Retirement Without Borders: How to Retire Abroad--in Mexico, France, Italy, Spain, Costa Rica, Panama, and Other Sunny, Foreign Places (And the Secret to Making It Happen Without Stress) Paperback – Dec 9 2008
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"Retirement Without Borders is for smart people who not only want to think outside the box but live outside the box as well. Golson doesn't just give you a road map, he gives you the compelling reasons, as well as the pitfalls and pleasures, of why the low-cost, high-quality expatriate life is one of the last great -- and rewarding -- boomer adventures." -- Peter Greenberg, travel editor of NBC's Today
"Retirement Without Borders is absolutely positively the best book that I have read on why, where, and how to retire abroad." -- Ernie J. Zelinski, author of How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free
"This is a must-read for anyone considering retiring abroad or living outside the U.S. for an extended period. It cuts through the myths and provides balanced and hardheaded advice on every aspect of living in a different culture." -- Peter Francese, founder of American Demographics magazine
"The book takes us beyond the essentials, with expats writing about their experiences, both good and bad. An engaging and personal read, Retirement Without Borders leaves us wise and eager to try new places where we may want to spend the rest of our lives." -- Bernice Bratter and Helen Dennis, authors of Project Renewment
"Perfectly timed for boomers facing fundamental questions about costs of living and quality of life." -- Andrew P. Garvin, CEO of PreRetirementinfo.com
"An excellent, valuable resource for [those] who are seriously considering offshore retirement as well as those who may be dreaming about it." -- Booklist
"The single best guide we've seen to retiring abroad." -- The Wall Street Journal
About the Author
Barry Golson tried to retire, but put it on hold to launch a travel website for Forbes.com. He and his wife Thia are also researching a new book on living abroad to be called Retirement Without Borders. Golson is a former editor of the Playboy interviews, TV Guide, and Yahoo! Internet Life. He has written for The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Ski, and Salon. His article for AARP on Mexico won a Lowell Thomas award. He and Thia divide their time between New York and Sayulita, and look forward someday to re-retiring.
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Essentially, the book is divided into three sections. The first deals with all the thorny issues (Why you might/might not consider moving, medical, housing, costs, and most importantly, your personal temperament) that should be taken into consideration if you are planning on becoming an ex-pat. The second and third sections are an in-depth look at the details of living in selected foreign countries. Section two deals with Latin American countries such as Mexico, Panama, Nicaragua and so forth. The third section is devoted to Europe with old stand-bys like France and Italy, but includes places one might not have considered such as Croatia.
In the two sections dealing with individual countries the details are not just the usual "let me describe the county, climate and people" treatment. An author who actually has lived in/is living in that country writes about each country. Therefore, each author is able to speak knowledgeably concerning culture, customs, living standards, government and bureaucracy, housing, cost of living, etc.
After the reader is lead through the facts of what they can expect in a specific country, they are then given an intimate view into actual life there through interviews with ex-pats currently living in country. These interviews are candid, giving the reader not only insight into the country, but into the psyche of Americans being interviewed. Golson does not attempt to censor his interviewees. What he does do is give numerous viewpoints from people who have varying perspectives/outlooks on their lives, their reasons for retiring abroad, their likes/dislikes about their "home," the people, culture, customs, and how they are managing in their new country, to name a few. In other words, these are personal "opinions," and should be taken as such. Learn to accept that if a person wants to rile against life, politics, or the number of dogs and cats in the U.S or another country, that it is "just their opinion." Forget being offended and move on because Golson has done what many writers of books concerning living in a foreign country have failed to do...giving the reader several unvarnished views, represented by a balance between good, bad and sometimes ambivalence. For instance, one couple he interviewed in Italy is struggling financially, but consider their life there as, "a dream come true." While another woman, from a couple who were also interviewed about Italy, will have the reader scratching their head wondering how anyone could be so naive as to think because she is of Italian descent, she would just naturally fit into a foreign country that speaks a different language, has a totally different culture, customs and history. Is it any wonder she is disillusioned and disparaging?
Having once lived for several years in Europe, I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever considered retiring/moving/taking an extended stay outside the United States. If nothing else, it will get the reader to begin considering all aspects of a life in a foreign country, not just the picture-perfect-ones presented in most books dealing with living abroad.
With quotes like, "we don't hang out with other expats," many of the contributors show a bit of chip on their shoulders. Most expats actually like hanging out with each other. That doesn't mean that they don't interact with the local citizens, it just means they are living without borders.
Additionally, the selection of informational sources seemed biased. Quoting the Vision of Humanity rating that shows the USA as being less peaceful than Mexico or Croatia is very misleading. Living in Mexico being more peaceful than living in the USA? Please. How deep do you need to look to find an organization called Vision of Humanity? I think adding these types of politically biased "surveys" was unnecessary.
Some people look to retire overseas because it is fun. Retirement should be fun, not political asylum. So, if you read this book, be warned that it is a partial picture of retirement outside the USA. And if you are looking for reading material that is objective and informative, remember you'll only be getting a partial view from this book.
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