|It’s not every day that you receive an e-mail from someone who wants to tell you how great their life is.|
Maybe you get them.
I rarely do.
So my e-mail exchange this week with former Huntley resident Mary Strociek was a treat.
She wrote to tell me that she and her husband, Matt, were featured last week in a Washington Post story about Americans who have sought affordable retirement options outside the United States.
Mary and Matt were excellent subjects for the Post’s trend story. Their interest in finding a better economic situation blended with a desire to find warmer climes ultimately led them to take the plunge and retire to Panama, in Central America.
“We decided on Panama because Matt had worked for the International Truck dealer for 27-plus years and had no 401(k) or retirement,” Mary Strociek wrote. “We live very comfortably for around $1,200 a month – Matt’s Social Security.”
According to Social Security statistics cited in the Post’s story, only about 1 percent of all U.S. citizens leave the country to retire.
Mary said that she and Matt enjoyed the benefits of the lower cost of living.
“We still go out to dinner 2-3 times a week and do a lot of fun stuff in the area,” she wrote. “The medications are a FRACTION of the cost down here compared to what we were paying in the States.”
Four of the Strocieks’ six children still live in McHenry County, which Mary says is only six hours away “if there is an emergency.” Her other children live in Iowa and Washington, D.C.
I asked her whether it was difficult to leave the country to retire, and I swear I smelled an ocean breeze in her reply.
“The jump was very easy. ... There is a huge ex-pat group down here, and we are constantly visiting friends and vice versa,” she wrote. “There never seems to be a dull moment. Where we live we are 10 minutes from some of the best beaches in PANAMA, 20 minutes to the mountains, and one hour to Panama City.”
You can find a link to the Washington Post story on my blog, NWHerald.com/ thebuzz.
Keep up with the Strocieks’ adventures as they finish their dream home through their Web site, www.whypanama.com.