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Customer Discussions > Travel forum

International Living Magazine

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Showing 1-24 of 24 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 24, 2010, 5:08:14 AM PDT
Michelle K says:
Hi all,

I've been on the above's e-mail list ( for a while now & I have to admit, their writing is quite compelling. At one point a month or two ago I came here & found really negative reviews, so I avoided buying their subscription. I came back today & the reviews seem to have disappeared.

1. Does anyone know why?
2. Has anyone bought their subscription & enjoyed or disliked it & why?



In reply to an earlier post on Sep 26, 2010, 11:26:41 AM PDT
Tim Leffel says:
It's a fine magazine written by editors who are living abroad themselves and know what they're talking about. If you're looking to invest in real estate internationally or retire abroad, it's the best resource out there. Most of the negativity stems from what goes on outside the pages of the magazine---all the hard-sell workshops and reports they're constantly badgering you to buy and the fact that they don't disclose the financial interest they have in some of the developments and markets they are promoting. But as long as you do your homework and look at everything with healthy skepticism, the positives far outweigh the negatives. I've subscribed for years and look forward to each issue.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 13, 2011, 6:23:28 PM PDT
J. Mullins says:
Google International Living Scam and you will see tons of dissatisfied subscribers. Issues from rebilling credit card without authorization to never sending user codes that worked to access publication etc. I was about to purchase when I thought to do some research on web. You know what your moma told you about if it seems to good to be true, it probably is ....well double that applies here with the International Living Scam.

Posted on Mar 10, 2012, 1:20:32 PM PST
I have subscribed to IL off and on for about 20 years and enjoy it. I even submitted a short article and guess what? I got paid. I ordered one of the country user guides and was not satisfied with it. I received an immediate refund. I'll continue to subscribe, as long as I enjoy it.

Posted on Mar 15, 2012, 8:10:15 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 17, 2012, 10:35:48 AM PDT
Here's a rule of thumb: when considering buying real estate and you can't obtain a clear title policy from Chicago Title & Trust (or like reputable firm) get out your ten foot pole. History is full of horror stories about bogus real estate promotions - both in this country and off-shore. And remember, real estate is a commission driven business. Why do you think seemingly disinterested third parties (who just so happened to have introduced the parties) apply pressure to close the deal?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 3, 2012, 6:32:53 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 3, 2012, 6:34:57 PM PDT
I just renewed my subsubscription which should say something. Yes, I enjoy reading and learning about different countries with the hope of some year becoming an expat. I have also had a billing problem, which wasn't their fault and it was taken care of immediately
In the meanwhile, I need a good dentist in Ecuador or wherever is reasonable as their certainly not in America.
Anyone know of a great dentist for route canal work pls contact thanks

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 3, 2012, 8:57:33 PM PDT
If people are thinking of retiring abroad, they should read this: Jeff Ashmead just released a fun/informative beach read called, Tropical Delusion - Misadventures in Paradise.
This humorous, non-fiction Travel Essay poses the question:
What if you quit your job . . .
Sold everything . . .
and bought a small hotel on the beach . . .

Read some of it at Tropical Delusion: Misadventures in Paradise

Posted on Aug 18, 2012, 1:01:24 PM PDT
Les Johns says:
I have read the free "International Living" postcards for many years. They have proved interesting "jumping off" points for further research on many topics. I have also been tempted many times to subscribe to "International Living" or to buy a few of their reports. I am very conscious of the value for money aspect of many offerings on the internet. Whenever I am tempted to spend money i look back on earlier offerings - not all from "International Living". There was the 720 page report on how to get a second passport and the many financial papers available, sometimes, for as much as a couple of thousand plus a subscription (weekly, monthly, annually). I don't know who would think of wading through 720 pages when it must be obvious that only a few (if any) could possibly be personally relevant. There have been many "horror" stories of attempts to cancel subscriptions or to obtain advertised "no questions asked" refunds. There is no attempt here to tar "International Living" with the same brush but they do business in the same market as many recalcitrants in these respects. For retirees large expenditures are not an option. If you are in this category of readers looking for information you would do best to go to and from this site you can buy Kindle books for your personal reading on particular countries for just 99 cents. This is a developing web site and books are added to the series periodically.

