By Richard Conti
It is no secret that I am one American thrilled with Brazil and especially with our city of choice, João Pessoa in Paraiba on the Northeast Coast of Brazil. As we are presently in the midst of designing a community for ourselves, some friends and a few choice others in João Pessoa I am in contact with friends and associates there on a daily basis. As a matter of fact a few of them just finished a visit here with me in Boca Raton Florida, where I live for the time being, just last week. As they were here as in Brazil they are always a pure pleasure. Such nice people Brazilians.

It was my pleasure to have them here and to entertain them as well. It was not a surprise to me at all to see how thrilled they were at how much cheaper they could buy certain things here. Electronics and computers can be bought here for much less then in Brazil granted, but that was about where it ended for anything else they may have been interested in getting while they were here.

They were honestly amazed at how much we paid for everything else here especially like lunches and dinners and drinks which are considerably more here then in Brazil to say the least. The one thing that was really a shock to them was the price of gasoline here now. It is actually higher then the cost of gasoline in Brazil and all you hear on the news each day is how it is expected to go even higher in the very near future.

Things are not all that well here in the good old United States with problems of terrorism, immigration reform, the economy, and the rising costs of prescription drugs as well. All you hear each day in the news is another bad thing. One after the other. Floods, tornadoes, mud slides, terrorists being caught in a nick of time, and yes here in Florida as in New Orleans the hurricanes which hit us last year and are about to make a return visit this year again soon with the promise of many many more visits to come in years ahead as well. Last year’s damages are still being addressed and many haven’t even begun to have been repaired, which is clearly evident by all the temporary blue tarps still covering rooftops in my area and others to prevent them from leaking. What is going to happen to them when the next hurricane hits?

Since the conception of our idea to build a private community in Brazil, and the posting of a few articles on sites as wonderful as about our idea and dream which is about to become a reality, I have heard from so many many Americans now looking towards other lands to spend their retirement years in. A move that in the recent past was considered by many as quite drastic. Why, you may ask? Well because it may be even more drastic of thinking of places like Florida to retire too with all it’s recent problems. Other places they may have chosen some time ago have now been taken off the list due to saturation and high prices and yes, terrorism threats.

Let’s be honest, when England, Spain, Italy and places like that were once an option they have been all but taken off the table due to people being frightened of terrorist attacks in these places. Other places like Mexico and Panama, Costa Rica and whatever other island is located in the middle of the path of a hurricane do not look as good anymore either.

Well where is one to go? Brazil that is where you can go. In Brazil we are welcomed, the people are friendly and helpful. The economy is doing well and the cost of living is so so much less than here for sure, as well as so many other places without giving up good health care and a really nice quality of life. Yes. you can still realize that dream of living by the ocean however you may have to change that address and zip code a bit and move a little further south to a land that is filled with beauty, both in it’s cities, and it’s people as well. It is not as drastic a move as you may think and it does make so much more sense to many of us now that have decided to do just that.

Surely, we had our doubts at first, like many of you may have, but the more we hear, the more that happens and the more we see only makes Brazil look better and better everyday!

When people such as myself think of retirement they think of being able to live a good life on what they have left to live on. Although many have done quite well in their lifetimes as they have been doing well the places they have always thought of retiring too have changed rather dramatically. For one, prices are much higher then they ever thought they would be, as are taxes and everyday necessities such as, yes, gasoline and insurance as well. This year alone 8 large companies have pulled out of the housing insurance markets in Florida, and those who have remained have raised their prices.

In my community alone the cost of a 1 bedroom 1 bathroom condo is about 290,000 US dollars, and the taxes are somewhere in the area of 4,000 US dollars a year. Not to mention maintenance costs which have been soaring due to increases in insurance rates and damages due to recent hurricanes with more sure to come this year as well. Maintenance is up over 300 US dollars a month now, and it never ever goes down! Aside from that we are being hit with damage and repair assessments which add even more to our financial burden here. There really is no end in sight and I fear the situation will only grow worse and worse here as time goes on and things happen which will always happen… like hurricanes!

