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Gibsons, BC

By Patrick | Best Places to Retire

by Audrey
(Gibsons BC)

Gibsons Harbour

Ever since I came here as a young child in 1956, Gibsons has been a good place to retire. In those days, it was pretty remote. My parents didn’t even know where it was when my dad was posted here.

Then came The Beachcombers, a highly popular TV show, that let the world know just how gorgeous Gibsons really is. Things have never been the same. At first the cast and crew looked for rental accommodation. Then they decided this was heaven and they bought property. That started a real estate feeding frenzy.

Even so, this is still a relatively quiet spot. We are separated from the lower mainland of British Columbia by very impassable rocky terrain so we have to take a ferry or fly in and out. Most of us take the ferry.

I recently met someone who lives here and hates it. I asked him why, and he told me that he couldn’t buy a Coke at midnight. Two days later I noticed that both Wendy’s and McDonald’s, both of which sell Coke, are now open 24 hours, so I guess he must have some other complaint. I have to go to Vancouver for women’s shoes, but I can get pretty much everything else I need here.

It’s cheaper to live here than it is in Vancouver, and a little more expensive than some other places in BC.

But for pure beauty it can’t be beat. The arts community is vibrant. There really is a lot to do.

And if you want a Coke at midnight, you can have that, too.

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Gers, Gascony, SW France

By Patrick | Europe

 

by Richard W
(Denver, CO)

Gascony in SW France is a wonderful, relatively undiscovered part of France. It boarders Spain and the Pyranees Mountains. Home of Armagnac and Fois Gras. its pastoral and relaxed yet close to Toulouse and Bordeaux.
Plus France offers the best health care system in the world and of course some of the best cuisine as well. Viva La France!

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Crawfordsville, IN

By Patrick | Best Places to Retire

 

by Carwyn Williams
(Crawfordsville, IN USA)

A great small town; the Montomgery county seat and home to Wabash College, a liberal arts college established in 1832. Lots of interesting folks, close to West Lafayette (Purdue University), and Indianapolis; the usual American shopping including Walmart and Applebee’s, but also some interesting local places. This town used to be called “the Athens of Indiana” and has a great art/literature history, including a beautiful museum in the study of Lew Wallace, author or Ben Hur and civil war general, later ambassador to Turkey. Also, the home of the man who nominated Lincoln for President is a museum. There are summer Sunday concerts in the park and lots of free concerts and lectures at the College. Many folks quilt and paint and there are multiple shows each year.

The museums and college have websites — check them out!

People are friendly, accepting of strangers. My neighbors don’t even lock their front doors! For not much more than $100K you can get a lovely old Victorian home with mature trees. There are state parks nearby, a canoe stream through town, lots of local farmers markets, a new winery, and two health food stores.

So, if you think you could live away from the coast where there’s a verdant spring, warm porch-swing summer, colorful fall and white Christmas you might really want to check out the low cost of living. We have a $135K Victorian on which we pay less than $500/yr property tax! The state income tax rate is less than 4% and licensing your car is pretty inexpensive too!

I’m writing because I am looking for interesting folks to spend my retirement with and hope you’ll join me in Crawfordsville!

A visit to Chiang Mai Thailand

By Patrick | Cheap Places to Retire

by Roger
(Durban; South Africa)

In November 2009 I took a trip to Chiang Mai Thailand and after travelling around the beautiful but often commercialised Southern coastal area flew via Bangkok to the Northern city of Chiang Mai. I stayed just a few days there but without doubt it was the highlight of my trip and the number one reason was the openness, tolerance, hospitality and friendliness of the people.

It’s much cooler than the steamy South and Bangkok.

Chiang Mai is smaller than Bangkok and doesn’t have anywhere near as much traffic and the old walled city centre is a comparatively quiet area with side streets and hidden temples to explore. I found that after a couple of days I became almost a local in the area around the guest house and was greeted by the tuk tuk drivers, chatted with the pretty girl in the café and made friends with the guys at the trekking company.

There’s plenty to do in and around Chiang Mai. I took a bike ride in the Southern suburbs through quiet lanes following Emily in her pink bonnet where we visited a leper colony, temple ruins, a local market, a biscuit factory and taught English to the school children.

A trip up numerous hair pin bends to visit Wat Phra That Doi is a must although we went at the weekend and it was crowded. This is a very holy temple with good views over the city but we were unfortunate as it was cloudy and quite cold. We also visited the Mien people in their village but this was rather commercialised and disappointing.

