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Expat Life: We haven't done THIS in a very l-o-n-g time!

Hooray!

This week coronavirus lockdown restrictions were relaxed as Ecuador appears to have “flattened the curve.”

We learned that a handful of restaurants have been allowed to reopen with proper safety protocols.

After 2 ½ months of our biweekly, grocery store trip being the “Big Event” at Casa Staton, we were beyond anxious to dress up a bit and walk into town to enjoy a sit-down meal somewhere other than our dining room!

Even though more cars are allowed out, we found most streets to be nearly empty.

Parque de la Madre, a large park normally filled with families on the weekend, is taped off and deserted.

It’s heartbreaking to see how overgrown and unkempt the entire space has become.

When we arrived at Café del Museo we were stopped at this table to have the bottom of our shoes sprayed. At the restaurant entrance we stepped into a tray to again clean our shoes (not sure what’s up with the focus on that particular...

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Expat Life: It's our 10th Anniversary!

Cynthia:  Do you know what today is?

Edd:  Is this a trick question? It’s Sunday, May the somethingth.

C:  It’s the 17th. Do you know why today is special?

E:  See, I know you. It was a trick question. OK, I remembered Mother’s Day and your birthday isn't until next month. So I think I’m safe saying, “No, baby, why is today special?”

C:  Because 10 years ago we got off the plane here in Cuenca, Ecuador. It’s our 10th anniversary of being expats!

E:  Shut up... Really?? That seems impossible.

C:  I know. I can’t believe it either. Remember how excited we were?

E:  I sure do. But you know what, I don’t remember us being scared. Do you? Honestly, we had every reason to be. We didn’t speak Spanish. We didn’t know anybody. Our shipping container was on its way and we had no place to live. What in the hell were we thinking?

C:  That this was gonna work no matter what because it...

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Retirement: Do You Have a Plan B?

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...

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Health & Wellness: Super Agers and Discovering the Fountain of Youth

Edd:  Wow, we sure covered a lot of topics on the Now It’s My Turn! TV show last weekend!

Cynthia:  We never seem to be at a loss for words. I especially enjoyed our discussion of Super Agers.

E:  Readers may not know what that term means. Harvard Medical School defines this group as "people in their 70s and 80s who have the mental or physical capability of their decades-younger counterparts."

C:  Well, that covers one of us.

E:  Ha! You’ll be joining me in a few years. And as we pointed out to Lara McAra, the show’s host, our current state of optimal health and wellness isn’t a lucky accident. A lot of intention has gone into it.

C:  Yeah, you touched on our aspiration to become Super Agers in the blog you wrote about being a septuagenarian. Regarding the mental part of the equation, I feel like living abroad in Ecuador for the past decade has greatly contributed to our well-being and unshakeable optimism.

E:  Remember that...

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Retirement: What's It Like to be in Your 70s?

Edd here and going solo for this one.

“Septuagenarian” is your word for the day. It means “someone in their 70s,” which is what I am.

To be exact, 71 as of a few days ago.

You may wonder, “What’s it like to be that old (careful with that ‘old’ word )?” Not because you care what it’s like for me. What you’re really curious about is what it might be like for you.

Of course, I can’t help you with that one. But I’d like to share what my world looks like at this age as a possible glimpse into your own future. Let’s run through the trifecta of mind, body, and spirit.

Mind ~

Yeah, I can’t remember stuff sometimes. Not important matters like “Who/where am I?”  

Usually it’s someone’s name or when an event happened. Or I’ll use the wrong word and think, “Did I just say that?”

Guessing I’m not the only one with a paddle in that rowboat.

But the old...

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Expat Life: How Do You Celebrate the Holidays When Living Abroad?

The famous Andy Williams song proclaims, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” But what about when you’re living abroad? How do expats celebrate the season? Or do you celebrate at all? And what about the locals?

Like so many things in life, the answer is---it depends. Not so much on the country as the individual. There are expats who go all out during the holidays and others who do nothing. We’ll give you an “insider look” at what goes on during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s in Cuenca, Ecuador where we live.

Thanksgiving ~ It should come as no surprise that for locals this holiday is just another day here. But that doesn’t mean expats aren’t able to celebrate. Turkeys are a specialty item generally available in grocery stores only around this time of year for Christmas. So numerous restaurants host a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for the expat community.

Plus many friends celebrate together in their homes....

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Retirement: Lappy Labor Life!

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.

C: ...

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Retirement: Isn't It Supposed to Be Fun??

“My goal is to work as long as I possibly can. At least until 70. In fact, I hope I work so long that when I finally do retire I’ll be too old, too tired, and too sick to enjoy the few years I have left.”

Said no one, EVER!

If you listen to the experts...

Yet to believe what most financial writers say, that’s the hand you’ve been dealt. You haven’t saved enough so you’ve gotta work, work, work. And slash your current budget immediately because you’ve gotta save, save, save. Even Suze Orman proclaims that 70 is the new 65.

Oh, and after all that working and saving, downsize those retirement dreams of yours too because, well, by then you’ll probably be a candidate for long-term care so there goes the old nest egg.

Wait a minute... 

Isn’t retirement supposed to be fun? 

Didn’t you enter the workforce way back when with a vision of your future that included relaxation, the freedom to travel, maybe spending...

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