How to Make Sure You Pick the Right Overseas Destination For Retirement

To get to the point where you shut the door on your life in the U.S. or Canada and embrace a new, very different culture and language takes a little doing.

You really need to weigh the pros and cons and make some wise decisions about where you’ll go and what you’ll do once you get there. For some people, this is easy enough. They’ve moved often and don’t see this as a big step.

For others, it can be a huge leap of faith. And the research and decision making can be a long and nerve-wracking experience.

By reading International Living’s Daily Postcards, you’ve already started on that journey. And one of the best things to do now, in my opinion, is to ruthlessly profile yourself.

This sounds easier than it is. I’ve known more than a few people who moved to a small, rural community only to find out that they prefer the cultural stimulation of a big city.

Or they’ve moved to the seashore only to find out that they’re not beach people. It’s a great place to go on vacation, but living there is something else. If you’re not keen on heat, humidity, pesky insects, and sand in every crevice, it may not be for you.

Likewise, if you can’t live without the sounds of the waves lulling you to sleep at night, a mountain town may not be your cup of tea.

This is something I’ve thought a lot about: When the world is your oyster, how do you find the place that’s just right for you?

Start by considering these eight factors:

  1. Affordability. How does the cost of living stack up with your income and budget?
  2. Healthcare. Will you be comfortable with the quality of medical care you’ll receive, are good health plans and programs available to you, and will costs be in line with what you can afford?
  3. Ease of Transition. Are you comfortable with language and currency issues? Are there some familiar items in the grocery stores and pharmacies? How easy is it to navigate the bureaucracy and get a resident visa, import your household items, etc.?
  4. Accessibility. How close is it to your friends and family back home? Is there an international or domestic airport and other amenities, such as good hospitals, nearby?
  5. Community. Is there an expat group? Are you comfortable with the locals and their culture?
  6. Housing Prospects. Are homes for rent or sale at a reasonable price? If you buy a property and later change your mind, will you be able to sell it easily enough?
  7. Climate. Are you hoping for four seasons or year-round warm weather? It’s best to plan your check-out visit during the worst weather season so you’ll know exactly what to expect.
  8. Things to Do. What are your hobbies or desired activities and will you be able to continue to enjoy those? If you like good restaurants or artistic events, will there be enough of these to keep you busy?

Prioritize these in order of importance to you. Assign some weight to each factor and add in any others that concern you. Maybe you’ll be taking children on this journey and you need good, accredited schools close by. Or you’ll be taking elderly parents and looking for assisted living centers or good nursing care. Maybe you’ll want to find work or start a business. If so, the place you move to should be conducive to all these things.

You must do an overabundance of research and, importantly, try to spend as much time as possible in a location before you even think about moving there.

Most importantly, don’t settle for less. If a place you have your heart set on doesn’t match with your personal wish list, keep looking. Your paradise is out there and the more ruthlessly you profile yourself and follow your action plan, the easier it will be to find your perfect place and the more rewarding your experience will be.

How I Broke Free Using 5 Lessons From The 4-Hour Work Week

In the summer of 2007 I read a review of a little known book (at that time) The 4-hour Work Week. I was fascinated with the core concept espoused in the book and ordered it through Amazon and read it in one seating.

Then came an opportunity for me to get an early retirement from my company where I was working for 10 years. I took the early retirement package.

I cashed on a few more opportunities that I was pursuing as an independent business operator and realized close to 300K in my checking account. I had a valuable skill set through an MS degree in Computer Science,  10 years of work experience and a few independent projects.

For the first time I realized that I could create salable assets using my skills. I truly realized financial freedom . I felt like, at last, I broke free from the chain that was holding me to a location and 9-5 jobs.

The book had profound impact on my lifestyle, I how I take jobs, residence, and work.  I will discuss a few brilliant lesson learned from the book if you ever want to break free from your routine life

1. The 80/20 Principle – 80% Output is the Result of 20% Input

I was a 6-Sigma black belt and I knew the principle of 80/20 or Pareto’s Principle. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, Vilfredo Pareto, the Italian economist concluded that 80% of the wealth and income was produced and possessed by 20% of the population.  But he also found the mathematical formula was applicable outside of economics as well. In fact, it could be found just about everywhere. For example,

  • 80% of Pareto’s garden peas were produced by 20% of the peapods he had planted.
  • 80% of company profits come from 20% of the products and customers.
  • 80% of your complaints come from 20% of your customers.

You could say 80% of the output is a result of 20% of the input.  Tim suggests that you can eliminate waste in your life by 80/20 ing everything.  I started doing at least once a month, preferable twice, to really see where I’m able to optimize my time, energy, money etc.  This is, by far, one of the best things to do to really discover where you should put your focus. I also realized that

1. Doing something unimportant does not make it important.

2. Requiring a lot of time does not make a task important. What you do is exponentially more important than how you do it. While efficiency is important, it is useless unless applied to the right things.

2. Deferred Life Plan is Bad Idea

Most people will work 40 years to get a nice retirement to live a dream life.  They will plan to defer whatever they want to a future when they don’t have to work for money anymore. This is normal. People have been doing this since the advent of white collar jobs.

For most people this is impossible unless you inherit your wealthy parents’ money  without participating in your father’s business.  For the first time in history Tim Ferriss showed us that it is possible to create cash without  consuming time (a muse). It was under my nose. I had a website that was making $40K a year (Classifieds For Free) and just sold a PPC arbitrage website for a nice chunk of money.

He further told us countless stories of how people have optimized their muse and outsource their day-to-day tasks in generating passive cash flow without  having to worry about money or job security. I was fully prepared to take the challenge that lied before me.

3. Cost of Inaction

What is costing you to quit your job, starting a business, traveling, getting healthy, or anything else, what are the costs of waiting?  I wanted to experience a hedonistic life style. I wanted to indulge in psychedelic and legal sexual pleasure without any constraints. Time is finite, and I was not guaranteed the next day. I was 44.

Tim says, “Someday” is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. Pro and con lists are just as bad. If it’s important to you and you want to do it “eventually,” just do it and correct course along the way.”

At the age of 44, two decades after I graduated from university, I realized that I have enough money and a valuable skill to fall back for launching my hedonistic life journey. The feeling was great and most liberating.

4. The Guilt of Non-Finishing

From childhood we are taught that we have to finish a task once we start. From dinner to music lessons, from art class to Karate lesson, we are told to finish what we have started. We don’t want to be quitter.

Tim challenges the idea of finishing everything. He said just because you start something, doesn’t automatically justify finishing it. As an example he aid if you bought a  $9 bags of popcorn and 64oz drinks in a movie theatre, you don’t have to finish it.  Its okay to stop something that is boring or a waste of time if it isn’t required as part of your job.

Tim says, “Lifestyle design is based on massive action— output. Increased output necessitates decreased input. Most information is time-consuming, negative, irrelevant to your goals, and outside of your influence.”

Enjoy the things that really matter to you. If you have passion for something, enjoy your passions. If you like to watch SciFi movies, don’t waste your time watching romance. If you like to play video game, don’t waste your time watching political debates.

5. Freedom Means Giving Up Control

I was a perfectionist and afraid to give up control when designing a software or system. I wanted to do every thing by myself. Being able to live in a way for the first few years due to the money I had in my banks, it was easy. However, after a few years when I started freelancing, I did not care to control software design and development process.

I set up systems to architect solutions and  outsource many aspects of design and development.  I was enjoying a 4-hour work week, leading a hedonistic lifestyle at the expense of some  one in India or Philippines working 40 or 60 hours to lead a normal lifestyle of a white collar worker.