Best Countries Retire Americans

Best countries retire Americans
Where do you see yourself during your retirement years?

If you are nearing retirement age, plan to retire early, or if you just like to think ahead, you may want to consider the best countries retire Americans.

There are many appealing countries to live in, and some countries you may want to avoid altogether.

Everyone has different ideas about what would make a perfect retirement destination, but there is some criteria that most of us would agree is important.

This list of top countries to retire to is based on various criteria. These are cost of living, favorable climate, quality and access of health care, access to a major airport or airports, and infrastructure.

In addition they feature low crime rate/safety, expat population, availability of technology such as internet access, cell phone coverage, proximity to shopping, restaurants, entertainment, stable economy, stable political situation, and ability to find work or start a business if necessary.

Proximity is another important consideration. I live in the U.S. so as a result, I give more points to destinations that are reasonably close to the States.

You may know how difficult, expensive, and time consuming it can be to find a convenient flight home from half way around the world, especially on short notice.

Something else to keep in mind with my list of best countries retire Americans is that within these countries are cities/areas that don’t fit the criteria I have put forth.

For instance, some cities, and areas have a higher cost of living, higher crime rates, etc., yet when the country is taken as a whole it still ranks as an appealing place to live/retire in.

Of course, you should do your due diligence once you have narrowed down your choices of where you might like to retire. I highly recommend that you schedule a visit so that you can see first hand how your location measures up.

Find and talk to expats that live in the area, and inquire with the locals regarding things that are important to you.

Since English is now spoken in most parts of the world, it is no longer a major concern if a different language is spoken in a foreign country.

Of course, it may be a good idea to learn the native language of your new country to make your transistion that much easier, and to help you bond with the native folks.

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Ecuador

Best countries retire Americans
Ecuador features a mild climate, lush jungles, and sun splashed beaches.

Ecuador is relatively small country in south America. It is in the northwest part of the continent.

It borders Colombia to the north, and Peru to the east, and south.

Quito is the capital. It has recently become a somewhat popular retirement destination for Americans, and Canadians.

The Ecuadorian city with the most expats is Cuenca.  The largest city by population in Ecuador is Guayaquil.

Another appealing retirement city in Ecuador is Vilcabamba. This city has somewhat warmer temperatures than both Quito, and Cuenca.

Ecuador features the Galapagos Islands, sun splashed beaches, snow peaked volcanos, and the Amazon Jungle. The climate is spring like for most of the year.

The cost of living is affordable compared to the U.S.  Expect to pay 30%-35% less for housing, either to rent or to buy than comparable U.S. offerings. Their healthcare system is high quality, and low cost.

The food is healthy and low cost with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, seafood, and other local dishes. There are many outdoor activities to enjoy thanks to the mild climate.

The larger cities offer cultural events, sporting events, and theatre. The pace of life is slower, and the people are friendly.  There is also a good, cheap public transportation system.

There are no taxes charged on your income if it comes in to you from another country. You will only be charged an income tax in Ecuador if you work in the country.

It is also easy and reasonable to apply for, and become an Ecuadorian resident.

Belize

Best countries retire Americans.
Belize is known for it’s diving, and other water sports.

Belize is a small country in Central America. It borders the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico to the north, and Guatemala to the west and south.

To the east is the Caribbean Sea. Formerly British Honduras.

The largest city in Belize is Belize City. The capitol Belmopan is the third largest city.

Belize has a rich diversity of cultures that make up the country. The official language is English, but many other languages are spoken throughout the country.

With it’s lush jungles, sun soaked beaches, many islands and cays, the great Blue Hole, and fabulous reef system, it’s not hard to see why Belize is one of the most beloved destinations in the Caribbean.

There is also lazy running rivers, fertile farmland, rolling hills, and tropical rain forests. There are hundreds of small islands all along the coast.

With it’s Mayan ruins, and 150 mile long barrier reef, the second largest in the world, Belize offers many unique attractions. It offers some of the best diving in the world, and is know for it’s water sports offerings, sailing, fishing, wind surfing, as well as world class diving.

