Owner of Retirepedia and author Margit Streifeneder took time out from her busy schedule to talk to me about her new book Planning to Retire Overseas: Is Nicaragua Your Best Choice?
My goal for the interview was to pinpoint exactly who should read her book, why and exactly what they would get out of it.
Take a look:
Why did you decide to write a book on retiring in Nicaragua?
Nicaragua is a wonderful country to live or retire in, but it’s not for everyone. I wrote my book to help people make an informed decision whether Nicaragua is the right choice for them. I also wanted to give them a proven roadmap to test-drive and finally move to this country, if they decided that Nicaragua was indeed the right country for them.
My book is packed with the experiences and the information I gathered since coming to Nicaragua in 2010. It also includes an FAQ section where I am answering the questions I received from my website’s readers over the years.
What is the biggest thing that people think they know about retiring in Nicaragua?
This is a tricky question to answer, as everyone has a different perception of what it means to retire in Nicaragua. Perhaps one of the mistakes many people make is that they believe everything is much cheaper here than in their home country.
While this is true for many things, especially labor cost, it isn’t true for everything. Most imported goods are more expensive than in Europe, Canada or the United States. My prime example is the cost of Nutella. The 400g jar costs about $3 in Europe, $5 in the U.S., and over $8 in Nicaragua!
What’s the most important thing that people don’t know about retiring in Nicaragua, that they need to know?
Everything in my book! OK, if I had to pick one thing, it’s to expect things to be different here in Nicaragua than what you are used to back home. To enjoy Nicaragua to the fullest, you need to bring a good sense of humor, a generous dose of patience and a curious mind.
Let me give you an example. When we first moved here, I needed to get high-speed Internet in my house. The infrastructure (i.e. the phone line) was already there, but I had to get the router and of course, a contract. So I went to Claro, one of the two biggest telecommunication providers in Nicaragua.
The first time I went to their store, the sales rep told me that I couldn’t get a contract without having residency. We left and tried at a different location. The guy there told me that yes, I could get a contract, but I would have to pay for the first 12 months upfront. Yikes. Not really what I wanted.
So, we tried yet another of the many Claro offices throughout Managua. This time, we were in luck. The lady we spoke to said, “Yes, of course. We have specific contracts for foreigners. We just need a deposit from you for the router.”
Things work differently here than what you are used to, but they work.
What was the hardest part of writing this book?
The hardest part was finding the right words to describe exactly what I wanted to say. I found it rather easy to come up with the book’s structure, but filling each chapter with well flowing copy was tough.
Luckily I had a good friend and former work colleague who edited the book and helped me make it the valuable resource that it is now.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I always find it fascinating how an idea that solely existed in your head turns into something real and tangible. I remember when I scribbled down an initial rough structure in my notebook over breakfast on my terrace. It took months until I finally started writing the book. Witnessing and driving that process from scribbling down my first ideas to having the book published is what I enjoyed most.
I also liked the variety of tasks involved: researching and writing, selecting and editing graphics, formatting the book, deciding about the best title, having a cover designed, drafting a sales page, sending out a newsletter about the launch, etc.
Last, but not least, I was excited about the first sales coming in. And about the positive reviews I got from my readers.
What type of reader will get the most value out of your book?
My book is most valuable to someone who has already done some research about retiring abroad in general, and about Nicaragua specifically, but isn’t sure yet if Nicaragua is right for her or him.
It’s not a tourist guide book. It’s designed for people considering retiring in Nicaragua, or at least living here for a few years.
How does your book help readers who are considering retiring in Nicaragua?
It helps them on various progressive levels. First, the reader does a little test to determine how high she or he scores on the “retire abroad likelihood” scale. Not everyone will be happy abroad. With this quiz-like exercise I want to make the reader aware of the possibility that retiring overseas may or may not be right for them.
Secondly, we look into the nine criteria that you should consider when evaluating a potential retirement country, and how they apply to Nicaragua. This gives the reader a general sense about what it means to live in Nicaragua as a foreign retiree.
After that, the book explores the different regions in Nicaragua to help the reader decide which area would be the best fit for their individual situation and lifestyle wishes.
And finally, the book provides the reader with a 5-step plan for confidently “test driving” their retirement in Nicaragua. Research can only take you that far. At some point, you need to get your feet on the ground, and experience a country with all your senses.
Like the book title – “Planning to Retire Overseas: Is Nicaragua Your Best Choice?” – indicates, the book’s main goal is to help the reader make an informed decision, and – if they decide that Nicaragua is right for them – to help them with the move.
In one of my reader’s words…
“Your work was excellent. It was all that I expected. Having read and studied about six countries before moving to Costa Rica, I knew what to expect or at least what information I hoped to find in your e-book. You certainly did not disappoint me. Every bit of the important and valuable information was there.”