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What Does It Cost To Live In Paradise?

Papaya Abundance

If you’re considering relocation, one of the first and biggest considerations is the cost of living.  The next consideration, and perhaps even more important, is the degree of confidence you have in your pension provider, state or private.  The biggest generation in history is about to begin retiring in huge numbers.  The succeeding generations are not large enough to buy the volume of shares and bonds that will be liquidated by pension companies in order to meet their obligations. Note that the tight labor market, abysmal economic performance and lack of political leadership during the credit crisis have not been mentioned. Just remember that the numbers for pension providers don’t add up.

These considerations figured largely in our search for a relocation destination.  We wanted a low cost of living for everyday necessities. We sought a country where there wasn’t an inordinate dependency on foreign supplies of oil.  We wanted a country with abundant arable land so that, even if there was a considerable economic downturn, hunger would not be a major issue.  With all the poor countries in the world, you have to stop and wonder why the North African countries were first to have political unrest.  Political dictatorship, a lack of opportunity and poor living conditions are not unique to North Africa. bottom line, the ability to grow food easily and in abundance is a key consideration in how economic hardship will affect a society. The fact that the North African countries were largely unable to grow their food locally and that the governments in those countries had been subsidising the cost of food for years before the effects of price inflation rendered this uneconomic for them to do so is a very important factor behind the political unrest. The people in North Africa were devoting around 60 to 70% of their disposable income just to feed themselves. Are you currently keeping a record of how much income you devote to buying food? It could be an early warning signal. And it can happen anywhere.

Here in paradise, the costs are very affordable.  We enjoy sun ripened fruit and vegetables, free range, grass fed beef, a climate where sweaters are not the norm even in winter and there are all the comforts of a capital city. I will list the monthly average and give prices in guaranis, the local currency, and give exchange rates after.

20,000      bottled gas for cooking

657,000     food

53,000      electricity

25,600      land line telephone

40,200      municipal water supply

120,000     bottled water

915,800 guaranis / month

the average exchange rates for october 2010 to may 2011:

euro = 6250  (146.52)  915,800 / 6250

usd  =4540   (201.71)

gbp  =7260   (126.14)

We live in a middle class area quite close to the Asuncion Palacio de Justicio. It is safe, has a good bus service to all parts of the city, is within walking distance of the city center and has all the facilities we need. We rent a 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom flat on the second floor of a two story building. Our monthly rent is 1,350,000 guaranis. if we wanted to live in a trendier part of Asuncion, we could easily spend 5 to 6 million guaranis a month to rent a house. If we chose to live in the countryside and grew some of our own vegetables, we could probably live on 500,000 guaranis per month.  There are lots of choices available here to suit any preference or budget.

I have not included any cost for entertainment.  We go out for a couple of coffees and a piece of cake most days of the week and this costs roughly 100 usd a month.  Life is good when you live in paradise.

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