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One of my friends and his wife have just moved to Costa Rica to live more affordably and enjoy the nice weather. Health reversals and newly constrained finances made Ann Arbor less viable for him, but with his present means they can live comfortably in Costa Rica. God bless them. I hope everything is better for them than they had even hoped.

You might also be considering retiring overseas. I urge you to get and read this book to help you think things through before you take the plunge or act on the advice of someone who knows your sister's ex-husband.

Kathleen Peddicord has lived overseas for years and currently resides in Panama with her husband and son. Previously, they had lived in Ireland, and Paris.

I lived in Australia for a couple years as a young man and travelled for business in the 1990s. Now, I stay firmly rooted on the ground in Ann Arbor, Michigan. But I can see the wanderlust in many of my friends' eyes.

She covers what you need to know very well.

Section I covers the 10 steps that you should do now while you are at home and considering a move overseas. Think about what you really want and can tolerate by way of change. What a realistic budget would be (this isn't going to be a two week splurge on a vacation). Examining the geography what it means to your connections back home and how you will live there. What would your tax implications be? What about your health insurance? What is the market there for rentals and home sales? What about the stuff you have accumulated for a lifetime? Maybe you want a part-time retirement over there.

Section II lists a bunch of specific topics that you can examine if they interest you. What if you are looking for cheap living? Top notch health care? Great weather? No language barriers? A solid American ex-pat community? These and more are in this section.

Section III lists that author's picks for the top 14 foreign retirement countries. No, my friend's choice of Costa Rica isn't there. And France is, strangely enough.

Section IV provides you with advice on how to settle in once you get there and making the most of your new mode of living.

Section V is very important because I have seen many Americans go overseas only to be disappointed that the new place isn't America. Folks, it won't be and never will be. The author helps you work through the common problems and panic attacks.

She provides a nice and helpful conclusion and an appendix with approximate costs of living in the 14 countries she has selected (in U.S. dollars) so you can understand if you can afford your dream move.

This book is well written, clearly laid out, and interesting if this is a subject that interests you even a little bit.

I think this is a very worthwhile book for those even dreaming about such a move.

Reviewed by Craig Matteson, Ann Arbor, MI
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VINE VOICEon August 14, 2010
"How to Retire Overseas" by Kathleen Peddicord is a door opener for tens of millions of Americans that are entering into retirement age. The Golden Years are yours. All you have to do is move.

Retirement is Over in the US - This book is helpful in its information as well as making Americans realize that the concept of retirement in the United States was a short term phenomena in American history that is finished. And it's been over for some time. But even if Americans could retire in the US, living overseas can be much more interesting for some. But the positive is, we have a large and varied world to experience. Often, at the fraction of the cost of retiring in the US. The quality of life can be much higher also.

This book is divided into five sections.

One of the sections lists the top retirement countries according to author Kathleen Peddicord. Interestingly some of these (European) countries are expensive and may have prohibitive or difficult visa retirement regulations. I am surprised that any European nation is included at all, because Americans that can retire in Europe could also retire in the US in my opinion.

"How to Retire Overseas" seems to target the American citizens that have not traveled abroad for more than 2 weeks, nor have lived overseas as an expat. The recent economic downturn (which will last for years) is now causing many to contemplate retiring overseas and this is definitely worth considering.

A cost of living index for each country listed in the book is included and very important. The index is listed in US dollars, which is equally important, but it should be noted that the US dollar is on dubious ground. Many British retirees in Spain and elsewhere had to return to Britain after the British pound declined in value. Many of them sold everything in the UK, but later had to return. Diversifying investments out of the USD should be considered.

Of course, the quality of medical care must be evaluated, and those forgoing medicare can get top-quality care in many foreign countries. The (retirement) visa situation is something that may or may not change, but when it does, it's usually with short-term notice, or no warning at all.

In addition to this book, a person or couple should research online and most importantly, go to the country they're considering and spend a couple of month there, and learn "how things really work."

