You may well wonder what could ever make me think I could live overseas and travel on my social security alone. When I tell people how simply it started they are always amazed.
My fun retirement job up to this point has been as a shuttle driver for the number one Toyota dealership in the nation. It has given me great joy to ferry people around and get into short but often intense conversations with them. It was one of these talks that started the ball rolling for me.
I was taking a Filipino man home from the dealership when he began to tell of the wonderful vacation he had just come back from, visiting his family in the Philippines for a month. He mentioned that the airfare was expensive but otherwise it barely cost him anything. I assumed he was talking about the low cost of staying with family, but a few seconds later he described his hotel and I realized there was more to it. I asked him why the trip was so inexpensive.
“The exchange rate is 44 pesos to the dollar over there,” he replied. I was stunned and I feel sure my jaw dropped. This was the sentence that launched my lifestyle change.
“What?” I feebly replied.
“Yes,” he continued, “you get a lot more for your dollar over there.” I really can’t recall what else we discussed because my mind was going a million miles a minute, except that he ended by saying that he planned on retiring in the Philippines where he could live like a king on his social security alone, even though he was purchasing real estate there at a steady pace as a financial investment.
I began to immerse myself in research on retiring to the Philippines as a possibility for myself, and as I did I found there were many other places in the world where the U.S. dollar went a very long way. In essence, a casual chat with a passenger led me to one of the most profound life changes I’ve ever experienced.
In future postings, I'll tell you what I found out, country by country, and how I’ve gone about preparing for this transition. I hope you’ll enjoy the journey as much as I have and once I’m on my way, I’ll have much to show and tell.