5 Retirement Overseas Success Stories

These individuals have reinvented themselves abroad.

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Making a move to another country as part of your retirement plan leads to a new perspective, a fresh start, and, often, renewed energy and enthusiasm for life in general. Nothing is old, tired, or dull. Everything is new, fresh, and bright. Everywhere you look presents a new opportunity for adventure and challenge.

[See 5 Luxuries You Can Afford By Retiring Abroad.]

Expatriate retirees have started bookstores, French bakeries, restaurants, art galleries, and even self-storage units to finance retirement in a country of their choice. Some former doctors and nurses volunteer their time at local clinics overseas. And other foreign retirees fill their days fishing, swimming, hiking, and biking—hobbies they never had time or energy for during their hard-working years.

Retirement overseas is an opportunity to satisfy a lifelong dream to learn to write, paint, or speak a new language. Here are five examples of people who successfully transitioned into a new life overseas.

Sylvie Huyskens. Sylvie Huyskens retired to Coronado, Panama, where she noticed a large population of dogs without owners in the region. She opened a shelter, Spay Panama, that today is regularly matching stray dogs with new families.

[See The World’s Top Retirement Havens For 2011.]

Jay Snyder. Jay Snyder and his wife decided six years ago that they’d had enough of New England winters. They made a plan to become snowbirds in Nicaragua each winter. That part-time retirement strategy led to a plan to develop a small community of condos in the center of Granada.

Lee Harris. Lee Harris took early retirement from a successful engineering career in New York. Instead of figuring out ways to move further up the corporate ladder, Harris and his wife decided to relocate down south, first to Ecuador, then to Uruguay, and, most recently, to Brazil. Lee took advantage of this new globe-trotting phase of his life to develop a new talent. He learned to write and has been supplementing his early-retirement income with regular freelance writing gigs.

Ann Kuffner. Ann Kuffner walked away from her fast-paced life as an executive in San Francisco to create a new life in the Caribbean. Lifelong beach-lovers, Kuffner and her husband had always dreamt of retiring near the sea. The couple relocated to Ambergris Caye, Belize, and settled on a business idea that would allow them to indulge a personal interest—fitness. They built the first full-service fitness club on the island.

[See 10 Tips for Retirement Overseas.]

Elmore Stuant. Elmore Stuant is currently planning for his retirement in Panama City. He intends to volunteer as a music teacher in a local high school. After a lifetime in the music business, Stuant is looking forward to sharing his experience as a musician with young Panamanian music-lovers.

Kathleen Peddicord is the founder of the Live and Invest Overseas publishing group. With more than 25 years experience covering this beat, Kathleen reports daily on current opportunities for living, retiring, and investing overseas in her free e-letter. Her book, How To Retire Overseas—Everything You Need To Know To Live Well Abroad For Less, was recently released by Penguin Books.