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Preparation for Retiring in the Tropics

Taking  the time to prepare for your move will help make everything easier upon arrival. Perhaps the easiest way to organize your preparation for retiring in the tropics is to start with a list, and then to elaborate further on each item.

  • Research potential retirement locations.
  • Use Yahoo and Facebook area specific groups to learn more about where you are considering
  • Ask questions in those groups and ignore the few rude answers some sad people feel compelled to give.

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    Start you research online

  • Research websites dedicated to helping people plan their retirement.
  • Avoid websites that are dedicated to selling real estate.
  • Plan at least one visit to each perspective country.
  • Finish the things that need done where you currently live before you move.

We will deal with each of the above bullet points in more detail below.

Research potential retirement locations

When beginning any major venture the most important step is to research starting with the big picture overview and then continuing to investigate the details of your potential retirement locations that are of interest to you.  The more thorough your research is the more likely you will find a great place for your future home.  Do not shortcut this first step on your journey, it may be the most important one you take.

Use Yahoo and Facebook area specific groups to learn more about where you are considering

Today with the internet available to most of us a great place to begin your research is online. We have prepared a thorough discussion of how to begin investigating online in our earlier blog post that you can read in full here.

In summary government sites from your State Department and Central Intelligence Agencies, or their equivalent, Facebook and Yahoo groups and general google searches can provide a wealth of information to get you started with your investigation

Ask questions in those groups and ignore the few rude answers some sad people feel compelled to give

Typically facebook groups are the first place many of us looked for more information. Informative group names usually include Expats or Expatriates preceded by or followed by the country name, although other groups include moving to or move to plus the country name. To find these simply type the name of the country plus expats or a similar term in the Facebook search.

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Expat groups are a great source of information

I am not sure why, but there are always a couple of people who do not know how to be polite. It seems they only know how to be critical but our advice here is to just ignore them, they are unhappy for some reason that has nothing to do with you, or your questions on Facebook. When we remain polite the vast majority will be both polite and helpful in return.

You should feel free to ask questions about medical and dental care, health insurance, if you need to buy a car, how important is speaking the language, what things are there to enjoy doing, where can you find a good immigration attorney, personal safety, how to bring your money to your prospective new home and anything else that comes to you mind. Click on the links above to read our insights into some of those topics. If you are not getting answers it may be time to seek another group, some are more helpful than others.

Research websites dedicated to helping people plan their retirement

While I like to believe this is the definitive source of information about planning for retirement in the tropics, and enjoying your new life once you do, there are many other sources to consider when planning your potential move.

These sites include financial planning sites such as Bankrate, Vanguard and Fidelity, government sites such as SSA for advice from the Social Security Administration, research sites such as The Retirement Research Foundation and the Center for Retirement Research and finally the most detested sites, those that try to sell you their real estate

Avoid websites that are dedicated to selling real estate

One of the major things to avoid is information from websites that organize tours and overseas seminars for profit and then show the participant the company’s real estate that they are developing or selling.  It is a great business strategy for THEM, not for you, you will pay too much for oftimes promises of things to come.  Avoid these sites and their promises like a plague.

Plan at least one visit to each perspective country

While online research is very important and the best first step to take because it is both educational and free of charge, you cannot get a complete picture of a place without visiting it at least once, and better yet several times.  We discuss a number of items  to consider when planning and making a trip to your potential home in this blog post.

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Be sure to visit

Things worthy of investigating when you are on the ground include public transportation, medical care, the availability of medications you use and what substitutes are available if your current medication is not, personal safetyrecreation, the local climate including the seasonal weather changes of your prospective home and finally are your reasons for seeking retirement in the tropics satisfied?

We have discovered a wonderful way to visit potential retirement locations, to live like a local and not pay for our lodging. We review Trusted Housesitters and help you learn how to take advantage of this style of travel here.

Finish the things that need done where you currently live before you move

Probably the most important things to complete before moving to your new tropical home is to take the steps that your home bank requires to transfer money to your new bank, to acquire international health insurance, and to set up ways to be in touch but not connected to your old home and its culture along with how to maintain communication with longtime friends and family.  We discussed each of these in blog posts you can link to above.











If you have any suggestions, ideas and or questions please leave a comment below.

9 thoughts on “Preparation”

  1. Retirement planning still seems distant future for me (even though I know time wil pas by quickly :-). It isn’t a distant future for my dad, though. I am going to show him your blog. I am sure he’ll find many useful pieces of information here that will help him to prepare for this very important period in his life.
    Thank you, keep up the good work!

    1. While the blog is for retirees it can also be useful to younger people who decide living in another place is for them.  Thanks for the comment

  2. This is a great site with useful tips and advice. I do think about retirement (and thereafter) but I haven’t begun my research as I still have 15+ years, but there is no harm in start to look into different options and start planning. Your tip about avoiding sites that are trying to sell real estate is particularly useful.

    1. Hi Ayako,  We have been living in the tropics for eight years now and have either seen or made most of the mistakes foreigners can make.  We have also learned a lot about what successful retirees have done.  The purpose of our site is to assist others based on what we have learned.

  3. I love reading your advice since it makes me dream of being able to do this.

    My husband and I just bought a 4-plex where we live in one unit and rent out the other 3. We bought it with his VA loan so we got a great deal! We hope to buy another owner occupied income property as soon as possible and then collect the rent from the unit we live in now. It will take 1-2 years to make this happen. Eventually we hope to get enough of these properties that we will at least be free to travel if not quit our jobs and move!

    I never thought of finding such specific information in social media groups like Facebook! That makes sense though!


  4. This is an incredible site with helpful hints and exhortation. I do consider retirement (and from that point) however I haven’t started my exploration as regardless and I Noitced person who have many years left, yet there is no mischief in begin to investigate distinctive choices and begin arranging. Your tip about staying away from destinations that are attempting to offer land is especially helpful.

    1. Hi Sameer,  The earlier you begin your research on places you may want to retire, the better prepared you will be.  Most of the folks who fail to adapt to their new home do so because they did not know what to expect and could not tolerate the differences they encountered.

  5. Really good suggestions for research for someone who is ready to retire in a new location.

    Great point about making at least one actual visit to the land you are considering. It’s one thing to do online research and get third party opinions, but there’s no better research than that of your own experience.

    You bring awareness to the little things some of us fail to think about – or just don’t want to think about – with a location change, especially going to another country, such as health insurance and bank transfers.

    Thanks for sharing and I wish you all the best!

    Mike Jay

    1. Thank you Mike, having retired in the tropics for more than 8 years I have learned that is often the little things that turn a potential heaven on earth into the opposite  Our goal with this site is to help people make the move successfully or decide it is not for them before they actually commit to a huge change in their life.  

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