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105 of 112 people found the following review helpful
This book has an excellent overview of living overseas listed by country. The book is probably worth it for the country-by-country section alone. From Central to South America, then Europe, then Asia, you get an overview of life outside the US and budgets for retirees. Healthcare is discussed, along with insurance issues (some places won't issue a policy after age 64) and whether or not the healthcare system is a good one.

There is a also a discussion of lifestyle--I wish there had been more, for some of the countries where the authors have lived. They moved around a lot. They offer advice such as bringing your American appliances as buying them overseas can be terribly expensive and they are not as good--but there is little discussion of the fact you may have to pay duty, in many places on personal items brought in. There are a lot of import tariffs you may not expect. Is is better to hire a laundry service or simply deal with foreign appliances? And what about voltages? Yes, you can use a step-down transformer in countries with 220V, but 50Hz vs 60Hz is tough on motors, so often, it's not practical. But..this is just one aspect of living overseas.

There is also a chapter on working overseas, teaching, volunteering. It's a sketchy discussion but the bottom line is "don't rely on extra income from working."

A bigger issue: What does "good healthcare" actually mean? If you are ill, really ill, you'd possibly need to come to the US for treatment for very serious problems such as cancer or advanced cardiac surgery. That's where the rest of the world comes when the chips are really down. Yes, our system has many problems, but American medicine is outstanding for complicated illness. I am not convinced this is true for other countries necessarily. A lot has to do with where the teaching hospitals are--because this is generally where the most advanced medicine is available. So if you face a life-threatening illness, are you willing or able to take up temporary residence back in the US, in a city where your particular illness can be treated? That's a serious consideration. Or will you have access to the most advanced, life-saving treatments in your country of residence?

The advice on local languages may be true up to a point--yes, a thriving ex-pat community means you may not have to acquire fluency. And yes, many countries teach English and locals use it as well as their own language. Legal lingo in any language is complex and idiomatic. If you have a problem understanding form letters from tax or financial institutions in the US, it will be a lot worse in any foreign language, even if you are pretty good. You'll need a local advisor of some sort--someone trustworthy. And if some event or disaster is going down where you live (Nicaragua has earthquakes, for example and some of the tropical Caribbean nations experience severe hurricanes) are you going to be able to listen and understand notifications and get timely emergency advice? Where do you go in an emergency? What if it's chaotic?

And that brings me to the final issue that I thought was touched on by the authors: you are leaving your natural support network. Many people grow up in and stay and work in the same region their entire life. When you leave, you leave family, children, relatives, business people you know and trust. You will have to build a support network where you move to--and the authors write that they moved more than a few times. As we get older, this gets more difficult.

I thought the authors did a good job touching on each issue and listing budgets, lifestyle and pros and cons of living in various overseas areas. You'd need more than this book to thoroughly research where you might like to live in retirement if it's outside the US. Each person's situation is different. This is no small project, but "The International Guide" is a great place to start.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on March 2, 2014
It was a great read - very informative! I've been living in SE Asia since 2005, so moving to Latin America will be different but I'm prepared for another set of new cultures, and your book helped to open my eyes to a lot of what I may encounter there. The best thing about the book was all the superb links to various things that will be essential to making the transition. I highly recommend this book to anyone thinking of retiring overseas. There is no such thing as too much information when making a move of this kind. Again, many thanks for sharing your experience and knowledge!
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39 of 45 people found the following review helpful
TOP 100 REVIEWERon February 24, 2014
‘The International Living Guide to Retiring Overseas on a Budget’ written by Suzan Haskins and Dan Prescher discusses a topic that nowadays is very interesting when the offer is never better, and financial capabilities far worse than ten years ago – a detailed guide to retiring abroad.

At the beginning it is important to say that the authors have done an excellent job managing to reduce this interesting and extensive topic to the book of very acceptable size of 270-odd pages that will certainly make an additional reason to be welcomed by the audience. The authors started their book with some numbers, informing us that only in US more than 10 thousand people are turning 65 every year that is 79 million people drawing Social Security benefits being at the mercy of Medicare.

The times are changing and people are not only considering retiring to some house in the countryside or moving from the bustle of the big city into some small peaceful town, but more and more are thinking to spend their life somewhere far away, in another culture, trying at least in the older age to recoup some things missed in their younger days. For this reason, Suzan Haskins and Dan Prescher’s book apart from giving a great overview of all the living overseas possibilities in different countries worlwide, gives a handful of information presented in concise special overview lists such as “Five most common questions asked about moving overseas”, “Yes, you can have your social security checks sent to your overseas bank or address” or “Eight factors that have to be considered when choosing your overseas retirement destination”.

