What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
Why did you choose to retire abroad?
I have decided to take a safe spot on the sidelines and continue my observations of the rapidly worsening situation in America from a safer country and city- Medellin, South America.
Are you retired abroad all year or part of the year?
Part time. I still take travel assignments to work in Washington State and California
Why did you choose the country you retired to?
Once you visit Colombia, you will be forever enchanted by the people and the culture. My wife is Colombian and I have never regretted my decision to adopt her wonderful country, city and family as my own.
Did you ever live abroad before you retired abroad?
A short stint in South Korea while I was in the US Army.
How long have you lived abroad since you retired abroad?
How many countries (other than your home country) have you lived in as a retiree?
Colombia is the only one.
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What have been the most challenging aspects of being retired abroad?
Transferring money to Colombian banks and learning the language and customs.
What have been the most rewarding aspects of being retired abroad?
Fresh air, healthy, preservative free food, excellent health care, a warm, happy extended family, low cost of living index, beautiful scenery, a safer environment without so many guns and terrorist events.
What would you do differently if you were just starting the retire abroad process?
I would have done this much sooner.
What is life like for a retiree in your city and its surroundings? (Is there an active expat community? Cultural Attractions? Recreation? Nightlife?)
Colombian's are friendly, hospitable people eager to show you their excellent life style and culture. Tons of activities for everyone and beautiful sites to visit. Whether relaxing in my hot tub enjoyed the mountain views of attending a family barbecue, life is beautiful.
What residency documents or visas did you need to obtain to retire in your host country? How difficult was this process? (Please describe)
Obtaining a three year visa was simple, but consumed a lot of visits to various offices. Being married to a Colombian national makes it vastly simpler and having family living there ensures the process will be nearly flawless. Having an attorney to facilitate the process is recommended; mine only charged me $300.00 USD and accompanied me to each immigrations office visit.
Did you buy a home or apartment, or rent one? Is this a difficult process? (Please describe)
We built a beautiful country home. Again, the family helped throughout this process. From land purchase to completion of the house took a total of around 18 months.
Financially, has living abroad in your host country met your expectations? Exceeded them?
Exceeded them by far. Colombia is superlative in so many of its facets in comparison to the US.
What are the most important financial considerations for retiring to your host country?
A secure income. Difficult to impossible to find work if you are over the age of thirty, even for Colombians.
How much can a retiree live on comfortably in your host country?
$1500 to $2000 USD monthly.
Do you have access to quality medical care? (Please describe - is it close? Expensive?)
I have a carte blanche insurance policy in Colombia that covers my wife, our two daughters (who live in the US) and me for the low monthly fee of $300.00. No network, copay, deductible or pre existing condition nonsense either: the policy pays $100% of everything, period. Hospitals and clinics in Colombia are world renowned.
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Is there a lot of crime where you live? (Please describe)
Medellin is like any big city; it has its share of crime. But statistically, it ranks safer than many US cities. Much less gun violence than in the US.
Describe available transportation where you live. Do you need a car? Is there access to safe public transportation?
Medellin has won world awards for its revolution of their transportation system. Traffic is a problem, but driving is similar to driving in big US cities once you learn your way around. Inexpensive taxis are everywhere as well as a new metro transit light rail system and a cable car system that accesses the mountain side communities. Commuter buses everywhere.
Is there high-speed internet access where you live?
Yes. Difficult at first until you find the right providers. Our condo development recently acquired high speed internet. Out in the country, internet can be spotty and difficult, but this is improving everyday. Cell phone service is good and one can tether to the phone for internet access if necessary.
Do you have any other thoughts you would like to share about retiring abroad?
Colombia is like a dream come true. Very much like the Shire in Tolkien's classic, "The Hobbit". Fresh, crisp mountain air. Sunny days with gentle, pine and eucalyptus scented breezes. Restful, cool nights with the patter of soft rain overhead. Green everywhere. Lush pastures and forests. An average yearly climate that averages 68 degrees at night and 75 daytime. Morning and evening hot tub sessions. Walks along shaded forest paths. Fresh fruit, juice, vegetables from our garden and dairy right from the farm. Fresh meat without preservatives. Beautiful, warm, friendly Paisas. Parties, barbecues, family celebrations. It's all good.