A trip to an elephant reserve is not to everyone’s taste, I’m not a big fan of tame circus type shows as it’s clear that a lot of cruelty is used to break the animals’ spirit, but a ride on an elephant is quite an experience.

I enjoyed a stop at a local market where one can sample the specialities; grasshoppers, flies, frogs, crabs, eels, snakes, exotic fruits; you name it they’ve got it. Presentation of the food is all important and everything is beautifully set out and served. A well dressed lady took it upon herself to show me the exquisite orchids for sale.

In the evenings the roads are cleared and a large night market takes over selling everything from textiles, food, jewellery, art and all spiced up with music and lots of food stalls. Sit down with the locals and have a spicy soup from 25 baht ($0.80).

I did a cookery course with Asia scenic, they take you first into the garden to pick herbs and then a walk to the local market to buy the ingredients. After cooking the dishes one sits down and gorges on the result; this was the only time I had an adverse reaction to Thai food; I only had myself to blame!

I then did a 3 day trek on the Burmese border with Pooh Eco-trekking, where we hiked to a Poe village and stayed overnight with the headman’s family. The following day we hiked to the river and stayed overnight at a private campsite before wading through the amazing Bat cave. This was a wonderful but strenuous trip and the highlight of my visit to Thailand.

So would I retire to Chang Mai? Well it’s certainly an option; the cost of living is very cheap, the people are tolerant and friendly, the climate is good, there is plenty to do and see and there are good connections by air, road and train.

Of course to retire to a country not knowing people and leaving behind family and friends is a gamble so I would suggest one first spends three months there and then make the decision to stay or return home. Either way it won’t be time wasted.

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Senior Retirement Living – a New and Secure Change

By Patrick | Best Places to Retire

Successful Retirement

Forty is the old age of youth, fifty is the youth of old age ~ Hosea Ballou

Senior retirement living – now you’re senior, now you’re retired, now it’s time for living.

The children have flown the coop, their rooms are deserted (and tidy!), there are areas that are now seldom, if ever, used … but still have to be cleaned and heated.

What used to be sparkling new … is now looking a bit jaded. There are endless things to repair and a deserted garden to maintain … it’s now time for a change.

As we approach retirement our priorities morph from “status” living to practical living. Flashy cars and large houses being replaced by more practical and pressing concerns like health care and security.

In the famous words of Pete Seeger – adapted from the Book of Ecclesiastes.
“There is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven;
A time to be born, a time to die; A time to plant, a time to reap;
A time to laugh, a time to weep; A time to kill, a time to heal;
To everything – there is a season; And a time for every purpose under heaven;
A time to build up, a time to break down.”

You start thinking that your ideal home may be a small 2 or 3 bedroom house or apartment … and lots of motels or hotels nearby for the annual children’s and grand-children’s visit!

These lock up and go places are also ideal as one is now free to travel and see all those places and do all those things that always had to be postponed.

Retirement . . . is when you stop living at work and begin working at living ~ Unknown

There may be another far more stressful reason for investigating your senior retirement living options … looking for ways to reduce living costs.

Consider the fact that 95 out of every 100 retirees will have some kind of financial challenge during their retirement. To survive they will either have to carry on working, down grade their lifestyle or depend on others – either their children, their friends or handouts.

Cape Town

Health concerns will be a growing issue and senior retirement living communities may start looking more and more attractive. With many being developed around specific types of lifestyles and offering a wide range of services and facilities.

A number of these facilities include retirement homes, nursing homes and assisted living resources. This model is cost effective as specialist services can be concentrated into an area and the costs shared.

If you are one of the more fortunate retirees your retirement living choices will not be limited by finance but by your imagination.

You will be looking for places where you can indulge your interests and hobbies and where you can be a part of, and hopefully contribute to, a community with common interests.

You may consider retiring offshore or finding some exotic cheap retirement destination. You may want to spend time having extended holidays in interesting countries, or going back to college, or learning a new language.

Making your senior retirement living choice is the first step in your overall retirement plan.

This choice is a vital element of the plan as it has a major influence on your retirement financial planning.

Cape Town

So when considering your senior retirement living options use your imagination and really question any preconceived assumptions.

