Health and Wellness in Central Mexico

Resultado de imagen para san miguel de allende

By Lindsey Adams Fenimore | International Living

When Kathy Machir, 66, and her husband Jim, 70, moved to San Miguel de Allende eight years ago from San Diego, she gave up golf. Golf was an important part of her life; it kept her in great shape, was a social outlet, and provided a major network for her interior design business. Interestingly, she didn’t give it up because of a lack of golf courses in San Miguel de Allende (in fact, there is a golf course just around the corner from her house). She stopped golfing because she found herself with so many other options for making friends and having fun.

“I never run out of fun and interesting things to do and see here,” says Kathy. She practices yoga five days a week, walks everywhere, kayaks on the lake, volunteers for a local low-income retirement home, and spends time socializing with and entertaining the many friends they’ve made.

Kathy is not alone in finding San Miguel de Allende a gold mine for health and wellness. With walkable streets, clean air, a comfortable year-round climate, easy access to fresh fruit and vegetables, excellent and affordable healthcare, a welcoming social network of expats, and a plethora of activities, San Miguel de Allende makes it easy to live a healthy lifestyle.

High-end, yet affordable, gyms and yoga studios are scattered throughout town. At a popular yoga studio in the San Antonio neighborhood you can buy a 10-class pass for $60. At $6 per class that’s a fraction of what yoga costs in most American and Canadian cities. Across the street from the yoga studio is a friendly, local gym with all the equipment you could ever need. It offers memberships for $20 a month, with additional discounts for long-term memberships. If you enjoy Pilates, there are multiple studios offering classes for $12 to $15. The park in the center of town, with basketball courts and walking trails, also hosts Zumba and yoga classes.

Horseback riding in the campo, or countryside, is a great way to enjoy the outdoors in this gorgeous setting. With multiple ranches surrounding town there are plenty of options to choose from. One sprawling ranch, owned and run by a friendly expat family, offers private horseback riding lessons for $25.

Once you’ve worked up an appetite after all that activity, you can stroll through one of the several natural and organic markets in town, where you can find organic produce, a range of refrigerated health foods (such as sauerkraut, kombucha, and yogurt), local honey, cheese, grass-fed beef, and personal care products (from makeup and lotions to homeopathic remedies). There are fruit and vegetable markets (that also sell fresh-squeezed juices), tortilla stands, and butchers in every neighborhood, so healthy dinner ingredients are always within a few blocks.

Accessibility to quality healthcare is also a big bonus to living in San Miguel de Allende. “The hospitals and doctors here and within a 45-minute drive are some of the best I’ve ever encountered. I have wonderful specialists who speak English and healthcare is so affordable,” says Kathy.

One of the greatest indicators of health and well-being is having a strong social support system, and San Miguel de Allende does not disappoint.

“The social network here is the best part. The expats come from all walks of life and backgrounds, but they are incredibly welcoming and supportive and the network is huge. Most people aren’t the ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ types and we share a ‘joie de vivre.’ We don’t have to explain why we left our old life behind to move here, we all help each other out, and we have a lot of fun,” says Kathy.

Original Source

Retirement in Mexico

By Expat.com

Mexico is not only known to be the bridge between South and North America, but also a choice destination in terms of expatriation. Mexico is very popular due to its proximity with the United States of America and Canada. However, the cost of living is rather low compared to many neighboring countries. This is why thousands of senior citizens across the globe dream of retiring there. In fact, the number of foreigners visiting the country and settling there has been growing over the years.

Thus, Mexico can offer what you are looking for if you dream of a change in lifestyle and environment.

Advantages

Living in Mexico can be quite advantageous to foreigners, senior citizens in particular. Retiring in Mexico will allow you to enjoy a completely different lifestyle from that which you have been used to in your home country. You will also have the opportunity to learn more about the country’s rich cultural, historical and architectural heritage. The low cost of living is also among the numerous advantages in settling there, not to mention the population’s friendliness and hospitality.

Drawbacks

Retiring in the land of Sombreros, however, needs appropriate consideration. In fact, the country’s lack of infrastructure and security has continuously been pointed out by tourists and media. You also have to be cautious in terms of health threats before moving there. You are hence advised to inquire on the Mexico’s environment and infrastructure beforehand.

Health care

Mexican authorities are well aware of the country’s conducive climate and conditions for retirement. Therefore, special measures have been applied in order to facilitate the settling of senior citizens and ease their living in terms of accommodation, health care, etc. Thus, foreign senior citizens can easily access to health care services according to their needs, as well as pharmacies and other health care services.

As regards costly operations, foreigners are advised to subscribe to an international insurance in their home country prior to their departure. Some countries’ Social Security service may offer special conditions. It is recommended to inquire with these beforehand.

Visa

To retire in Mexico, you have to apply for an “immigrante rentista” visa, that is the FM2 visa at the Mexican Embassy or consulate in your home country. This visa entitles you to an unlimited stay in the country provided you don’t work. Documents to be produced are:

  • a duly filled and signed visa application formalities
  • a valid passport (for the whole duration of your stay in Mexico)
  • photocopies of your passport’s first two pages
  • two passport-size identity photos
  • proof of funds (last three bank statements and an official letterhead from your bank stating that you will receive a monthly transfer of US$ 1500, plus an additional US$ 600 for each of your dependents)
  • proof of retirement in your home country
  • fees applied.

On the other hand, foreigners wishing to retire in Mexico for a short period can request for a “visitante rentista”, that is the FM3 permit. This permit can be renewed every year over a maximum of four years. Documents to be produced to the Mexican Embassy or Consulate in your home country are:

  • a request letter mentioning your motivation to retire in Mexico, your request for the FM3 permit, as well as your residential address and your scheduled arrival date in Mexico
  • proof of regular funds (you must receive a minimum of US$ 1,000 monthly to be eligible to this visa, plus an additional US$ 250 for each dependent, resulting from bank interest, rent or retirement pension)
  • a valid passport
  • four passport-size identity photos (two face front and two right side profile pictures
  • fees applied
  • a sum of US$ 127 for the tax stamp (to be paid in cash or by credit card).

 Good to know:

You will be eligible to a 6 months delay to pay the tax stamp if you intend to import your furniture. You are then required to produce a full list and description of your personal belongings, including brand, model and serial number in case of electrical appliances.

Note that the visa request may vary. Senior citizens are required to inquire with Mexican authorities in their home country before proceeding.

