Expat Life

Expat perspectives: This is retirement?

By Edd and Cynthia Staton

We were catching up with local friends last night over dinner and they asked, “So what’s been going on with you two since we last saw you?” I proceeded to rattle off the following:

“Well, at the beginning of May we went to Atlanta for an International Living conference.

Then, since I was born in Atlanta and we spent most of our adult lives there, we stayed over some extra days visiting family and friends. I’m missing my 50th high school reunion this fall so I organized a mini-reunion of classmates which was a blast.”

The view from our bedroom window.

Next we flew to New Jersey and stayed with our daughter and her family for three weeks. While there we took a train into Manhattan to visit friends who live in SoHo.

Before returning to Cuenca we took another train to Boston and enjoyed exploring that beautiful city for four days. Plus we discovered we really love train travel.

After being home only about two weeks we turned around and flew back to Quito for another IL conference, then hung around in the city a few days.

Another view.

We flew home and spent the weekend before leaving for several glorious days in Yunguilla.

And now we’re back in Cuenca.”

Our dinner companions own several businesses and have young children so their lives are very different from ours. The husband seemed amazed and remarked, “Wow, you two are really busy for retired people!”

The truth is, yes we are. On purpose.

After this recent flurry of activity we have no set travel plans for awhile because we are working on a massive project that requires us to stay put and focus. That doesn’t mean we’ll be hermits. We cherish our relationships with close friends and look forward to socializing with them after being away so long.

I’m in no way knocking those who embrace a more reserved approach to retirement. Heck, if you feel like you’ve worked hard your whole life and just want to putter around, I say more power to you. We enjoy limited doses of chillaxin’ ourselves, with our just-completed getaway to Yunguilla I mentioned serving as a perfect example.

We spent an extended 4th of July celebration with wonderful friends eating, drinking, sleeping, playing games, sunning ourselves (the weather is fabulous there–and only an hour away!), and hot tubbing. Sound like fun? It sure was!

Here are a few photos of our surroundings:

More views:

Yes, this is retirement, Edd and Cynthia style.

  • lorenzo

    It’s the young people who will benefit most from reading your post. IMPORTANT LESSON – Save, invest, or whatever it takes to assure a financially comfortable retirement. You two can do what you’re doing because you have the financial resources. Of course, financial resources go a lot further in a country like Ecuador.

    • StillWatching

      Good advice.

    • ecexplorer

      I agree. People that have mis-managed their assets for 40+ years of work or more will not have the retirement that they think they deserve.

      • StillWatching

        Exactly, but that sense of entitlement will cause them to think they have a valid claim on the fruits of YOUR labors

      • BDev

        No one “deserves” anything. Life is what it is. Entitlement
        mentality is for teenagers who haven’t grown up yet. Adults eliminate that word from their vocabulary.

  • fredtover

    You two are poster children of the type of people who don’t belong in Ecuador! Two IL conferences? IL is like a disease sprending BS to people who do not have the guts to go it alone like the people who came before this.
    Go spend your money elsewhere, Ecuador is for people of meger means, IL an people like you spoil it for the rest of us and also the Ecuadorians who now struggle with the higher prices! Yankees go home!

    • Susan L. Moore Vault

      How rude and mean-spirited! Who are you to decide who should be here and who should not. Who are you to say Ecuador is for people of meager means. IL was responsible for many of us who have come here. Please, if you can´t be cordial, even in your dismay, don´t respond. You are not illuminating anyone´s life with your caustic attitude and opinions. Have a good day.

      • ecexplorer

        And how would your attack be any more helpful? You have the same attitude as many of the other IL dreamers.

      • StillWatching

        I don’t care about Fred’s lack of political correctness, but I am rubbed the wrong way by his ignorance and arrogant prejudice.

      • Norma Alvarado

        thanks Susan well said!! i came here to be enlighten not discouraged and depressed

    • jon

      seems to me it has been proven time and time again that the 1% that is gringo is not the cause but rather the returning Ecuadorians with their taste for N. American and European life styles.

      • ecexplorer

        I’ve heard that too but can’t find the proof. If it has been “proven” as you say I’d be interested in knowing where you found the data. I study the economics of human mobility and that data would be very helpful.

        • LadyMoon

          well…Ecuador’s National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INEC) say there are 6,000+ North American expats in Cuenca and 28,000 returning Cuencanos since 2010. What other evidence do you need? (Source CHL article.)

          • fredtover

            Yes but most of the Ecuadorians that returned are with little money since most only had low-paying jobs.