For example I’ve often heard comments like “I want to be near my grandchildren”. In this case it may be worth considering a week, or two, a year of real quality holiday time rather than odd fleeting visits because you live close by. If you choose an interesting and exciting place you won’t be able to keep your family away!

Remember that your grandchildren have their own life and their parents often don’t need interfering grandparents around! For me, to overcome the distance between me in South Africa and my grandchildren in London we complement our twice a year visits with weekly chats on Skype.

Here are some interesting questions to ask yourself as you consider your senior retirement living decision;

  • What are you going to do every day? Does it really mean something to you?
  • Will you eventually get bored?
  • What excites you?
  • What would you like to do that you aren’t doing now, or have never done before?
  • What will be your life balance?
  • Do you have any meaningful hobbies, past times or interests?
  • Family – will you possibly impose to satisfy your needs? They need their space and you need yours
  • Are you going to travel? How and how often?
  • Do you want to live overseas either permanently, or part time?

Be creative and enthusiastic when making your senior retirement living choice …. it’s been what you’ve been dreaming about for a long time … its now time to make your dreams come true.


Retirement Lifestyle Story

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Please share it!

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Retire to New Zealand – there aren’t many better options.

By Patrick | Best Places to Retire

Retire to New Zealand to one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Multi cultural, healthy, sport loving, with temperate weather, little air pollution, a progressive vibe, and an average life expectancy two years higher than in the U.S.

Maori Mask

The country is about the same size as Italy, the United Kingdom or the U.S state of Colorado. Comprising two large islands, North Island and South Island. Together with several smaller ones of which Stewart Island is the largest and often referred to as ‘the third island’.

The 32km (20 mile) wide Cook Strait separates the North and South Islands. The Pacific Ocean lies to the north and east with the Tasman Sea between New Zealand and Australia.

 New Zealand was voted one of the world’s healthiest places to live in a recent International Living survey.  Stress free and healthy could best describe the exceptional lifestyle of the population of just over 4 million.

There are two options to retire to New Zealand

  • Temporary Retirement Category – A two year renewable visa for those aged 66 years or over, requiring a NZ $750,000 (US $ 550 000) investment.
  • Parent Retirement Category – A permanent residence visa for people of any age who wish to invest NZ $1 million (US $730 000) over four years and who have children who are New Zealand residents or citizens.

New Zealand can provide both an exceptional lifestyle and investment opportunity if you’re looking to move. Progressive and First World small businesses are a very common feature of New Zealand.

You could apply for a visa under the retirement policy if you’re tempted by the leisurely retirement lifestyle and you have the funds to invest.

With capital to invest together with your experience, business expertise and international connections, there may be options for a visa under the Business Migration Categories which has two options:

  • Investing funds into New Zealand businesses and bonds.
  • Setting up a business in New Zealand.

The Geography

Retire to New Zealand - Tasman Glacier

No matter where you live in New Zealand, you are probably less than an hour away from the ocean, and less than 4 hours from a ski slope. On the same day you can mountain bike, snowboard and surf!

However the most popular participation sports are not the hard core competitive ones, but walking and hiking.

Over a third of New Zealand is made up of protected parkland and marine reserves. These include a stunning variation of scenery, vegetation and geography. The temperate climate offers many opportunities to indulge an outdoor lifestyle. 

Some of the worlds best trout fishing is reputed to be in  Zealand. There are approximately 400 golf-courses … per head more than any other country in the world!

New Zealand cuisine and regional wineries are well-regarded internationally so there’s plenty to tantalise your taste buds.

The Weather

The weather in New Zealand varies greatly throughout the country. Even though it’s such a small country it could be sunny and warm on the East Coast, and pouring with rain on the West Coast.  This is partly due to the chain of mountains running through the centre.

In winter, the average maximum temperature ranges between 10-15C (50-59F). The far north of New Zealand has an average temperature of 15C (59F), and is the warmest part of the country throughout the year. In summer it’s not unusual for the temperatures to be between the mid-20’s to low 30’sC (77-90F).

Cost of Living

The cost of living would not put New Zealand into the cheap retirement destination category but rather a good value destination.  Property prices are reasonably cheap by world standards.

Medical costs are generally free or at least affordable.  Essential heath care is provided free to all residents under the public system. This means that while some routine services, such as visits to doctors and dentists have to be paid for, more costly services, such as hospital treatment are free for all residents.

