Expatriate Retirement Research


Cover of

Cover of How to Retire Abroad

Let’s start out with a quote from Abraham Lincoln:


“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four hours sharpening the ax.”

What’s that mean for retiring overseas? Research. Do your homework first. If you are going to another country that speaks a different language, learn the foundation here first. Follow the expatriate boards. Read the books.

Folks need to look at health care plans. If you buy an expatriate plan via a US company, you will spend much money. However, you can get one from an established European company much less. And the company is just as established as Blue Cross and Blue Shield, etc. In a recent question I asked via an email at Broker Fish, I got this response:

” The Global Fusion plan is provided by IMG Europe, a wholly owned subsidiary of International Medical Group® (IMG®). IMG Europe was founded 2002 and is FSA (UK) regulated and approved and EU Insurance Mediation Directive (IMD) compliant. Important to note is that the plan is renewable until age 75 at which point the plan will automatically terminate.”

The next logical question is to see if there are private plans available after age 75. Other considerations are what public government plans – if any – are available in the country of residency. Should one keep Medicare A and B. It’s a good option for back up emergencies.

In How to Retire Overseas: Everything You Need to Know to Live Well (for Less) Abroad by Kathleen Peddicord, she recommends the company Bupa. Kathleen is in Panama now, which has excellent medical facilities and expatriate incentives. But she also lived in Ireland, France and other countries. Maybe the book Retirement Without Borders: How to Retire Abroad–in Mexico, France, Italy, Spain, Costa Rica, Panama, and Other… by Barry Golson and Thia Golson and the Expert Expats, will add some added info.

And we can’t forget cultural values. For example, in The Gringo Guide to Panama – What to Know Before You Go by Elizabeth Vance, we find much about cultural values. All books I mentioned are available on Amazon. Remember the Kanamits from the Twilight Zone episode? Wiki covers it at the Kanamits and the full episode is at


Mexico here we come...

Mexico here we come… (Photo credit: Mexicanwave)

Nobody asked what their cultural values are. But I’m sure they will keep asking you, “When can you join us for lunch?” And if I asked “what time lunch is”, their reply would be: “Lunch won’t start until you get here.”


For the record, I am looking at four locations:

  • Uruguay
  • Ecuador
  • Panama
  • Mexico

Let’s look at a Q and A from a Mexican expatriate board I answered:

“Has anyone set up Google Voice in the states, and then carried their VOIP adapter and phone to their Mexico internet service? Does it work?”

Actually, Google Voice is for receiving calls to different phones you have. If you are using an OBI device (i.e found on Amazon), Google is discontinuing support to that protocol around May 15. I would either do one of three things:

  • Set up a Skype account with a US number, to call either US or world numbers.  It is owned by Microsoft.
  • Download the LINE app into a smartphone. I think FaceBook bought them. But it connects to a VOIP service. DO a Google or Bing search for LINE.
  • Use Net Duo, Magic Jack or an OBI device (i.e. OBI110) from Amazon, with one of their recommended phone services. I’m not sure if the OBI device works without a router or not.



Enhanced by Zemanta

Expatriates and medical care


English: View of Cuenca (Ecuador) from the hil...

English: View of Cuenca (Ecuador) from the hill and village of Turi. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I got this wonderful article on assisted living facilities in Cuenca, Ecuador. You can read the original here, with pictures: Ecuador . The picture and article is very nice. Contrary to popular opinion, 3rd world countries can have excellent medical care. For example, I go to this Indian fast food restaurant. He said that rich Arabs come to India for medical and hospital care. Since they can come anywhere in the world – including the US and Europe – why India? Some great hospitals and medical care. After all, according to the World Health Organization, we rank in the mid thirties. To see who beat us, see the Business Insider article at Business Insider .


We live too fast a pace here. Everything is slower in Latin countries. It’s called Manana time. But it’s all relative. A woman book writer brought this concept up in an Irish pub. A guy there said, “we have no word in Ireland to express this level of urgency.”


To Serve Man (The Twilight Zone)

To Serve Man (The Twilight Zone) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But you really need to do the research. Ever see a Twilight Zone episode called To Serve Man? (see Twilight Zone ). Imagine these 9 foot talk travelers came to earth and solved all our scientific and world problems. Then they invite us to visit where they live. Would you go? Not without the proper research – I say. Are there blogs and forum entries from expatriates ? None? Red flag! What does the terrain look like? Google maps can help immensely there. Any finally, have you learned their language? If you have, then a reading of the book “To Serve Man”, can be very educational. If you are going to Latin America, you need to know Spanish. No way around it! Unless you go to Brazil. Then you need to know Portuguese. Fortunately, I will have a good solid foundation in Spanish and a good working knowledge of Portuguese, before I go anywhere. Because of our Latin word origins, about 60 percent of the common vocabulary is common to English, Spanish and Portuguese. You need to just change some English endings.


