My mom and dad are selling their mountain home to move back to the Bay Area – close to health care and their children. Real estate is a strange animal – it’s value has little to do with the actual property, and everything to do with current trends and times. The house my parents are selling is a beautiful three-bedroom home in the Sierra Mountains of California that my father built himself nail by nail, beam by beam. It was their retirement dream home, near Lassen National Forest, close to trout fishing, where deer frequently sauntered across the lawn. But my father had a stroke and the fact that good health care was hours away, as were family and close friends, became suddenly relevant.

The money they will earn on the sale of their mountain home will buy them a pre-fab house on a tiny rectangle lot in Livermore, California and close proximity to Kaiser Hospital and my sister, and a year-round temperate climate. But from my vantage point in Brazil, where a stunning house costs a third of the tiny home in Livermore, and where retired people live well on less than $2,000 a month, it just seems crazy.

I emailed Mom and Dad today: Just wanted to let you know I am well and fine in Brazil with Ryan and his girlfriend. We are having a wonderful time.

Check out the following recent newspaper quotes. What I saw coming in 1999 has taken off full steam. I am in a town I was in 2 years ago called Paraty. The Europeans have learned about it, moved in, and prices have levitated to the level of a mid-western house in the U.S. But there are so many many other places that are beautiful yet inexpensive to live in, in countries outside of the U.S.

You should think about investing in a house to live your retirement years where you can live very well on under $1000 a month, build a huge house if you want, and live with other interesting foreigners like yourselves. I am looking for ways to capitalize on this trend. Too bad I waited to buy on the coast of Turkey, Spain and Portugal. Europe has in the past two years bought up all the coastal property in those countries – and the prices of land and homes have skyrocketed. Still… prices remain a fraction of the prices in California. There are communities of Yuma, Arizona types.

Love, Robin

I attached the following excerpt from an article I saw on International Living’s site:

“Aging, wealthy Baby Boomers from cold and Northern climates will increasingly want to spend large parts of their working/non-working lives in warmer regions, longing for an abundance of sun, comfort, and companionship.” Trendwatchers.com reports that this trend first showed its face in Florida. They call it “Floridasation”. But whatever you call it, it’s apparent that this has become a worldwide trend. Brits, French, and Germans are buying in Spain, Italy, and Croatia. But it isn’t just an isolated trend in a few countries. No – Baby Boomers from colder climates are moving, too – investing in and buying second homes in warmer climates all over the world. It’s impossible to imagine this trend coming to an abrupt halt. If anything, it should gain momentum. As booming capital appreciation in Florida and Southern California priced beachfront land outside the reach of average Americans, they began to look farther South… to Mexico, Belize, and Costa Rica. Prices in those markets have risen accordingly. As demand goes up, so do the prices. In some parts of Costa Rica property can cost almost as much as in California! Buying in Nicaragua today is like getting into Costa Rica 15 years ago… or California 60 years ago. The prices are low because Americans haven’t been willing to consider Nicaragua before. The country suffers from a horrible reputation that scares people… but that situation is changing quickly. It Starts with Tourism… and the Tourists are Coming! Until 1990, there was virtually no tourism in Nicaragua. That is changing. Tourism is growing by over 10% annually. It still has a long way to go, but in 2003 the country earned $150 million in tourist dollars. Finally, even the mainstream press is beginning to notice what a great value Nicaragua offers. [It’s a] "beautiful and peaceful place now courting tourism.’ – Chicago Tribune ‘ Nicaragua is a hot new travel destination.’ – U.S. News & World Report …. According to the Wall Street Journal, "As legions of Baby Boomers prepare to retire and relocate to warmer climates, a widening range of Central American countries are vying to be their new home. While places like Costa Rica, Mexico, and Belize have long lured U.S. retirees with pristine beaches and cheap living, prices in those countries have risen sharply during recent years. As a result, a new breed of intrepid retirees is branching out to countries including Panama, Honduras, and Nicaragua." Nicaragua encourages U.S. retirees to relocate with an extremely generous package of retiree benefits. There are no taxes on income earned outside of Nicaragua. You can ship up to $10,000 worth of household goods plus a car to Nicaragua duty free, should you choose to retire there. Furthermore, in an effort to promote tourism, the Nicaraguan government also offers the most investment-friendly tax policies of any country in Latin America. Baby Boomers are aging fast. Beginning in 2000, Boomers started turning 50 at the rate of just under 10,000 a day. Already, more than 14 million Boomers are aged 50 and up. Many aren’t waiting until 55 to retire… let alone 65. Plus many are considering a new form of "retirement" that includes starting a business overseas or managing an investment portfolio online from a beachside villa or condo. Baby Boomers are considering many more options than their parents ever thought about…"

I’m home now, and Mom and Dad aren’t even considering the possibility of living abroad. They’ll pay a much higher price to live a less luxurious lifestyle in what they perceive to be a "safer" place. But then, Mom and Dad aren’t Baby Boomers. They are children of the Depression to whom security and safety is valued above all else.

It’s the children of the children of depression, who will immigrate to foreign countries in the same rush that our parents and their parents came West for opportunity.

And now, before the masses have made the move, is the time to make your’s.

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