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Malaga skyline

Are you facing the prospect of a retirement in which the defining characteristic is financial struggle?

Are you concerned that you haven’t saved enough for retirement?

The internet is awash with stories and articles about how you can live comfortably overseas for just $1500-2000 a month – which is within range of most couples’ Social Security checks.

These figures are said to include rent for a two-bedroom furnished apartment, meals (including some meals eaten out), and utilities, including internet service. The people who write these articles claim that you don’t have to pinch pennies to achieve these results, nor do you have to live in squalor.

Can this be true? Such claims always prompt the skeptical me to think, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

...continue reading "Can You Really Save Money by Retiring Overseas? Should You?"


Catedral de Gacheta-Colombia
Catedral de Gacheta-Colombia

What’s the first thing you think of when you think of Colombia?

I’ll be honest. Up until recently, the first thing I thought of was drug cartels – cartels so prominent that they were named after major cities such as Medellin and Cali. Just two decades ago, Colombia was a dangerous, lawless country overrun by crime.

That has changed. While there is still a drug industry in Colombia (there’s a drug industry in the United States too, if you hadn’t noticed), the government has made great strides with keeping it in check, and the decades-long civil conflict between the government and leftist and right-wing rebel groups appears to be coming to an end. (More on this later.)

In recent years, Colombia has appeared high on many “best international places to retire” lists, so in this article I will take a closer look. Fortunately, I have three friends who have first-hand experience with staying in Colombia, and they have graciously provided me with thorough, thoughtful inputs about their experience. One friend lives in Medellin permanently now, one spent a month last summer visiting Bogota, Medellin, and Cartagena for an architecture Masters degree project, and one is currently spending a month in Bogota and will spend next month in Medellin.

All three friends report very favorable impressions of Colombia.

...continue reading "Fabulous Places to Retire: Colombia"

When it comes to choosing a place to live during retirement, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) people want the same things that everyone else wants – someplace safe, reasonably priced, agreeable climate, cultural and recreational amenities, and good healthcare.

LGBT people, however, have a few additional factors to consider. Those include: how tolerant an area is, the presence of a gay community, and healthcare providers that are welcoming towards LGBT people. Sadly, instances in which LGBT patients are treated poorly and same-sex partners are denied visitation rights or decision-making rights in hospitals and nursing homes are still all too common.
Austin is one of ten great places to retire

How can straight people benefit from a list of LGBT-friendly retirement cities?

First, most of the criteria used to select these cities are the same ones that are important to most retirees.

Second, a city’s acceptance of its LGBT citizens is a good indicator of how accepting it will be for people of all diverse demographics, such as ethnic minorities or religious minorities. Areas with rich diversity tend to offer more culinary choices and broader cultural offerings than areas with more homogenous populations.

I recently had the honor of contributing a guest post on this topic to TopRetirements. is the place to go for information about retirement communities throughout the United States and elsewhere in the world. Their wealth of collected information comes both from data and from their readers' real-life experiences. I have learned a lot simply by reading the comment threads to many of the site's articles.

Jump on over to this article on TopRetirements to discover ten great places for LGBT people - and everyone - to retire, and learn what makes them good choices.

...continue reading "10 Great Places to Retire for LGBT People – and Everyone!"


Wheres the best place to retire

[Editor's Note: An updated version of this article appears here.]

Do you ever daydream about where you’d most like to live after you retire?

When you visit beautiful places on vacation, do you ever think, “Wow… It sure would be great to retire here!”?

Do you ever think that surely there must be some place out there that’s just right for you?

It’s fun to think about where you want to retire!  After all, once you no longer have your job tying you to a particular area, there’s no reason not to move to a place that’s more to your liking if you want to.  Perhaps you want to move someplace warmer, someplace where the cost of living is lower or someplace closer to the water.

But once you start to think more seriously about where you want to live, it becomes more complicated and perplexing than fun.   There are so many factors to consider:  cost of living, weather, taxes, how close you want to be to your friends and family, whether an area has the amenities you desire…  It can get overwhelming fast!

With so many factors to consider, which ones are truly important? 

...continue reading "Where’s the Best Place to Retire?"

A lot of people, both retirees and those who are still working, enjoy vacationing on cruise ships.  I have taken ten cruises that have carried me to Europe (four times), the southern Caribbean, Alaska, Hawaii, Tahiti, South America, and New Zealand/Australia.  I have enjoyed them all immensely, especially the last three.

Recently, I saw a meme on Facebook about a woman who eschewed living in a retirement home in favor of living permanently on a cruise ship.  When asked by the unidentified author, she claimed that living on the cruise ship was cheaper than living in a nursing home.  The author went on to enumerate ten benefits to retirement on a cruise ship.

