Why the Retirement Publications Get Medellín and Colombia Wrong - Medellin Guru
The foreign retirement publications have named Medellín one of the top foreign retirement locations but we look at why they get Medellín and Colombia wrong.

Why the Retirement Publications Get Medellín and Colombia Wrong

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21 thoughts on “Why the Retirement Publications Get Medellín and Colombia Wrong”

    1. Thanks for the article. Bottom line is beware of the retirement publications. Every article seems to be the same rose-colored view of retirement in paradise. Real estate deals are everywhere, food is cheap, and locals are all nice. How could this be true in so many countries around the world?

      These publications gloss over the difficulties in some countries and overstate the cheap cost of living. There is an complete lack of balance in the content. Clearly the sponsors and advertisers have too much influence on the content. How else can you explain there being nothing negative? How else could a publication include Cali in a list of the top retirement locations when Cali is on the list of the 50 most dangerous cities in the world, unethical.

    2. John MacLeod February 10, 2020

      Jeff wasn’t aware you were a research analyst. Fantastic. Very helpful how to interpret the foreign magazines. Thanks.

    3. The retirement publications should be renamed “Lie and Invest Overseas” and “International Lying” like a previous comment recommended. These publications only portray things through rose colored glasses and never cover the downsides.

      Lie and Invest Overseas makes drastic changes to their list every year for their fake best list. They are clearly catering to real estate companies wanting them to recommend new locations. I guess this year there are lots of properties for sale in Valletta, Malta which is an overpriced island in Europe, no way that is a top foreign retirement location.

      Also be careful of the conferences of these publications. Expensive and full of speakers trying to sell you something.

    4. Monte, I do not know any foreign retiree in Colombia who pays that level of Personal Income Tax. There are many deductions, and Income Tax paid in your home country is also discounted, specially for those from countries with Bilateral Fiscal Agreements with Colombia. In most cases foreign retirees pay little to nothing once their report is completed. As for VAT, most countries have it, and low cost of living compensates. So using raw numbers of maximum tax laws does not give you the correct picture, and should not prevent you from pursuing your retirement dream in Colombia. But the first step is to inform yourself correctly wherever you are thinking of living: you have obviously not done so in the case of Income Tax as it would apply to you in Colombia.

    5. Tom,
      Thanks for all great info. I been researching to possible retire to Colombia.
      The nail in the coffin was being taxed at 28% income tax on top of VAT tax of 19%.
      The search continues, I have found the “retire overseas” sites to be very misleading,
      from every aspect from medical cost to taxes…both greatly affect your total cost of living far greater then price of a gallon of milk.

      • The income tax in Colombia isn’t just 28 percent. Colombia has progressive income tax rates like many other countries, which start at zero percent and max out in Colombia at 33 percent. In addition, there are several deductions in Colombia including up to 25 percent of your income and you can subtract some income taxes paid in another country from income taxes due in Colombia. Also, reportedly retirement income (up to a limit) is reportedly not taxed in Colombia, see our old article about Colombia income taxes and we plan to publish an update this month – https://medellinguru.com/income-taxes/

        Also, the VAT taxes isn’t 19 percent across the board in Colombia. Some grocery items such as milk, eggs and fruits and vegetables and several other items are exempt from the IVA tax in Colombia. Also, there is a 5 percent IVA tax on several products such as coffee, sanitary towels, tampons, diapers, toilet paper, bicycles of less than 1,500,000 pesos, among others. In addition, lower cost computers and tablet are exempt from the IVA tax – https://medellinguru.com/iva-tax/

    6. Charlie June 16, 2019

      The foreign retirement pubs are a joke and should be renamed as International Lying and Lie and Invent Overseas. Everything is written with a bias and they only cover the positives.

      • I agree with you. The foreign retirement publications take advantage of newbie retirees with their promises of paradise. These publications are complete scams.

    7. Joseph June 16, 2019

      Just joined this site and like it. I’ve wanted to come Medellin for several years. I like Panama City, but the climate and heat get to me. Bogata is too high and cool. Medellin seems to have all the attributes of a big city without some of the hassles. I love the climate as well. Mexico isn’t viable, much as I love it, with the economy, crime in some areas and Trump’s constant drum beating. Speaking of which our Department of State’s info on Colombia seems slanted to me, so I use the U.K. Foreign Office instead. Another example of prejudice leaking into what should be a non-partisan area.

