If your happiness depends on money, you will never be happy with yourself. Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the world belongs to you." Lao Tzu
Did you know that some foreigners from North America move to Ecuador to live in luxury? What does that mean? Well, in a nutshell it means that people’s retirement money doesn’t go as far as it used to, or they don’t know how to make it go further, and because of that they have had to give up certain standards of living they’re used to having.
Then they hear that Cuenca Ecuador is cheap and they think they can come here and (with their retirement money/pension) live in luxury. But that is not altogether correct any more than the idea that moving to Ecuador will allow you to live in the middle class again.
We have toured some of the nicest apartment complexes (just built) in Cuenca and what is viewed as “luxury” here is actually just standard construction, perhaps in the middle-end of North America but it certainly is not luxurious. So not to burst anyone’s luxury bubble; it’s not what you think. However, you will pay up for what is termed “luxury”. See the article at the end of this post.
Sometime ago there was an article posted in the Cuenca chatter; the article was talking about how some of the gringo buyers of the “in construction phase” condominium units were demanding certain finishes to be made to their high rise apartments to U.S building standards. To make a long story short, the gringo’s demands were not met and some of them became very ugly and sue happy when the developers did not provide them with their demands of U.S standard finishes. We don’t really know how it ends because the article doesn’t really state, but interestingly enough, today in Cuenca there are about seven condo buildings located throughout the city that will not sell to gringos because they complain too much, are too picky, and want to sue when things do not go their way; this from the developers, not us.
We tell you all this because these are the same type of high rise buildings that are built all over town that are for rent and for sale and they are not luxurious; they are just nice, some of the units are nicer than others, but nothing more. So if you are in the luxurious crowd moving to Cuenca or are moving here to find your middle class, don’t have too high of expectations. Some gringos may find that paying $750 to $1250 for a condo termed luxury is not up to the standards they are accustomed to back home in North America and they might be disappointed.
The middle class in most developing countries is not the majority and the middle class in Cuenca is not the same as what we are used to in North America. Finding a middle class in Latin America is just another glamorized statement used by the travel abroad magazines to get people excited about moving wherever they happen to be pumping that month.
They know that North America is decaying politically and morally and becoming more expensive for pensioners to make ends meet, and is why they love to tout some of these developing countries as having a high middle class, but it is not what they make it out to be; it is not what you think it is. Ecuador is a developing country with a GDP per Capita of $11,000 annually. Compare that to the USA of $54,000 GDP. Source: List of Countries by GDP (PPP) Per Capita.
We need to understand that “middle class” is partly an attitude of the mind and partly learning how to spend the money we have. If we don’t have either of these things then we will feel as if we have lost something we once had. Perhaps we become discouraged and think that “going somewhere else” will make us feel better.
"Happiness is not having what you want. It is appreciating what you have." Unknown
Moving abroad to another place labeled as cheap is not the total solution; it can be part of it but if you don’t like it where you move to because everything is different or if you aren’t living on the money you have, wisely, where does “middle class” get you?
What are other people that are considered “middle class” in North America doing? Did you know that most millionaires that had to work for their money got that way because they were frugal and didn’t spend everything they earned. We could list hundreds of wealthy folks that live frugal but comfortable lives; we’re just saying “middle class” is an attitude of the mind.
In all truth, moving to a developing, foreign land based on the need to feel better about one’s life is a really poor reason to move abroad. And sadly, it is exactly this type of people that move to a touted, hyped up, temporarily cheap city abroad and end up leaving because they are basing their move on a feeling. They won’t make it here.
"Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude." Denis Waitley
We have to change our way of thinking to feel good about our life and living standards. Feelings cannot be met simply by moving to a South American country. In fact, if anyone is having financial problems now or if you feel like you aren’t living the standard of life you think you should where you are living now, then you should FIRST take care of that concern within yourself BEFORE uprooting your discontented life to a foreign environment. Bringing discontent with you to a totally different environment, totally different middle class, totally different culture can only compound problems within you. Happiness comes from within not from without. No place in the world is going to change that.
“No one is in control of your happiness but you; therefore, you have the power to change anything about yourself or your life that you want to change.” – Barbara DeAngelis
Source: Keep inspiring me Quotes
Source: INC Online Magazine
Until we write again…
We're an Expat Family of Five, Living Frugal, Healthy and Happy Abroad. We live in Cuenca, Ecuador and travel the Ecuador coast whenever we get a chance. We just adventured throughout the country of Panama for five weeks! Come along and enjoy some of our experiences with us!