Recently we put electronic pen to virtual paper raising the question, is there a mini bubble in housing? In that piece we cited the contradiction between falling home ownership now at around 63% and the fact that only prescription drug prices are rising faster than the price of shelter. Some of the distortion in housing prices can be blamed on excess capital in the hands of speculators, drug lords, foreign potentates and others who could not give four-letter word for ordinary folks looking to live the American dream.
But what if you are one of those ordinary folks and are stuck in an ugly and overpriced rental property, your FICO score still not flashing green lights, your bank account is lean and your age working against you? Or what if you own your home but can’t keep up with soaring property taxes because some Russian oligarch blew up prices in your neighborhood?
For 60 million Americans baby boomers, these are not absurd scenarios. What we know about this group from what insights the US government tells us is eye opening. We have previously noted how some 40% of this group has an average savings of less than $20,000. Nearly 8 million of this group is part of what the US Labor Department classifies as E6 or the total of people looking for jobs plus those who have all but given up hope of finding a job.
So if you are one of these millions of people, what are you suppose to do? When you can neither find adequate work but cannot finance your retirement, the outlook can get a little discouraging.
If you don’t live there already, you might consider moving to one of 10 lowest cost cities in America that we mentioned last week. To be polite, most of those cities are not going to appeal to everyone. In fact, the reason they are so cheep is because they appeal to practically no one. How many times have you fallen a sleep at night dreaming of living in Lubbock Texas or shoveling snow in Buffalo? My guess is not many.
The solution more and more boomers are turning to is living outside the United States. I know it sounds un American but it may be totally American. When you consider pure supply/demand economics, it is pure American.
A key quality at the outset is open mindedness. Remember, it is not like you are being exiled from the United States, never to return. Nothing is permanent. For example, you could take a year or more just exploring different locations to find just your vibe. Even after you find the right spot, there is nothing dictating anything being permanent.
You may even be surprised to know that you are not the first consider the benefits of leaving high cost spots in the United States. There are millions of English speaking expatiates with organized groups all over the world, there is a probably a website for everyone.
Virtual jobs make it possible to take your work wherever you go. Some travel websites will even pay you real money to write a Yelp like reviews of the places you visit and the restaurants you like. Everybody has an opinion, why not get paid?
Unless you really want, there is no need to go half way round the world to find attractive economics combined with quality of life benefits. Each year International Living, the online magazine has their experts list the 10 best places to retire (or simply to run away). Usually all are in the Western Hemisphere in places like Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Costa Rica and other places.
Now here is some great news. You can live like at least a prince and often like a king depending on your location. We are talking about renting a modern two bedroom condo in a great location for $500-$1000 per month and a total cost of living that takes less than $2000 per month. But instead of trimming sagebrush in Lubbock Texas, you are hiking the hills of Cuenca Ecuador or roaming the many beaches of Mexico. Yes, it stinks when the price of housing in the United States is inflated by foreign capital but there are some really cool options. Check it out.
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