Posted on Nov 7, 2012, 4:08:55 PM PST
jim says:
I have subscribed to I.L. for 2 years now and really enjoy the magazine. The "on the ground" experiences are wonderful and I learn a lot about other countries and refine my retirement wish list. HOWEVER, having said that, you MUST keep in mind that I.L. is part of a publishing company (Bottom Line) who sells health books, wealth books, seminars and basically anything for a buck. Google Bill Bonner. Aside from the value of the magazine most of what they use it to push is highly suspect or just plain crap (in my opinion). You will be bombarded by courses to teach you to make an overseas living by "taking pictures with your point and shoot", "teach English anywhere", "write copy with NO experience", with no experience or training whatsoever become a "researcher" for writers, professors,etc. Take the time to Google any of this and you'll find the truth is FAR from their rosy picture which will only cost you a few hundred bucks to SET YOU FREE.A recurring theme you'll also see is the "get in early, gobble up everything you can and sell for huge profits". Nice push of the ugly American, get there quick, be a pig and ruin it for everyone else. Nice. My advice? Get the magazine, read the "real" people" articles and enjoy. Suspect everything else.

Posted on Nov 30, 2012, 4:55:04 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 30, 2012, 4:59:26 AM PST
JM says:
I've been a subscriber to International Living for about 10 years. I love the magazine! Having been to some of the countries they profile, I know that their profiles are accurate--- to a point. They tend to ignore things that are important to most Americans, like crime rates and some things that could be a real problem for some retirees, especially anyone with some mobility issues of any kind. IL doesn't print any falsehoods that I have been able to determine, but they do occasionally just ignore any negatives. However, if there is a country you are interested in moving to, please go visit first! What may be a negative to you may not affect another person at all. And, yes, they do sell many publications and real estate in various countries. They are not "pushy" in any way in the magamzine. I've never been to one of their seminars, but if they are selling real estate in a particular country, of course they will give you a sales pitch! IL is, after all, a business, not a non-profit charity! I have purchased some of their reports and they have been very valuable to me. For example, their country reports give you all the contact information for trustworthy attorneys, accountants, etc. In many countries around the world, the real estate industry is not very well regulated, if at all, so IL gives fair warning about renting and buying real estate so you can keep yourself out of trouble. They also warn about unscrupulous attorneys and other professionals, and how to tell them apart from the good guys. One commenter made a snide comment about a 720 page report, and I can only assume he was referring to a very thorough BOOK written by Bob Bauman, an attorney specializing in second passports, dual citizenship, and other legalities related to expatriation. Mr. Bauman is a former U.S. Congressman and has a wealth of knowledge on all legal matters relating to moving abroad. He, too, gives names and contact information of trusted sources in dozens of countries around the world, even countries that have never been profiled by IL. This is one of my most valuable sources of information about expatriation and is a real value. Mr. Bauman updates the book on a regular basis because laws in other countries change from time to time. if you are interested in moving to another country, IL is a great place to BEGIN your information search. I'll be leaving in less than a year, and I've spent over a year in concentrated study and research to decide where to go that fits MY criteria. Just remember that all the negative comments you read are just someone else's opinion, and many of them may not have even subscribed to the publication!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2012, 2:09:26 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 1, 2012, 2:46:20 PM PST
TheDon says:
Hi Michele
I am a long time IL subscriber. Do a Google search and find IL MAGAZINE SCAM.
Interesting reading. I find the magazine interesting and helpful,
but beware. I have just posted an enquiry on that site.

