Retire on Ecuador’s Beach at 40

by | Jun 2, 2011 | Archives

Retirement on Ecuador’s beach at Bahia at age 40?

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Ecuador’s area of maximum growth north of Bahia de Caraquez.

Years ago, we showed readers how one could live in Ecuador for $700 a month… if you owned your home.

Today this is still possible, but we would prefer to say that one can live very well for $1,500 a month… even if you rent.

However inflation is with us so the ability to have some extra earnings is a valuable asset.  This is why we have  been sending out our Extra Export Earnings reports.

Jean Marie Butterlin just sent this note about a reader who has retired in Ecuador at age 40 that helps understand life in Ecuador better..

The story of Anna and Henry on how to retire at 40 and enjoy life in paradise.

Jean Marie Butterlin

Anna, Henry and their daughter Won moved to Bahia a year ago and are living life in paradise.  This is the view from the terrasse of their 2 bedroom apartment (the rent is $400/month).


Henry has been a Desert Storm soldier and also a firefighter in his home town in Southern California ; he has taken early retirement (after 15 years of service) and has made some wise investment.

They like to live on the beach and after carefull and thorough review of what was available in South America, they have chosen Bahia as their retirement home.

But Henry does not stay inactive…he is a very busy man :

–       he volunteers with the local firefighters

–       he teaches aerobic and fitness classes every morning to the local firefighters, life guards and everyone who likes to work out early in the morning on the beach at 7 :30 a.m.


–       he even feeds them when they are on duty with some American dishes that he loves to prepare on his terrace.

To retire at 40, you obviously need to have a plan !

Not everyone wants to stop working at age 40 and just enjoy the life on the beach; a lot of our delegates have asked me the same question over and over :

« How can I make an income in Ecuador ? » or

« If I could just make a couple of thousand dollars a month, I would just stay here and not return… »

After roaming the country extensively for the last 3 years, I kept seeing business opportunities everywhere but could not understand why nobody was actually doing anything…It took me a while to understand that we as westerners (north American or European) really have a different mindset than people in Ecuador.  Their education and upbringing and history does not make them instant entrepreneurs and there are not many business management schools here either. Parents teach their kids to do well in school, learn English and find a job in the tourism industry or with big local companies that export stuff.

For those who are looking to make extra income, invest for their retirement, or just want to invest in « REAL » stuff like land for example to fight inflation for example, we are offering the first of several business expeditions: the Manabi Agri-Business Expedition.

This 5 day (total of 7 days needed) expedition in the province of Manabi (where Manta, and Bahia are located) will offer :

–       Visits of different kinds of available land for agriculture use

–       The help of a local agriculture engineer who will at the end of each day analyze with the group what kind of crop, all costs involved, risks, investment needed and where and how to market the production. We will emphasize new and innovative ways to use the land like :

–       bio-fuel crops (there is a company that buys and processes all the crops that have high oil content that are available and that company is located in the province) ;

–       exotic hardwoods

We will be able to visit with the clients.

We will provide the consultants for helping you in all aspects of business from incorporation to hiring employees and doing administration work and accounting for ex.

Hope you will join us on this first Agri Business Expedition in the delightful province of Manabi.

Jean Marie

My hat goes off to Henry especially the way he is giving back to society with his volunteer work there!

This must be satisfying for him and is certainly is an excellent way to improve one’s lifestyle in Ecuador.

It has always puzzled me why people would leave one culture and then try and recreate what they just left.

I first noticed this 40 years ago when living in Hong Kong.  So many expats barricaded themselves into closed expat communities and spent a lot of extra time and money, forcing many restrictions on themselves trying to live just as they had back home.

Merri and I have noticed this in Ecuador and often ask, why have a huge fridge when there is a market with fresh food just down the street?  Why pay extra for a washing machine when a maid will do it with love and care… become a member of your family and help and care for you in so many ways?  Why move to a country where the constitution treats all equally and then ask to be treated specially?  Why move to a country for the low taxes and then complain because there are no social services?

I have seen some expats burn bridges with influential locals, who could have helped them a lot, just by behaving like gringos and treating their new neighbors badly and arrogantly.

We must never forget who are the hosts and the guests in a country and behave accordingly.  Ecuador has welcomed us with open arms and we should appreciate life here.

Henry’s volunteer works shows a good example.  The local chief of the firefighters invited him to a charitable event in Guayaquil to raise funds for the firefighters along the coast.  Henry does not belong officially to the squad but he was one of three people invited from the fire department to go to this prestigous event. He has given a lot to them and is now considered part of the group. Everyone knows now that he is part of the family.

Jean Marie’s wife, Pascale, is another good example. She gives free aerobic lessons at the tennis club for women. This is a way to integrate into the local society. This is especially important in a small city because when everyone knows you, everyone looks out for his neighbor.

Security is a growing issue all over the world now.  The fast pace of change is creating a growing divide between the rich and the poor. This disparity will cause crime to expand.  Good people must help one another everywhere.  When someone divides people into classes… locals versus expats, it is counter productive and this also causes one to miss the richness and expanded horizons one gains by integrating multi cultures.

One of the best things about Ecuador is that its constitution recognizes that everyone is equal under the law… even plants and Mother Nature were added in the revised constitution. This is a wonderful social contract and when embraced can make you Ecuador Living… or wherever living better and more enjoyed.

We are excited about Jean Marie’s Agri Expedition and know that becoming involved in these ways gives back also.


Mid Coast tour June 16-17-18 or August 21-22-23.

Cuenca Real Estate tour July 4-5-6 or September 16-17-18.

Round up your trip with a personalized real estate tour.

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Learn about Ecuador in North Carolina.