Popular destinations

Playa Del Carmen is known to be the second most popular Mexican tourist destination after Cancun. The city allies modernity to a bohemian lifestyle in the middle of a tropical heaven. Rent prices, as well as the cost of living are lower in Playa Del Carmen. However, high temperatures and humidity can be inconvenient for senior citizens who are more likely to settle in coastal regions.

Merida is a richer and more comfortable city, with various cultural and artistic and other leisure activities. In fact, the city center counts some 300 expat families.

Chapala is also quite appreciated for its low cost of living. Some US 12,000, Canadian and European senior citizens have settled there to enjoy a better lifestyle and living standard. The region is famous, above all, for its artistic and cultural activities, as well as its clubs and sports, not to mention its population’s heartiness.

You could as well settle in the Puerto Vallarta or in neighboring coastal regions where you can enjoy the same environment as above-mentioned cities.

Peace and liveliness

Mexico is, above all, a highly active and lively country. But you can also find really calm regions where you can relax and enjoy a peaceful retirement. As it is, most essential services and facilities are easily accessible in the whole country. Thus, Mexico can be your dream retirement destination provided you make appropriate planning.

 Useful links:

Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM) – Visa request form www.inm.gob.mx
INM – Resident permit request form www.inm.gob.mx/index.php/page/Solicitud_de_Estancia
IMSS – Social aid for dependents www.imss.gob.mx

Original Source

The Best Places To Retire Abroad In 2019

By William P. Barrett | Forbes

When it comes time to pick a retirement spot, the majority of Americans end up staying put, or moving within their own state. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least consider the option of retiring abroad.  Fact is, many countries offer a high standard of living at a much lower cost and throw in good weather, great scenery and fascinating culture at no extra charge.

More Americans have been not just considering, but actually making, the big move.  The U.S. Social Security Administration just reported it’s now sending checks to almost 700,000 people living in foreign countries. That’s a steady 40% increase over 10 years.  Of course, not all Americans “retiring” abroad are old enough to collect Social Security. The growing FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) movement has got some GenXers and even Millennials dreaming about “retiring” from their day jobs and living abroad.

To assist those planning, or simply dreaming about, a foreign retirement haven, Forbes has scoured the globe to come up with a list, The Best Places To Retire Abroad In 2019. Click on the gallery below for a description of all 24 countries, on five continents, that made our list, in alphabetical order. (At the bottom of this post, there’s also a handy table offering a quick view of how our picks compare.) Note that while we are picking entire nations, not every place in each is suitable. U.S. expat retirees often tend to cluster in just a few locales. So we suggest a few specific spots in each, although in most countries there are many other locations that would also be suitable.

One advantage of just about every foreign country on our list is that good medical care, and health care insurance, is available and at a cost so much less than in the U.S. that private insurance can easily replace the Medicare benefits most U.S. retirees depend on. (No, you can’t use your Medicare benefits abroad.) Three countries on our list—Uruguay, Ecuador and Italy—even allow expats under certain circumstances into their national healthcare systems. In some countries, good healthcare is more easily found in the larger cities, and we make a note of that in our individual write-ups.

To put together this list, we examined a variety of factors besides healthcare. Among them: overall cost of living, tax issues, ease of gaining residency, outdoor and cultural amenities, climate, safety, local hospitality, prevalence of English, and ease of travel return to the U.S. No one factor puts a country on or off the list, with the exception of ability to gain residency. Some inviting countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom and Switzerland, are simply too difficult for Americans to retire to unless they have an in, such as a family connection. Mainly for that reason, they’re not on this list.

Political stability is also an issue. Over time, countries do change. Colombia and Croatia, which both once had heavy baggage, are on our 2019 list. Nicaragua, which we’ve recommended in the past, is not. Like the U.S., some countries are a mixed bag, but it’s not difficult to avoid the bad places. For example, in Mexico certain border cities are problematic, while the Philippines has had to cope with unrest in a distance province.

Your own preferences will determine the weight you give to various factors. Online video services like Skype, Facetime and Facebook messaging make it easy and cheap to stay in touch with friends and loved ones back home. (In most of the world, Internet connectivity is very good.) But if traveling back to the states is important, then far-flung venues like Australia, the Philippines and Malaysia might not work. Instead, consider Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica or the Dominican Republic.

It’s important, of course, to do your own due diligence. There are dozens of factors to weigh beyond those we mention. How to check out the feasibility of a possible home? Thanks to the Internet and social media, conducting solid research has never been easier.

Facebook hosts dozens of groups run by expats living in specific countries. If it’s a closed group, ask to join, read the posts and ask questions about cost of living, crime, ease of moving funds, problems in moving personal property such as a vehicle, and any other topic of interest. Likewise, in this era of easy blogging, it’s pretty simple with a Google search to find blogs authored by expats dealing with day-to-day living issues. For instance, a recent Google search for “expat blogs in Uruguay” yielded more than 200,000 hits. Several contributors to Forbes.com  focus generally on retirement abroad.

You can learn a lot from the often-amusing local blogs. For instance, a post on The Panama Adventure, written by a registered nurse from Florida named Kris, detailed the local cost of living. “We bought a pig last month, 120 pounds worth at $2.50/lb,” she wrote. Or this adviceby Californian transplant to Italy Susan Darin Pohl at her blog, Americans in Umbria: “Remember the three Ps of living in Italy: Patience, Perseverance and Purpose.”

While they may not be so entertaining, the websites maintained by countries’ U.S. embassies in Washington frequently offer crucial information, such as what it takes to get permission to move there. These procedures vary widely by country. Some require the process to start with an application to the country’s U.S. embassy, while others mandate an application once the retiree arrives in the country. But they all require lots of exacting paperwork, frequently translated into the foreign country’s main language. Generally, the initial permission to stay is granted for a limited period of a year or two, with the possibility of renewals and, down the road, something akin to what in the U.S. is permanent residency (popularly known as a green card). Some expats hire a lawyer to navigate the process.

Most countries require proof that a retiree has a minimum annual income from sources like pensions, Social Security and investments, but these amounts tend to be modest. In Colombia, for example, the requirement is $19,000 yearly for a couple. In Costa Rica, it’s $24,000. Australia, on the other hand, looks for a net worth of $600,000.

Since most of these countries allow tourists to visit for three months or even longer, consider taking what amounts to a test drive, visiting the country and renting an apartment on a short-term lease. Most expat retirees end up renting rather than buying a residence, anyway. There are several reasons for this. Some countries simply make it hard legally for foreigners to purchase property (New Zealand just did this).

