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If retirement looks unaffordable, there’s always Ecuador
New research by a New Brunswick-based economic sociologist sheds some interesting light on why many North Americans move to lower-cost, better climate retirement spots – specifically Ecuador.
Market Watch recently published an interview with Matthew Hayes, author of the book Gringolandia, which looked into some of the reasons why middle-class North Americans are doing a “reverse migration” to the South American country.
Hayes says in the interview that he began realizing that most ex-pats who retire to Ecuador were doing so because of a lack of retirement savings. He says a lot of “peoples’ lives were being reorganized” after the global financial crisis of 2008, and for many, retirement plans had to be cheapened up.
His research showed that it was not so much that Ecuador was more attractive than where they were, it was that they needed to escape from “the rat wheel,” the article explains. “Maybe their careers didn’t develop the way they wanted to live. Or they wanted a more meaningful life. Some told me it might be difficult to purchase and sustain retirement in a place like Los Angeles if you’re not independently wealthy,” Hayes states in the interview.
Many, he states, saw moving to a new continent with a different language as being a great, late-life adventure akin to travel.
“They talked about being more active and able to socialize more and staying young by meeting people and getting involved in activities and seeing things they hadn’t seen before. It’s all very tied to the idea of active aging, which is a dominant cultural ideal of aging at this moment in time,” states Hayes.
But the main point of the move was that the North Americans, lacking in savings, were “economic refugees,” the article explains.
“They couldn’t stay in the United States living the life they were living without continuing to work. And some felt they were displaced. In a lot of cities, like Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco and New York and Chicago, the cost of living has increased so much in the last decade or two that some people feel it’s impossible to remain in place,” Hayes states in the article.
And, he states, the “refugees” found there were more benefits than simply lower costs by moving to Ecuador. “What came up in many interviews was how they lost weight when they moved to Ecuador because they’re so much more physically active, walking to places and eating healthier food,” the article notes.
This story underlines the importance of having retirement savings – the more you can afford, the better – to give you options when you retire. Staying where you are today and having the same level of expenses will be difficult if you don’t have retirement savings to bolster what you’ll receive from government retirement benefits.
If you don’t have a workplace pension or do but want to supplement it, an excellent do-it-yourself pension plan is out there for you. It’s the Saskatchewan Pension Plan, an open defined contribution plan with more than $500 million in assets serving 33,000 members. They can set you up with a pension account, you determine how much you want to contribute, and they’ll handle investing the money at a management fee that’s typically less than 100 basis points (1%). When retirement comes, you just contact SPP and they’ll set up your monthly lifetime pension. Check them out today!
|Written by Martin Biefer
|Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing, classic rock, and darts. You can follow him on Twitter – his handle is @AveryKerr22|