Central America and Mexico
Central America has been emerging as long as I have been investing. That’s not a particularly good thing. The big kahuna is Mexico by a long shot. Then you have various smaller republics, some of the banana variety, like Nicaragua, Honduras, Panama, El Salvador, and Costa Rica.
Central America, with the exception of Mexico, presents little in the way of investment opportunity from a stock investor’s perspective. But, opportunity does exist, especially for real estate and for retirement. Retirement is an investment just as day-to-day living is an investment. What Central America offers is a way for Americans to be close to home while living in large expatriate communities for relatively low cost versus the United States.
Countries like Costa Rica and Panama offer the higher end of the scale for retirees, while places like Nicaragua and Honduras allow for a much less expensive lifestyle but with fewer amenities. El Salvador offers little in terms of established communities for retirees looking to replicate some semblance of life “back home.”
Real estate is by far the biggest draw in these countries. Land is easily accessible and prime real estate is within reach of most middle class Americans willing to do some legwork. Gone are the days when you could buy an oceanfront lot for US$25,000 but lots of opportunity still exists for those willing to look in the $100,000 to $150,000 range for a complete home close to and maybe even on the ocean. The ...