Back in 1975, Paul Simon penned a piece titled, ''50 Ways to Leave Your Lover''. It was released later that year and become a huge hit in 1976.
Paul's advice was:
"You just slip out the back, Jack Make a new plan, Stan You don't need to be coy, Roy Just get yourself free Hop on the bus, Gus You don't need to discuss much Just drop off the key, Lee And get yourself free"
As the baby boomer wave is starting to release millions of very active seniors into a life of relaxation and possible travel, becoming an expat has never been easier. The age of the internet has made the world smaller and now you can work, play and retire almost anywhere in the world your heart might desire. VOIP - voice over inter protocols, like Skype, make communication with your colleagues, friends and family much easier. In a few short years Virtual Reality will become a reality and once again change how we are able to connect over the internet. You will be able to be present in a room and interact with everyone, even though you might be thousands of miles away. Of course nothing can replace being close enough to hug your parents, children or grandchildren but when many of our ancestors made their way to the new world, they were fortunate if they could even correspond by an occasional letter.
What does it take to be an expat ? Well Paul Simon, quite by accident, described it in his song - ''Make a new plan, Stan''. Do you have to plan to be an expat ? In some cases, yes. If you are going to move to a foreign country even for 6 months, obviously there are a number of things that you must organize in advance.
''Hop on the bus Gus - you don't need to discuss much''. In some cases you can do just that, hop on a bus or plane and just go. Naturally some kind of travel insurance is a worthy consideration but through the internet there are all kinds of last minute deals and opportunities that you can grab and escape !
Moving to a foreign country does take some planning, especially if you still own a home. For me personally, I think it is far better for those ''empty nesters'' over 60 to sell their larger homes and sequester their well earned equity. Buy yourself a condo and then you are in a position to continue with Paul's advice - ''Just drop off the key Lee and get yourself free !''
If you live in the US, now is the time to move some of that equity offshore. Mexico and Colombia are two excellent places to invest at this moment due to the strength of the US dollar. If the US dollar tanks (and some people tell me that it is not a matter of if - but when it tanks) not only will you have some cash socked away, you should be able to make that equity grow. At the moment the dollar is 25% higher than it was last year against the Colombia Peso.
Whether you are moving to any new country whether it is part time or full time, here is some sage advice. Use a professional real estate agent or agency - one who has an office, a reputation and some ''skin in the game''. Your friendly neighbourhood expat who does business at the local cafe is not your best choice. Secondly, hire a bilingual lawyer or law firm - again with an office and reputation that manages Expat Services. We are always told that making the real estate purchase may be the biggest purchase in our lives. Don't try to save a few dollars - especially in a foreign country - and seek expert advice.
Sandra Maria Serna Toro LLM specializes in Expat Services. Her business is the Expat Experience rooted firmly in Colombian Law. She offers Real Estate Law, Colombian Visas, other Immigration needs, Foreign Exchange (FX), Foreign Investment, Imports/Exports, Formation of Corporations, Wills and Prenups as well as Real Estate through our excellent, vetted local sources.
There is no time like the present to follow Paul's advice - ''Just get yourself free ! '' In the meantime here is an excellent live version of ''50 Ways to Leave Your Lover''