Are you struggling to decide where to retire? Well, you are not alone. Gilen Chan and Gene Preudhomme didn’t know where in the world they wanted to spend their retirement days, so they started a podcast, Retire There with Gil & Gene.
Meet your podcast hosts
Gilen Chan and Gene Preudhomme reside in Brooklyn, New York, and like many couples approaching retirement, they struggled with the idea of what they wanted their retirement life to be like. “We had been discussing retirement for quite some time and the question that kept coming up was where would that be? We have lived in Brooklyn, New York for many years, but the weather and nature are missing for us. Winters and summers have been equally harsh for the last decade or so. We remember years of ‘sweater weather’, but that seems to have subsided.
“Annual heat waves make it difficult to participate in outdoor activities. Perhaps we are less tolerant as we get older. Although there are many beautiful parks in New York City, we would like to be surrounded by nature. In or around New York City, such a house would cost a fortune. Also, we want to be in a less congested and less stressful area, but with diversity. Finding this general combination is a challenge,” said Gene.
start a podcast
The motivation for their podcast was to find out where they would retire. “We made it a point to visit locations around the country and visit potential retirement locations. We took a trip to Winter Park, Florida in February 2020, and then COVID hit; the nation blacked out. Gene asked, ‘Why stop our plan? Why not interview people who have moved to retire?’ That was the birth of the podcast: Retire There with Gil & Gene,” said Gil.
Its first episode aired in November 2020, and the show is published weekly. They released their 96the episode in early August 2022 and has hosted more than 125 guests, many of whom are couples. Each week, they scout a new potential retirement location. Gil and Gene chat with guests who describe life in their retirement towns. I was invited to be a guest and I was at episode 76 discussing why we decided to retire in Steilacoom, Washington.
“One listener called our show a ‘retired travel podcast’. We don’t know if that’s the case, but we do know that when we travel we’re not necessarily interested in tourist attractions. We like to see how the locals eat, relax and live. We like to think we’re bringing that kind of excursion to the show,” said Gene.
The most intriguing guests and retirement destinations
Running over 96 episodes, Gil and Gene have had some that have really stood out. “We have had so many interesting guests, most of whom we are envious of. It’s like asking for the name of our favorite child: fortunately, we only have one! Although some other guests have had more adventurous retirements, Gene considers Rob and Jeni Evans, from San Jose, Costa Rica, our most intriguing guests because of their attitude.
“Rob and Jeni from Retire There episode 21 worked hard for years while raising their three daughters. They are a kind and generous couple who want to spend their retirement years enjoying each other and the world, two things they didn’t have the time or money to do when they were younger. Since they retired before age 65, the high cost of health insurance would have become an issue if they had stayed in the US Rob wanted to live in Costa Rica, but Jeni wasn’t sure.
“To convince his wife of the benefits of living there, Rob sent Jeni to Costa Rica for two months. He paid an expat, an expert on Costa Rica, to live with Jeni and show him around her country. Jeni came home excitedly wanting to move to Costa Rica.
“The couple loves their adopted country, where Rob is known as ‘Costa Rica’s bus ninja’ due to his extensive knowledge of the country’s bus system. They spend about half the year in Costa Rica, three months visiting their daughters in the US and Canada, and the other three months traveling the world. Rob and Jeni seem to have found the perfect balance of their retirement life,” said Gene.
Said Gil: “I found Julie Bradley to be an intriguing guest. Julie and her husband Glen retired in Pine Top, Arizona, our guests on Episode 57. Although the city is not on my list, Julie is an absolutely amazing human being. Not knowing what she wanted to do with her life at the age of 18, she accompanied her young self to an Army recruiter and signed up.
“The Army tested her skills which demonstrated her ability to learn Russian and assigned her to sensitive areas. From there, she rose to prominence and quickly rose through the ranks, eventually holding a high-level intelligence position. Julie and her husband are adventurous and fearless human beings: on one of her many voyages, they nearly lost their lives at sea while sailing around the world! They made Pine Top their base of operations, but they continue to travel.”
They also pinpointed their most intriguing retirement destination. Gene said, “We’ve had many, but our number one pick is ShantiNiketan, an active 55+ American Indian community in Tavares, Florida. Iggy Ignatius, our guest on Episode 59, grew up in India, spent all his working years in the United States, but assumed he would retire in India. When he finally retired, Iggy learned that his children and grandchildren would not be leaving the United States and that most of his close friends and family were no longer in India.
“Most of his retired American Indian friends were in the same boat. He had the innovative idea of building an active 55+ American Indian community in Florida. Unlike many of us who have new ideas, Iggy carried out his. ShantiNiketan differs from other 55+ communities, aside from the fact that it is primarily made up of American Indians, in that it is truly an all-inclusive retirement community. The cost of living there includes two meals per day; most other similar communities do not include food. This really intrigues Gil, since his dream is not to have to cook. Y don’t feel guilty about it.”
Visit Retirement Destinations Referred Guests
“Of the places we’ve covered, we’ve only been to Warwick, Rhode Island and Wilmington, Delaware, and honestly, we were there to see family. Gene is still working, and since the podcast started during the pandemic, we weren’t able to travel much. Having said that, we are planning to visit Spain and Portugal and hope to spend time with some of our guests while they are there,” said Gil.
How to make a retirement decision with so many options
Hosting the podcast has taught Gil and Gene a lot about where they want to live when they retire. Most significantly, after talking to our international guests, they decided to try to spend 3-6 months of each year living abroad, as traveling is not something they could afford when they were younger.
“We will probably sell our house in Brooklyn and buy a house in the United States and use it as our base to travel. Our guests have opened our eyes to fascinating places and have shown that it is feasible, financially and psychologically. Now we appreciate that you don’t have to be stuck somewhere if it doesn’t suit you, you can get up and go somewhere else! However, we may end up buying a place near relatives, since family is important to us. We can also have our house searched while we are away!” Gene said.
Retirement Lessons Learned from Guests and Research
Gil and Gene share the most important lessons they’ve learned so far, no matter where you decide to retire.
- Do your due diligence online. They strongly recommend checking social media. There is no shortage of Facebook groups and Instagram/Twitter hashtags to explore. Use Google Earth to see precisely where you are considering and if it meets your criteria/interests. Research property values and related information through public records.
- Make two lists of your retirement destination: what you want from it and what you don’t want from it.
- Think carefully about what you’re passionate about during this stage of life and factor that into your retirement destination decision; not everyone aspires to travel the world; many are eager to move to a green and peaceful environment and engage in furniture building or golf all day.
- If you have a partner, carefully consider their interests and make compromises if necessary.
- If you move to another country, remember that you are a guest in that country. Don’t be one of those expats who constantly and bitterly complains about the way things are done differently where you come from.
- Retirement is a perfect time to try new things. Gil and Gene recommend being “smart but fearless in retirement.”
- Lastly, don’t get caught up in the “this is my forever home” mentality, as this can psychologically prevent you from stepping out of your comfort zone; If you’ve spent time and money moving to a place and then realize you’re not happy, move! It may not be easy, but find out. Avoid thinking about regrets, you only have one life!
Where to find the podcast
You can find Retire There on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. You can also access the podcast from their website, Retire There with Gil & Gene. For any questions or if you would like to be a guest on the show, you can email Gil and Gene at [email protected]