Just like the people of Belize, the food/cuisine is a mixture. It stems from European, North America, and Caribbean menus. There are many fine restaurants in the mainland, and on the cays and islands. The local produce is very inexpensive.

Belize’s tourism industry is very successful. Belize is a relatively safe country, based on interviews with expats. These diverse cultures include Germans, Chinese, Lebanese, Mayan, Mestozo, American, and Spanish cultures.

The cost of living is less than many other countries. There are some real estate bargains to be found. The northern beaches offer low prices for beachfront property, as well as other items.

Buying property in Belize is less risk than many other countries primarily due to the fact that it is an English speaking country.

All the paperwork is in English, and the process to buy property is very similar to that of the United States.

Healthcare is inexpensive, and all legal residents are entitled to receive free services from the state healthcare facilities. There are long waiting lines for the public services however.

Private care is available but for a higher cost, of course depending on your insurance company.

Checking out Belize to see if you would like to live there is relatively easy. A visa is not required for up to a month.

Extensions are available for only $25.  This can be done for up to 6 months. It is also easy and inexpensive to become a resident.

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Columbia

Best countries retire Americans.
Columbia features ancient cultures such as these Mayan ruins.

Despite it’s former reputation as a hotbed for drug smuggling, and drug dealers, and crime rates, Columbia has recently become a popular retirement destination.

A strong U.S. dollar, outdoor excursions, and cultural activities, a surprisingly safe environment all make for an appealing retirement life.

If you enjoy nature, Columbia boasts over 50 national parks. It’s termperate climate close to the equator is ideal for outdoor activities all year round. Each day has 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness.

It has high quality, low cost healthcare and dental care with state of the art equipment, and facilities. With trained doctors, and modern hospitals it resembles the best of the U.S. and Canada.

Columbia boasts many colonial cities and towns on the Caribbean with beautiful beaches such as in Cartageena. The Andes mountain range is in the western part of the country.

Bogota is the capital city, but the most popular retirement city is Medellin.

The infrastructure includes good roads, safe public transportation, and up to date internet service technology and equipment.

The cost of living in Columbia is surprising low and affordable. There are many discounts for seniors on most products and services.

With low rent, affordable food costs, and very low utilities due to the climate where heat or air conditioning is not needed in most parts of the country. You can live quite well for $1000 – $1500 per month including rent.

There are no restrictions on foreign buyers for real estate, regardless if you are a resident or not. Buying real estate is roughly one third of what you would pay for comparable property in the United States.

The Columbia retirement visa is affordable, and easy to get. You also have to show proof of financial stability by showing an income of approximately $700 per month or more. All financial information needed can be sent via the internet.

 

Planning for Retirement is a Journey, not just a Destination

Best countries retire Americans
Planning for retirement is a journey that should be started as soon as possible.

No matter your age, planning for retirement is just a smart thing to do.

The sooner you begin to plan financially, the better your retirement years can be.

There are many great retirement destinations, and havens, and it is fun to look at and evaluate countries that would make for a great retirement home.

Ecuador, Belize, and Columbia are 3 very tempting countries to retire in due to their many outstanding qualities. All 3 feature a low cost of living, comfortable climate, beaches, friendly natives, scenic landscapes, outdoor activities, cultural activities and events, and an expat population.

They also all have affordable and extensive food and restaurants, affordable and uncomplicated residency requirements, high quality and affordable health care, up to date technology, good infrastructure, international airports, and reasonable proximity to the United States.

So, do your research, plan a trip, talk to expats and other locals, travel within the country, experience the culture, sample the local fare, look at some property, make a pro/con list, and enjoy the process of picking your perfect retirement country.

Do you have a favorite retirement country or destination? I would enjoy knowing about other great places to retire. I still have a few years left before I am ready to retire so my mind is not completely made up.

Feel free to leave your comments, feedback, and questions below.