These same places you remembered vacationing in and dreaming of retiring too for all these years have changed. They are much more expensive now. Some of the restaurants here in Boca Raton charge you as much as the ones in New York city! They are crowded as well and we are seeing more and more traffic jams during season and even off season. At times I feel as if I am back in New York city here in Florida! They are NOT the paradises you remember them to be as the real estate developers have turned them into condo parking lots!

Those who remain here for whatever reason they may have will find themselves living a retirement they were not exactly prepared for, giving up much of what they thought they’d be enjoying, if anything at all. Many will have to actually abandon those dreams of living by the ocean and enjoying warm weather year round as they are realizing that the once achievable dream is no longer in their reach due to their personal circumstances and or the price of everything going through the roof!

I myself once had dreams of retiring here and having a great life in my later years, but even here in Florida where I am already, unlike so many others that will still have to move here, I too can see the writing on the wall. The message it is sending me is clear and telling me to get out of town and do it as soon as I possibly can as things are not going to get any better anytime soon. As a matter of fact they have a very good chance of getting even much worse then they are now and while they are getting worse the places left to choose from around the world are getting more limited and more expensive thanks to terrorism and saturation of these areas.

By making a move such as we will be doing, we do ourselves a great service as well as so many others in need of a little help. Others, who do not even ask half as much out of life as some Americans do here. We create a wonderful community for us to live in, in an even more wonderful city. We enjoy a lifestyle where we can afford housekeepers and cooks, babysitters and drivers if we wish. We do this all for ourselves but at the same time create much needed employment for so many appreciative and thankful people as well. People that are not looking for a hand out but a job and grateful to have one as well as deserving of one.

You will enjoy summertime weather year round with no threat of hurricanes or terrorism. Enjoy miles and miles of pristine beaches and coastlines. Wonderful beach areas dotted with wonderful restaurants, malls, and supermarkets not to be believed, as well as fresh markets with everything from fresh baked bread to fresh local fish. All at a cost you will think quite unbelievable. A safe, relaxing Place as you will never find here in the States.

Yes, all good things do tend to have their bad side, as does even Brazil, and even João Pessoa. You will have a lengthy plane ride, which happens to be a nice flight, but may be considered a little expensive to some. Once you get to Brazil you will soon realize that this is about the only thing that will take your time away from truly relaxing, and cost you some money. Everything else is a joy, and a bargain! When you sit down and figure it all out, it ends up costing you much less then going to many many other places.

Maybe you are you worried about the grandchildren? Do not, because you probably will have a better chance of them visiting you in Brazil and for a longer time then you would in a place such as I live here in Florida… Why?… Because Florida is old hat. Many have already been there, done that and it takes a small miracle to get them to visit you here, but Brazil… now we are talking an adventure, another country… Brazil… beautiful Brazil!

I am telling you folks, Brazil is looking better and better EVERYDAY! And if you need some reassuring and motivation just call on me and it will be on it’s way to you, and my sincere pleasure to do so as well.

Think Brazil… we are and we’re glad as we are going to realize our dream! Why not realize your’s as well!

Readers comments:

Be careful not to confuse the Brazilian price of gas per LITER with the U.S. price per GALLON. Gasoline in Brazil costs more than it does in the U.S.

For example, on April 4, 2006, gasoline was selling for about 2.63 reais per liter in João Pessoa. This converts to about US$ 1.26 per liter, or about US $ 4.79 per gallon.

Now that Bolivia is nationalizing Petrobras holdings, the price of gasoline in Brazil may go up even more.

— Linda

Richard is an American born and raised in New York City in the shadows of the once towering World Trade Center. He now lives in beautiful Boca Raton, Florida. He is presently doing design work and general contracting, but his dream dream is to complete his private community in João Pessoa, Brazil, and to move there with his Brazilian girlfriend. Once there he wants to devote time to building many many more projects with Americans and Brazilians in mind. In his spare time he wants to write many many more enjoyable articles for for you all to enjoy. If you want to contact Richard by email then send to

Previous articles by Richard:

Brazil’s Best Kept Secret

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