Leaving the comforts of the home and the city you have lived in for many years to move to a foreign country can be both scary and liberating at the same time. Why would a person move to a foreign country when they seem to have everything they need here in the United States? Someone who does this is called an “EXPAT”.
What is an “EXPAT”?
An EXPAT (short for expatriate) is simply “someone who lives outside their native country.”
There are many reasons. Some folks pickup and move outside of the US seeking adventure, a change of pace, or perhaps, through marriage, they decide to move closer to family abroad. These are all good reasons, but the number one reason people move to a foreign country is financial.
There are countries around the world, especially in Central America, South America, and Southeast Asia, where a couple can live very well on $800-$2000 a month. People moving out of the US to live abroad is a growing trend because they can barely survive here on their social security check. But that same check can go much further and help them thrive in other countries.
Healthcare cost is a big reason people are moving out of the US. A large number of the popular expat destination countries offer healthcare plans at a fraction of the cost that we have here in the US. In fact, often medical and prescriptions costs can even be paid for out of pocket because of how inexpensive the prices are in those countries.
Now before you start saying “Why would I move out of the United States for healthcare? The US has the best health care in the world”, check out these stats that show where the US ranks in the world for healthcare. Would you be surprised to know that Colombia, South America ranks ahead of the US?
When I tell people that I plan to roam around the country in my RV for a few years and then move to Central or South America, they look at me like I’ve just lost my mind. Most people have been conditioned to follow the straight and narrow path of a traditional retirement, so when I talk about moving to Nicaragua or Colombia, people tend to get this very confused look on their face like they are missing something.
Most people are guilty of living their life in their comfort zone and there is nothing wrong with that. I did that for years and years. That’s how I know it so well. However, know that there are other options available. Instead of working 40-60 hours a week, having stress affect your health, know that you could be sitting in a tropical destination living your life the way you want to live it. Yes, it is possible.
Writing my book “Retire Early… What are you waiting for?” which is due out in September, I’ve done extensive research on what countries US expats are moving to and what the costs are.
When you think about moving outside the country, especially in areas like Central and South America, you might think you’ll have to make a lot of sacrifices in your life to do so. If you choose to live life in a thatch hut on the beach, you can find that. However, most Americans are moving to cities where they don’t have to sacrifice much of anything in modern lifestyle.
Take for instance, Medellin, Colombia. Medellin was once known as the world’s most dangerous city when Pablo Escobar was terrorizing it. Nowadays, it’s become a safe and popular destination for expats from all over the world due to its very mild climate, high quality but affordable medical facilities, and beautiful culture. Additionally, it has all of the modern conveniences that you would find anywhere in the US but those are at a fraction of the cost as well.
Numbeo is a great website that allows you to compare different countries on prices, safety, healthcare and quality of life. Here is a comparison of the prices where I live in Asheville NC versus the prices in Medellin.
As you can see, most of the prices are substantially less unless you’re buying milk, gas, or Levi jeans.
I challenge you to do this: Go watch some YouTube videos of folks living as expats in foreign countries and you’ll see most of them stress free and smiling. It’s obvious in their energy and the way they communicate – they are in a different mindset.
Living abroad is not for everyone but it is an option that you should consider if you’re looking to get out of the rat race, broaden your horizons while on a budget, or find an affordable new home for a while.
Three years ago, I would have never considered this an option but the more I researched it the more excited I got about doing it.
We went down to Tulum, Mexico in February (great time to go, eh?) on one of our “Retire Early 365 Scouting Missions”. The experience was great, and I provided a few blog reports that you can enjoy here.
Oh, and by the way, if I see you in Medellin, I’ll buy the first round.
Life free my friends