Nobody can completely take away the challenges of an overseas move. No matter how carefully you plan and prepare, life will invariably throw you some curves and you’ll have to cope with the unexpected, unanticipated, or just plain frustrations that are part of the process.
You can lessen that pain by having lots of good information.
It’s completely possible to find out everything you need to online, at no charge (except your time and energy). The only problem is, it’ll take a lot of time.
Depending on how far away you are from your planned move date, you can take advantage of some resources that aren’t free, but will organize the information and save you huge amounts of time and aggravation.
If Your Overseas Move is Two Years (or more) in the Future
This is the time to become a sponge for information about your chosen new country. If you haven’t selected your expat retirement destination, you need to narrow down your choices.
Travel books and guides provide great information about the country’s culture, climate and maybe a little of its history. But living and investing overseas isn’t the same as traveling, and guidebooks aren’t so good at filling you in on what you need to know about actually living there.
There’s an excellent monthly publication, written by expats for expats, that can do that. It’s called the Overseas Retirement Letter.
Every month, they take an in-depth look at a country that’s a good choice for North American expats. Reports are written by people who actually live in the country, not by someone who’s just passed through and sampled a few local eateries and hotels.
They have no agenda to push, no axe to grind, and they’re not afraid to mention issues and problems along with the fun stuff.
I’ve met some of the folks who do the writing. Some, like Paul and Vicki Terhorst, have decades of experience living as expats. Others, like Wendy Justice, have only been living the expat lifestyle for three or four years. Some are retired. Others, like Lucy Culpepper, have school-age children.
But one thing they all have in common is a love for living where they’ve chosen to live, and a common sense approach about how you can achieve it.
Every month they’ll give you a realistic picture of what it’s like to live in a country that’s a favorable expat destination.
If You’re Moving Overseas in One-Two Years
I’ve become a big fan of the convention combined with exploring the country you’re considering. I did this last year, attending a conference in Panama and then traveling around the country.
Starting with the conference gave me a chance to meet some expats already living there, and others considering the move. I learned a lot about the country before I set foot out of Panama City.
Unless you’ve got a ton of money to spend, you’ll want to narrow down your country choices to just a couple — three at the most — before you do this.
A word of caution about conferences, though: don’t get carried away by the enthusiasm and euphoria and rush out and buy property on impulse or something equally silly. Your chances of doing so are less if you choose a conference where they avoid the rose-colored glasses and give you a realistic picture of what life is like there.
If Your Move is Within Six Months
Last year, I thought I’d found a good tool, and was totally disappointed with it.
Fortunately, there’s something much better now. From the same folks who publish the Overseas Retirement Letter, it’s a 52-day program to move you from your home country to your expat destination.
Here’s what the publisher has to say about it:
Don´t Let Another Single Day Pass You By–Launch Your New Life Overseas Now
It took me more than 12 years to launch my live overseas adventures…Today, 13 years later, I´ve reinvented my life from Baltimore, Maryland, to Waterford, Ireland…then from there to Paris and on to Panama City, where I´m living today…My advice to you?Don´t let another single day pass you by.Leverage my experience to launch your own dream retirement overseas in as few as 52 days from today.That´s a specific promise that I mean literally and that I take seriously.Research and reading will get you only so far. To make your live- or retire-overseas dream come true, you need a detailed plan. Here´s mine…for you…
Every day for 52 days, you’ll receive a lesson in your inbox. This is a focused program, not a collection of anecdotes like the “program” I was so disappointed in.
The first step starts with identifying where in the world you’d like to go, what’s most important to you, and what limiting factors you need to account for (health problems and schools for the kids are two examples). Next you figure out how much money you’ll have to live on and prepare a budget.
Every day, you have an assignment to complete and loads of information to work with.
Kathleen recommends spending one hour per day on the program for maximum benefit.
You don’t have to complete the program in 52 days exactly — in fact, if you need to pull together financial information and such, it will probably take longer.
But the bottom line is, this program can get you from Point A (your home country) to Point B (your new overseas life) in a very short time. If you’re serious about enjoying a more affordable lifestyle in a new culture, 52 Days To Your New Life Overseas is a fantastic investment, which I can happily recommend.