Lastly, we do have a STEP program at STEP , run by the state department. It’s free and all should enroll.

Research is the key ingredient. Recently, I wanted to do a routine car battery check. I went to my local Auto Zone store. They said I needed a new battery. I had them do an alternator check. They said everything was good.

I then went to a couple Advanced Auto Parts store. Both ran tests. I noticed the tests were more comprehensive then those ran at Auto Zone – both for the battery and alternator. The alternator is good and the battery just needed a charging. I lastly went to an O’Reilly auto parts store, for a final battery check. They mentioned the battery was showing fully charged. The moral? Don’t take as gospel the first “professional” opinion – whether medical, contractor, mechanic, etc. Do the research.

Sorry, The Kanamits are inviting me to lunch. The set up a restaurant at a US location called Terminus. It’s my play on a popular AMC TV show, with a bit of Twilight Zone thrown in. Time to go.



Enhanced by Zemanta

How to Hire Like Google [Infographic]

Hire Like Google
Source: Top-Business-Degrees.net



Peter Parker – Doc Octopus – For Better or Worse?


Green Gobllin as he appears in Spider-Man: Fri...

Green Gobllin as he appears in Spider-Man: Friend or Foe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I did read issue #30 of Superior Spider-man. My interpretation is that all Peter’s memories still survived and he took them all back. Maybe I’m wrong. Even if I’m right, Dan might still play things out differently. Personally, I would like to see Doc survive. Perhaps help out Peter, in the form of the living brain. But Dan is always publishing false leads – like Liz having the Goblin mask. What is that all about? Or could the cavity in the Green Goblin, really be from Doc Ock‘s missing body?

Kind of like figuring out what the Walking Dead AMC Terminus is really about,, from comic story clues.

If we follow the comic version – which the movie deviates a bit from – here’s what Terminus might be:

  • Where do they get those slabs of beef they had hanging, once they offered new arrivals a plate?
  • Why are they desperately offering sanctuary to all comers?
  • And a further clue comes from translating the Latin word Terminus to English: a boundary mark, limit, end, border.

So, given a choice, would you rather be in the Governer‘s camp (i.e. when he was alive) or join the Terminus crew for chow and sanctuary? But is Peter Parker better or worse off, for Doc Octopus taking over his body – for a full year?

On the negative hand, we have:

  • A tarnished reputation among his friends, associates and the general public
  • A loss of established connections with the group at Horizon Labs
  • The Avengers wanting to hunt him down.
  • Doc’s love relationship with Anne Marie, which Peter isn’t currently into.

On the positive side, we have:

  • A group of patrolling Spider robots
  • Access to ideas and inventions of Doctor Octopus.
  • A PhD in some scientific field – either chemistry or physics
  • An up and coming technology innovation company, along with a couple partners.
  • The living brain, as a lab assistant.

    The Green Goblin, redesigned for the movie Spi...

    The Green Goblin, redesigned for the movie Spider-Man played by Willem Dafoe. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Perhaps there are other things he has. He could take some insight into Doc’s using of planning and thinking things out. Doc, on the other hand, lacked Peter’s spontaneity, both in using his mind and body.

Why would I do if I were Peter? I would first contact Doctor Strange , the Marvel telepathic heroes, and superhero scientific geniuses. I’ll tell then my story and have them verify the truth of it. Then I would solicit their help, in helping bring out the truth.

I would keep the patrol Spider-bots. But I would improve on their design and remove the recognition goblin flaw. I would also work on a technology way to communicate with real spiders – like the Scarlet Spider can do. Then I would use both to gather information and patrol for me. In addition, I would do my own patrols – like Peter used to do.

I would argue that the bad that Doc did can be overcome. The good can be used and adapted, to Peter’s way of doing things. But Doc did make some positive advancements.



Enhanced by Zemanta

The State of Marketing Automation Trends 2014 [Infographic]

State of Marketing Automation Trends 2014

Brought to you by Marketing Automation Software by Marketo and Software Advice


Enhanced by Zemanta

Why is the DBA the happiest job – in-spite of stress?

English: WMF Tech Staff Group Photo - honoring...