Five Best Towns in US to Live

 

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HUD Gov Homes Sale

HUD gov homes sale
HUD foreclosures can be single family homes or duplexes, threeplexes, or fourplexes.

HUD Gov Homes Sale

 

HUD is the acronym for Housing and Urban Development, or U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to be exact. One of the main functions for this government department is to provide HUD foreclosures to the public for resale.

A HUD home is a residential property that is 1 to 4 units. In other words, HUDs are single family homes, duplexes, three plexes, and four plexes.

Anyone can buy a HUD home if they can qualify for a loan, or if they have cash. And yes you can find some great deals with HUD homes.

I will tell you where HUD foreclosures come from, how HUD sells their foreclosures, what an FHA loan is, and why it is so popular, and how to buy HUD homes.

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Where do HUD foreclosures come from?

HUD gov homes sale
HUD foreclosures are created by defaulted FHA loans.

How does HUD come upon these foreclosures to be able to offer them for sale to the public?  The loan guaranteeing arm of HUD is the FHA, Federal Housing Administration.

The role of the FHA is to insure loans with FHA approved lenders or mortgage companies in order to make it easier for home buyers to afford the costs of purchasing real estate, as well as make it easier for lenders or mortgage companies to make loans.

When a mortgage holder defaults on an FHA mortgage, the lender or mortgage company can call in the insurance with the FHA and recoup their costs of writing the loan.

The FHA, in turn, takes ownership of the property, and turns it over to HUD to handle the marketing and selling of the foreclosed property.  HUD then offers the property to the public in order to recoup their costs from the foreclosure claim.

How does HUD sell their foreclosure properties?

HUD gov homes sale
HUD has an appraisal, and an inspection done on their foreclosures.

Once HUD takes possession of a home through an FHA foreclosure, it enlists the help of various entities.  HUD has an appraisal, and an inspection done on their homes.

The appraisal, and inspection results are made available to the public. HUD has a designated Field Service Manager to prepare, and maintain the property and house for sale.

HUD also uses a designated HUD approved Listing Broker hired by the Asset Manager to list the home, and help market it to the public for sale. HUD also has an Asset Manager as the contractor responsible for the sale of the property.

The Asset Manager handles the paperwork/contracts and facilitates the deal and moves it to the closing date.

Once the HUD property is ready to be put on the market, the listing is placed in the MLS, multiple listing service by the Listing Broker, and is also listed on the HUD Home Store website.

Why are FHA loans so popular?

HUD gov homes sale
It is easier to qualify for an FHA loan than a conventional loan.

FHA loans normally have less strict requirements in order to qualify than a typical or conventional loan from a bank or mortgage company.

For instance, most lenders want to see a credit score of 640 in order to consider a home buyer for a loan. FHA, on the other hand, will consider you with a credit score of 580 or above.

Conventional loans usually require a minimum of 5%, and often times as much as 10% down payment toward the purchase of a home. FHA loans only need 3.5% of the purchase price of a home for the down payment.

It is also possible to have up to 3% of the purchase price of the home put toward closing costs with an FHA loan. This is money paid for you, and not by you.

As many people are short on cash when in the market for a home, these incentives help keep the out of pocket costs of home ownership low, and affordable for many people.

In addition, HUD also provides extra incentives like $100 down on selected properties from time to time. This makes buying a HUD home even easier and more affordable.

How to Buy HUD Homes

HUD Gov homes sale
Your first step in buying a HUD home is to become pre-approved for a home loan.

Buying HUD homes is a lot like buying any other homes, at least from a buyer’s perspective. And like buying any home, the first thing a serious buyer should do is:

1. Get preapproved for a home loan. You can do this through a bank, or a mortgage company. Be sure that your new lender offers FHA loans as FHA works best with HUD homes.

2. Find a HUD approved broker. Only HUD approved real estate brokers can sell HUD properties. This is normally not diffficult to find, as many real estate brokers are HUD approved.