In other nations expat retirees find the purchase process too burdensome–or even treacherous. Earlier this month, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission obtained a court order in Maryland shutting down what it called a $100 million real estate fraud in Belizethat the agency called “the largest overseas real estate investment scam” it has ever targeted. According to the FTC, the fraud, perpetuated by a convicted felon, involved the sale of lots in what supposedly soon would become a luxury development variously known as Sanctuary Belize, Sanctuary Bay or The Reserve, on the Atlantic Ocean coast south of Belize City.

Tax issues can be vexing and often require professional advice. The U.S. taxes citizens wherever they live in the world. Americans living abroad get an exclusion from U.S. taxes for earned income of up to $105,900 in 2019. But this income has to be from work (not usually the case with retirees in foreign countries), and not from investments, which includes rental properties. This raises the possibility of double taxation—meaning the same income could be taxed in both the U.S. and the foreign country of abode.

There are ways to deal with this. In many circumstances, the U.S. allows a tax credit for income taxes paid to other countries. Some foreign countries don’t tax the income coming from abroad to expats—that means crucial income streams like Social Security, pensions and returns from U.S. investments might be exempt from foreign tax. And the U.S. has a tax treaty to avoid double taxation with nearly half of the countries on the Forbes list. (Those with treaties are Australia, France, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, The Philippines, Portugal, Spain and Thailand.) The Internal Revenue Service website, irs.gov, provides guidance as well as a list of tax treaties in effect.

As noted above, Medicare does not cover medical services provided abroad. Still, retirees in countries not far from the U.S. by land or plane—on this list, Belize, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico and Panama—might be able to use Medicare by returning to the states, especially for major procedures.

Foreign countries generally require expats to show proof of medical insurance as a condition for residency. But the insurance premiums, reflecting the lower cost of medical care abroad, are much lower than in the U.S.  Coverage can be shopped online from such sites as Association of Americans Resident Overseas and Medibroker. Getting covered for pre-existing conditions, however, can be a problem.

Warning: Even if you move abroad, be sure to enroll in Medicare Part A when you turn 65; for most retirees Part A, which covers hospital care in the United States, is free. You must pay premiums for Medicare Part B, which covers doctors and other outpatient services. (The regular 2019 premium for part B is $135.50 a month per person, but it can be a lot higher if your income is above $85,000 per person, or $170,000 for a couple.) If you go abroad, decline to pay Medicare Part B premiums and later move back, you can be hit with a late enrollment penalty—equal to a 10% premium increase for each year you would have been paying premiums.

So don’t forgo Medicare Part B if you’re only going abroad for a test period and haven’t decided on your permanent retirement locale.

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Original Source

 

Can you save half your income so you can retire early? FIRE advocates say it’s possible.

By Michelle Singletary | The Washington Post

For many people retiring early isn’t a reality. They just aren’t earning enough money to save in the double digits to quit work.

But there are those among us who are working hard to save 40 to 50 percent of their income so that they don’t have to work hard until they’re 70 or older. They count themselves part of the FIRE movement, which stands for “Financial Independence, Retire Early.”

Recently, personal finance guru Suze Orman found herself in the crosshairs of FIRE followers when she said that people couldn’t retire unless they had $5 million to $10 million saved.

FIRE folks were ballistic. Clearly, Orman didn’t understand the movement, they argued.

Do you need $5 million to retire early? Suze Orman says so. But ‘FIRE’ devotees say no.

All this fuss within this community started with Paula Pant’s Afford Anything podcast. I asked Pant to address the debates that started with her podcast with Orman.
Q: Were you surprised by the controversy stirred up by Suze Orman’s comments about FIRE?

Pant: Yes, absolutely. First, I didn’t intend our conversation to be centered on FIRE. While I was preparing for the interview, I read her most recent book and I brainstormed a list of standard personal finance questions.

The day before the interview, I asked my audience to tell me what they’d like me to ask her. The most popular response I heard was that they wanted to know what she thought of the FIRE movement, so I led with that question. I was shocked when she replied, “I hate it, I hate it, I hate it.” I wasn’t expecting such a strong reaction.

As Suze and I spoke, it became clear to me that she misunderstood the concept of FIRE. Her objections reflected the same knee-jerk responses that I often see in online comments from people who clearly only skimmed the article and are eager to jump in with an opinion.
Every objection that she voiced has been answered ad nauseam

by the FIRE community. As we spoke, her misunderstanding about the FIRE philosophy became increasingly clear.

Q: As a supporter of FIRE, what did Orman get wrong?

Pant: First, in fairness, Suze now seems to have a much stronger understanding of the FIRE movement, as evidenced by the retraction that she published on her Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

During the interview, she voiced a number of objections that reflected a deep misunderstanding of FIRE. Here’s the biggest one: “What will you do with your time, anyway?”

Suze seems to interpret “retirement” as watching TV, or traveling for a few years, or living on the beach. This is an image of retirement that we see in stock photos of the grey-haired couple taking sunset strolls.

“Retirement” in the FIRE context means that work is optional. This might be expressed as:

— Switching from full-time to part-time work
— Switching from a highly-paid career to lower-paying but more fulfilling work

— Both parents staying at home with their children when the kids are young, and then reentering the workforce when the kids are older

— Taking entrepreneurial risks, such as starting a business or launching a local nonprofit without feeling stressed about the need to pay yourself a salary for the first year or two.

— Taking artistic risks, such as writing a novel (in which all the work must be performed on spec, with no assurance of income)

Let’s say that you’re a corporate lawyer for a major firm. You work 60-hour weeks, you rarely see your family, and you’re stressed out. You represent clients whom you don’t really like. You represent cases you don’t really believe in.

You and your spouse reduce your living expenses to $40,000 annually, living a lifestyle that’s a little better than the lifestyle that you led when you were in law school. You amass an investment portfolio of $1 million. You’re now FIRE.
You resign from your corporate job and accept a position at a local nonprofit with a small budget. You earn one-fourth of your former salary, work 20 hours a week, and enjoy knowing that your work benefits causes that you believe in.

In the FIRE context, this would be a perfect example of “retirement,” which we use as a synonym for a well-funded career and lifestyle change.

An early retirement is doable. Here’s how.

Q: What appeals to you about FIRE?