Posted on Dec 3, 2012, 6:19:38 PM PST
Les Johns says:
My comment about Mr Bauman's book was not in the least "snide". I stand by my comment that 720 pages is a lot to buy and wade through when it is likely that only a couple of pages will be of practical value to most people. If you have an interest in such matters the book may be worth it. I also have no doubt about the earnestness and conscientiousness of Mr Bauman's efforts. I find it of passing interest that a US Congressman would be so interested in citizenship other than US nationality especially since there are also publications available which suggest that American politicians are an active group in seeking to resile from US citizenship. It is said to be the "Land of the free" however so one can go wherever one's interests lie.
The publishing of crime rates may be of little value. Some of the highest rates occur in the major US cities and in many European capitals but this does not make the places unsuitable for living. There are many parts of even mid-sized cities and towns to which a solo venture after dark may not be wise. This is common knowledge about all medium and large concentrations of people. Also crime occurs in small places and also in passing in unpopulated areas. It has to be assumed that readers are to a great extent worldly wise.
Health is also a very personal matter and no general comments other than an indication that costs are at any place in keeping with the general cost of living are likely to be helpful or applicable in any particular case. I would also think that the US has little to offer in the way of low cost access to health and health insurance. There are some exceptions to this and the Harris County Gold Card health service in Houston for low income earners is one such scheme. There may be others.
The "Golden Rule" of visiting a place before making any irrevocable change in circumstances is one to which I wholeheartedly subscribe and have stated publicly. I have not seen this overemphasized in IL. I also encourage a DIY attitude in any dealings with governments but unfortunately language and the obscurity of rules and regulations do not always make this easy. If it is essential to use a lawyer to submit applications (for any purpose) then I would mark this as a point against a country and the openness with which it deals with those over whom it rules. he US is not guiltless in this respect.
I was encouraged to see that Health Nut suggests that the sources that he promotes should be regarded as only a "starting point". This is good advice.

Les Johns.

Posted on Jan 8, 2013, 7:18:16 AM PST
I have been a long time subscriber to the magazine and love the magazine and look forward to each new issue. However, I have not received the latest issue and when I emailed customer service they did not respond. I can not find a telephone number for subscription services. Does anyone have it?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 19, 2013, 11:48:38 AM PDT
M. Benham says:
I subscribed for about a year and found that the magazine consisted of rehashed, recycled articles. Again and again, I found articles on exactly the same places, saying exactly the same things. I think it's a big cut-and-paste operation.

Posted on Mar 19, 2013, 12:36:26 PM PDT
Les Johns says:
I carry no torch for IL but M. Benham may be a little too harsh. It is difficult to criticize IL on cut and paste operations. Not a lot changes quickly about the countries and the subjects that are written about in IL. What does change is the audience/client group. What has been a re-hash for you may well be totally new to someone just beginning to contemplate retirement abroad. Back issues may not be easy to obtain even on the web and one has to know that an item has been produced to be successful in a search for it. Long term subscriptions may not be a good idea.
There is a lot of common ground to be covered about all countries and so there is some "cut and paste" in my publications. The saving grace here is that probably only one or two of my books would be wanted by any one person. At 99 cents a couple of books or more will not break the bank for most people. My web site uses "in site" or "local" links to avoid repetition when a point made previously with reference to a different country is applicable again. I also use the blog pages of the site to keep details up to date and to provide "error and omission" information. Revising, editing and correcting the site is continuous and very time consuming.
Of course IL is selling more than just information on countries to which retirees may wish go to live. IL and the similar publication "Live and Invest Overseas" have large overheads and need other activities to support themselves. Seminars, courses, investment and (new) career advice are expensive to provide. The value and efficacy of such things is for individual to decide.
The customer service provided is an entirely different matter. Guidance from those with experience of it is always welcome.

Les Johns.

