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The bank's ATM is not reliable, either. We found several instances where the ATM went through the motions but didn't disburse any cash. Our bank at home showed the money was disbursed and charged their usual total of $9 in fees for each transaction. They claimed that it was "impossible" for an ATM to make this kind of error. The Panamanian bank insisted that the ATM wasn't theirs even though it was in their lobby. It took months of investigation to get reimbursed for some of the withdrawals that were not actually disbursed. You have to watch them every minute.
Lived in Europe in my 20's and loved it. Now in my 60's and would think twice about it. Life is fun and interesting when you are young and healthy, but what about a good doctor and hospital who speaks English? The conveniences we have in America cannot be beat. Granted, we have problems here, but I believe we still have a lot of freedoms that other countries do not have. If I were young again, I would travel and live abroad. Good luck to all you adventurers. 'Go for it, do it and enjoy your life.
Most of this information is very adequately covered by International Living and their spokespersons. They have been invaluable in helping me to plan for a possible relocation to Central America in the not too distant future. Of course my plans could change due to circumstances beyond my control. I am no longer a spring chicken and my elderly mother may live much longer than I expect so I may simply get too old to consider relocation. However I am holding onto that dream.
Some countries such as Ecuador and Panama use the U.S. dollar as their primary currency or interchangeably with their local currency so that is not a problem for me. Also many American banks have branches in these countries so it is not necessary to completely disconnect from the security of the American banking system if you prefer not to. Also political stability is increasing in many of the Central and South American countries to the point that they are almost as stable as here at home. This is particularly true in the last 15 to 20 years. I am seeing signs of some serious unrest right in my own back yard here in the heartland and it unnerves me sometimes.
Also many articles make a big deal about crime in some foreign countries but if you look closely at the statistics you are often safer in some of these countries than you would be in Detroit, Chicago, New York, or Los Angeles. I would much rather put up with some petty thievery over being shot dead on my own front porch any day. In some cases these countries are where we were in the post war years and their economies are booming so it presents opportunities for young people with drive and energy as well as retirees like me. So overall moving overseas is not as terrifying as some try to portray it.
This article offers some good advice but still manages to sound a bit skeptical about such a move so I wonder just how much time the author spent investigating it. International Living was contacted but they have a wealth of information and resources available to perspective ex-patriots that solve a lot of would be concerns. So I would suggest that anyone thinking of such a life style change take the time to do some research on their own and not take these kinds of articles a face value. Reap that which is of value and discard the rest and combine it with information from other sources before you make up your mind.
My next big step will be to plan and take a two week vacation in my chosen location and to meet with some ex-patriots in that area if possible. Usually the reality is more easily shared in a face to face meeting and you get a more accurate picture of the actual experience. Then of course there is the invaluable experience of actually seeing, feeling, hearing, smelling, and tasting your perspective new environment. I eagerly await this next phase in my planned adventure.
I have a personal policy of not traveling to or relocating to any place the people of that Country migrate or relocate to USA in mass numbers. To me that means there is something wrong in the place they are leaving and flocking here for what ever the reason.
The US, a great place to make your fortune but not necessarily the place to spend it..
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