When I graduated from college in 2005, I accepted a job as a newspaper reporter with a starting salary of $21,000. I worked at this newspaper until 2008, and my salary at the time I resigned was $31,000. That’s the highest income I’ve ever earned working for someone else.

I freelanced during the evenings and weekends, and my best-paying clients at the time offered 50 cents per word. This amounted to an hourly rate of $50 to $75.
It became clear to me that I could earn much more money as a freelancer than I could as a newspaper staffer, so I quit my job and dedicated my time to building a full-time income as a self-employed freelance writer.

But I knew that this path would create income volatility. As a “solopreneur,” there would be periods of feast and famine. I started aggressively saving and investing so that I could “self-insure” against the risk of needing to find another low-paying job.

Ironically, I didn’t come to FIRE because I wanted to retire. I came to FIRE because I wanted to work, and FIRE allowed me to build a safety net — through my investments — that would allow me to remain self-employed, even if I had a few rocky months.

Retire early or keep on working? How to prepare for either choice.

Q: Do you think Orman was right about the amount people need to save for retirement to retire early?
Pant: No.

Suze cited the example of needing $5 million for retirement, explaining that you may need $100,000 for personal living expenses and $250,000 for long-term care for loved ones.

If that’s true, then almost nobody in the U.S. could retire at any age.

The FIRE community holds that — unless you have a huge family — you don’t need $100,000 for living expenses. You can live in a small home. Some people live in two-bedroom apartments or condos. Others live in tiny homes, or live full-time in an RV. Others live in modest middle-class or lower-middle-class homes, despite having seven-figure portfolios. We are literally the millionaires next door.

You can drive a used car. In our community, we take pride in driving vehicles that are 10 plus years old.

You can cook meals at home, rather than frequently dining at restaurants.
The median household income in the U.S. is less than $60,000 annually. At least half of Americans are living lifestyles in accordance with the median income. If you can earn an above-median income, but live like you earn significantly less, you achieve two things: (1) you supercharge your savings rate, and (2) you reach retirement faster because you need less to live on.

Obviously there are limits to this; you cannot shrink your way to greatness. There’s a floor beyond which you cannot frugal down any further. Even within the FIRE community, most people don’t want to live like a college freshman forever. But we also recognize that there’s a lot of power that comes from living this way for a handful of years while you watch your investments grow, and then consciously “lifestyle inflating” to a reasonable, modest, middle-class life.

Q: One of the criticisms of those who promote FIRE is that they are earning lots of money writing about the movement thus they aren’t actually “retired.” What do you say to critics?
Pant: Two words: Sampling bias.

The people who write and podcast about early retirement, myself included, are the most public and visible voices. But we’re only a small handful of people — approximately a dozen people — among the tens of thousands who pursue this path.

The majority of FIRE followers are leading quiet, private lives. They’re skiing instructors, Little League coaches and preschool volunteers. They’re rock-climbing in Thailand and surfing in Australia. You don’t hear about them because they’re not sitting in front of a laptop writing articles and recording podcast episodes. Sampling bias shows only the people who take great efforts to go public.

On my podcast, I highlight stories of people I meet “in real life,” FIRE followers who don’t have an Internet presence. For example, Kim E.is a firefighter for the City of Austin, Texas. She began her firefighting career five years ago, with a starting salary of $42,000. She’s saved more than 50 percent of her income during her five-year career. She’s halfway to FIRE.

Listen to Afford Anything Podcast: How I Save Half of My Income as a Firefighter, While Living in an Expensive City

Most people don’t hear about individuals like Kim, because she’s leading a private life. She’s not a blogger or podcaster. She’s a regular person who saves half of her income. She represents the average person in the FIRE community.

Original Post

The 10 Best Places to Retire in Mexico

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Below is an unbiased look at the best places in Mexico to retire – with real pros and cons – to help you make an informed decision as to which best meets your needs, interests and ambitions.

In the process of putting together this comprehensive report I have consulted with highly experienced ex-pats who have lived and/or live in the places that I rate here so, without further wait, here’s the top 10 places to live and retire in Mexico and the reasons why:

  1. Lake Chapala, Jalisco
  2. Ensenada, Baja California
  3. San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato
  4. Guadalajara, Jalisco
  5. Merida, Yucatan
  6. Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo
  7. Mazatlan, Sinaloa
  8. Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco
  9. La Paz, Baja California
  10. San Cristobal de las Casas Chiapas

 

1. Lake Chapala, Jalisco (Winner)

According to Kristina Morgan of Focus on Mexico, “Of all the places in Mexico I have been, none can quite compare with Lake Chapala. There’s something about this place that just seems…magical and, as corny as it sounds, that’s the word I hear people use to describe Lake Chapala time and again. Lake Chapala gets into your heart and becomes home. It’s like stepping back 50-70 years here regarding the simpler lifestyle, culture and values. When I’m here I feel like I can be me, like I can breathe a little more freely and be the person I want to be and this is a sentiment expressed by most everyone who has ever been here or lives here”.

Lake Chapala used to be just a retirement community but in the last 10 years that’s changed and a lot of younger families and entrepreneurs are moving there for the obvious business opportunities and lower cost of living.

The Lake Chapala community is composed of a string of villages, mostly on the north shore, with Ajijic being the crown jewel of the area in terms of artisans, charm and amenities. Horses clopping down the road, vendors selling fresh fruit, women weaving, live music everywhere from classical to salsa and teenagers helping their grandmothers are common sights. There’s a happy hum of activity there.

The most compelling reasons are listed below.

Pros

The Climate: The weather, of course, is a huge draw. National Geographic touts Lake Chapala as the 2nd best climate in the world. The Lake is surrounded by the Sierra Madre Mountains and is a mile high so there is very little humidity. The distance inland is still close to the ocean but far enough away to not have to worry about storms and hurricanes off the coast. We have all the same flora as Hawaii as well as the same vegetation in arid states like Colorado—pines and palms—growing equally well, side by side!

The most-developed expat/English infrastructure in Mexico: You may feel like you’ve stepped back in time, but there’s still a lot to do here, from golfing, to boating, to organized group activities including a community theater in English, two American Legion posts, the Lake Chapala Society, churches in English in every denomination, concerts and events (the Bolshoi Ballet even came to Ajijic!), live entertainment, world-class restaurants that will impress even the most seasoned palate and much more!

