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An Expat Talks about Retiring in Cuenca, Ecuador

Jan 17, 2018


Cuenca, Ecuador

An semi-retired American living in Cuenca, Ecuador moved there for its lower cost of living and to avoid Obamacare penalties. He is enjoying working less, the local culture and expat events.

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?


Why did you choose to retire abroad?

I left the US 31 December 2014 to avoid Obamacare penalties.

Are you retired abroad all year or part of the year?

I'm a part time retired, full time abroad.

Why did you choose the country you retired to?

I chose to move to Ecuador because of the professional visa, (which does not requiring a large investment or retirement income) program and the cost of living is great.

Did you ever live abroad before you retired abroad?

No, just visited.

How long have you lived abroad since you retired abroad?

I have been gone almost continuously since 31 Dec 2014.

How many countries (other than your home country) have you lived in as a retiree?


What have been the most challenging aspects of being retired abroad?

Mail service sucks, food quality is good, but not as spicy as I would like. Can't find Sriracha so I have to make my own.

What have been the most rewarding aspects of being retired abroad?

I enjoy being able to spend my time doing what I like most of the day, work just a couple hours a day a couple days a week managing my portfolio. The cost of living in Ecuador is amazing.

What would you do differently if you were just starting the retire abroad process?

Nothing. Just pack up and go. You can always change your mind.

What is life like for a retiree in your city and its surroundings? (Is there an active expat community? Cultural Attractions? Recreation? Nightlife?)

Very active community in Cuenca, lots of events, symphony, culture.

What residency documents or visas did you need to obtain to retire in your host country? How difficult was this process? (Please describe)

Income of or in my case Education documents proof of ability to support yourself, passport. Very easy process when you hire an attorney. I would not want to try to do it on my own.

Did you buy a home or apartment, or rent one? Is this a difficult process? (Please describe)

Renting a room in a house, private bath, balcony, very nice.

Financially, has living abroad in your host country met your expectations? Exceeded them?

Yes, I could have retired 10 years earlier if I was able to get down here earlier.

What are the most important financial considerations for retiring to your host country?

Earn your money elsewhere, because if you want to work here, the pay isn't much. Also pay attention to FATCA and Taxes.

How much can a retiree live on comfortably in your host country?

I get by on 500-600 a month. stress free.

Do you have access to quality medical care? (Please describe - is it close? Expensive?)

I have health insurance for 45/mo. Quality is anyone's guess, I don't get sick.

Retiring in Ecuador? Choosing an expat health insurance provider is an important decision. Take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA. Sponsored by CIGNA.

Is there a lot of crime where you live? (Please describe)

No, other than taxi's ripping you off, once in a while a store owner will try to squeeze you.

Describe available transportation where you live. Do you need a car? Is there access to safe public transportation?

I walk everywhere, once in a while I take a bus, taxi's are abundant.

Is there high-speed internet access where you live?

Not where I live, but there are areas where it is available.

Do you have any other thoughts you would like to share about retiring abroad?

Retiring abroad can be done much easier and for less than you would spend on your Property Taxes in the US.

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