‘The International Living Guide to Retiring Overseas on a Budget’ provides a well-made and detailed countries overview that will help deciding between different countries in Europe, Asia, Central or South America, depending of life costs, life style, working, volunteering, local languages, health care and insurance questions. Of course it is impossible to expect that in one book each country could be discussed in full detail, but the authors with this book really did a good job – they made easily comprehensible and well-presented book with pros and cons of each country, citing information that are nevertheless crucial in the choice of destination where you will spend at least part of your retirement life.

It's great to know that the authors did not write their book in the warmth of their own home, flipping through other books or browsing the Internet, but also on the basis of extensive experience, their own and the people who are close to them, which makes their book not only informative, but also based on confirmed facts of life.

As it comes to a big decision if you plan to change your whole life moving to an unfamiliar environment, I’m certain that it’s not only my opinion that with the help of this book reader will certainly be able to reduce the selection of the most desirable destinations on a few most desired, and with the help of additional research regarding the specifics of each person or pair, you’ll be able to make a final decision. And this is a characteristic that I believe every author would want from her/his book.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2014
I write for About.com as their MoneyOver55 Expert. As I began looking for additional topics to cover I reached out to International Living. They offered to send me a copy of the Guide to Retiring Overseas on a Budget. I wasn't sure what to expect as retiring overseas had never crossed my mind as an option. After reading this book I think it is something many upcoming retiree should at least explore. It doesn't have to be for the rest of your life - it could just be for a few years. It can be far more affordable than you think - and in many cases far more affordable than retiring early here in the U.S. This was an eye opener for me. This book is great because it covers all the things you need to know (health care, climate, culture, finances, mistakes to avoid, etc.), lays out exactly what you need to do next if you want to continue to explore this lifestyle choice, and best of all - it is engaging and easy to read. This is not a dry, boring, how-to book. You'll find it interesting and it will get you thinking about possibilities you didn't know existed.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on May 4, 2014
The book was very easy to read. The authors have definitely walked the walk they are preaching about in the book, having lived in a handful of different locations in Central and South America. The examples they give of their own experiences as well as those of other expats they met along the way make a person want to get out there and start their own adventure. There are some good tips and links to sites to help with doing research for an overseas retirement. I would definitely recommend this book as a first step for anyone considering retiring outside the US. My desire to learn more has been fueled by this book, I will definitely continue to look for similar books, and, hope to attend one of the International Living workshops in the future.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2014
Having lived abroad in Trinidad, the authors covered all topics that we had encountered. Too bad we did not have this book before that adventure. It would have perhaps saved us a few bumps and missteps.LOL
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on May 4, 2014
It was an easy read, well written from first-hand experience. However I kept thinking "tell me something I don't know", because after subscribing to IL magazine for a year now, I felt that I had read much of this book. I am still looking for someone to be realistic about the issues in the countries, or the downside to moving abroad. I have traveled to other countries and realize it will not be the same as here in the US., but what are the real issues? If you want fluff, this book will give you that, with just a little bit of the issues they faced.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2014
Suzan Haskins is an experienced writer and editor for International Living. This book gives many useful facts and pointers.
I.L. is a provider of many services, most especially for people seeking to retire overseas (expatriates or "expats"), including seminars on destinations (usually held in-country), money and tax matters, legalities and laws, and general information. I.L. sells many products on many countries and, while the information is useful, their main purpose is to sell their stuff.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 22, 2014
My wife and I retired in Mexico three years ago. Dan and Susan have covered every issue a potential retiree should consider.

Boots on the ground is the answer!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 2014
Great information, well presented, well written, and well researched. The writer has lived overseas for many years and writes from the perspective of personal experience. Lots of good, actionable information. If you have ever had one thought that you might like to live overseas, or if, like so many baby boomers you have come to realize that you just cannot afford to retire in the USA, then stop what you are doing and read this book now! Don't feel like you have to keep slaving away until you literally fall over dead! There is not only hope, but real happiness to be found in other places. I am literally on my way to live my dream of retirement abroad, due in large part to books like this that show you how you, too, can have not just a dignified retirement, but an active, exciting, fun rest of your life!
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