Ajijic and the Lake Chapala area is the largest expat community anywhere outside the U.S. and Canada. I figure 20,000 expats can’t be wrong but as Latin World says, “Despite being home to one of the heaviest concentrations of North Americans in Mexico, Lake Chapala doesn’t feel quite as Americanized as other retirement enclaves in Mexico.” I believe that is due to the fact that this isn’t a resort area catering to tourists, but rather a place to adopt a new way of life and be a part of a community.

There are also many real opportunities to get involved and make a difference through any of the numerous charities here if you want to volunteer your time. The rewards are greater than any paycheck.

Affordable, top-notch medical care is available: The University of Guadalajara, less than 1 hour away, boasts an excellent medical school. In fact, many U.S. doctors are educated there! There are excellent facilities, doctors, specialists and medical staff in Mexico and a major benefit is that they are readily available (no long waiting periods). Many of the doctors even speak English and often have taken some training in the United States or abroad. The doctors here have such a gift for listening carefully to you and not making you feel as if they don’t have time to spend with you. They even make house calls! There are two clinics here as well.

Proximity/Accessibility: Guadalajara, airport, coast: One of the reasons we chose Lake Chapala is its easy access to other places of interest in Mexico. Ideally located about 40 minutes from Guadalajara (Mexico’s 2nd largest city), 25 minutes from Guadalajara’s international airport, and as close as 3 hours to the pacific coast and a 12 hour drive to back to the U.S. so it is easy to trade the frigid winters and the wilting heat of summers north of the border for paradise. We wanted to know that they can get back home quickly if we need to so being so close to the airport makes being home in a few hours possible. It is interesting to note that travel is part of the culture in this area, for Mexicans and retirees alike and the low surcharge at the airport in Guadalajara makes flying more affordable.

Low cost of living: I didn’t move to Mexico to spend a lot of money! It has been said that Lake Chapala is the place to be if you want a bargain and all the amenities you’re used to from back home.

Home prices are still low here. I know people who have looked into different retirement destinations all over Mexico and say they have found the best deals here. We also have an MLS, which almost nowhere else in Mexico has so it is easier find the right home for you. On the coast, you must purchase property through a bank trust but because we are inland you are allowed to own property outright through a direct deed….

This is a real community: To me, this is the most compelling reason to come here. People come to Lake Chapala for the weather and lower cost of living and end up staying because of the people. Lake Chapala still has a small-town feel to it. It seems like everyone knows everyone and the people, both Mexican and expats, are very friendly and look out for each other. This area also has the largest singles population owing to the sense of safety and community here. It is said that people are nicer here than they were back home. The Mexicans are still very warm and welcoming, largely due to the fact that most of the transplants are very cognizant that we are guests in their country and we try to be as gracious and considerate as our Mexican friends are. There is still an old-world, genteel flavor here. Mexicans embrace family, customs and tradition and tend to dote on their children and cherish their elderly. The people who come here are frequently in awe of the close ties in our community and how quickly they are welcomed and accepted. I haven’t seen anything like this anywhere else in the world, not even in other places in Mexico.

A safe and secure environment: Despite a rather negative media representation which focuses on drug related violence, Mexico is actually a top choice when it comes to safety. The conflicts which make the headlines are mostly limited to the U.S. border area; the majority of the country is virtually unaffected, and news of these unfortunate events is as distant to these areas as it is to the U.S., and in some cases, even more so. “In Lake Chapala violent crime is almost unheard of,” points out Shawn Gaffney. “In Lake Chapala, the citizens walk the streets at any time of day or night safely and confidently.” Statistics back this feeling of comfort; in most parts of Mexico, violent crime is significantly lower than in large U.S. cities.

Stunning beauty: Lake Chapala has breathtaking sunsets over the lake, and majestic mountain views. Flowers are prolific and seem saturated in bold color. There are charming cobbled streets with stone walls and fuchsia bougainvillea draped like petticoats over the tops. The best way to give you a picture is that people say it looks like Hawaii. The vivid color here is whimsical and artistic, with many murals all over the area, including some that are painted on houses and businesses. There are at least 3 waterfalls in the area and thermal springs that will transport you with their relaxing and curative properties. Sun-drenched terra-cotta tiles, mesmerizing vistas and tropical foliage make it feel like you’re on permanent vacation—but without the heat, humidity, tourists, hurricanes or expense.

Solid investment: When you’re considering a place to retire, no one wants to flush their money into an area where they would have a hard time getting it back out if they ever needed to. This area is at a steady growth rate with promise of more future growth. You’ll get a lot of bang for your buck now while knowing your money will grow here.

Slower pace of life: We can learn so much from the people here about what is truly important in life. For those who are seeking to simplify their lives, Lake Chapala should be on your short-list. This isn’t a “time is money” culture. Mexicans work to live while many of us have lived to work. In general, the people here have their priorities straight. It’s all about how you treat people and recognizing that each day is a gift to be lived fully and graciously.

Cons

Altitude: At a mile high, some people who have respiratory illnesses may find this is a little too high in altitude for them. However, some people report feeling far better here and being able to sleep better than they ever could. The elevation is also a major reason we have such a temperate climate and why the area isn’t prone to natural disasters.

Language: If you move to Mexico you’re going to have to learn at least a little of the Spanish language to get by. Some people find this daunting and intimidating. The good news is that compared to anywhere else in Mexico, English is spoken to one degree or another by most people.

Small villages: If you’re looking for a big city feel then Lake Chapala isn’t for you. Think quaint fishing villages with an old world feel and modern amenities and you’ll have the idea. However, village life has its benefits in safety and community and if you need a break from the tranquility and want to head to the big city then Guadalajara is just up the road.

Noise levels: This can be said about any area in Mexico but I still think it needs to be said. Village life is noisy with live music, church bells tolling at all hours, roosters who crow all day and night, fireworks, parades and processions, parties and cars driving by announcing everything from their wares to who has a fresh catch of fish down at the pier. On Mother’s Day, some lucky moms are woken before dawn with mariachi bands serenading them outside their window. If this would drive you crazy, then be sure to look for homes on the outskirts of the villages or in a planned development, or gated community. Thankfully, there are a lot of places to choose from to escape the noise.

Not a Business Mecca: For those young and aggressive, they will be disappointed because the Lake Chapala area is NOT a mecca for business. Business gets done but for the most part, retiree’s are slower more set in their ways and thus are not seeking big opportunities so trying to sell them something using a carrot for the future can be frustrating and will land you in the “con man” category real quick.

