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The “Following the Seasons” Retirement Plan

16 Jul
“Following the Seasons” in retirement allows you to enjoy the best of a number of destinations and to keep both your body and your mind active.

Following The Seasons

Last week at our Live and Invest in Panama Conference, many people wondered out loud about Kathie and my ideas for where we’ll live long-term. I call the plan “Following the Seasons.” Effectively, we’ll spend two to four months in four places around the world, enjoying the best months in each location.

We started early on our plan and decided that we want to own in each location, but you can mix and match your options from owning nothing and simply renting in each location to having a home base and renting in the other destinations or owning nowhere. Owning in all four locations works best when you have the time to time your purchases to down markets.

Of course, renting everywhere give you the most flexibility. You could change your destinations whenever you decided you’d like to try another place. However, owning gives you the opportunity to rent out properties when you’re not using them. Then you have income in the local currency you can spend when you are in residence.

This level of diversification sets you up for matching the currency of your expenses with the currency of your income…and eliminates the worry some people have over a falling dollar, a falling euro, or an unstable peso.

It also keeps you from getting bored. The idea of being full time in one location for the rest of my life turns me off completely. I’d say that diversity of cultures and activities is as important as diversity among your investments, especially when you get into retirement mode. Maybe you’d be okay playing golf every day or sitting by the beach watching the surf for 20 years. But I think most people find they enjoy more diversity than that, so why not allow for the possibility in your retirement plan from the start.

Start With A Plan

I’d suggest starting by picking a home base or primary destination based on your core interests. Architecture and culture are top on our list so we’ve chosen Paris as our home base. However, Paris is hot in summer and can get really cold in winter, so it makes sense to seek out places with better weather during those seasons.

Year-round spring-time weather can be found in many destinations in Latin America, but the culture in this part of the world is more limited than in Europe. Medellin, Colombia (from where I write today), is an exception, a place where the weather is great all the time and the lifestyle is far more Euro than Latino. Thus this is our choice for year-round spring-time weather, but Cuenca, Ecuador, Boquete, Panama, and Cafayate, Argentina, all qualify, as well.

You could also offset the Northern Hemisphere in a spot south of the Equator. New Zealand could be a great choice as it’s an English-speaking destination where it’s difficult to get full-time legal residency anyway. Or you could look at Uruguay or Chile.

You could throw in a beach destination, which are abundantly available and are what many people think of first when they think about retiring overseas. Top beach destinations include Belize, Roatan in Honduras, Panama, Nicaragua, even the coasts of Colombia and Ecuador, as well as options in Asia like Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines.

Our fourth Following the Seasons destination is back in Europe. Croatia has great culture, architecture, and history as well as lots and lots of coastline and sunshine almost year-round. Plus, in Croatia you can spend your time spelunking, sailing, or hiking through medieval hilltop towns.

Whether you decide to buy or rent, following the seasons is a practical way to internationalize your life and keep your body and your mind active during retirement–or sooner if you can swing it.

Lief Simon