An idiosyncratic but highly informative guide to retiring outside the United States.


Skelley-Bird walks readers through the steps required to retire abroad in this debut manual.

Plenty of people daydream about retiring to a different country—perhaps with a warmer climate or a lower cost of living—at one point or another. But how many actually consider the steps involved? Skelley-Bird retired with her husband, Darrell, to Panama (and subsequently moved back to Nevada). She is here to tell you that, while there are many hoops to jump through, retirement abroad is an achievable dream. “There were what seemed like hundreds of small details that required attention, as well as literally dozens of not-so-small tasks to accomplish,” writes the author. “Within these covers you will find my time-lined detailed ‘To Do’ List, without which I would have lost my mind.” Skelley-Bird, using her own experiences as an example, informs readers about all the obvious (and not-so-obvious) actions involved, from selling their houses, cars, and most of their possessions to hiring an immigration attorney and figuring out living arrangements and insurance in the adoptive country. The author shares the experiences of other expat couples who have chosen to move to Panama as well as a couple who considered that nation but ended up remaining in the United States. Along with numerous photos and spreadsheets documenting the various preparations, Skelley-Bird offers advice on the less-tangible aspects of making the decision (such as interrogating the motivation for moving). Nearly everything costs more than one would expect, but the author is here to attest that retiring abroad is possible for those willing to do the homework and legwork. Skelley-Bird writes in a cheerful, accessible prose that reflects the original Facebook notes upon which this book is based. Her editorial voice captures her quirky personality, as displayed in the original list of priorities that she and Darrell made when selecting a country: “No hurricanes, which ruled out most of the Caribbean,” and “Close enough to the States that friends would visit. (Without exception, every person we asked said they would not visit if we moved to New Zealand; the flight is just too long.)” The manual is based heavily on the experiences of Skelley-Bird and couples whom she knows, which means that it is perhaps overly specific to the Panama scenario. Even so, much of the information it contains is applicable to moving anywhere outside of America, and the process by which Panama was chosen illustrates many of the practical compromises that a would-be expat must make. The author includes many useful pieces of advice that might not occur to retirees itching to make the plunge. For example, about half of Americans (including the author) who retire abroad find that they dislike it and end up moving back home. For this reason, renting out your house in the United States as opposed to selling it (and renting a place in the new country) is advisable, at least for the first year. The book’s specificity and the author’s real-world experiences make this smart reading for Americans thinking about spending their golden years in another country.

An idiosyncratic but highly informative guide to retiring outside the United States.

Pub Date: N/A


Page Count: 385

Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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