Cynthia: It was so great to hear from readers this week about how things are going in their areas. Some even sent photos!
Edd: And we were really appreciative of those who asked how we’re faring here in Ecuador.
C: Ironically, we’re supposed to be on a 5-week, family trip right now in the States. Specifically in New Jersey, one of the coronavirus hot spots.
E: Yep. At the beginning of March we contemplated changing our itinerary and going early when all this craziness started. In retrospect we made the right decision staying put.
C: I’ll say. Glad we trusted my intuition. Our country’s restrictions are more stringent than many places we’ve read about, but Cuenca has less than 200 cases in a population of over 600,000.
E: You know, since we work from home anyway, our daily life is probably 90% the same as it was before. We just don’t get to go out for lunch a few times a week, and we visit the grocery store less...
With coronavirus spreading across the globe, hopefully you’re staying safe and you’ve been able to stock up (or at least find) hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. Even toilet paper and bottled water are being rationed in many stores. Nobody really knows the extent or duration of this pandemic so it’s prudent to be prepared.
Things are happening at such a dizzying rate that it’s hard to even stay focused on what to do next, so we want to remind you to keep an eye on your future as well.
Specifically, what’s happening with your retirement savings? Have you even had the courage to check your balances recently? The stock market has been on such a stomach-churning ride that it’s understandable if you haven’t. Spoiler alert: the news isn’t good.
Everyone’s hoping once this worldwide illness runs its course things will quickly bounce back to normal. But what if that doesn’t happen? Do you have a Plan B if you’re close to...
Cynthia: I was lying in bed this morning thinking back to ten years ago. So much has happened since then!
Edd: Let’s see. At that time we’re still in a desperate financial situation in Las Vegas. We’re preparing to move to Ecuador, and in the midst of that chaos you’re about to be diagnosed with breast cancer. What an ultra-stressful period! You’re right---we not only live in a different country now, it’s really like an entirely different life.
C: Plus we had no grandchildren then, and now we have four! Most of our “exotic” travel has taken us to New Jersey and North Carolina. No regrets about that though. We just got back from spending a wonderful Christmas in both places and had so much fun, right?
E: For sure. Decorating two trees and going to the mall for Santa photos twice was a double treat! You know, Cynthia, we could have never predicted creating three best-selling books and a successful...
Note ~ While we’re on vacation we’re sharing some favorite stories from our best-selling trilogy of books, Mission: Rescue Your Retirement. Here’s our Readers' Choice from Volume I, "Leap of Faith.” Enjoy!
As I sit here swirling a snifter of Tequila liqueur to begin this blog I ponder several questions. Like, what in the heck is Tequila liqueur? How did it get into my house in the first place? Why am I drinking this weird stuff?
I've written previously about the process of sorting, packing, selling, and giving away all manner of items as we've rummaged through drawers and closets preparing for our move. Perfectly good clothes that we don't wear any more--consignment shop; a set of encyclopedias--Goodwill; George Foreman grill (and yes, the "rock" of a previous entry)--Craigslist.
There have been numerous old family things like a broken rocking chair that belonged to my grandmother we've been robotically hauling around for years. It's been revelatory to...
Edd: I read an article about lies people tell themselves in retirement.
Cynthia: Yeah? We’re retired. What lies are we telling ourselves?
E: The author covered three, but one of them I thought was particularly interesting: “I’m busier than ever… I don’t know how I ever fit work into my schedule.”
C: That’s a lie? We’ve said it ourselves many times and so have a lot of our friends.
E: That’s why I found the article interesting. The author says the translation of this “lie” is, and I quote, “I fill my life with whatever I can because I don’t know what else to do with it.”
C: Huh. Well, I’m guessing this “expert” on retirement is not retired, and he obviously doesn’t know anybody in Cuenca! I mean, as an example, here’s a story from one of our lunch outings.
A group of ladies met for a midday meal and were spending the afternoon...
Cynthia: First conversation we’ve done in a while and it’s called “Lappy Labor Life?” I can’t believe I’m okay with such a silly title.
Edd: Well, we said we’d be focusing on fun and the alliteration seemed kind of catchy. Anyway, Labor Day weekend. The last hoorah for summer. It’s an odd holiday, right? To celebrate work by---not working.
C: Hah! And just another day in Casa Staton. Ecuador has more than its share of holidays but Labor Day isn’t one of them. Wow, talking about this subject makes me realize neither of us has had a real J-O-B in over a decade! How do you feel about that?
E: Is that a trick question?? I feel absolutely great about it! Yeah, we consulted with a tour company here. I wrote for International Living for 5 years and we spoke at their conferences. And now we’re doing our thing with Retirement Reimagined! But since retiring overseas it’s all been on our terms.
Cynthia: Well, this has certainly been an eventful few days at Casa Staton. Last week we renewed our U.S. passports and this week you had to renew your Ecuadorian driver’s license. As we reported, the passports were a breeze. Why don’t you tell our readers about your license adventures?
Edd: I’m thinking “journey” better describes the process of getting a license renewed. But since we have no car here let me first explain why in the heck I have a local driver’s license in the first place.
Confession time: I let my U.S. license expire years ago. Oops. Since I still needed to be able to drive (and sometimes rent a car) when we were in the States, getting a license in Ecuador was an easy solution.
C: It wasn’t that easy. You had to sit in class for two weeks to “learn” how to drive in Ecuador!
E: Yeah, there was that. And five years later I was back at that same driving school, because the first step in...
Edd: Thinking about your passport usually only happens when you’re about to go on a trip abroad. It’s amazing you remembered that ours needed renewing.
Cynthia: I must have been daydreaming about exotic travel destinations when I realized our passports expire in about nine months. We advise in our Program that most countries’ entry requirement is at least six months remaining on a passport. It was definitely time to take our own advice, especially since we don’t have an out-of-country trip planned at the moment.
E: And how lucky was it that I just happened to see a notification online that representatives from the U.S. Consulate in Guayaquil were going to be in town specifically to accept applications for passport renewals. I made an appointment for us immediately.
C: Or maybe the universe coming to our rescue! We didn’t know if we were going to have to drive or fly to Guayaquil to retrieve the new passports, but what a blessing...
Cynthia: When you told me you’d read about an expat opening an artisanal food market on Saturday I knew to start making plans for that day.
Edd: You bet. The ad promised fresh breads and pastries, cheeses, organic produce, wines, aged meats, and a bunch of other stuff like coffee, honey, homemade chocolates. How could we miss it?!
C: Gosh, hearing you rattle off that list makes me think about our early days as expats here in Cuenca. Were we looking for things like aged meat and organic produce back then? Heck, no---we were sometimes just trying to figure out how to get home!
E: The expanded selection of food choices over the years has been amazing. I remember how excited we were when the supermarket first started carrying rotisserie chickens! Now we can buy Heinz ketchup and Grey Poupon mustard, exotic mushrooms, European wines. And places like this new artisanal market can open and make a go of it.
C: So off we strolled on a glorious sunny...