How to Find Your Perfect Retire Cheap Paradise

In this post and video, I discuss How to Find Your Perfect Retire Cheap Paradise using our 4 step process.

The truth is, we are all different. We have our own unique needs so your paradise may not be the same as mine.

I will show you pictures of the 65 countries I have visited while I explain why Jim, our example expat, had trouble finding his perfect paradise.

In this example, Expat Jim grew up near mountains and likes to fish. He also likes to hike and play in waterfalls to cool off after a long hike. In the evenings on weekends, he enjoys playing the harmonica with friends at live music venues around town. During his working years, he vacationed a few times in the Caribbean and always dreamed of retiring in warmer weather one day.

When Jim retired, he moved to Tulum, Mexico. It has white sand beaches and turquoise clear water. Plus, the living costs were well within his budget. He was blown away by the fish he caught every morning on the white sand beach with turquoise blue water.

After a few months, Jim noticed he wasn’t going to the beach as often as he thought he would. He was able to make friends with some of the musicians in town and play once or twice in the live music venues in town, but that tapered off after the first few months. He also missed hiking in the mountains and swimming in waterfalls. There are no mountains near Tulum.

Let me explain a process you could use to increase your chances of success.

Expat Step #1: Start By Analyzing/Honoring Yourself

Your perfect retirement destination should be better than home and still fit into your budget. Jim should have added a few things to his perfect retirement list. But Jim was blinded by the beauty of the white sand, blue water, and easy life in Tulum. It never occurred to him that he would get bored there after 6 months because he had multidimensional needs not considered. Jim’s identity was partially defined by music and mountain nature. Tulum was never a great or Jim. He should have started with his own complexity before thinking about his perfect retire cheap paradise. There are two lists he should have made.

Things I love about my life now:

  1. Mountains with waterfalls
  2. Fishing and hiking
  3. Live Music Venues that allow walk-on Harmonica players

Things I will add to my perfect retire cheap paradise:

  1. Warmer year-round weather
  2. White Sand Beach and Blue Waters
  3. A beautiful woman at his side

Make your two lists. Who you are right now? Foodie, Museums, Live Music, Fishing, Hiking Coffee Shops, Gamer, Cooking, Designing Things, Paining, Windsurfing, Hiking Fishing, Making Love, Writing? What will you add to make it perfect? The world is your oyster. Okay, it is time to think about how to integrate, compromise, and prioritize your needs.

Expat Step #2: Prioritize Needs/Consider Compromises

Jim completed his list above. He could integrate them in this way. Jim rather live in the mountains and drive up to 30 minutes to get to a white sand beach. So he will be looking for a place with white sand beaches with mountains behind. There should be fish in the ocean and the rivers. He wants warmer year-round weather, but he will live at a little higher elevation on the mountain so it is okay if the beach is hot. His preference would be to find a mid-sized city that has a few live music venues. Before leaving the USA, Jim had started playing harmonica in a park near his house and people had gathered and were listening, clapping, and complimenting. He even met a few beautiful women that way. So if the new paradise location has a charming city center, central park, or boardwalk, where he can play for people, he might be able to get his music fix and find love the same way.

Now it is your turn. Prioritize your needs like Jim has. Think about your perfect retire cheap destination wholistically. This will help you in the next phase, your search.

Expat Step #3: Find the Top 5 Possible Retire Cheap in Paradise Contenders

Now Jim has a vision of what he is looking for. He knows that a white sand beach is not enough. He needs mountains with waterfalls within 30 minutes of a white sand beach. There also needs to be a large enough community that enjoys evenings in a public park or city center area to play his harmonica. If you have traveled extensively, a few places may come immediately to mind. Many of the islands in the Philippines would be a nice fit. Bali Indonesia would also be a contender. A few of the villages at the foot of Kota Kinabalu on Borneo is also a possibility. Hoi An would be lovely in Vietnam if Dalat was not 4 hours away. Possibly Kampot Cambodia with its rivers, nearby mountains, and beaches. Possibly Koh Tau in Thailand but I would need to check the elevation of the mountain. If he is not strict on the sand color, there are a few mountains that may qualify in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Ecuador. After that, I would look at relief maps with high mountains and warm weather within 30 minutes of the ocean. I am sure there are many more in the ring of fire around the Pacific Ocean.

Expat Step #4: Group and Slow Travel Through Regions and Explore

Jim has identified the 2 regions most likely to have his perfect retire cheap in paradise locations: SE Asia and S. America. Next, he needs to visit one or more of the regions and slow travel through each region and see it with his own eyes. He should pick which region first based upon the videos he sees on Youtube that seem to showcase his desires most readily. By slow travel, I mean visit each of the places in that region of the world one at a time and find his favorite. For example, we just spent 90 days slow traveling around Vietnam and identified our top 3 retire cheap in paradise destinations in Vietnam. Spending 90 days traveling around a country may sound expensive but it is cheap when you slow travel from city to city on buses and trains. It usually costs less than $10 per person to transfer between cities near each other in the same country. Plus we stay in inexpensive accommodations when we stay in each city to keep the overhead down. As we travel through each country, we write travel and retire cheap reports about each city we visit. We also write reports ranking our favorite cities in each country and in the world. These reports may help you narrow which cities you decide to visit but you still need to visit your top picks before deciding where to retire cheap in paradise. Once you have visited your favorites in the world, it will be easy for you to pick where you want to start your retirement.

Once you pick your initial favorite part of the world, you can visit other nearby places you missed during your slow travels to see if there is a hidden gem you missed the first time through. It is very likely you will fall in love with a nearby hidden gem and want to move there. That is why you should never buy real estate in your first year or two. Slow traveling is so cheap, if you love, you can keep moving forward as we do. Wait until you fall madly in love with a place before you decide to hang out for a few months or years. Or, just pick your favorite and retire cheap in paradise.

Make sure to grab a free copy of my eBook, “How to Fire Your Boss and Travel the World.”

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