Retiring in Costa Rica may sound like a dream come true. So far, for my wife and I, it’s worked out OK. It’s not a dream come true, but you don’t believe in that myth anyway do you?
So why will retiring to Costa Rica not work out for you?
- Your extended family will interfere
- You have a comfortable nest egg
- You never lived in a small town
- Health care costs don’t concern you
- You have lived in the same place forever
- You are a conspicuous consumer
- You enjoy cooking and fine dining
Extended Family Will Interfere
If you have a large extended family, moving to Costa Rica would be difficult. Especially to Costa Rica where extended families live in the same house and do everything as a family. It’s hard to see such happiness and know that my life is missing something.
You Have a Comfortable Nest Egg
If you lived within your means you whole life and socked away a chunk of your earnings consistently and didn’t get careless with your savings, you probably have a comfortable nest egg. Perhaps even enough to provide a nice inheritance for your children. Yay on you.
We lived carelessly during my peak earnings year. We ran up a lot of credit card debt and student loan debt. We got it all paid off, but there wasn’t anything left over to save. My parents were not wealthy so there was only a small estate that came when I was in my fifties.
In order for me to quit work and retire, we needed a country with a low cost of living. Costa Rica provides that. We are able to live here comfortably on $2000 a month or less. Many of our expat friends are living on less. Living simply in Costa Rica is easy because most of the population earns less than $5,000 per year.
You Have Never Lived in a Small Town
Unless you locate in the big dirty city of San Jose or any of the barrios surrounding the city, you’re going to live in a small town of 20,000 or fewer residence. If you don’t know how frustrating it is not having a Target or Home Depot or Publix or Auto Zone in your town, you won’t make it in Costa Rica. There is a whole culture built up around finding gringo-centric items… like horseradish, or knitting yarn, or windshield wipers or… you get the idea.
Small towns in Costa Rica are built around the Catholic Church – literally. In almost every town, the church is in the center with a park across the street. During non-work hours (for Ticos that’s Monday through Saturday) the park will be filled with people of all ages chatting and laughing. This is their entertainment: laughing with their friends and family.