Thursday, February 6, 2014

Self-assessment: Considering retiring in another country?

This is a guest post written by WC Carpenter and shared in a the Facebook Ecuador Expats group.

I've realized many of the Expats around the world and in Ecuador may be failing to do some difficult self assessment before moving off to a new country and culture.

One of THE Most Important tasks every potential future expat must do is a really hard-nosed, honest,eyes wide open assessment of what is truly important to them before they make that move. My suggestion is to make an actual list with three columns: Necessary...Nice....Not important. :Under those three headings you write the everyday things that you use, want, need, or can do without. This includes (but is not limited to) such things food, wine, books, pets, garbage disposals, cleanliness, or whatever it is that is important to YOU. But you must be very HONEST with your self about which column they go in.

Now if you are accustomed to a glass of nice wine with dinner every night, or you need great books or a garbage disposal it matters not....but do some hard, honest re-assessing of what makes your life a PLEASURE as well as just comfortable. It is no use to retire to a place like Ecuador or Thailand or Tanzania for that matter unless you are going to be happy.

What ever you do...and this is very important...don't let the politically correct opinions of those on mob sites like FB and others deter you from what you know is best for you. Pay no attention to the naysayers, and the Nattering Nabobs of Negativity (thanks Spiro Agnew) who would have you believe that the only right way to live in (insert country here) is to live as they do. Forget them. Do what YOU need to do to make YOU happy in your new home.

Now before some of you jump to conclusions let me hasten to add: That your happiness and your transition will be made easier if you have at least a minimal grounding in the language and have educated yourself about your new home. Visit for as long as you can...but READ everything you can...and not just the things you agree with, especially the History. Read as much Anthropology about the area as you can get your hands on. Educate yourself.

And Yes Happiness is not determined by “things”. But be careful how much you give up all at one time. It is better to come with more and discard along the way as you become more accustomed to your new country than it is to be unhappy because you don’t have something important to you and cant get it. As time goes on and you live in a new country for a few years your perspectives will change your needs and wants will slowly adjust themselves to your new reality....happiness and comfort ARE important.

As for other expats affecting your life and happiness: There are good and bad, happy and unhappy expats everywhere. You must have a strong enough personality to stand on your own, know whats right for you and ignore or laugh off those that irritate you...If you don’t have that kind of personality or self esteem, it could be that moving abroad is not for you.


Here are two other articles worth reading as you think about retiring to another country.

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