"How to Retire Overseas" is recommended for the curious, casual, and the serious.
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on January 25, 2011
...but of little value if you have been thinking about it for a while and done *any* amount of research.

I have been thinking about retiring to France, so I bought this book based on the good reviews. I thought I would get a good overview of the topic of expat retirement and get some real info about retiring in France. No such luck.

In the France section, I was rather stunned by how little information was provided, almost nothing beyond expected rents! For instance, under the topic of income tax in France, the author states that the rate is 0-40%. Without giving some idea of the tax brackets, this information is absolutely worthless. She touts the benefit of buying a place to live in France, but never indicates if the mortgage interest is deductible under French Tax code--this is really potentially important.

She never writes about the ease or difficulty of getting a French retirement visa, prerequsites, disqualifications, monetary requirements, costs?? For example, Australia demands $750K be given to the government to hold in order to retire there, my question is "is there something like this in France"? No discussion at all.

And no discussion of what it costs to have a car in France. She indicates that she did not have one and did not feel the need for one. I could not imagine this.

And finally, the geek in me takes objection to her listing expected rents and other costs to as much as 4 significant figures when 2 would probably be appropriate.
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on September 25, 2010
Really up-to-date book on places that are safe to relocate for those of us hoping to make our retirement dollars go a bit further! Very honest assessment of the cost of living overseas in many different countries. Well worth the money and time to read it from cover to cover. After reading it over and over we made the decision to relocate to Ecuador. It wasn't covered well in this book but had enough information to research other options and decided on Ecuador from that. Not sorry at all and this book started it all!
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on January 29, 2011
This book presents and extraordinarily clear-eyed and unvarnished view of the experience of relocating abroad. Particularly thought provoking is the section on 'Settling In' where Peddicord relates her experiences and frustrations in setting up a household in a new country. While the title suggests the book is about retiring overseas a more accurate one would also reflect the content devoted to establishing a business overseas since much of the book discusses the attendant issues.

The one aspect that I found most enlightening was that while Peddicord emphasizes throughout the book how affordable living abroad can be her examples seem to be people of quite significant means. Although the arithmetic may imply that it is possible to live elsewhere with minimal expense compared to residing in the US, the people Peddicord describes actually doing it seem to be spending far more. After reading this book (in one sitting) I'm now convinced that few people are well enough off to retire overseas without making significant compromises in their accustomed standard of living. While on vacation compromise and accommodation are part of the experience, as a way of life it looks pretty difficult when described by Peddicord.
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on May 21, 2011
Overall, I am very happy with the information I found in Kathleen's book. What I appreciated is it's a "nuts and bolts" analysis of the day-to-day stuff you have to deal with, just as you do in your daily life in America. It also gave a clear path to getting problems fixed in places that don't do business like the United States. She also was not shy about talking about the warts in the places you see as "paradise". Sometimes it's more like Gilligan's Island than Fantasy Island.
My wife and me are both diabetic, and health coverage overseas is critical. In fact, I came to the conclusion I can't retire elsewhere simply because most insurance companies won't insure diabetics unless you fall into group coverage, and you won't when you retire.
That is the type of detail you will find in the book, and I found it well worth the cost to find that out now, as opposed to finding it out after we put the wheels in motion to retire off-shore.
I've grown tired of the "gee, everything is wonderful" approach many authors take when writing about this subject. Kathleen doesn't, but in fairness, she also describes well the things that you DO like in other countries.
I found this book to be well done.
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on March 31, 2010
I have not written a review for a long time but just got this today and am so impressed! On page 15, I found a solution for those with low income, since most of the countries require higher incomes for immigration. It is worth the price to me for even those 15 pages! Looking forward to reading more sitting on my porches, dreaming of my deck on some beach somewhere, which I have NO DOUBT will be soon appearing as reality!
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on July 22, 2012
A useful introduction. Easy to read. Full of useful things to consider. Parts poorly structured by information that would have more impact if together, so this book needs to read thoughtfully. Concentrates on Central and South American countries. Unexpectant countries included like Croatia. African countries not mentioned. Age of those she is quoting not given, nor when they arrived in the country. Author is only one who moves from country to country so we are not told the experiences of others who decide on country X then decide to move to country Y.
Repeating, a good book to start with. Read others. Enjoy retired life in another country. Review by a 64 year old Australian male, in Australia, who is strongly considering retiring in Cambodia by mid 2013. Review done July, 2012. How to Retire Overseas: Everything You Need to Know to Live Well (for Less) Abroad
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on March 25, 2011
This book has two main sections - the first covers the decisions that need to be made and preparation for retiring outside the US, and the second part examines several popular retirement destinations. The authors provide tremendous information and an excellent outline to help those considering overseas retirement plan their move. All the factors that need to be considered are discussed, and I found this section very, very helpful. If you are considering an overseas retirement this book will open your eyes to a lot of information that you need to know. The section that discusses various retirement locations is not that helpful - the authors choose a location in each country and while their choices for countries are good, they focus on a relatively obscure city in each of those countries. For example in Mexico they highlight Morelia, located in the interior of the country and in the Dominican Republic the city discussed is Samana. Both of these are relatively small and are not yet booming expat retirement places. However, I recommend this book just for the first section, and perhaps you'll find a hidden gem of a location in the second section as well.
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on August 29, 2011
Retiring overseas used to be a dream of the well-heeled. Today, the notion has become an alternative choice for many North Americans who increasingly are priced out of traditional domestic retirement communities. In her first book, "How To Retire Overseas," Kathleen Peddicord provides a comprehensive guide for taking the leap abroad to fourteen specially-researched countries.

