Retirement Detectives

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Helping you find your ideal place in the sun!

Authoritative, unbiased information about current and emerging retirement destinations.
First hand knowledge and experience.
The good. The bad. The bizarre.
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Travelers Medical/Survival Kit

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- Bottled water and water purification pills

- Hat that breathes, but covers back of your neck and ears

- Sunscreen – SPF 35 – 50, preferably time released, must be waterproof

- Insect repellent – 25 % DEET or higher (must have DEET)

- Polarized sunglasses, strap is helpful

- Button-up (not pull over) shirts with cotton undershirts

- Shoes – not sandals (insects), with arch supports, quick drying are best

- Cotton socks

- Talcum powder

- Reading glasses/magnifier

- Cell phone with car charger

- GPS unit with area maps

- Compass

- Energy bar

- Flashlight, extra batteries or wind up type

- Waterproof matches

- Metal mirror for signaling/fire starting

- Tire repair kit (make sure your vehicle has an inflated spare and a jack with a handle)

- extra toilet paper, Kleenex pack

- Put your doctors name and telephone number in your wallet (waterproofed)

- Wear your Medic-Alert bracelet

- Bring extra prescription medications

- Bandages, medical tape and first ad kit including the following:



NOTE: Get your booster shots BEFORE leaving home. Some vaccinations require 4 - 6 weeks incubation time.

  • - Hepatitis A + B shots
  • - Malaria shots if needed - check malaria maps
  • - Aspirin
  • - Aloe Vera for burns
  • - Bactine or After Bite for bites/burns
  • - Permethrin – spray clothes to prevent ticks, chiggers, sand fleas, bed bugs, etc
  • - Benadryl or Clairton for allergies/bites
  • - Mexsana for sweaty feet
  • - Neosporin or Ploysporin for cuts (topical antibiotic)
  • - Hydrocortisone cream for anti-inflammatory
  • - Calamine lotion
  • - Imodium
  • - Pepto Bismol


(Not a complete list by any means – just what I have needed on my travels so far)

Last Updated on Friday, 03 July 2009 22:42

New Investigators Join Retirement Detectives Team

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Chris and Kristin, the latest Investigators


Above: Chris and Kristin and their Honda Element

Roberto Chocolate, The Retirement Detective is proud to announce the hiring of the first new investigators to join the Retirement Detectives team. Here is their story:

The Newest Investigators!


Quitting their jobs, selling their possessions, and fitting all of their remaining earthly belongings into a Honda Element equipped with a pop-top camper, Chris and Kristin set out in July of 2008 from San Francisco, CA, for an epic road trip across North, Central, and South America.  

Kristin, age 33, grew up in Massachusetts but moved to Berkeley to attend chemistry graduate school.  Chris, age 36, was lured from his home state of Wisconsin to California during the dot-com days. In their previous lives, Chris managed the development of custom software applications while Kristin worked in various research and science-policy positions.

Shortly after they were married in 2006, Kristin and Chris had the brilliant plan of living 3000 miles apart for 1 year as they both pursued important career opportunities.  They have always dreamed of traveling, so to reward themselves for surviving that painful year, they began researching different travel destinations as soon as they were living in the same city again.

When Chris first came up with the idea of driving to Argentina, Kristin thought he was fairly nuts, but it turns out lots of people have done it.  While the world-record for driving the entire Pan-American highway from Prudhoe Bay Alaska to Ushuaia Argentina is under 25 days, they decided to take a it a little slower.

They spent 2 leisurely months driving from San Francisco to Boston to Florida, to see the sites but mainly to visit family before setting out on their true adventure south of the border.  They entered Mexico on September 8, 2008, and have been having the time of their lives ever since.  2 months in Mexico, 5 months in Central America, and now over 1 month in South America, they have learned Spanish, met wonderful people, and seen spectacular sites.

They plan to end their trip at the southernmost point of Argentina some time in January of 2010.

They are especially excited about being the newest investigators on the Retirement Detectives team, as they want people to share their adventure and learn more about the wonderful countries they have visited.


Last Updated on Friday, 03 July 2009 22:43

Time to buy in the USA?

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Is now the time to snap up those distressed bargains in USA?

The wise investor buys low, sells high. Housing in USA is at a low. So it would appear that the distressed housing market in the USA presents the perfect buying opportunity. I don't think so.

This is just my opinion.  I am not a sophisticated real estate investor, but I have made a lot of money listening to my gut, paying attention to basics and not getting caught up in real estate hype or falling for the quick payoff.

Here's what I see:

In 2008

1) 22 Banks in the USA collapsed. More closures are coming.

2) US equities took a beating to the tune of a 40% loss in value. Experts say it has not hit bottom.

3) US housing market plummeted $2 Trillion in value. The blood-letting is not over.

4) Gold fell 30%.

5) Oil is under $50 a barrel, forced there by OPEC. It will go back up, along with interest rates.

In 2009 unemployment hit 8.1%. It is expected to hit 9.5% this year, with high unemployment forecasted until 2011.

According to the 2009 MetLife study, 50% of Americans say they are 2 paychecks - thirty days - from being unable to meet their financial responsibilities. Americans at all income levels have saved less than at any other time in this generations history.

Increased unemployment means increased defaults, with even more houses dropped onto an already bloated market.

The main questions for me are: "Who is going to buy these "bargains" once you snap them up?" You will be carrying all the utilities, insurance, maintenance and repairs for years. "What if the market does not return to the former over-priced sellers market is was before?" "Can you afford to wait five or ten years to recoup your investment?"

I have been looking at international markets that are less dependant on the US market. They seem to be fairing this global financial crisis a little better. Ask your financial advisor - if you are still speaking to them.

Stay healthy my friends. Roberto Chocolate

Last Updated on Friday, 03 July 2009 22:44

The Epic Journey

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Nine countries, 12,120 kilometers, two large dogs and a directionally challenged (but otherwise brilliant) wife - in a Honda mini-van!

Want to find out how it went? We are retracing our steps in April, stopping into over twenty more retirement destinations along the way, giving you our "FIRST IMPRESSIONS" of each location. Find out how to bring your pets into Latin America.

You must be a member to read the account of our journey. Click here to become a free member of Retirement Detectives today!  When your registration is confirmed, come back and login, then click on the links in the Destinations box on the right of this page.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 May 2010 19:16 Register to read more...

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