Location: Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil

After visiting Fortaleza, Brazil and feeling comfortable there, I decided to finally retire and spend some time persuing my dream: moving to Brazil. I'm spending six months in Fortaleza deciding if this is what I really want or if it is just one more step in my life. I have been fortunate enough to do everything I ever wanted to do, have had a good career in Air Traffic Control and am now ready to go out and have fun. I played jazz for many years and it is my second passion. I also just finished the first draft of my novel, "Song For A Sad Smile" and will work on researching my next book. My idea is that all of us should "Do the Dream" and follow your heart, no matter how old you are. The final question that you'll ask when your life is almost over should be: "Did I do everything I wanted to do?" If your answer is anything except "yes" then you're not living life to its fullest.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Moving to Brazil...

Hi, everybody...

Usually I try to wait a week before writing anything but I thought I'd pass this along while it's on my mind; it may cause someone to rethink their options.

I have spent a lot of time the last three weeks with ex-pats from several countries but particularly North America. Like most people they hear about the cheap prices and how wonderful the weather is, etc., and think "Maybe I'd want to move down there..."; as you know I'm here for that very reason.

First rule...if you don't have money, don't move. A lot of people think that they'll come down here and get a job teaching English to live or they have computer skills that they can use or something like that. DON'T BELIEVE IT!!!! My friend teaches English twice a week; for four hours of work he gets R$25.00 or $10.62; the guy that works on my computer spent four hours on it for R$30.00 or $12.21. A college professor I know makes R$1500 or $610 a month. The English teacher has one student because of the competition; the computer wizard has two big accounts as well as several smaller people like myself to keep him going; the professor had to compete with more than 100 other people for his position.

Jobs here pay next to nothing; I have a friend who is a lawyer who is working in an office trying for a position as a judge; if she gets it she will have a job for life. In the meantime she's had to work as an interpreter and is now working as an assistant lawyer because of the job situation. The unemployment in Brazil is 18% and in Fortaleza is even higher; if you are a woman it is terrible.

Is it true that your buying power is greater; that depends. If you are living off an American funds you're tied to the exchange rate. When I came down here an month ago my apartment rent was $$385; when I drew out the money to pay this month's rent it was $420 and today it would be $407. International money exchanges play a huge part in your buying power. When I was down here in October I could have bought my apartment for $38, it's $48,000 and might be less or more in a month.

I have some money in the bank and a decent retirement; I could probably make it...however, if I didn't have that there is no way that I could afford to move here to live. Brazil is a mixed country; while there are areas that are 100 years behind the US there are also areas that are equal to the US in technology or even more advanced. You see wealth next to poverty and both are different than what we are used to. Remember that five percent of the population control eighty-five percent of the wealth; there is a very small middle-class in Brazil. If you want to live like you were used to living in the US, stay in the US unless you have a good amount of money and just want to try a different lifestyle.

Don't try "get rich schemes" here; they've all been tried and believe me when I say that Brazilians are much better at them than North Americans. Your new idea is probably an old idea here that has already been tried and been found to not succeed or is being done already.

So much for the lecture; I wanted to pass this along because I've been hearing so many people complain that they need to find a way to generate money here; even people who are living on an inheritance or other income are complaining that their money is depleting faster than it's being replenished.

Anyway, as always, your comments are appreciated, either via email or on my BLOG. Hope to hear from you...



Blogger Dennis & Pat said...

Hey John,

Well, I don't intend to live down there as you know, but I found your information very interesting. An 18% unemployment rate is quite high. I would think that would lead to a higher crime rate. I suppose, like any big city, there are places that you just shouldn't go.

How's the tan going?


2:50 PM  
Blogger Dennis & Pat said...


Commenting on your BLOG was an adventure in itself. The procedure is not intuitive. Well, with my college education I finally figured out how to do it.

Later, Dennis

2:51 PM  
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