It is not the ocean: Lake Chapala is Mexico’s largest lake at 77 miles long and 13 miles across but if your heart is set on a daily routine of drinking a margarita on the beach with endless waves stretching out to the horizon then this isn’t for you. While this is the largest lake in Mexico and the conquistadores thought this was the ocean when they first arrived here, it is still a lake – a beautiful lake.

In short, Lake Chapala is a one in a million place with everything it offers. Of course, one size doesn’t fit all but if you’re looking for a paradise with a low-cost of living, an established English infrastructure and activities, modern amenities, near-perfect climate and a friendly and safe community, come visit Lake Chapala and see if this might be for you. Retiring in Mexico couldn’t be better.

2. Ensenada, Baja California

According to John Vogel of BajaWine.info, “In Ensenada, you have everything that a major city could have but it’s still a small family town” The weather is very temperate between 60 to 80 F mostly all year round. It’s never too hot or too cold in Enenada as it’s on the Pacific coast in a bay so it’s somewhat shielded by direct ocean winds. For expats, it’s an easy transition because Ensenada is really half Southern California half Mexico. Most speak English as the border is just 1 hour away. So travel back and forth is relatively easy. It’s a major benefit for those that want to live an Mexico lifestyle but still get the San Diego Chargers game every NFL Sunday for a little tailgating.

Pros

  • Close to US Border
  • Easy going beach weather
  • Inexpensive
  • Very little rain fall
  • Family friendly city
  • All kinds of events held almost every weekend

Cons

  • Airport is in Tijuana about 1 hour away and San Diego International Airport is about 1 hour and 30 minutes away by car albeit, there is a border crossing that could take from 1 to 3 hours depending on time of day.
  • Anti-septic Mexican culture meaning that the culture in Baja is more close to the USA culture as it’s a mixed culture. If you’re looking for authentic rustic old Mexico, Ensenada is NOT the place to be. This is San Diego South and the people of Baja are a hybrid of Mexico and USA.
  • You must have a car to get around.

3. San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato

According to Rebecca Fass San Miguel de Allende is “the most wonderful place on the planet”. This place is probably the most well-to-do city in all of Mexico. With world-class arts, music, and amazing restaurants with the highest end people from all over the world, SMDA is the most exquisite classy place to live in Mexico. So if you’re looking to hob-nob with the rich, famous, artsy types, and people who really hold their own at the highest levels, SMDA is the place to be.

Klaudia Oliver says “I can´t speak for that many places in Mexico but I can certainly suggest that San Miguel is THE top destination. Why? Because there is an overriding sense of well-being which permeates the inhabitants of this beautiful colonial town. There is a swirl of social events and it’s like a college campus for baby boomers with cultural and social activities constantly”.

Pros

  • Amazing cultural beauty
  • Old Mexico meets the well-heeled traveler
  • Small town full of super interesting internationally renown people who you will get to know quickly
  • English spoken everywhere
  • 3 hours away from Mexico City and all it’s available big city offerings
  • Friendly small town atmosphere
  • Beautiful architecture and history.
  • Excellent nightlife

Cons

  • Not close to major city or airport
  • High desert elevation means it’s cold in winter and hot in summer
  • Extreme temperatures mean that in one day can go from high 80′s at high noon and then into the 40′s at night.
  • Very expensive to live.
  • Feels like living on a desert island since there is nothing within an hour away.
  • Nearest airport is in the City of Leon; about an hour and a half away.

4. Guadalajara, Jalisco

The weather is amazing; Perfect really! Guadalajara is the 2nd largest city in Mexico so if you are used to living in the city, then you will enjoy Guadalajara as it is the very best big city in Mexico. Guadalajara is not as inexpensive as it used to be but you can still find bargains if you look hard.

5. Merida, Yucatan

An old colonial city in the heart of the Yucatan jungle. It is very hot and humid mostly all year round and so you must love warm to hot weather to enjoy Merida. Amenities are excellent. According to resident expatriate, Randy Miller, “Progresso, our closest beach, is a fabulous place to swim. It’s only a short 20 minute drive from the house. There are so many things to do here; art, markets, museums, theater and so much more”.

Merida is about a 4 hour bus ride from the major resorts of Cancun and Playa del Carmen. It’s a Mexican business working city where prices are low and life is excellent.

6. Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo

Welcome to the Jungle! The Riviera Maya includes Cancun in the North, Playa del Carmen in the center and Tulum in the South and all points in between.

According to Bil Mabra , ” Even though the cost of living in the Riviera Maya is a bit higher than other areas of Mexico it is still way more affordable than in the United States or Canada.”

Even with the real estate market in the U.S. taking a huge dive, the properties in Riviera Maya are still cheaper. Consider buying something that is not right on the beach but possibly walking distance or a 5-10 car ride to the Caribbean ocean….Lastly, upkeep on your Mexican home will not cost you as much because the cost of labor is a fraction of what it is in other countries.

If you are retiring then a question everyone has is about health care. In the Riviera Maya there are 3 top hospitals—2 of them are run by a group from Spain called Hospiten. The other is the American Hospital in Cancun. Hospiten is recognized for being a top-notch medical facility the world over and is on par or above most health care facilities you find in the U.S. and Canada. Most of the doctors and nurses that work at Hospiten are bi-lingual so even if your Spanish is not that great you can still communicate very effectively.

It is an every day occurence for people to migrate from the U.S. to have all types of medical procedures—everything from cosmetic surgery to heart bypasses and everything in between – done in Mexico. Compare the cost of healthcare and medications in Mexico to the cost in other countries and you will find the cost is usually more than 50% less.

The Riviera Maya climate is tropical but the actual daily temperature does not vary that much from the winter time to the summer time. Yes, summertime there is more humidity and it gets hot but typically there are only 3 months of the year where it is very hot from July to September. A lot of people take their vacations during this time if they want a little break from the heat. The other 9 months of the year it is very comfortable.

Highs in the winter time are usually around 84 degrees fahrenheit with lows in the high 60s to low 70s. Highs in the summertime are typically around 93 to 95 degrees with more humidity in the hottest months. If you come from a colder climate it takes a few months to get acclimated but once you do it sure is nice wearing your shorts and flip-flops in January and February.

Living in the Riviera Maya also allows many people to get in and out of the country very easy. There is an international airport in Cancun servicing many major cities daily in the U.S. and Canada and another airport is now being built near Tulum. Getting to and from the Riviera Maya of Mexico has never been easier.

As far as amenities go, how about going shopping at Wal-mart, Costco or Sam’s Club and then going to have lunch at Applebee’s? Yes, now in this area of Mexico there are mostly all the creature comforts which all of us have grown accustomed to such as high speed and wireless Internet, satellite TV and GSM mobile phones.

20 years ago, this was a small fishing community – from Playa del Carmen to Tulum. Now, because of the influx of European and Mexico City money, this area has exploded. This is good for many reason, people choosing to now move and live here, have all the necessary amenities that one could need. The beaches are some of the best in the world. Miles and miles of white sand and beautiful Caribbean warm waters.

7. Mazatlan, Sinaloa

Mazatlan is a local Mexican resort city. It is older, inexpensive, and has a wonderful older downtown with excellent cultural rustic Mexican life. Excellent seafood in this very unique resort town.

8. Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco

Life in the pacific tropics is excellent in Puerto Vallarta. Lovely fun downtown, great restaurants. Prices are relatively high for Mexico and so it’s not for the budget retiree.

9. La Paz, Baja California Sur

Inexpensive city life on the Sea of Cortes near Cabo San Lucas, La Paz is a family friendly small city. It’s very hot so it’s not for those that love colder climates.

10. San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas

Randy Bowser, who’s lived in Mexico for over 10 years says, ”I lived in San Cristobal de las Casa for 1 year and have to say really liked it a lot. The truest of Mexican culture exists in San Cristobal. It’s 5000ft above see level. It does have a chilly feel to the climate year round but the beauty of the area is well worth the trade-off. It’s not really a viable place to live for the younger generation but for those retiring from life and wanting a slow, relaxed, peaceful existence, then this would be the place for you. It’s a magical place.

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The 5 Best Beaches in Mexico

Resultado de imagen para Medano, Cabo San Lucas

By Jason Holland | International Living

In terms of numbers, Mexico is the most popular expat destination for North Americans in the world. And it’s no wonder why. With over 5,800 miles of coastline on the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and Pacific, there are no shortage of postcard worthy, powdery, white-sand beaches in Mexico.

But, what constitutes a great beach is different for everybody. Some like quiet natural beauty, where the only sound is the breaking waves and the only other visitors are seagulls. For surfers it means that perfect break. For others, the perfect day at the beach requires a lounger, umbrella, a good book, and a waiter bringing a steady stream of cold drinks and appetizers.

Here we explore a small portion of the many wonderful beaches in Mexico, with a focus on those that are easy to access, have places to stay nearby, and overall offer a great experience. From places of solitude to bustling scenes where beach bars and restaurants line the sand, we have you covered.

Playa Los Muertos, Puerto Vallarta

Playa Los Muertos, Puerto Vallarta

This a busy stretch of sand in the heart of the action in Puerto Vallarta’s famed Old Town, so if you want peace and quiet this is not the place for you. The landscape is dramatic, with jungle-covered mountains, dotted with luxury villas and condo towers, dropping dramatically to the sand.

The malecon, a pedestrian only promenade which runs along the water, is filled with vendors offering up grilled shrimp, ice cream, and fresh coconut water—don’t worry if you see a machete, that’s just to chop off the top. There are also many restaurants on the sand where you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner and if you want a beach chair under the shade of palapa, you’re covered there too, and if you order food you can stay there all day.

Paamul, Riviera Maya

Paamul, Riviera Maya

The graceful curve of Paamul can be found just south of Playa del Carmen. This is a private residential community with one mid-sized hotel. If you patronize the restaurant, which has a swimming pool, you’re free to use the beach.

Several expats call this quiet community home, especially during high season from January to April.

You can enjoy a chelada (beer on the rocks with lime juice) and ceviche made from locally caught fish. Be sure to bring your mask and fins as there is great snorkeling right off the beach.

Medano, Cabo San Lucas

Medano, Cabo San Lucas

Medano offers the convenience of walking out your condo right onto the sand and plenty of watersports activities, including world-class big game sport fishing at the adjacent marina. There are a lot of sunset cruises as well. You don’t want to visit during Spring Break though, but Medano Beach is a fun place to be the rest of the year.

Head to the north, away from the marina, to find simple cantinas right on the sand, where you can get ceviche for just $4 a bowl, and cold beers for a couple of dollars. Closer to the marina you’ll find sit-down restaurants and sometimes raucous beach clubs that cater more to the party set.

Sayulita, Riviera Nayarit

Sayulita, Riviera Nayarit

Bohemian Sayulita first attracted surfers decades ago. It’s grown a lot since then. No longer sleepy, it has a top-notch restaurant scene and active nightlife. But it’s still very laidback and has a distinctly bohemian vibe.

Similar to Puerto Vallarta, which is about an hour’s drive south, tree-covered hills surround the bay, with increasing development evident. But it’s still a great place for surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, fishing, and other water sports. And you can get a massage on the beach to help you recover at the end of the day.

Holbox Island, Yucatán

Holbox Island, Yucatán

On the northern tip of the Yucatán Peninsula, a couple hour’s trek from Cancún, is the tiny island of Holbox. Reachable by ferry (several boats go back and forth on the 25-minute ride throughout the day), it’s perhaps best known as one of the best places in the world to swim with whale sharks, who congregate offshore from May to September.

But another draw are the powdery white-sand beaches, with calm azure water. Much of the island is sparsely developed, so you can easily find your own private beach.

The village itself is small with boutique hotels, seafood restaurants, and artisan shops. There are very few cars allowed on the island (basically just police and municipal officials have them), so you get around on foot, by bike, or hire a golf cart.

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The Best Places To Live Where $200k In Retirement Savings Will Last 30 Years

By Scott Alan Turner

So you have $200k in the bank and you’re probably thinking you’re set for retirement, right? While it’s not easy to calculate exactly how much you personally will need for retirement (everyone has different lifestyles, health issues, etc.), in the United States, experts say you should try to save at least $1 million to retire comfortably. Want to find out specifically how much you will need to retire comfortably?

Unfortunately, Americans aren’t great at saving. While we’re doing better now than we were in previous years, the personal savings rate in the US is 5.7%. According to The Motley Fool, “this means that out of every $100 in after-tax income Americans bring in, we’re only saving $5.70 for things like retirement, emergency expenses, and rainy-day savings.”