English: WMF Tech Staff Group Photo – honoring Domas Mituzas, a volunteer database administrator. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last week, I shared a story about stress. It’s called How to deal with IT and programming stress IT and programming stress. In the story, it mentions that programming is one of the most stressful jobs. It’s also a great paying job, which offers intellectual satisfaction.

This week, I read an article entitled The Happiest And Unhappiest Jobs In 2014 Happiest jobs. In the article, three jobs are mentioned at providing the most happiness:

Let’s focus on the first one, since it is an IT job. And stress was one major factor in IT job burnout, as we found from my previous article. The article on happy jobs asks this question: “Why does database administrator rank as the No. 1 happiest job, and what exactly does the work entail?” They went on to provide two answers I found interesting:

  • “Here’s the Bureau of Labor Statistics description of the job: ‘Database administrators (DBAs) use specialized software to store and organize data, such as financial information and customer shipping records. They make sure that data are available to users and are secure from unauthorized access.”’
  • “’Because of their importance inside organizations, they can be the key driver of success,’ she says. In the survey, DBAs gave especially high marks for the quality of their daily tasks and for job control.”

What about the stress of being a DBA? Actually, if you Google the words “Stress DBA”, you find some excellent blog posts on this topic. For example, there is DBA’s biggest enemy at DBA biggest enemy. The author mentions these items – among others – as stress factors:

  • Frustration and responsibility: DBAs get often blamed for problems that are beyond their control: “Why is the database slow”?
  • On-call and overtime: Most DBAs work day and night. Or at least are available around the clock.


MySQL Remote DBA training by Rakesh Kumar, OSSCube

MySQL Remote DBA training by Rakesh Kumar, OSSCube (Photo credit: OSSCube)




  • Fire fighting: no time left for proactive work. Because there are not enough DBAs for supporting all the databases.


Even an Oracle DBA has this to say at Oracle DBA and stress:

  • “Stress is your biggest enemy. The world of the DBA is an incredibly stressful one and it is even worse in smaller organizations. If you have only one DBA, he or she knows that they alone have to keep the database up and running, or the business will stop running”

So in spite of stress, the DBA is number one, on the list of happiest jobs. Why is that? It it because of the money? Or is it the satisfaction of making a contribution? Perhaps it is another reason. The DBA can always practice a simple meditation technique, like what we talked about last week.

What do you think?



Enhanced by Zemanta

How to deal with IT and programming stress

How to deal with IT and programming stress

Cover of

Cover of The Relaxation Response

This week, I came across two interesting topics on stress.  But they involved stress in the IT and programming world.
 In the IT article, the author says this: “This is the number one reason I left. If you’ve never experienced the levels of stress associated with managed service providers, you’re in for a real treat. You have (possibly) hundreds of clients calling in all day to report their computers “aren’t working.” “
And the programming article brings up an important element: “One is something known as the ‘imposter syndrome.’ That’s when you’re pretty sure that all the other coders you work with are smarter, more talented and more skilled than you are.”
But working more hours didn’t bring more productivity.  The programming article mentions this: “Stanford students studied how much time a person can really spend programming productively. In what shouldn’t be a surprise, they found that working too much reduces productivity. Overworked coders tended to produce less high-quality code when working 60 hour/weeks than refreshed people did when working 40-hour weeks.”
How can we cut the stress?  One answer is rather simple.  It comes from a book by ABC news anchor Dan Harris called   Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story.  It’s found on Amazon at Follow the breath.
What’s the answer?  It’s actually a simple meditation technique – sit still and follow the breath.  But this is actually a technique followed in the Zen and Insight Meditation Buddhist approaches.
To tell the truth, the book The Relaxation Response by Herbert Benson and Miriam Z. Klipper, had a similar technique about twenty-five years ago.  It can be found on Amazon at Relaxation response.  But I think the Harvard Medical school writer does add focus on a simple English phase.

Bottom line?  Take time to relax for a few minutes, with a simple meditation technique.


Programmers (Photo credit: Phillie Casablanca)

Sure.  It’s easy to drop out of a high paying job.  One can get a more laid back job – for far less money.  But most come into programming for the intellectual challenge or feeling of satisfaction.  You are accomplishing something most folks can’t do.  I don’t think giving up is the answer.  Nor do I think meditation – in and of itself – will resolve all problems.  I used to program for a living.  I still like to putter about with technology.  The only difference now, is I’m not under the stress and strain schedule.


Enhanced by Zemanta

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 28,114 other followers