How To Retire Rich, Even If You Aren’t


Imagine this…

You climb out of bed and wander into the kitchen.  Your maid is cooking breakfast.  Coffee is brewing and there’s a glass of freshly squeezed juice on the table. After breakfast, you book a 5 star holiday.  You take three of them in Southeast Asia each year.  This one is to Bali. 

After your food settles, you drive to the country club to play tennis with a friend. You enjoy a light lunch. Then you spend a few hours at the spa where you pamper yourself each week. 

Such a retirement isn’t fantasy. 

In fact, the average American could afford it—in Thailand.

Image courtesy of  Pixabay

I tell you more in my AssetBuilder Article


Andrew Hallam

I’m a financial columnist for Canada’s national paper, The Globe and Mail, as well as for AssetBuilder, a financial service firm based in Texas. I’m also the author of Millionaire Teacher: The Nine Rules of Wealth You Should Have Learned in School and Millionaire Expat: How To Build Wealth Living Overseas. My mission is to educate, motivate and inspire people on basic retirement planning and best practices for investing, using evidence-based strategies. I'm happy to comment on your questions.

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9 Responses

  1. Jason says:

    I didn’t see Lake Chapala on The Best Places to Retire 2015 from International Living. What gives?

    • Hi Jason,

      If I am not mistaken, Mexico was ranked #2 overall behind Ecuador. International Living ranked them by country. Then they also ranked them by category.
      Thailand ranked #2 for medical, behind Malaysia.


  2. Jason says:

    How funny! I looked over the list twice, and didn’t see Mexico 🙂 I finally found it at number 3.

    Although my wife and I are at least 15 years out from retirement we are planning a trip to Mexico for the summer of 2016 from the US. Lake Chapala is on our list of places to visit. Do you have any other recommendations of places to visit that could meet the meet the needs of future US retirees? Generally we like medium to small cities/towns, and like speaking conversational spanish. We also lean towards living near water.

    Thanks Andrew!

  3. Shane says:

    Hi Andrew,

    I have a question for you (not directly related to this article, but important nonethless; perhaps you could write a dedicated article).
    The question is about exchange rates.

    I’m a European (euro is my home currency) but I get paid in UAE dirham, which is a dollar-pegged currency. I hold an S&P 500 ETF (VUSD, dollar-denominated) and a FTSE Developed Europe index (VEUR, euro-denominated).

    In general I follow your guidance of investing every month in the underperforming ETF. Since January, the underperforming ETF is VUSD. VEUR on the other hand has surged.

    So, I should invest in VUSD, right? But the thing is, the euro has fallen so far against the dollar in recent months that if I convert my savings to euros, I would get 20% more today than I would have gotten last year.

    …ergo, I’m thinking of investing in nothing but VEUR to take advantage of the excellent exchange rate and neglecting my VUSD for a while. Surely when the euro eventually strengthens I would regret not having used the opportunity to load up on VEUR when the euro was cheap.

    …yet, my proposed strategy would be contrary to the “buy-the-underperforming-ETF” wisdom.

    What would you do?

  4. Michele Graham says:

    I’ve posted questions before and I am almost ready to invest. However I have a UK passport and live in South Africa and pay tax in South Africa. I am trying to find the best platform to purchase in GBP
    Vanguard FTSE100 UCITS ETF

    Im also trying to find a way to invest in the Vanguard Life Strategy funds either 80 or 100 % accumulation equities in GBP

    Trying to compare the platforms is not easy. I find they are not upfront with their fees or the products they offer.
    So far Investec Wealth Management will charge me no commission for trades or getting me into the fund I want but they will take between 0.35 to 0.41% from my assets every year!
    SAXO have advised me to trade from their South Africa site where they tell me the commission is 0.35% per trade and then no custody or inactivity fee to pay. But should I be going through the South Africa platform when i want to trade with my GBP that are currently in a UK bank account.
    Should I rather use the SAXO offshore platform and pay 0.12% as an annual custody fee and also pay 0.12% pertrade – they do seem to have the etfs I want but not the funds.
    TD International will only charge me a custody fee of E45 per quarter (as I will be an inactive trader once I have done all my initial trades) and only 0.1% per trade plus E14.95 – however they don’t seem to have the products I want as they have very little in GBP.
    I looked at Keytrade but they also don’t seem to have the products I want. Ive emailed them to find out if they can allow me access to these products.

    Is anyone out there is a similar position to me?????
    Please help.

    • Michele,

      You’re splitting hairs in vain. I’ve been investing with international brokerages a long time. They yo-yo their fees all the time. One brokerage raises commissions on currency exchange and lowers commissions on trades. A year later, that same brokerage lowers commissions on currency exchange and increases commissions on trades. One year, they add a platform charge. The next year, they remove it. In Canada and the U.S., low-cost brokerage costs keep going down. But overseas, they jerk them up and down. Every brokerage overseas appears to do the same. That’s why I am confident when I say that there is no “perfect” brokerage for you. I recommend that you open one…flip a coin if you must. Then concentrate your energy on the things that matter more: what you spend, how much you can save, and dumping as much money as you can every month into a diversified portfolio of index funds.


  5. Michele says:

    Thanks Andrew. I’m going to go for the saxo offshore account as they have all the products I want in GBP
    Thank you for this site and for the books. My daughter is 18 and has just read them and has started to invest some of the extra she earns from tutoring while she is at university. Your books really had an effect on her .

  6. Ben says:

    Another great article I’d missed!
    I’ve read the books and been investing in Interactive Brokers (and my wife now, too) since 2016. Very fun. Very simple!

    Now, we have our first baby on the way, and I’m price-comparing Term Life Insurance policies. Come to find out, an Expat will get about $250,000 for $550/yr (20yr Term Life, age 38), whereas an American in the US will get $1,000,000 for the same premium!

    1. What are your thoughts on Life Insurance?
    2. I can’t find ANYONE to suggest a Term Life provider with a great deal for expats.



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