So how can you make your money in retirement go farther? No, you don’t have to eat cat food or start selling all of your possessions. Instead, consider retiring abroad. You may not have thought of it before, but retiring abroad (or at least part-time) is very common in Europe. People do it for many reasons, including saving money on living and healthcare. Here are the best places to live where $200k in retirement savings will last 30 years.

Mexico

Mexico - the best places to live in retirement

Listed as International Living’s number one world’s best place to retire for five years in a row, Mexico is a serious contender for many Americans. Whether you’re retiring or looking to escape the rat race early, take your $200,000 and enjoy great health care, beautiful beaches, and delicious food.

Not convinced? Take healthcare. Not only is health care in Mexico significantly cheaper than in the US, many Mexican doctors were educated at US institutions and speak English. According to International Living, “there are first-rate hospitals throughout the country – every major city has one. ‘Even paying cash at private facilities costs a fraction of what it would in the US. Most doctors have received at least part of their training in the US or Europe… and many speak English.’”

Also, Mexico is very close to the US, you’re only a few short hours from most major US cities. If you need to come back for health reasons, to visit family, or any other reason, it is easily done.

Runner-up: Nicaragua! With an even lower cost of living than Mexico, Nicaragua is a great place where your $200k will go far, especially if you plan on running a business while in retirement. According to “The World’s Best Retirement Havens in 2017” by the Huffington Post, “it doesn’t take long to get your resident’s card, and it’s easy for expats to open businesses. Many find that when they open a business they make a U.S. profit, but in a country where their costs are a fraction of what they are back home, allowing for a superior lifestyle.”

Malaysia

Malaysia - the best places to live in retirement

Want to put down some roots in the country where you’re retiring? Look no further than Malaysia, which will even let people buy property without living there. Upon arriving in Malaysia, you’re given a three-month visa, and if you decide to purchase property while there, you can.

There’s also a lot to see and do in Malaysia, especially if you’re a fan of UNESCO world heritage sites. Malaysia has four world heritage sites: the Lenggong Valley, the Gunung Mulu National Park, Kinabalu Park and the cities of George Town and Malacca. In addition, healthcare is top notch in Malaysia, as it is in many parts of Asia. According to International Living, “Malaysia has some of the best-trained doctors in Asia, and most have learned their profession in the US or the UK. They all speak English, too.”

Runner-up: If you’re looking for slick, modern, and orderly, look no further than Singapore. Singapore has some of the most beautifully kept streets and transit facilities, but that’s because their littering laws are strict. Keep your trash to yourself. Singapore is only a few hours from Malaysia, with outstanding healthcare facilities as well. Singapore is more expensive than Malaysia, making it a runner-up, but is still cheaper than many US cities.

Panama

Panama - the best places to live in retirement

Panama is a beautiful country with a lot of ex-pats, who retire and play in Panama due to its proximity to the US (only a 2.5-hour flight from Miami) and its use of the US dollar. According to Investopedia, you’ll need anywhere from $1,500 to $2,500 a month to live in Panama comfortably, but where you’ll really save is in utilities, rent, and healthcare. In addition, Panama’s Pensionado program is very generous and offers discounts on a variety of amenities including:

  • 25% discount on your restaurant bill
  • 15% hospital services discount
  • 25% discount on your water bill
  • 25% discount on your electricity bill
  • 10% prescription medication discount

In order to receive these discounts, you will need to qualify and apply for the pensionado program, but anyone over the age of 18 is allowed to apply.

Runner-up: Argentina! While Argentina is slightly more expensive in some aspects and is farther away, Argentina’s health system is even better than Panama’s, and the culture in Argentina is definitely something to enjoy (beef and wine are some of Argentina’s two famous exports, among many others).

Southern Spain

Seville Spain - the best places to live in retirement

Always wanted to live in Europe but never thought you could afford it? Take a look at Spain – specifically, the southern, Andalucia-region of Spain. With all the wonderful culture and amenities of Spain, southern Spain is more relaxed about life. This relaxation is reflected in southern Spain’s cheaper prices than what you’d find in Madrid or Barcelona.

Granada, one of the biggest cities in southern Spain, is full of lively entertainment and Moorish/Spanish culture. It’s a great place to retire if you’re looking for city amenities within a short drive to the beach (two hours to Marbella, a lively resort town on the pricey Costa del Sol). According to the cost-of-living site Numbeo, one person’s monthly expenses in Granada are estimated at less than $600 a month. Siesta time (a time to relax, nap, and recharge) is strictly enforced in many parts of southern Spain, too, so if you’ve been looking for an excuse to relax, you’ve found one!

Runner-up: Portugal! Very similar to Spain (but don’t confuse their languages!) Portugal has many similar amenities to Spain, including a vibrant ex-pat community, affordable health care, and great beaches. It’s slightly harder to get out of Portugal, especially if you’re driving, thanks to the mountains, but it’s easy to travel around Europe from Portugal by air.

Guam

Guam - the best places to live in retirement

I couldn’t end “The Top 5 Countries Where $200k in Retirement Savings Will Last 30 Years” without mentioning Guam! Guam is a US island territory in Micronesia, in the Western Pacific. According to the Huffington Post, it’s also the most “exotic destination in America”. That’s right – you don’t even need a passport to retire to Guam.

Guam is perfect for those who want to get away and make their retirement last longer, but don’t want to get that far away or worry about their health care benefits. If retiring in the Pacific is your dream, put Guam on your list and ditch Hawaii. Perfect for beach and history buffs, Guam offers beautiful tropical beaches, and the War in the Pacific National Historical Park, which includes Asan Beach, a former battlefield.

As it is a US territory, the dollar is the currency, and retirees can use Medicare for their health costs. While Guam is pretty far from the US (7 hours from Hawaii, 12 hours from LA) almost everything in Guam is cheaper than the US except for food, which is often more expensive as most products have to be shipped in.

Runner-up: You can’t get any closer to the US than a US territory – other than being in the US!

As you can see, there are a lot of options where your $200,000 in retirement savings can last you 30 years and not have you relying on cat food to get by. However, you do have to travel a bit, which is an unnerving thought for many. Particularly for those worried about health care.

However, given the ease and affordability of international travel, many doctors in other countries (particularly the countries listed above) have studied in the US or Europe and have some of the best, and exact same, training as doctors in the US. At a fraction of the price, it’s hard to argue against saving your money and getting the same care abroad. Not to mention the incredible opportunity to travel, relax, and see places many others never will.

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