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Sep 30 2017

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Searching the World for the Best Place to Retire: One Couple’s Criteria

Last year, while shopping in our local organic produce market, I met Joan and Dan who were visiting Costa Rica for a few months and had recently moved to San Ramón. We struck up a conversation and the four of us became fast friends. Dan and Joan have since returned to their home in Ohio but are still investigating places they might like to retire at some point in the future. In the meantime, they are enjoying their trips to many countries including Costa Rica, Ecuador, Portugul, Thailand, and India, trying to find the best fit for them.

Paul recently had a conversation with Dan about their criteria for determining the right place for them to retire overseas. Following are the things that are important to Dan and Joan about their future home:

Here is my list of what we are looking for, knowing that no where would have them all.  But it keeps our heads on straight. San Ramón has a lot of the assets I mentioned.

Climate matters – I need weather to invite me to be outside instead of being miserable to be outside many months of the year.

Infrastructure – Be connected to nature and the elements. Are there areas we can walk that has green space, lakes, ocean or rivers that are close by…birds and other living things in nature

Shopping – Friendly and family-run businesses as well as a megastore, if possible, when needed.

Organic type culture – What we had in the USA before the mid 1950s. Healthy vegetables and food without pesticides, etc that are killing Americans from obesity and disease — or as reasonably close as we can come.

Transportation – Transportation systems that work for all classes of people, preferably NOT requiring a car, and allows safety & mobility for a fair price. Also, an airport that is within 1 hour or so.

Banking/Finance – It has to be functional, not perfect. ATMs are a must. Must have some safety of getting packages, etc. from delivery services; so a stabile government is required.

Health Care – We do mostly alternative but use dentists, MDs, DO’s and Rx medicine when it makes sense; health check ups, blood test, etc to see if we are on track. Family doctors are a dying breed in the USA but available in most other countries. Clinics are OK. An EXCELLENT rated hospital within an hour or so is very important. Eating healthy and moving our bodies, along with meditation and a spiritual practice is important. Volunteer opportunities or just be helpful to those around you. The belief that “The world revolves around me” is terrible for our own health, making friends, and the world!

Community – the people in the community matter. Signs are the type of organizations from all viewpoints, how much they value education and the willingness to pay for the future generation, even if they have no kids in school! Are people looking out for their family only, or the larger community? How clean is the area compared to the rest of the country or region? Do they have pride in their town, not just the sports team? Do they teach their children to participate in community events? Are the cultural traditions followed out of love or guilt? Is there music, theater, art? Is there a creative community within their community that is supported?

Senior Citizens – Are they valued and respected? Cared for and treated well? Joan and I are looking at where we can find quality care that affordable as we start losing our abilities. The hell my mother went through in a nursing home with Rx meds only, unhealthy food and mediocre care has moved me away from the system in the USA. They would not give or allow alternative treatment; so I snuck in what I could, but the ill effects of the Rx and food finally took over. Not pleasant and much suffering in her last year.

Social life – Can we make local friends?

We share Dan and Joan’s criteria to help you think about what’s important to you as you consider retirement overseas. As we reviewed their criteria, we recognized many things that were important to us as well when making the decision about where to retire.

How about you? What would be on your list? Let us know either in the comments section or via email. We would love to hear from you.

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