“Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” Robert Frost (1874 – 1963) American Poet
I am an experienced traveler and have lived abroad for almost 20 years of my life. During all of that time, whether studying or working overseas, I always maintained my residence in the United States. I really love Central Europe, and thought about retiring there one day, but the property prices and residency requirements made that impossible for me. I was also comfortable in my home country and with the status quo.
Then in 2008 I had an epiphany. My mother had just died, at the age of 63 from cancer. This caused me to reflect a lot upon my own life. I had watched my bank savings interest rate drop every year from almost 7% to the point where 1yr. Certificates of Deposit were paying only 2% interest, which was less than the inflation rate. I realized that my retirement savings were at the mercy of the Federal Reserve Bank, and that unless I was willing to gamble my hard-earned money in the stock market, I would keep losing money as it sat in the bank.
While on vacation that year my then girlfriend and future wife was in the process of buying a 12m x 30m building lot in the small town of Atyra for $1,200. She brought me out to see the property, and on the way back to Asuncion, we saw a 3 hectare lot (300m x 100m) for sale for $7500. Over 7 acres of level and fertile land, with water and electricity connections, 600m from a main asphalt road in a beautiful location for 7 grand? I jumped at it. The sale went through without a hitch, and another opportunity presented itself. A house that I really liked, which was located on the same street as my property came up for sale. It had a big mango plantation and a really beautiful yard. I never owned a house before; I didn’t want to take out a mortgage, enslave myself to a bank for 30 years, and have the stress of a monthly mortgage payment. But the price of this beautiful home was within my reach, and I saw the chance to improve my life. No more renting. Property ownership and a lower cost of living awaited me. No more letting a bank profit from my money, while I make nothing in the process. No more saving for a retirement that I might not even live to collect. I decided to take more control of my life and my future; I bought the house, and I’ve never looked back.
“Do not blame Caesar, blame the people of Rome who have so enthusiastically acclaimed and adored him and rejoiced in their loss of freedom and danced in his path and given him triumphal processions. Blame the people who hail him when he speaks in the Forum of the new wonderful good society which shall now be Rome's, interpreted to mean more money, more ease, more security, and more living fatly at the expense of the industrious.” -- Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 – 43 BC) Roman philosopher, politician and orator.