The downsides to retiring to New Zealand are that it’s relatively difficult and expensive to get into the country and it’s a long haul from both Europe and the U.S.

In the most comprehensive migrant research (Longitudinal Immigration Study) ever done in New Zealand 7 000 immigrants were tracked over their first three years of residency. The results showed that most new residents were satisfied, well settled and recommending New Zealand to their friends and family overseas.

Retire to New Zealand a country where you’ll want for nothing and live out your years healthy and safe … a perfect home from home destination.


Best Places to Retire: Take a minute to discover yours

Cheapest Places to Retire – Exotic and Exciting Locations

By Patrick | Cheap Places to Retire

Successful RetirementTitle Image

When looking for the cheapest places to retire one is usually faced with two options.

Either to find a relatively affordable place in one’s own country or to go the whole hog and find a much cheaper place in another country.

Although this decision involves very personal choices a growing number of people are now looking at the second option as it usually offers the cheapest places to retire.

While there are many reasons for considering relocation to a cheap country, some compelling ones are:

  • Having a quality of life which one could never afford at home;
  • The challenge of a new beginning;
  • A feeling of resentment towards a government which one believes has resulted in contributing to ones dire financial situation;
  • A fear that things at home are getting worse and worse.

I see this gaze beyond the borders of your country of birth as the same choice my grandfather made when he came to South Africa from Ireland in the early 1900’s … a move to where there are greater benefits and opportunities.

Many of the cheapest places to retire are located in the most beautiful and exotic locations on earth.

Although these places are often in the developing world they offer a fantastic alternative lifestyle to retirees.

Often these economies are in a better overall state than the highly indebted first world countries and many have been savvy enough to realise that the “retirement market” is an attractive, growing niche.

balconyview

As you look at this picture you may be wondering where this beautiful place is … South Africa!

To many people this country will conjure up thoughts of murder, mayhem and corruption …. but there are also many tranquil and peaceful places to enjoy. While I know that there are many problems in the country, my point is that we often are too hasty and prejudiced in making our judgments.

In many cases people will be forced to consider one of the cheapest places to retire as the world as we knew it, or thought it would be, has drastically changed. There will some compromises that will have to be made but to many people this will turn out to be an exciting adventure.

One should remember that many of the affordable places to retire are in non-English speaking locations. While this may add to the adventure it will certainly be a challenging hurdle to overcome.

So over the next few years the trend will grow as more and more people consider the world’s cheapest places to retire.

Many of these countries are:

  • building hospitals and investing in improved medical facilities;
  • developing attractive tax regimes;
  • investing in technology such as high speed internet;
  • encouraging the development of gated communities to ensure the safety of residents.

Recreation in these countries is often an attractive feature. For example, within half an hour from my home there are golf courses, bowling greens, tennis courts, horse riding, scuba diving, walking, mountain biking, deep sea fishing, quad biking and river rafting in fact just about any summer outdoor activity is probably available.

Also the really important point is that everything is cheap!

Seniors Walking

If you are driven by a passion to give back to society you will have many opportunities to fulfill your mission. In many of the cheapest places to retire there are countless ways to contribute to the very poor communities. Anyone with skills, expertise and drive can have a major impact.

The weather in many of these places is ideal. The mild winters and hot summers ensure that outdoor living can be enjoyed all year round.

By considering one of the cheapest places to retire you may put yourself in a position to live out your retirement by taking advantage of the best of both hemisphere’s.

In the event of not moving permanently, house swapping or renting may present an alternative lifestyle. In many countries property rents have plummeted and this offer attractive opportunities for extended visits … often at no more cost than staying at home.

Attractive countries worth considering include:

  • Central America – Belize, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama
  • South America – Equador, Colombia, Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil
  • South East Asia – Phillipines, Thailand
  • Africa – Morocco, South Africa (where recently in our area I’ve noticed many English and German people)

Open your mind and dream – one of the cheapest places to retire may be your ultimate nirvana!


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Some Ideas from other Visitors

Cheap Places to Retire: 10 Interesting Options
Retire Cheap: By circumstance or design – there are still have many options for a winning retirement
Retire in Central America: Many of these countries are paving the way for retirees
Retiring to Costa Rica: A popular retirement destination.
Retiring in Belize: Friendly Caribbean paradise.
Retiring in Thailand: Asian retirement mecca with First World service and hospitality