Amy and Bill Keane had long dreamed of a “see the world” retirement, since busy careers limited their vacation time. “We’ve been living that dream now for nearly seven years,” Amy Keane said.
The Keanes visited Ecuador twice before deciding to move to Cuenca.
On each trip, there were meetings with realtors, visa attorneys, insurance brokers and other expats. They went grocery shopping for item-by-item comparisons. The trips weren’t really vacations, but true research.
Keane says she and her husband like having a solid game plan. “We try hard to get questions answered upfront.”
Ecuador was an easy transition – the country uses the U.S. dollar – with a low cost of living and a large North American community. Local Ecuadorians are very welcoming. But the Keanes missed the beach and got tired of the high altitude, so they moved on to Europe.
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Their European circuit of Spain, France and Portugal brought them to Cascais, also known as the Portuguese Riviera.
Ecuador was a relative bargain, with $50,000 to $60,000 enough to support everything they like. “In Portugal, it’s running 30 percent to 40 percent more over the past three years,” Keane said, mostly because of euro-dollar exchange rate, and their high rental costs.
The couple chose to live at the high end. Keane says it’s likely other expats spend far less than they do, and others much more.
“Cascais/Estoril is the No. 1 most expensive place to live in the entire country,” Keane said.
It’s not easy to directly compare their living costs with what they spent in the U.S. seven years ago. For one thing, they were still both working. “I would imagine that health-care costs would be significantly more in the U.S., even with Medicare,” Keane said. “We’ve toyed around with some what-if numbers, and it looked like we’d need to budget another 20 percent per year in the U.S. for a similar standard of living.”
The Keanes pay just more than 3,000 euros (about $3,400) a year for private health insurance. The coverage is excellent and complete. “You can’t buy insurance like this in the States anymore,” Keane said. “No pre-existing conditions and an outstanding network of doctors and hospitals. We pay for our limited drugs out of pocket – they are that cheap.”
Source : CNBC