            • Edd Staton

              You, sir, are a bottomless pit of misinformation. On what do you base such a comment? Do you personally know all the thousands of returning Ecuadorians? Did you discuss with them their financial situation?

              • StillWatching

                “Bottomless pit of misinformation”

                May I have your permission to appropriate that for my own use? it’s a gem. It fits our wayward son, faulkner to a T.

                • Edd Staton

                  Go for it, amigo.

                  • StillWatching

                    Thank you. I’ll think of you every time I trot it out.

            • StillWatching

              HORSE PUCKEY Most retornos were frugal and good managers of whatever resources they had and often returned with financial assets greater than the profligate expats (not all) that have come here out of financial necessity.

              Simple empirical observation confirms this.

          • StillWatching

            Amen, Moonie. Some people can’t apply common sense to the simplest things.

        • StillWatching

          You need to apply logic and common sense to interpret the raw data. If you can’t reason deductively that the tiny expat population contributes little price pressure on anything in Ecuador, relative to the large number of “retornos” and prosperous Ecuadorians, then your study of human mobility won’t help you at all.

    • ecexplorer

      Watch out! You’re going to catch Hell for that. lol

      The IL crowd is dangerous to mess with.

      • StillWatching

        Up-voting your own posts. How tacky.

        • ecexplorer

          Yeah. Inadvertently clicked the damn thing and now don’t know how to remove it.

          • StillWatching

            I’ll help you with that because I know you’re actually a pretty humble guy. Just click the up-vote carat again and it will make it disappear. Cheers. You do have to be logged into do that.

    • Ken

      Fred – In your case Ecuador seems to be home to a guy with a miserable, meager attitude. Luckily you will never be the poster child for Expats in Ecuador I’m certain. Quite the opposite.

    • Kathleen Ashbrook

      A little bitter aren’t you? Sounds like you didn’t plan so well for your retirement. Those of us who came to Ecuador when Edd and Cynthia did came because we wanted to, not because we had to in order to be able to survive. Don’t blame others because we planned well and you didn’t. The Statons are exactly the kind of people we want in Ecuador. Can’t say the same for you though.

      • LadyMoon

        How very fortunate for you. You made plans that turned out well. You didn’t lose your home (for many their retirement ‘savings’), you didn’t have an illness that made you go bankrupt or reduced your income. Some didn’t come to ‘survive’–they came because they wanted to ‘take a breath between work and death’ (like me) and this was the only way they could do it. It doesn’t diminish our affection for this country. (I guess I am ‘blaming you’ for sounding so arrogant. If you have morals and values, how about ‘judge not that ye be not judged,’ and ‘as ye sow, so shall ye reap” (karma, baby!)

        • ecexplorer

          If all of their retirement savings was in their home then that was their mistake.

          No diversification = Mismanagement

          • StillWatching

            I even up-vote faulkner when he’s right.

          • Sueetta Joyce

            Very judgmental without knowing a person’s personal experiences in full. You are, as often found here, out of place.

        • Norma Alvarado

          hay Dios mio ladies!!

      • StillWatching

        Cynthia is a very nice lady. Edd’s okay, too. Fred? Not so much.

      • LadyMoon

        I’m not bitter. I had a life-changing event in the early 2000s…and am resourceful enough to make it here…anyway. What I don’t like is the ‘financial shaming’ by those who are better off than others. Gives rich people a bad name.

        • Sueetta Joyce

          Amen to that. We should become friends here.

        • Sueetta Joyce

          Amen. Like you am here because I can live better on my retirement income and honestly can barely afford to live decently in the USA after working hard all my life and taking care of numerous others, as well. Wish these hateful, judgmental people would just keep their mouths shut and judgmental opinions to themselves. Live and let live as we are all doing the best we can with what we have.

    • Dena Jo

      Your comment is completely inappropriate and uncalled for.

    • LadyMoon

      Are you having a bad day, or are you always like this?
      International Living is the way I first heard of a possibility of retirement. I alone am responsible for my discernment when reading–anything! Someone once said “IL is selling something”….and my response was “Duh, of course they are…it’s not a freakin hobby!” (I guess there is one compliment in here…I had the guts to sell out and come sight-unseen with 6 suitcases. No regrets….thank you IL.)

      • Sueetta Joyce

        Yes, I first learned of retirement advantages here via IL and they were most helpful upon my first visit here with a great rep to introduce me around. I studied Ecuador for 3 years before deciding this is a great place to live in retirement and don’t regret a thing.

