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102 of 103 people found the following review helpful
on December 22, 2009
Golson's book should be required reading for anyone considering retiring to a foreign country.

Essentially, the book is divided into three sections. The first deals with all the thorny issues (Why you might/might not consider moving, medical, housing, costs, and most importantly, your personal temperament) that should be taken into consideration if you are planning on becoming an ex-pat. The second and third sections are an in-depth look at the details of living in selected foreign countries. Section two deals with Latin American countries such as Mexico, Panama, Nicaragua and so forth. The third section is devoted to Europe with old stand-bys like France and Italy, but includes places one might not have considered such as Croatia.

In the two sections dealing with individual countries the details are not just the usual "let me describe the county, climate and people" treatment. An author who actually has lived in/is living in that country writes about each country. Therefore, each author is able to speak knowledgeably concerning culture, customs, living standards, government and bureaucracy, housing, cost of living, etc.

After the reader is lead through the facts of what they can expect in a specific country, they are then given an intimate view into actual life there through interviews with ex-pats currently living in country. These interviews are candid, giving the reader not only insight into the country, but into the psyche of Americans being interviewed. Golson does not attempt to censor his interviewees. What he does do is give numerous viewpoints from people who have varying perspectives/outlooks on their lives, their reasons for retiring abroad, their likes/dislikes about their "home," the people, culture, customs, and how they are managing in their new country, to name a few. In other words, these are personal "opinions," and should be taken as such. Learn to accept that if a person wants to rile against life, politics, or the number of dogs and cats in the U.S or another country, that it is "just their opinion." Forget being offended and move on because Golson has done what many writers of books concerning living in a foreign country have failed to do...giving the reader several unvarnished views, represented by a balance between good, bad and sometimes ambivalence. For instance, one couple he interviewed in Italy is struggling financially, but consider their life there as, "a dream come true." While another woman, from a couple who were also interviewed about Italy, will have the reader scratching their head wondering how anyone could be so naive as to think because she is of Italian descent, she would just naturally fit into a foreign country that speaks a different language, has a totally different culture, customs and history. Is it any wonder she is disillusioned and disparaging?

Having once lived for several years in Europe, I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever considered retiring/moving/taking an extended stay outside the United States. If nothing else, it will get the reader to begin considering all aspects of a life in a foreign country, not just the picture-perfect-ones presented in most books dealing with living abroad.
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60 of 64 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2009
I found the book useful and candid. I don't agree with a previous reader about the "unhappy" expatriates quotes. To me the expats seemed overwhelmingly satisfied with their move abroad, but many were honest enough to point out the foibles--something you don't find in other rah-rah retirement books. Was it too "political"? Some of the people who move abroad are probably going to have more beefs with the U.S. government than those that stay on their home ground. Anyway, I enjoyed it, as I did his earlier "Gringos in Paradise," and was happy to see the author's friendly humor in the new book as well.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2009
Well written but not as good as his first book, Gringos in Paradies. It's more like a compilation of essays from others who have moved to different countries. Some of them are fairly negative about the US or have strong negative political points of view. Not really pertinent to the country they are suppose to be writing about. Some of the country reviews are pretty good. If you are interested, go to the book store and look through it before you buy.
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61 of 75 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 2010
I challenge the book's title, because the writers clearly maintained their political borders when writing the book. In 3 years as an expat, I have a completely different view of living overseas than those shared by the contributors to the book. It seems, whether intentional or unintentional, the selection of contributors was biased toward views held by those who might be categorized as "left wing" and seemed to have escaped the USA due to some political or religious persecution. No problem with that, and I feel sorry for them. Yet, there are an equal number, if not more, expats who like the USA, and politics played no part in their decision to move abroad. Some actually live overseas because it is fun and exotic. Their voices are largely left out of this book, so a good portion of the expat experience is not shared with the reader.

With quotes like, "we don't hang out with other expats," many of the contributors show a bit of chip on their shoulders. Most expats actually like hanging out with each other. That doesn't mean that they don't interact with the local citizens, it just means they are living without borders.

Additionally, the selection of informational sources seemed biased. Quoting the Vision of Humanity rating that shows the USA as being less peaceful than Mexico or Croatia is very misleading. Living in Mexico being more peaceful than living in the USA? Please. How deep do you need to look to find an organization called Vision of Humanity? I think adding these types of politically biased "surveys" was unnecessary.

Some people look to retire overseas because it is fun. Retirement should be fun, not political asylum. So, if you read this book, be warned that it is a partial picture of retirement outside the USA. And if you are looking for reading material that is objective and informative, remember you'll only be getting a partial view from this book.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2009
From my experience book seems pretty accurate in its assessments of various places. Little too much emphasis on Europe and too little on South East Asia.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on May 23, 2009
My husband saw this book promoted in Wall Street Journal and thought i might enjoy reading it, (though we are far from retirement age), since some friends and i are contemplating purchasing a ranch and having locals operate it. The book gives good info about purchasing a home or other non-commercial property as well as bringing out ideas to think through before moving to another country.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
This book is well-worth its modest purchase price for Americans considering retiring to a warm climate in a low-cost area of the world, before the U.S. out-of-control $12+ trillion National Debt creates an economic disaster where hyperinflation allows your monthly pension check to purchase no more than half a Kit Kat candy bar.

Most of the countries listed in this book do NOT tax income from the U.S.A., including pensions, investment income or other passive income and some, like Panama, have better banking secrecy laws than Switzerland. The guy who said that "Death & taxes are the only way to escape the IRS" never read Golson's "Retirement Without Borders." :)

Even if you don't plan to move anywhere, the book gives you all the information you need to phantasize, in Walter Mitty fashion, about native gals in bikinis swinging palm leaves over your head as you relax on a warm, pristine beach in Pavones, Costa Rica, watching surfers looking for the perfect wave.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2011
This is an interesting, useful book that provides readers with an overview of various international retirement locations, and adds depth with essays contributed by ex-pats living in those locations. Some of the essays are helpful. Some are helpful, yet maddening because of the odd viewpoints of the writers. A few of the essays can be best described as borderline-psychotic rants. Example: One ex-pat provided little information of value about her new country, but certainly had plenty to say about her opinions about U.S. politics, particularly the Patriot Act - with strong paranoid-schizophrenic emphasis. I think this book would be made much better by eliminating the essays that don't add to the information value while editing all of the essays for content. Even with the crazy essays, if you are considering retiring to one of the countries the book discusses (and check which ones they cover because there are some havens excluded, such as the Dominican Republic) I recommend this book.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2011
An average book for the average american. If this is your first book about the subject, it will be useful. However, if you are already researching about other countries and have already read a lot, you will find the information contained in this book shallow. For example, they only mention that The Bahamas is an expensive place for the average american but they don't give ANY additional information. C'mon. What is expensive for me may not be expensive for you.

The countries covered are: Mexico, Belize (the books from Lan Sluder about this country are much better), Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, France, Italy, Croatia, Spain, and Portugal. Please notice how the only English-spoken country portrayed by this book is Belize, which, in my opinion, is a big flaw. There are dozens of countries in the Caribbean that speak Enlish and that would fit the "sunny foreign place" description on the cover.

The authors briefly mention Argentina, Australia, The Caribbean (the put all countries in the same bag), Ecuador, Greece, Honduras, New Zealand, The Phillipines, and Thailand. They don't provide in-depth coverage on them.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 31, 2013
The book arrived on time and in great condition. The writers differ from me politically and I did not care for their political digs against former President George W. Bush but all in all it is a very good book.
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