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Forget Florida; Central America the New Hot Spot for Retirees

If you travel regularly, it happens eventually. You'll be in another country, lying on a white, sandy beach or strolling through some charming village, when you turn to your significant other and say, "I could stay here for the rest of my life."

The idea seems tantalizingly exotic, an elaborate scheme to be hatched over dinner while on vacation -- only to be discarded and forgotten upon return to the workday world.

However, the dream may not be unrealistic at all. In fact, many Central American countries are betting U.S. baby boomers will be the generation that globalizes retirement.

They're gearing up by offering financial incentives that could make retiring internationally a smart financial move for some individuals.

The same advances that allow companies to do business across borders are making it possible for people to live out their golden years in another country. "Technology and travel developments have put us in the position to do more with our lives while still staying in touch," says Susan Black, director of financial planning for eMoney Advisor .

If you retire in Panama, for instance, you can talk to your children and grandchildren via phone or email every day if you want to, fly home a few times each year, and probably even get a satellite dish to keep up with your favorite TV programs.

Still, that doesn't mean things are the same as they were at home.

Making Adjustments

Jim and Donna Hawley found this out the hard way three years ago when they moved from Minneapolis to an apartment they bought in Panama City.

When they arrived, they discovered that not only were appliances not included, but there were no lights, air conditioner, water, or even a bathtub!

"It never crossed our minds to ask about that," Jim says.

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