        • StillWatching

          I’m glad you’re here, no matter what led you here.

    • edgeof 2

      Meager means – interesting concept of words. What exactly is ‘ meager means ‘

    • Edd Staton

      Gosh, Fred, I guess this means Cynthia and I shouldn’t be expecting a dinner invitation from you anytime soon. And we’ll respectfully decline your suggestion that we “go home” (which was curious because you appear to be an expat yourself) since Cuenca IS our home and has been for the last 7+ years.

      I normally don’t respond to negative comments but yours are so vicious and mean-spirited that I’m making an exception. You may not be aware that Cynthia and I are writers and speakers for International Living, hence our participation in their conferences. Since I’ve written pretty much everything that the publication has printed about Cuenca in recent years you trashing the information provided impugns my integrity. But I don’t take it personally because I seriously doubt you’ve ever attended a conference or read a single word I’ve written for IL.

      Regarding conference attendees, why would you knock people who seek assistance doing something new, important, and difficult? It’s not about having “guts.” As Susan said, whether you choose to acknowledge it or not, most all of us are here directly or indirectly because IL started promoting Cuenca as a desirable expat location 10 years ago.

      And regardless of the balance in our bank accounts, most of us came because we looked out at the horizon of our financial future and chose to relocate to a place where our retirement dollars would go farther and our life would be mas tranquilo.

      Others have already disparaged your ignorant insinuation that we expats (representing 1% or less of the population) are somehow responsible for price increases so I won’t bother piling on. I’ll close by expressing my disappointment that so many comments here in CHL and Gringo Post are, like yours, unnecessarily aggressive and judgmental. Disagreeing is one thing, but lashing out and attacking others is a reflection of one’s character.

      Or lack thereof.

      • Sueetta Joyce

        I am forever grateful to IL for introducing me to possibilities here and have no idea why a number of ones I’ve met are so against them. ??? No clue as I was thrilled getting information promptly from your IL leader upon having questions. And the rep here could not have been better. So back off folks, many of us appreciate IL and their reps here and overseas. Good works as far as I’m concerned and they made great inroads and investments here to benefit of many after all.

      • fredtover

        You mean I got under the skin of someone from IL I’ll consider that a victory! I’ll probably be banned now for life from Cuenca High LIfe comments since they are loosely connected with IL

        • Edd Staton

          Got under my skin? You give yourself entirely too much credit. And your torrent of misinformation continues to gush. CHL & IL have nothing in common except their last initial. You might want to quit while you’re behind.

        • Sueetta Joyce

          You could never get under my skin as I won’t allow it. That said, I value little of your opinions so there is no victory on your part with me ever. You seem to be quite a bitter, intolerant, judgmental man…one I hope to never even meet.

          • LadyMoon

            Oh Fred doesn’t bother me…he’s sort of like a pet skunk…

  • edgeof 2

    Yet, the first iron rails in ‘ America ‘ broke the spirit of the indigenous Americans – what’s a travesty…..

  • Terri Drake

    Ed and Cynthia, you and IL provided great information and food for thought. How people use the info and what they glean from it is on them and no one else. We had made two trips to Ecuador before deciding on moving to Cuenca. We are now happily living a wonderful life here and enjoying the slower pace, healthier living and, yes, lower expenses. Apart from learning the language, at 67 it’s a little harder than at 9, it is wonderful here. The locals that we have met have helped us with our Spanish, given us tips on where go find delicious Almorzos and places we should explore.

    We have a few people, native Ecuadorians, who treat us like we are long lost members of their family and always have a welcoming hug. For those who are so unhappy, I am sorry for them. They obviously haven’t reached out to the locals and probably only exit their homes to go shopping or to the doctors. One cannot experience this wonderful city by remaining behind locked gates.

    Hope to see you again on your next shopping visit to Supermaxi! Once all the dust settles and we have all our belongings in place, we would welcome you both to join us for dinner.

    • Edd Staton

      Terri, thanks for the kind words and wonderful attitude. We will be honored to accept your invitation. Just say when!

      • Terri Drake

        I will definitely let you know and, hopefully, you won’t be traveling. 🤗

  • Norma Alvarado

    wow, your article is what i needed to read, thanks for being an inspiration. I am a 58 year old female born in guayaquil raised since i was 10 in california. We now live in texas, my two girls will be done with college next may, so i’ve been thinking if they don’t fly the coop, we will, and what better place then mi lindo Ecuador. i will keep reading ya’ll blog and learn, plan and hopefully execute in the very near future, maybe four more years. wish me luck..