    8. John and Susan Pazera June 13, 2019

      Your report is spot on. We had our “training wheel” period with International lying for about a year once we figured out what they were really up to.
      I went on the web to research who owns this publication and came across this: https://www.usnews.com/topics/author/kathleen-peddicord
      Remarkable! She was with IL for 23 years and started LAIO company. Fat cat!

    9. Robert June 13, 2019

      The lies of the foreign retirement publications include glossing over difficulties in the countries they cover, overstating the cheapness of real estate, and an overall lack of balance in their content. Every article published by these scam artists are the same rose-colored views of retirement in paradise. These retirement pubs create the idea that everything is wonderful, cheap and easy, which is not true.

    10. geoffrey June 12, 2019

      The two publications above reek of self interest. From what I can gather the business model is specifically set up to monetize and harvest the US & Canadian baby boomer retirement bonanza. It’s a demographic that supplies a fresh crop of wide-eyed innocents every year. Just the title “Live and INVEST” specifically beckons them with a loaded word that implies forking over money to them. There is no serious analysis of the pros and cons because that might scare away investors.

      • Yes I agree, the two foreign retirement publications are taking advantage of the “baby boomer retirement bonanza”. I went to a Live & Invest conference and over half the presentations were trying to sell something — real estate or other investments. And the other presentations were about how great the locations are and didn’t really cover any downsides.

        These publications don’t cover the cons as that will scare away investors and customers and it will be more difficult for them to get real estate companies to pay to be at their conferences and also pay them commissions.

    11. The retirement pubs and on-line forums are what they are… all subject to bias and special interests. Read them all… and take what you read with a grain of salt. If anything, these tools serve as an inventory for what is available for ex-pats and ex-pat wannabes. Know what type of geography, climate and culture may appeal to you. Read, go look and talk to foreigners who are actually living in the countries on your short-list. When I am asked why Colombia, I give them a brief canned spiel why I chose Colombia… but then close with “But Colombia is not for everyone.”

    12. Jeff: Good article. The retirement countries/cities list by Live and Invest, etc., changes every year. It is a marketing scam. If they told their readers that certain countries/cities were the same each year, they would not make any money at their seminars each year. Each year the places change and the seminars change. Greg.

      • Good point that the retirement publications may change the top retirement locations each year as a marketing ploy so they have new content to sell. I added this to the article.

      • Greg…I totally agree with you. The “International retirement” publications skew the facts
        to provide “fresh meat” to their sheep, who believe every word and every sunny photograph.
        After all…it is a business to these publications…gotta have new and fresh for the sheep to read
        and book their conference$. There is no perfect city or country, in which to move/retire. There
        are places that will work, and one can find a certain modicum of happiness & livability. If the
        sheep only took off those “rose-colored-sunglasses” & saw reality…the probably would stay
        in their home country…which is fine with me. I am glad that Medellin is not loaded with gringos
        like Boquete, Panamá or Cuenca, Ecuador. And those publications filled-up those two locales
        with retirees.

      • james landis July 15, 2019

        I agree with Greg’s comments. These organizations are all about making for themselves via their seminars. Not having Medellin on their list is crazy. I have lived in Brazil. You would have to be out of your mind to live there. So much crime, and corruption. In Brazil. Anyway, good article.

    13. Gilles June 12, 2019

      Interesting and useful comments about these two standard sources of information for those seeking to retire abroad. It provides an important perspective to keep in mind. Too many people take for granted what these provide without doing their own due diligence by visiting potential retirement locations, and expanding their sources of information before taking the leap of retiring abroad.
      As far as the place of Medellín on these listing is concerned, I have ambiguous feelings. On the one hand I take pride in our city as a good place to retire. But, on the other hand, I don’t mind not being listed to avoid any excessive “invasion” of foreign retirees.
      Question: can we assume that you have contacted both publications ( or will do so ) to give them a right of reply ? It would be interesting to get their views on your quite sensible comments.

    14. Nice post. Those foreign retirement publications are a joke. I have heard these publications even call their readers “sheep” and think they can recommend any place.

      Unbelievable that Live & Invest recommends Fortaleza in Brazil this year as a top foreign retirement location. That is one of the worlds most dangerous cities. And how could they include Cali as #2 last year – the most dangerous city in Colombia. Shows that they have no ethics and likely real estate companies are pushing these locations.

      • I trust my wife’s judgement, I wanted to go to Cali for a few days because I have never been there and she said no, it’s the one time there was no discussion. And our home is in Niquia

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