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.



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