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Spread Your Wings With These 6 Dreamy Second Home Destinations


The State Department estimates that 8.7 million Americans live abroad, and the Social Security Administration sends more than 500,000 payments per month to overseas residents. You can qualify for special retiree visa programs by showing a minimum monthly income, making an investment in a business or real estate, or having a certain amount of money deposited in a local bank. When deciding where to actually purchase your second home, think about your values: Do you want to live in a community populated with other expats? Or do you desire a more authentic setting among locals? Consider countries with decent public offer special benefits to retirees and work with an expert who knows the country to determine real estate options. So, what are the most popular places for a longer getaway?

Here are a few options for your new home away from home:


About 1 million U.S. and Canadian citizens relocated South of the Border—and you can, too! As the most popular expat destination for North Americans, Mexico offers a temporary resident visa that lasts four years, two affordable national healthcare plans, and a card for residents over the age of 60 for 10 to 20 percent discounts on goods and services.


With a large English-speaking community and its use of the U.S. dollar, it’s incredibly easy for Americans to assimilate. Other perks: Rent prices are 46 percent lower than the U.S. average, and the retirement visa comes with a $10,000 duty-tax exemption and dozens of discounts on moving expenses and vehicle costs.


The Emerald Isle welcomes expats with open arms. Claiming citizenship is simple, especially for anyone with Irish roots, and medical care is high quality and inexpensive. Plus, with breathtaking views and incredible history around nearly every corner, it’s easy to stay active and engaged.


The second least expensive country in Europe and one of the safest countries in the world, Portugal is known as a friendly country to expats, who form a large English-speaking community there. Enjoy a robust transit system, protection from harsh winters by the Gulf Stream, and more sunshine than any other regional country.


Skip the pricy utility bills; thanks to the temperate climate in Ecuador, no heating or cooling system is necessary! Another country of U.S. dollar currency, Ecuador’s market prices are 40 percent lower than the States. Quito, Ecuador’s capital city, also offers an impressive international airport.

Costa Rica

It’s no wonder Costa Rica is known as the “Switzerland of Central America”—the country replaced their army with public programs in education and healthcare, rent prices are 54 percent lower than the U.S., and optional public healthcare is available for 7 to 11 percent of monthly income. (The tropical climate and gorgeous landscapes definitely don’t hurt.)

Pop Quiz: Can I own property abroad without obtaining a residency?

If you’re just purchasing a vacation property, you won’t need to establish residency, but you should check visa restrictions on how many days you can spend in the country. If you’d like to acquire resident status, a surprising number of countries offer residency (even citizenship) in exchange for a minimum real estate investment.

For more information on making the most of your midlife and beyond, click here.