Posted on Jun 18, 2013, 3:58:24 PM PDT
VMEast Coast says:
I have been reading the "International Living" free postcards for about 3 years now and at some point, when their magazine subscription was on sale for $17, I bought the subscription too. Be aware that unless you are vigilant about cancelling it, they will continue charging you and the regular subscription pricetag will hit you like a brick. I have read some interesting articles, and as Mr. Les Johns said, this reading ignited further reading and research for some topics.
Overall though, I agree that while interesting, often the articles in their ever-thin magazine mostly rehash the same information: the occasional fixer-upper in Italy or the cheap life in Panama; and it's always about the same countries, Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador. Beyond that, you may see a random article on Mexico's "pensionado" program, Paraguay's beauties or Colombia. Seldom you'll see anything else, like reports on crime, or what to avoid and why, as if crime or disadvantages don't exist. Obviously, the lack of real-life advice is not accidental, but it would add value to the publication if it existed. The company's big sales pitch is in their ultra-expensive conferences and real estate because that's where are the big bucks. If you don't mind paying $79 for a yearly subscription, their skeletal magazine mostly full of real estate ads, I say buy it, it's a pleasant read. Int'l Living is a business and as others mentioned, they want to make money. That they do.

However, there is a lot of interesting and valuable information online, particularly those done by expats, completely free. The written by Tim, an expat near San Jose is one of them. Personally, I prefer free.

Posted on Aug 19, 2013, 12:59:20 PM PDT
I subscribed to International Living after having received their enticing postcards for years. I didn't learn one thing from the publication that I couldn't research myself. It was very redundant information. Plus, it seems more geared towards a limited audience. Not everyone has a retirement plan or social security to live off of.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2013, 1:17:52 PM PST
phwilson says:
We subscribed about two years ago and really enjoyed every issue. The only reason we're not getting it now is that we sold our home in Texas and moved to Costa Rica on October first of this year. The articles and ideas in the magazine helped us clarify what we were looking for and where we could find it.

We love it down here!

Tom and Patricia

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2013, 1:20:10 PM PST
phwilson says:
We subscribed about two years ago and really enjoyed every issue. The only reason we're not getting it now is that we sold our home in Texas and moved to Costa Rica on October first of this year. The articles and ideas in the magazine helped us clarify what we were looking for and where we could find it.

We love it down here!

Tom and Patricia

Posted on Aug 2, 2014, 10:37:55 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 2, 2014, 10:40:00 AM PDT
V. Maddox says:
It is a magazine. There isn´t one shred of information in it that you couldn't collect on your own if you have the time and resources. That is true of every publication in existence. It is targeted to a specific audience with specific needs. That´s why it is valuable to some and not others - as it should be. If you aren´t a parent, don't read a parenting magazine. If you don't have the resources to retire in another country, don't read this one. If you don't want to auto renew, pay with a Bank of America ShopSafe card. If you have the time and inclination, skip the publication and do your own research from only free sources. Don´t assume that reading about something in a magazine is going to provide 100% of what you need to make a life altering decision. It is a resource in the early stages of consideration. All that given, I´ve found this magazine interesting and valuable. I have considered and researched things that I might not have otherwise considered. It´s worth what I´ve paid for it. After I´ve been able to travel a bit more, I´ll probably outgrow it and drop it. There will be people just getting close to retirement at that time who want the same info, but they´ll want it to be current, although it would seem regurgitated to me at that point. So, I don't get the criticisms. They're doing exactly what they set out to do, and what I need them to do at this point in my life.

Posted on Aug 19, 2014, 11:53:15 AM PDT
tom brandt says:
Intl Living offers a secret to a Mortgage Free Life if you subscribe to their magazine so whats that all about?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 20, 2015, 9:20:41 AM PDT
AC says:
I have been trying to cancel my subscription, and none of their emails work. They offer an "ironclad" guarantee of refund, but it appears they cannot be reached, so it is meaningless.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 22, 2016, 7:46:40 PM PDT
Sherrie says:

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 22, 2016, 8:26:06 PM PDT
Sherrie says:
Well stated and agree. IL is a tremendous wealth of info, research and research again your interests. IL offers opportunity for possible expats to experience a living experience. Including the current county's economic conditions. Do not except the same as your home country offers. IL is rewarding and have enjoyed all issues.
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