Chapter 4The Most Common (and Avoidable) Mistakes Expats Make

IF THERE IS ONE THING and only one thing you take away from this book, it’s that your primary, overriding motivation for retiring overseas has to be a pure and unadulterated love of adventure and discovery. It just won’t work any other way.

Don’t get us wrong: It’s okay to simply want to live in a place with better weather. It’s common sense to figure out how to lower your cost of living in retirement. It’s admirable to want to learn a new language or dig deep into a foreign culture. And certainly, some people have difficult personal situations we can’t even begin to imagine or understand. But plain and simple, it just doesn’t work to try and sweep your problems under the carpet by moving overseas.

As we like to say . . .

TAKE YOUR LUGGAGE, BUT LEAVE YOUR BAGGAGE BEHIND

Several years ago, we met a man who had moved to Ecuador to escape what he perceived as the “burden” of child support payments. He lived there quite happily (if not guiltily) for several years.

About two years into his stay in Ecuador he lost his passport. Now what? He couldn’t move forward with his bid to become an Ecuadorian citizen, and he couldn’t go to the U.S. embassy to apply for a new passport without the risk of being slapped with legal action. He had become a man with few, and mostly unfavorable, options.

While it’s doubtful you’re in the same boat, the point is, don’t leave home for the wrong reasons. Running from legal obligations is not ...

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