Detailed Format and Painstaking Research

There are five sections organized to orient the reader along with an appendix that shows estimated living costs in the researched locations. The author begins with a preparatory overview of living abroad and then progresses to more specific commentary. Her writing style is authoritative without a hint of condescension. She has lived abroad and started businesses in eight countries and is able to communicate her expertise in a friendly yet informative fashion. This book contains significant detail and likely will become a trusted reference source.

Generous Doses of Common-Sense Advice

The author asks pertinent questions in your behalf and provides ample responses to dozens of scenarios and concerns. This type of detailed research will save the reader precious time and money. For example, for the prime concerns of healthcare and rental locations: "Of all the international options, I recommend Bupa. It's the best quality coverage for the best price. .. A Bupa policy might be more expensive than a local insurer, but a Bupa policy is usable anywhere in the world." Page 34

"If you're liable for utilities, find out the previous renter's average costs. Sometimes these can be a shock." Page 45

I also liked that Ms. Peddicord provided specific monthly budgets for various cities/locales around the world. These projections give a concise comparison of your basic monthly expenses for rent, food, medical insurance, cable television, Internet connections, transportation, utilities and other items. Another helpful feature was the number of interviews with expats who have lived overseas. These anecdotes provide a real-life component of various personality types as they negotiate their new lives abroad.

Notable Quotes

"One of the many benefits for an American living or retiring abroad is that, once you're a foreign resident, you're eligible to take advantage of FEIE (Foreign Earned Income Exclusion)." Page 31

"You could get by without learning the language in the places I recommend for overseas retirement... But your experience of the place will not be the same as it would be if you made the effort to learn to communicate with your new neighbors in their native language." Page 98

"Thailand is arguably the cheapest place on earth to live well." Page 192

"The best way to learn a new language is to acquire a boyfriend or girlfriend in your new home... If your goal is to learn the language of your new country, avoid other expats as much as possible." Pages 230-231

"Your perspective changes so that, eventually, you're surprised when anyone in the world actually shows up when he says he will, returns on time, or finishes a job as scheduled." Page 252

This is an extremely well-researched book with the first-time overseas retiree in mind. Read and study it. Please be sure to pack "How to Retire Overseas" away in a safe place because it will become a trusted companion.

Please Note:

I received a complimentary review copy of this book. I was not monetarily compensated by the publisher or any other party for this review.
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