 

3. Go to Hudhomestore.com  This website lists the available HUD homes by city, state, number of bedrooms, number of bths, price, and other criteria.

You can find what HUD homes are available in the areas that you want to live easily on Hudhomestore.com  Your HUD approved Broker/Realtor can also email you a list of HUD homes based on your specific criteria, if you prefer.

HUD Gov Homes Sale
HUD works on a sealed bid process.

The HUD Bid Process

Once you have found a HUD home you like, it’s time to place your bid for this property. HUD works on a sealed bid process. This means that no one but HUD knows what you or anyone else has bid for a given HUD property.

When a HUD property is first listed HUD allows bids for 15 calendar days for owner/occupants only. This means you must live in the home and it must be your principal residence. The first 15 days are called the exclusive listing period.

For HUD Properties marketed as ‘insured’ or ‘insured with escrow,’ the exclusive listing time period is 15 calendar days.
For HUD Properties marketed as ‘uninsured,’ the exclusive listing time period is 5 calendar days.

All bids are treated as if they have been received at the same time. No preference is given to a bid that arrives sooner than another. If an acceptable bid has not been received during the initial 10 calendar day period, new bids will be considered each business day thereafter until an acceptable bid has been received.

If an acceptable bid has not been received during the 15 day exclusive listing time period, HUD will then accept all bids, including those from investors. This is called the extended listing period.

To present a bid to HUD, you will need to provide your name, address, phone number, social security number, marital status, and the amount you want to bid for your chosen property. Your HUD approved broker/realtor will present your bid online for you.

If you submit the winning bid, HUD will need a pre approval letter, or a proof of funds if you are paying cash for the property, and an earnest money deposit of either $500 or $1000, depending on the price of the property, to be submitted along with signed HUD paperwork/contracts within 48 hours.

Once all of this is received, and approved by HUD, you can then begin the process of closing on your purchase.  If this process seems a bit daunting or confusing have no fear. Your HUD approved Broker/Realtor will guide through everything.

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Are HUDs Right For You?

HUD Gov Homes Sale
Anyone can buy a HUD property.

HUD stands for Housing and Urban Development, a government agency whose functions include providing foreclosures to the public.  Anyone can buy a HUD home, and yes, you can find some great deals with HUD foreclosures.

HUD foreclosures are generated when FHA mortgage holders default on their loans, and the insured lender sells the property back to FHA/HUD.  HUD sells their properties with the assistance of Asset Managers, Listing Brokers, and Field Service Managers all designated by HUD.

FHA, the Federal Housing Administration works hand in hand with HUD. FHA loans are so popular because they have less stringent requirements to qualify, and additional benefits for home buyers.

To buy a HUD home you should first be preapproved for a home loan by a lender that is FHA approved, find a HUD approved Broker/Realtor, and go to the HUD website, HUDhomestore.com to see what HUD homes are available in your area.

HUD works on a sealed bid process, and initially allows bids for owner/occupants only. Within 15 days if an acceptable bid has not been submitted, HUD opens the bidding to all bidders, including investors.

HUD Broker/Realtors are experts at navigating the HUD foreclosure bidding rules and regulations. They will guide you through the process, and make owning a HUD foreclosure property an enjoyable, and rewarding experience.

 

 

Write Online Earn Money

Write online earn money
Story tellers can make excellent writers.

Do you like to tell stories? Do you like to write? Are your grammar, and spelling skills above average? Did you know that you can write online and earn money?

It’s true, you can be an online writer, and earn money. There are many people today that work where they want, and earn good money by writing online both part-time and full time.

With the upsurge in the number of websites that are now online, there is an enormous demand for content writers, ad writers, sales letter writers, e book writers, blog writers, article writers, lyrics writers, and the list goes on.

And, if you think your writing skills may be a bit lacking, or if they need some brushing up, there are excellent online writing courses that you can take advantage of.

Plus, with the help of spell checkers, and grammar checkers, you can likely ‘fake it til you make it’, if need be.

So don’t worry if you think your writing may be a bit sub par. There are many ways to improve your writing online as well. The best way is to start writing.

