Thursday, May 14, 2009

Americans who consider living abroad

May 14, 2009
I encourage people who want to live abroad to think about this for many years before deciding to do something as extreme as moving to another country. The experience can be wonderful, but it can also be taxing on you culturally. The person should travel to several locations during their vacations to decide which areas best suit them. They should clearly not stay in tourist zones as this does not give them a true look at the local culture. Learn the language for the country you are preparing to live in. Do your best to learn the culture, even the little things like the way they dress, how they think about family, marriage, their opinion or attitudes toward Americans, so forth.

The area should suit what your income level will be. Look into local immigration laws to make sure that you can live permenently in the area and own property.

For instance, I moved to Honduras. The income level here is clearly lower than in the states. A person with only a $1000 social security check monthly can live here with relative comfort, but the life is not easy here. Be prepared to bring your automobile, pay a large import fee, ect. The fees for the vehicle are lower if it is a pickup truck, but they do not allow the import of vehicles older than 12 years old for a pickup truck and 10 years old for a car. Cars import fees are very expensive. For instance last year we brought a 10 year old convertible VW Cabrio, the car cost us 36,000 lempiras or $1,906. This is a large sum for the vehicle. Their value of the car is not based on blue book value. If you paid much less for your car be prepared to prove it with receipts and or cancelled checks.

When you move to Honduras permenently there is a law that allows you to import your household goods free of import fees. So you may want to inquire at the embassy in reference to this. If you want to move here you should come stay during your vacation in areas you are concidering. I would not recommend retiring in Roatan unless you are going to be getting a fairly good retirement income, because the cost of living on the island is significantly higher than it is on the mainland. There are alternatives. The coast covers 3 sides of Honduras if you want to live close to the beach. There is La Ceiba, Tela, Omoa, Cortes, and many other areas. If you do not deal well with heat there is areas such as Lago Yajoa which is fairly temperate most of the year, but areas like San Pedro Sula and Choluteca feels like the entrance to hell during some months of the year.

There is this blog plus a few others that talk about local cultures of countries like Honduras, Mexico, ect. There are negatives, but there are plenty of positives as well.

Good luck.

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