Tuesday, September 16, 2014

How to Be Smarter than the Average Traveler or Retiree that Moves Abroad

Jumping on the Band Wagon to the New "Best Place to Live"!

A lot of travelers and retirees are moving to Cuenca Ecuador and we all know what that means; rising prices and changes that may or may not be positive.

What happens when everyone jumps on the band wagon and goes to the city where everyone else is going? Prices skyrocket and after awhile it starts to look and behave just like a little North America.  However, it is still a developing little North America without the living standards most people are accustomed to.

So why follow the herd to the next “new”, best place to retire?  

The mainstream travel magazine writers and retirement press folks make a generous living by swaying you to believe paradise is here or there or over there. And they are so good at it that many naive folks become won over and go there because, well, they don’t want to be left behind.

The other day Frank and I met with a retired couple who didn’t want to be left behind.  For the first year and a half of living in Cuenca they were spending well over their $1600 retirement budget because they were seeking the same kind of standards they were used to having in the u.s.

It took them two years of downsizing to finally be living within their budget in Cuenca. So what changed? They moved into a smaller home that rents for $300 dollars less, moved back into the smoggy, noisy city from suburban San Joaquin because the taxis from there to the city were costing well over $200 dollars per month (they were not on a bus line), and now they are barely eking out a living in Cuenca on their $1600 stipend. 

Okay, so what’s the problem, you may be wondering? The problem is they are not happy now.  

We've heard this sentiment before and after awhile you notice the pattern. It seems to us it is those people who came here without high expectations and believing they can live in luxury for less, that actually like Cuenca and end up staying. And it is those people who believed the hype and came here with high expectations of how they thought it was going to be, that eventually leave.  Although it is a bit deeper than that...but just something to think about. 

The point: The nice couple above came to Cuenca to have the same living standards or better than in the u.s but were spending well over their budget so they inevitably had to do something, and now after downsizing they are feelings homesick for the u.s. The way their talking, we think they will be heading back to North America soon.

This nice retired couple who moved to “paradise” now feel resentful, and guess who they blame? They blame the travel retirement press folks who swayed them to believe that Cuenca was a cheap, wonderful paradise.  Do you think they are the only retired couple that feels this way?

Sadly this is a growing trend with some folks in the expat community. There are negative reports about the International travel abroad press all over the Internet from expats that were somehow swayed to believe that some cheap city they refer to is ALL GOOD with NO NEGATIVES.

House Hunters International just came out with a new coastal real estate house buying episode that woos you in with complete deception of what the Ecuador Coast is really like.  Beware if you think that Ecuador is all these programs hype it up to be because you will be sadly disappointed. Take off the blinders; that’s all.

3 Solutions to Make You Smarter and Wiser

1. Instead of following the herd to the next best retirement paradise, go the opposite direction and find your own paradise, doing your own research and checking it out using your own due diligence. This would actually make you, not only smarter but the head of the crowd and you’ll be able to get all the best real estate deals!! Oh, and by the way, don’t tell anyone either, just do it!

Did you know there are literally hundreds upon hundreds of beautiful, nice, cheap cities and towns to “go retire” / "move to" to in the world?

Think about this for a moment: if cheap is what you’re looking for then that would be where no one else is flocking to, right?

2. We’re not saying to stop reading the International retirement abroad press magazines or to quit watching the highly entertaining HHI; but we are saying to carefully glean through the information with diligence. Know what the writer is leaving out and what they are NOT telling you.  Learn to read between the lines, and never believe that anywhere is “cheap”.  

It is actually a good idea to read the International travel press then you’ll know where NOT to go. Once they start pumping a new retirement city, people flock to it, prices go higher for everything, and within just a few years it becomes just another expensive Latin American city.

3. The third solution is to just stay where you are planted. Right now you have your feet firmly on the ground, you don’t have to learn a new language, you don’t have to miss your children and grandchildren and above all, you won’t have to adjust to a new culture and environment, and you won’t have to lower your standard of living like some expats do when they move to a Latin America country.

It is possible to live abroad and have different aspects of your life improved, but we don’t think delegating that decision making process, is what the wise, intelligent expat would do.  Your thoughts?

~ We're an Expat Family of Five Living Frugal, Healthy and Happy in Cuenca Ecuador! Enjoy the blog! Enjoy the DIY Cuenca Ecuador Landing Guide! It has the details and information you can trust! ~

Sunday, September 14, 2014

DIY Cuenca Ecuador Landing Guide PAPERBACK Available for Purchase

We are very pleased to offer the paperback edition of the DIY Cuenca Ecuador Landing Guide; by popular demand we have created a paperback version for those folks who prefer to read and own the physical book.  The book has the exact same materials as the eBook. 

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Now that the manuscript has been condensed into a 9 X 6 book, however, it is a whopping 270 pages! Wow! We didn’t even know the Landing Guide had that much material in it until we began to format and paginate the text for the actual book.

Folks will still be able to purchase the eBook version of the Landing Guide if they prefer a digital copy.  However, if you want the physical book, here it is ready for your perusal and reading enjoyment.

We're an Expat Family of Five Living Frugal, Healthy and Happy in Cuenca Ecuador! Enjoy the blog!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

10 Warning Signs You MAY Be Paying Too Much for Rent in Cuenca Ecuador

Some of you might think you got a great deal on your rental and maybe you have. However, we know that many expats in Ecuador are overpaying for their rental house or apartment. So consider the list below to see if you may be getting gringoed on your rent.
  1. You procured your rental through an English speaking/ Ecuadorian real estate agent or online.  
  2. You asked for any one of these amenities in your new place: views 2) elevator 3) by the river 4) near shopping 5) walk to Supermaxi.
  3. You took the first price that was quoted and did not negotiate.
  4. Your new place is a furnished one bedroom suite. (Tourist rental) 
  5. Your landlord raised the rent after one year. (Illegal in Ecuador)
  6. You paid three months rent upfront. (The locals do not do this)
  7. You compared the Ecuadorian rental price to what you WERE PAYING in the u.s.
  8. You brought your u.s standards of living with you.
  9. You simply don’t care how much your rent is.
  10. You’re paying more than $400 for an unfurnished 3-bedroom 3-bath house, or you are paying more than $350 for an unfurnished 3 bedroom 3 bath apartment that does not have 24 hour security or elevator.
None of these are a guarantee that you are getting gringoed, but we think you should use it as a red flag, and do some more due diligence.   

Are you paying too much for your rent?

We're an Expat Family of Five Living Frugal, Healthy and Happy in Cuenca Ecuador! Enjoy the blog!