Introducing Places to Retire Inc.

Summer 2001 CSANews Issue 39  |  Posted date : Mar 09, 2007.Back to list

Places to Retire Inc. has emerged as a retirement destination expert. Led by Karen Schellinck, the president and CEO, the company has grown from strength to strength over the past few years and holds a promising future within the retirement living industry. Karen draws on her wealth of experience in the field of economic development and was inspired to start the company based on her personal quest for a retirement haven. Realizing she was not alone in this search, Karen made the decision to create a retirement destination information center ­ Places to Retire Inc.

The company employs many channels to effectively distribute this highly relevant and sought-after information. Karen has already accomplished her dream of having her own magazine. In fact, she currently has 2 successful publications under her belt ­ Places to Retire in Canada, which focuses specifically on retirement locations within Canada, and more recently, Exotic Places to Retire was introduced into the mix. This recently launched publication strives to leave no part of the globe undiscovered. The quest? To uncover exotic, affordable, comfortable retirement locales for those looking to expand their horizons (even semi-permanently) and cash in on a lifetime of hard work. The magazine is distributed to major newsstands in the United States, Canada and Europe, with planned expansion to other countries in the near future.

Since its inception, Places to Retire has received unprecedented interest and support, not only from readers grateful for the addressing of their needs, but also from developers, government agencies and corporate companies targeting retirees. Global interest escalates virtually on a daily basis as PTR extends it influence into such far-flung locations as Australia, Eastern Europe, Southern Africa, Central and South America, and South-East Asia.

Karen travels constantly, unrelentlessly seeking out exciting new material for editorial content, organizing partnerships with relevant parties and keeping an eye out for new investors and development opportunities. I managed to catch up with her in Miami, Florida, where she was gathering her thoughts between trips. This is what she had to say:

Where was Places to Retire born?

You could say that Places to Retire was homegrown. I started the company in Sudbury working from our basement for the first six months. At that time only family and a few close friends believed in the idea. We have come a long way since then.

Do you miss the basement?

No not really. Although I can work from just about anywhere, as long as I have my laptop of course! We have offices set up in Sudbury, with plans to move our operations to Toronto in the next few months. We are also represented in Miami, Barcelona, London and Mexico, with plans to set up satellite offices in Belize, South Africa, Australia, and the list goes on.

What is the company mission? In other words, what is its reason for being?

Our mission is to provide Baby Boomers with highly informative, relevant retirement information to aid them in making better decisions. At the same time, we strive to entertain and intrigue by featuring upbeat editorial and high quality photography. We offer a secure platform from which they can launch into their respective long-awaited retirement dreams.

Part of our mission also relates to assisting countries and regions in need of reviving and growing their economies. Retirement is a new form of tourism, and we believe that we can make a significant difference in countries with unspoilt natural beauty, moderate climates and low costs of living. We offer consulting and planning services, which aid these locations in the effective recruitment and maintenance of retirees. We conduct an analysis of the infrastructure and provide workable recommendations, as well as marketing assistance. Places to Retire is also linked to the developers and investors that can really make that happen.

What has the response been like?

Overwhelming to say the least. We identified a need for this kind of information, and, with an estimated three hundred and forty thousand Boomers turning fifty years old every month for the next sixteen years, someone has to guide them across the threshold. We strive to make this watershed transition as stress- and hassle-free as possible. After all, boomers have spent the most part of their lives working hard at careers. We aim to make retirement researching fun. You could say that our approach is multi-faceted. In addition to showcasing attractive locations, the publications also profile personal retirement success stories, as well as insightful lifestyle columns, such as finance, health, exotic cuisine, real estate, fashion and golf.

Besides the Places to Retire in Canada and Exotic Places to Retire publications, are there any other services on offer to retirees?

Yes, most definitely. Where should I start? We have a dynamic website ­ which invites readers to further investigate their retirement plans. We are upgrading and building our extensive database on a daily basis. This database is accessible to members of the International Places to Retire Club. It allows readers access to a wealth of retirement specific information, such as immigration information for various countries, real estate, cost of living, etcetera. With more and more Boomers coming on-line, the website works as an effective channel of information dispersion. For those who prefer more traditional channels, reader cards are included with each publication and list all featured locations and contributors. So, readers can also request further information by mail.

We are also planning consumer shows and conferences focusing on the various aspects of retirement living. Readers can find out more about these events in the magazines, and also on the website. In addition, we will shortly be offering destination tours aptly called 'Exotic Excursions'. These tours will afford retirees interested in researching potential retirement destinations, the unique opportunity to experience the location in question first hand. Information regarding local infrastructure, real estate, immigration policies, commerce, cost of living, health care and culture will be provided. These tours will go a long way towards ensuring better-informed retirement decisions.

That sounds interesting. What about future plans? What can readers expect from Places to Retire Inc. in the near future?

We promise to keep providing the high quality retirement information we currently offer. We are considering new channels though. We recently began plans to develop the Exotic Places to Retire magazine into a half hour weekly television program. Exotic Places to Retire Television is set for launch in September 2002, so we have our work cut out for ourselves over the next 12 months!

We'll keep an eye out for it. Going back to Exotic Places to Retire ­ the magazine, your Karen's Cafés seem to be very popular.

Yes, I really enjoy writing those. I think they go down well because they are honest accounts of places I have personally visited. I feel they complement the editorial nicely, as one hand you have the facts, and on the other the personal experience of the location.

Have you found your retirement hide-away yet?

(Laughing) Am I only allowed one? I have seen so many places where I would be perfectly content to spend my better years. I am in love with the South of Spain and all the romantic coastal towns. Belize is another favorite of mine. It has all the beauty of the Caribbean, but is more natural ­ it has personality. And I have yet to discover Africa! Watch this space.

Thank you for your time, Karen. One last question - where can I get a copy of the latest issue?

At all major newsstands and bookstores across Canada.