There is nothing like practice and some experience to bring your writing to a new level. And don’t worry if you think your offline writing experience may not transfer to online writing opportunities. It most definitely will.

People that own online businesses or offline businesses or both have to have websites to maximize their potential exposure to their specific markets.

Since almost everyone is online today, and most people shop online, if you don’t have a website, you are likely costing yourself money, and hurting the growth of your business and brand.

One of the great benefits of becoming an online writer, is that you can work wherever you want, as long as you have your laptop with you and access to an internet connection.

I will tell you about online writing courses. I will also tell you about the different online writing opportunities that pay real money that you can take advantage of today.

I will give you the online writing companies/websites that offer these writing jobs. And, I will also give you my number one online writing opportunity recommendation.

 

Online Writing Courses

Write online earn money
There are many online writing courses available to you.

If you are someone that likes the idea of making money writing online but have a limited writing background, or have limited related education, the place to start is with online writing courses.

Even if you have a writing background, and related education, a good online writing course can sharpen your skills and further your writing education.

Taking an online writing course can enhance your resume, and separate you from competing writers that have not taken online writing courses.

Your skills will be in more demand, and you will likely be able to command higher fees and rates than many other writers as a result.

Some online writing courses are free, some charge fees. Some are specialized, and some are more general in what they offer.

Some are short, and take little time, while others are quite in depth, and may take much longer to complete.

Some of these courses are taught by academics with a structured school feel, while others are taught by people that have experience in their particular writing genre, and provide real world knowledge, and direction.

A good free resource for online writing courses is YouTube. There is a myriad of writing advice, instruction, and education available there.

For instance, the famous writer Stephen King has a YouTube video where he liberally doles out writing advice. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Some of the best online writing courses are:

  • Writers Digest University
  • Gotham Writers
  • The Writers Workshop
  • Story Genius
  • Bloggers Guide to Effective Writing
  • Skillshare
  • Creative Writing 101
  • Write Fiction Like a Pro

Types of Paid Writing Jobs/Opportunities

Write online earn money
There are more online writing jobs available than there are online writers.

When you feel like you are ready to take on paid writing jobs and opportunities you can begin by becoming a freelancer.

Freelance Writing

A freelance writer is someone that primarily works for themselves. Freelancing is by far the most popular, and common way for writers to make money online.

They use different means to gather paying clients. Freelance writing gigs are writing jobs that you bid for yourself.

Some websites like Fiverr, and Upwork allow you to access jobs on their websites. Your experience and skill level will dictate which writing jobs and what fee amounts you will qualify for, and have a chance at landing.

The key to making good money as a freelance writer is experience. The more you write, the better you will become.

You want to be able to show that you have writing experience by providing samples of actual online writing that you have accomplished. It is a good idea to start your own website dedicated to your professional writing business.

You will want to provide your writing areas of expertise, jobs you have done for money, any writing education and acumen, some personal information, and what your writing style and philosophy may be.

So, how do you get experience as a freelance writer if you have no experience? You will have to start by taking the writing jobs and assignments that pay less money, and work your way up.

You may have to take some tests that showcase your abilities, and prove your skills. Once you have a small portfolio of completed jobs, and happy clients, you will be able to move up into some higher paying opportunities.

Freelancers can get paid by writing stories, articles, reviews, copy writing, e books, sales letters, advertising, social media posts, lyrics, and speeches.

Here are some of the best freelance writing sites that provide jobs for writers. These sites provide hourly work, per project work, and have different expertise levels. They have short term work, and long term work.

There are some variances though from one site to another. Some of these sites provide writing freelance opportunities as well as other types of freelance jobs.

 

  • Upwork (formerly Odesk)
  • iWriter
  • Textbroker
  • Freelancer
  • Demand Media
  • Freelance Writing Gigs
  • Project4Hire
  • iFreelance
  • Rent a Coder
  • BlogMutt
  • Guru
  • Fiverr
  • Barefoot Writer (also provide training)
  • Writers Work (also provide training)

 

Write online earn money
Starting a blog is a great way to generate income as an online writer.

