What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
Why did you choose to retire abroad?
Beach living in the US comes at a high price not just in terms of real estate, but insurance, health care, etc. Here in Ecuador, there are plenty of beach towns where the total cost of living is attractive. But it is much more than just price that drew us here. It's a laid back, slow lifestyle with healthy food, friendly people and exotic locales to explore.
Are you retired abroad all year or part of the year?
Why did you choose the country you retired to?
Ecuador uses the US dollar, has a stable government, diverse ecosystems, good health care and an excellent bus system.
Did you ever live abroad before you retired abroad?
How long have you lived abroad since you retired abroad?
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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?
Really, it's been pretty easy. The biggest challenge has been preparing to move, shipping our goods and getting the visas.
What have been the most rewarding aspects of being retired abroad?
The most rewarding part has been just slowing down and enjoying conversations with friends, cooking and writing a blog.
What would you do differently if you were just starting the retire abroad process?
I would probably go slower and rent first. That said, I couldn't be happier than where I am!
What is life like for a retiree in your city and its surroundings? (Is there an active expat community? Cultural Attractions? Recreation? Nightlife?)
Beach, beach, beach. We are near the surf capital of SA, Montanita which is a party town when the kids are out, but otherwise it's just a sleepy little village with some great food and drinks.
What residency documents or visas did you need to obtain to retire in your host country? How difficult was this process? (Please describe)
We bought a house as partners so we each qualified for a 9-2 investor visa. I got our federal and state background checks in the US and had them translated apostilled by a service out of Atlanta for about $500. That required getting fingerprints which would not be an issue in a city, but from where we lived in GA it was a hassle just to find a place that did electronic and one that did paper prints.
The other documents we needed were the closing papers, deed and the tax records of the property. We had an attorney in Guayaquil who handled the visa application for us and other than a glitch in the records for the deed it's been relatively smooth. We've been in country just 4 weeks and should have our visa and our container of goods in 2 weeks.
Did you buy a home or apartment, or rent one? Is this a difficult process? (Please describe)
We bought a home when we made our first trip here about 9 months ago. That is we placed a down payment on an existing but fairly new house. Real estate agents here are a bit of a gamble but we were lucky. The process is very fluid and I'd recommend you keep all your emails and get them to put all the terms in English in email.
We came back for a week in January to close on the house and meet with the attorney about the visas. After a month at home to pack our stuff, we came back and moved in. The seller loaned us some basic furnishings and has been very accommodating. All in all, pretty smooth and easy.
Financially, has living abroad in your host country met your expectations? Exceeded them?
It's too early to tell. It's been a slow tourist year here, so we are seeing some higher prices for food at the local restaurants and shops. We are still paying for move in costs and the usual set up fees so we don't know what typical is yet
What are the most important financial considerations for retiring to your host country?
Currency, stable government and banks, healthcare, ability to access funds.
How much can a retiree live on comfortably in your host country?
I have meet folks who live on $1200/mo including rent. Our lifestyle is more like $1200-1500 and we own our place. That includes eating out, 2 grocery runs/month, beer deliveries and biweekly massages for two.
Do you have access to quality medical care? (Please describe - is it close? Expensive?)
There is a clinic 10 minutes from the house that handles basic needs. I've not used it but others say it's great and free or very low cost. I can say that my one prescription is $2/50 pills versus $10/30 with insurance in the States. For major stuff, i would have to go 2.5 hours to the big city, but I've been told doctors there are very good and the cost for a procedure is about what you'd pay for a deductible at home.
Is there a lot of crime where you live? (Please describe)
We got here just as two young tourists were killed by two local guys. It's the first time in anyone's memory that such a thing happened and it's sent shock waves through the coast. Most of us think that it's an isolated incident with drugs, alcohol and bad decisions.
In the last year, the government has put cameras on all the buses which has stopped all the bandits. Now, I'm sure there are still pick pockets and the like but even those incidents are less frequent. The buses are comfortable and by and large very safe.
Describe available transportation where you live. Do you need a car? Is there access to safe public transportation?
We have no car and love the taxis which are readily available and cheap. We also use the buses which are now also very safe and convenient.
Is there high-speed internet access where you live?
2gig speed is the best we can get so far but we are hopeful that fiber optics are coming in the next year. Internet connections are inconsistent but we've not been out for more than a couple of hours so far.
Do you have any other thoughts you would like to share about retiring abroad?
I'd say that if you come make sure it's because you are embracing a new lifestyle and not just looking for an escape. The folks who complain are the ones who are trying to change the system and fighting over trivial stuff. We wish we spoke Spanish but we are learning and even a few phrases and words can get you by. If you want a place where you are not defined by your stuff or your job, then Ecuador is great!