Ever wonder if moving will help your circumstances? LearnVest sheds a light on why one family is leaving the US for a better life.
What does the "American Dream" mean to you?
For most people, it means if you work hard, you can raise a beautiful family, own a comfortable home, send your children to college, and eventually retire.
But with the economy still reeling from the recent recession, that dream has been shaken for many — especially those who saw their retirement investments plummet in the stock market.
Once the American Dream fails you, what's the next step?
For one woman, the answer is a little unconventional: she's moving to Ecuador. Why would a 58-year-old woman and her husband leave their five grown children behind in the US for a small South American country? For starters . . . it's a lot cheaper.
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Check out our Q&A with Denise Toepel to found out why she's packing her bags in October 2013:
You say you can't afford the American Dream anymore. What do you mean?
Denise Toepel: Two years ago, I was laid off from my position in client services and quality control at an insurance company. My job was given to the person I trained, who was willing to work for half of what I was paid.
Losing this source of income has made my life with my husband in Denver, CO, increasingly unaffordable. During the recession, we lost around 70 percent of our 401(k)s, or around half a million dollars. And now that we're nearing retirement age (I'm 58 and my husband's 55), my loss of income — I was making around $60,000 a year — has made retirement in the US seem like an impossible dream.
I've been applying for jobs in my field since getting laid off, but nothing's come of it. I've hired a career consultant, who's helped send out résumés, but no bites. I guess it makes more sense to hire younger workers who can afford to earn less money at their age. Now I do odd jobs — I work for Warner Bros. doing audience testing for upcoming movies, and I sell clothing on Etsy — but these barely make any money at all.
Read on for more.