I have done quite a bit of researching the topic of retiring overseas on the cheap so that much of what is in this book is a review. Or, put another way, one could read this book first and save many hours of researching.
I was a bit surprised about the author's perspective. She is married to someone who has been transferred because of job assignments to Ireland, Paris, and Panama City. Her perspective is more from a well-do-to viewpoint. While she talks about living cheaply, she herself has chosen a more upscale lifestyle. The author has developed a network of friends around the globe for whom she seems very indebted for much of the information in the book.
Initially, I was attracted to the book to see how to live the good life on social security income. This book, instead, seems to have a theme that given the same amount of income, say $40,000 a year, one could move to a different country and experience approximately the same lifestyle for a bit less, or a better lifestyle for about the same amount. The same principal applies if you're talking about $20,000 a year or $100,000.
As my title suggests it is all about the trade-offs one is willing to make. Just like retirees moving to Tucson, Arizona, they trade in something they like for something they don't like. In Tucson I'd say it would be the frequency of 95 plus degree days. Overseas, in the places that are relative "bargains" the trade-offs may include, isolation, very poor infrastructure, lack of reliable electricity, little to no local healthcare, and extreme expenses for vehicles and their maintenance. Most the places mentioned in this book, however, only suffer from one or two of these things. I'm kind of fixated on La Barra, Uruguay, which may be more expensive than the current hot spot of Cuenca, Equador, but lays next to the ocean rather than 8,000 feet up in the mountains.
Some of the places mentioned really want foreign retirees and offer several benefits, from cheaper food and entertainment, to lower cost airfares, to cheaper health, to even tax incentives.
I am a little disappointed in the author stating that all the places she recommends are safe. I've read several accounts of very nervous ex-pats in Morelia, Mexico and the Ajijic region regarding gang turf warfare. Too bad, it is suppose to be a great area and I like the idea of it being fairly close to the U.S. However, at this time, that is not a trade-off I'm willing to make.
The author writes primarily about 14 areas in which she briefly goes over the cost of living, cost of housing, climate, health care, infrastructure, accessibility to the U.S., Language, Culture, Taxes, Special benefits to foreign retirees, and education. In a couple of these places, the U.S. dollar is used as the local currency which makes financial considerations easier to grasp.
If you haven't done much research about moving overseas then I recommend reading this book. Then do further research into the ares(s) you may be interested in. Just because I mentioned unrest in Morelia, don't take my word or any one else's word for it. About Morelia or anywhere else. Do your homework. Political climates do change. Morelia might be perfectly safe by the time you are thinking of moving. Some other place might not be.