a more-than-comfortable retirement lifestyle in other locations in the country, and renting is always an option. As a silly aside, the premier of Belize was my college graduation speaker in 1969. If only I had had the foresight to invest in Belize real estate back then.


Since a decent amount of justice cannot be done to this subject in one article, I expect to be writing several on resources for learning about international retirement locations, the various locations, relocating logistics, and other important related information, keeping in mind those two basic questions I posed earlier regarding defining affordability and considering safety. 

As a starting point, see my posts on Retiring to Ecuador!

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