05/14/2014 07:48 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Retirement Cocktails


Can't choose among the many appealing choices for where to think about retiring overseas? Then don't.

You don't have to choose a single destination for where to launch your new life in retirement in a new country. You can create a kind of cocktail of destinations, choosing to spend your time in not one place but a number of different places where you'd enjoy different weather, different lifestyles, different costs of living, different neighbors, different ways to spend your time, and different views from your bedroom window each morning.

How could you go about creating this kind of Retirement Cocktail?

One way would be based on budget, according to, say, a "$50 A Day" strategy. Using this approach, you'd average your daily cost of living over extended periods. You could afford to spend time in a higher-end location like Paris, for example, if you offset your Paris days with time in a super-affordable place like Thailand or Malaysia.

Another recipe for a Retirement Cocktail is to plan to follow the seasons. This is the approach my husband and I are pursuing. More than anything, Lief and I appreciate contrast, change, and diversity, so we've concocted a cocktail that has us enjoying springtime in Paris, summer in Istria, autumn in Medellin, and winter on the beach in Panama. Paris to Panama? Istria to Medellin? Surprising combinations, maybe, but that's a big part of the appeal for us.

A third approach would be to choose a home base somewhere you know you'll want to return to again and again over time and then to spend, say, half of each year there and the other half of each year trying out a new location. You could base yourself in Panama for the dry season and then head south to Ecuador during the rainy season one Argentina for your off-Panama season the next...and maybe over to New Zealand for six months the following year, etc.

Here are other cocktail combinations to consider:

Argentina in their springtime (September, October, November), Medellin from December to February, Paris from March to June, and July and August somewhere new each year...

buenos aires skyline

Thailand (exotic) for four months, Paris (sophisticated) for four months, and Medellin (sophisticated in another way plus great weather) for four months...


Belize for three months of diving, Buenos Aires for three months of culture, the interior of Argentina for three months of life among the vines, then three months in the Old World, maybe Italy or Spain...

beach in belize

The cocktail combinations are endless.

To create one that works for you, start by knowing yourself (your likes, dislikes, agendas, and priorities). Then take into account the weather in any destination where you're interested in spending time, as well as local festivals and fairs and the tourist seasons (I'm assuming you want to avoid them).

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