We meet them everywhere along our travels.

From Thailand to Mexico and from Guatemala to Ecuador, people known as "economic refugees" are looking for a better lifestyle, lower cost of living, and fewer regulations than what they experience in the United States. Having cashed out of the housing boom, some travel abroad where their dollars will purchase estates with maids and gardeners. Others are living the good life on their Social Security payments, rather than scraping by in their home towns in the U.S.

Either way, they are enjoying near-perfect climates and relaxing lifestyles. All these people have one thing in common: They are not afraid to embrace a new adventure.


The new normal
Having adjusted to the economic "new normal," some Americans have hunkered down out of fear and become less inclined to venture out. Sure, they may have lost a bundle in either the stock market or the collapsed housing market, but now they seem to be once burned, twice shy, and they have let it define them and their futures. Out of fear, they are unable to see their options and are afraid to make the choices required to upgrade their lives outside the States.

There's always a reason
Some flat-out don't believe it can be done. Others cite concerns over health care, the necessity of staying near loved ones, or the comfort of their routine -- well-known restaurants, familiar faces, and habitual activities. Some say it's simply too much hassle to up and leave their stable lives. They fear their new lives will be topsy-turvy and uncertain -- and they are correct to some extent.

These are the people who stay in their neighborhoods and never experience places of more freedom, less regulation, and a bohemian lifestyle of opportunity.

Yes -- opportunity.

For example, the chance to meet new people from other states and countries, the possibility of personal growth, and the ability to live a simpler life without the stress of watching utility bills climb. It's not that living overseas is a panacea; life always has a way of giving us challenges. But those who have made the choice to live outside the States in friendlier climates with manageable costs always say they feel a burden has been lifted off their backs and how, if they had known how pleasant it was to live elsewhere, they would have made the change sooner.

It's not for everyone
Granted, there is no place as comfortable or predictable as the United States. Customs in other countries can become an issue if you let them, and if you are the type that prefers the certain, you might not be a good candidate for a move overseas. But if daily costs seem out of control for you, if you have had it with the weather, or if you just feel that a change is due, moving to a low-cost region such as Thailand, Mexico, Central America, or the Philippines could hold some special appeal.

Many have made this move and paved a path to a satisfied and low-stress lifestyle. What about you?

The No. 1 Way to Lose Your Wealth Without Even Knowing It
You've fought hard to build wealth for you and your family. Yet one all-too-common pitfall could completely derail your dreams before you even know it. That's why a company The Economist hails as "an ethical oasis" has isolated five simple questions you must answer to ensure that your financial future is really secure.

Can you answer YES to all five of these eye-opening questions?
Click here to find out -- before it's too late!

The article "Economic Refugees" Find Happiness and Security Abroad originally appeared on Fool.com.

Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Copyright © 1995 - 2014 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Managing your Portfolio

Keeping your portfolio and financial life fit!

View Course »

Introduction to ETFs

The basics of Exchange Traded Funds and why ETFs are hot.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum