Retiring to BA?


Nov 4, 2006
My wife and I recently returned from a little over a week in Buenos Aires. We loved it! Without going into lots of detail, it's on the short list of cities to which we'd consider retiring, and we're planning on returning for another visit as soon as we can. Retirement is still at least 10 years away. However, it doesn't hurt to start making inquiries. If all goes well, we'll have between $1 and $2 million US, possibly a little more if real estate values in our city hold, as well as my security, which would be around $1,600 US/month (lots of "ifs" here). I realize it's difficult to project out 10 years, but would this kind of money afford a comfortable life in BA? We'd want to buy an apartment, eat out often, attend theater and cultural events and, of course, travel internationally as often as our budget would allow. We don't require luxury living, but we do want comfortable, pleasant, attractive and safe, with lots of opportunity for social activities to keep us entertained and engaged.
If you have a million $ or more when you retire in ten years you will be able to live extremely well here - even if the exchange rate is less favorable to the dollar.
I would not be worried about affording to live in Argentina in 10 years. My concern would be if the US economy holds out so you could collect on your earnings at your expected rate. I certainly hope so for the many of us who are banking on it.
"gracielle" said:
I would not be worried about affording to live in Argentina in 10 years. My concern would be if the US economy holds out so you could collect on your earnings at your expected rate. I certainly hope so for the many of us who are banking on it.
This observation is intensely relevant. Sooner or later the US dollar is going to take a nose-dive: not only will this adversely affect people with dollar-denominated holdings, but all bets are off with regard to the US economy which will emerge from the rubble. Anyone who has the option of getting out of dollars should do so pronto.
And why not invest some of that capital in a rental property here? I think the tourist market will continue to thrive in the next 5 years. Also more and more expats are coming to work here. I am not necessarily referring to those "looking to teach English" although they have to live somewhere as well. I am referring to those whose companies are sending them here for an extended work stint. Not the executives with their high salaries and perks but the middle management drones.There are realistic reasons why Argentinians invest in "bricks" for a rainy day. The majority of the upper middle class did not suffer from the bank debacle of 2001. And many who did survived by selling off rental assets. One should plan financially keeping in mind that history repeats itself in cycles. Timing those cycles is the key to survival.
"gracielle" said:
And why not invest some of that capital in a rental property here?
It's a bit of a dicey proposition for a foreigner. The first problem is a populist government that changes tack with every shift in popular mood. Foreign investors could be at the receiving end one fine day. Secondly -- if history is anything to go by -- crises occur periodically, and even if they don't affect property prices directly, they may affect the ability to sell and repatriate money legally. Thirdly, it's not clear how much upside there presently is in the property market: rents and capital appreciation both have to kick in for most property investments to be viable.
General economic and political volatility is one big reason why Argentina's rich (and South America's rich in general) salt away a lot of their wealth abroad. This course of action has to be even more advisable for foreigners who lack roots in the area. Thus it would be singularly ill-advised to put all one's eggs in one basket and move lock, stock, and barrel to Argentina: one has to keep one foot in one's native country in Western Europe or North America. (Am I mixing metaphors here?)
Argentina might be an attractive place to spend some months each year, and even Buenos Aires may be palatable in small doses, but I can't help wondering how many Europeans and North Americans could settle in for the long haul.
I agree that the big question is whether the US dollar will retain strength over the next decade. Every penny we have (except for a few minor 401Ks) is tied up in our house (we live in San Francisco) -- otherwise we'd be investing in real estate outside the US now. We're hopeful that the SF real estate market, like New York City, is reasonably secure. Though the rate of increase has slowed dramatically here, houses like ours ("painted lady" Victorian in a decent neighborhood in the city) haven't dropped, unlike some of the less-expensive, but equally over-heated housing. Because of our house, we are "house poor" -- no discretionary income for savings, and our travel now is courtesy of frequent flyer miles and hotel points thanks to my job. Our hope is that, once my working life is over, we can cash in on the house and we can leave the US, we can find a city that will allow us a reasonable life-style and the opportunity to travel. Of course, there's no way to tell what the future holds -- an earthquake could wipe us out and social security could evaporate.
Assuming our assets stay in tact, BA seems to offer a solution: a beautiful, affordable, sophisticated city with an active cultural life, an international sensibility, and close to an international airport serviced by a large number of airlines. Other cities on our short list include Beijing and Barcelona. BA has better infrastructure and a slower-paced lifestyle than Beijing, and is less expensive and feels more international than Barcelona -- I'm sure everyone here has heard this often, but BA reminds me most of Paris, a city we both love but could never afford to live in.Bigbadwolf raises some interesting points. As erratic as things in Argentina may be, politically and financially, I'm not sure, at this point, that the U.S. is any better. My wife and I travel internationally quite a bit, and the one thing that has been rather stunning to us lately is the extent to which the American quality of life has deteriorated in comparison to a number of countries in Europe, Asia and South America. My wife is from China, and has already been through one major cultural adaptation when she moved to the U.S. She's confident that she could handle another one. As for me, I've always enjoyed my time abroad, and I'm not one of those American tourists who says, "[name a country] was fun, but it sure is good to get back home to the U.S." Particularly, if my choice is between living well and maintaining our current lifestyle by living as an ex pat, or living a tight, financially constrained life by staying in the U.S. ("early bird" specials, movie matinees, limited travel, etc.) I will happily embrace a new culture, and even a new language. Frankly, I think the challenge of doing so will help keep me mentally young and engaged which, I think, is the secret to successful retirement and aging. Starting a great new adventure at age 60 or 65 should ensure that the last third of our lives is rich and rewarding.
I wouldn't characterize Kirshner as a populist. He needs to appear as one because he needs the backing of the masses. The cost is rising steadily to keep them somewhat silent and compliant. He is a power hungry capitalist with a score to settle...some say vengeance. Except he cannot quite make up his mind who is the enemy. It must be a long list.

Mr and Mrs K are following in the footsteps of Peron and Evita with a twist. Since taking office as president, they have an accumulated a fortune worth 3x what they had when he completed his second term as governor of Santa Cruz. I guess he expects to live a long life in the lap of extreme luxury. I say you can't take it with you. But then again, I am not power hungry either.

If the political pundits are correct, Mrs K will be the presidencial candidate...only if they are sure she can win the 2007 election. This would give Mr K four more years to play behind the scenes and make his triumphant comeback in 2011 for another two terms. How old is this guy anyway? If not, his house of cards will come tumbling down. For the country it will be another down cycle. I think the roar of this fall will be much louder. But then Argentina is the epitomy of the comeback kid. I am banking on it. In the meantime, I enjoy the fruits of my labor. I don't have to screw anybody to survive. I will continue to pay taxes because I have to, not because it is my civic duty. I will go to the urns because it is mandatory for Argentine citizens. But I don't have to vote. I can leave my ballot blank. Personally it beats battling it out in the good, ole USA.
I love the posts to this question. I HAVE ALREADY retirted to BA (at the age of 56), so I FEEL qualified to respond.

As individuals, we really can't make a difference in the "world economy" and worring about it won't change just go ahead and buy an apartment in Buenos Aires (that's what I did) it now! In ten years it might double or triple in value...

AND BE HAPPY (and stop counting your money..or even mention how much you have....)

PS: I think you would find the "comfort level" you referd to in Berntwood (CA), but you would need MANY more millions of dollars.....and you wouldn't seek opinions on the far as soocial activities to keep you and your wife engaged...try club anchorena sw....
To donesteban..."try club anchorena sw...."....please elaborate more for those interested in retirement activities.