Of course, this meme had me scurrying to, where I expected to find this urban legend thoroughly exposed and debunked.  In fact, some of the claims made in this story are inaccurate or entirely false.  But I was surprised to learn that there really are people who live almost full-time on cruise ships for years at a time (and I’m talking about paying customers, not the ship’s crew).

Just think - you could travel the world, meet new people, and never have to cook or clean!  Could this be retirement utopia for you?

Could living on a cruise ship really be less expensive than other options?

Do people really do this?

...continue reading "Smooth Sailing Through Retirement: Could Living on a Cruise Ship Be Your Utopia?"


You know it’s out there somewhere – the perfect place to retire. A place that's comfortable, classy, rich with amenities, and located in a beautiful area with perfect weather and scenic views.

Could such a place actually exist? Or is there always going to be someplace else where the grass is greener?

Of course, no place is perfect. And what may seem like Retirement Utopia to you might be completely undesirable to someone else.

But I recently visited a place that had so much going for it, I found myself wondering if I had found Retirement Utopia.

...continue reading "The Quest for Retirement Utopia:  Could This Be the Place?"

Map with Push Pins

The internet is consumed with list-mania!  It seems that top ten lists (or twelve, or twenty, or…) are the magic formula to attract viewer traffic.  Some web sites are comprised of nothing but top ten lists, and some major news web sites publish lists frequently as well.

There are now dozens, if not hundreds, of "Best Places to Retire" lists on the internet.

Can you trust them?

With so many contradictory lists, how are you to make sense of it all?

...continue reading "Best Places to Retire Lists – Fact, Fiction, or Fantasy?"


Retire Fabulously Snowbirds Crowded Freeway Heavy Traffic Retirement
Snowbirds add millions of dollars to the local economy, but also clog the freeways, restaurants, and check-out lines.

It’s December in Phoenix. Our daily high temperatures reach into the upper 70s, and our nighttime lows are in the lower 50s. The days shift between sunny and partly cloudy; it rains only occasionally.

The freeway traffic is heavier, the restaurants are more crowded, and the grocery check-out lines are longer. Why? The snowbirds are here!

Snowbirds are people who migrate from colder regions of the United States and Canada to sunny spots in Florida, Arizona, and other Sunbelt states every year.

But to the millions of people who migrate every year, it offers the best of both worlds – an opportunity to maintain ties to your family, friends, and the familiarity of the place you’ve called home for much of your life, as well as an escape from cold, wintery weather and a change of scenery.

Why is seasonal migration so popular among retirees?  What are the drawbacks and the costs?  What do you need to plan for, and what challenges must be confronted?

...continue reading "The Best of Both Worlds: The Pros and Cons of the Snowbird Lifestyle"


MalagaMalaga at Night

For many years, Spain has enjoyed a reputation as a fantastic vacation destination. It’s warm climate, sunny Mediterranean beaches, history, art, and culture, as well as its friendly, easy-going, relaxed atmosphere, have delighted travelers for years.

More recently, Spain has emerged as a top-tier retirement choice. Let’s look at why.

The Weather

If warm weather is your preference, you’ll find most of Spain to your liking, especially along the Mediterranean coast.

All along the Mediterranean coast, summers are hot but not oppressive. Malaga (a coastal city in the south) records average highs of 30oC (86oF) in summer. Temperatures rarely dip below freezing in Barcelona (at the north end of the coast), coastal cities farther south never experience freezing temperatures, and it never snows. ...continue reading "Fabulous Places to Retire: Spain"

The small South American country of Uruguay, nestled between Argentina and Brazil, may be one of the world’s best kept secrets as a destination for both retirement and vacation travel.

Jeff and I had the opportunity to visit Punta del Este, Uruguay in 2014.  Unfortunately, we didn't get to visit Montevideo (we were at the mercy of a cruise itinerary), but we liked what we saw in Punta del Este so much that we have a return trip to Uruguay on our short list.  I've done a lot more research on Uruguay since then, too, and my impression of this country remains highly favorable.

Uruguay offers first-world living at prices that are considerably lower than many people in North America, Europe, and Australia/New Zealand are accustomed to paying.  Uruguay is more expensive than many places in Latin America, but still quite affordable.  Uruguay is one of the most politically, socially, and economically stable countries in South America.  Uruguay also has the safest drinking water, the best roads, the most reliable electrical system, and the fastest Internet in Latin America.

...continue reading "Fabulous Places to Retire: Uruguay"