Start a Blog/Content Writing

Another way to create an income from writing online is to start your own blog website, fill it with content, and monetize that content with affiliate links, or other advertising such as Google Adsense.

The beauty of this type of writing is you can write about whatever you choose. Ideally you will want to find a niche area that you are knowledgeable and hopefully passionate about.

The great thing about the internet is that almost any topic will have many people that are interested, and can be sold related products and services to.

Starting your own blog allows you to create content that can help educate, and solve problems for people in your niche. By creating this value, you can ultimately find like-minded people that will provide traffic to your website.

Your objective with your own niche site is to generate traffic, click throughs, and conversions on your website. You will need to learn keyword research, and how to write for your specific keywords.

You are trying to rank in the search engines like Google, Bing, and others which can bring free organic traffic if done properly. This is called SEO, or search engine optimization.

This type of online writing however does take some time to create traction. So, if you are looking to get paid right away, this may not be your best online writing option.

You can also, of course pay for traffic, such as PPC or pay per click, which is a much quicker way to bring targeted ‘eyeballs’, and hopefully conversions to your site.

Starting a blog website, and content writing is best looked at as building a foundational business that can pay off well down the road.

It is possible to create an income with this type of online writing that can last many years, and may even have an autopilot feature once your website content ranks high in the search engines.

 

My Number 1 Recommendation

Write online earn money
Wealthy Affiliate is my number one online writing recommendation.

My top recommendation for writing online and earning money is Wealthy Affiliate. WA fits in the blog/content writing category. It shows you how to build an online business for the long term starting from scratch.

Wealthy Affiliate was founded in 2005. This online company teaches you how to start your own website or websites by using WordPress.

They provide in depth training covering all aspects of starting your website. They also provide website hosting, and domain names.

This training includes finding a niche, optimizing your content for keywords, how to generate organic traffic, and how to convert that traffic once it is on your website.

The training also covers how to write your own posts, and how to add pictures, and videos to your website.

In addition, the Wealthy Affiliate training covers how to use paid traffic, social media, video marketing, local marketing, and email marketing to promote your websites.

There is a community area full of helpful members that are ready to help other members with any questions, concerns, or issues that may arise. The support is legendary.

What I really like about being a Wealthy Affiliate member is I can set up websites, and write about what I am passionate and knowledgeable about, and not what someone else wants me to write about.

What are you passionate about? Pets? Football? Travel? Nutrition? Real Estate? Whatever you are into, you can write about it, and learn to make money at Wealthy Affiliate.

Wealthy Affiliate lets you start absolutely free, and even gives you 2 websites plus training as a free member. You can really kick the tires, take a test drive, and find out if it is for you without spending a dime.

Click here for your FREE Wealthy Affiliate Membership!

Write On

write online earn money
Online writing allows you to work from home.

So, if writing is your thing, or you would like it to be your thing, you have many opportunities available to you as an online writer. You can start by taking writing courses.

This will improve your writing skills, and supercharge your ability to land some well paying writing jobs. Some writing courses are free, and some charge a fee. Some good, free writing advice and instruction is available on YouTube.

By far the most common type of writing job available is that of a freelancer. A freelancer works for him or herself. There are many online websites that cater to freelance writers. You will have to apply, and bid for the available jobs.

Some offer hourly work, and others offer per job work. Your skill level, and experience will dictate which jobs you will qualify for, and how much money you can earn. There is part-time work, and full time work available.

Another way to write online and earn money is by starting your own website and filling it with content. This type of online writing can take some time to get set up and to learn the ropes.

However, many people are making a good living by becoming a website owner and content producer.

My number 1 recommendation as the best opportunity for an online writer is with Wealthy Affiliate.

Online writing offers an excellent way to work online from anywhere that has an internet connection.

Click here for your FREE Wealthy Affiliate Membership!