Sexagenarians take note: in a time of weak markets and shaky pensions, retiring well on a tight budget may be easier than you think. There’s a place where warm weather, good health care, low taxes, friendly neighbors and beautiful surroundings are available year round, cheap, and beachfront homes go for about $100,000.Curious? It’s in a nice central, American location. But it’s not El Dorado, Kansas. It is in fact Costa Rica. From the travel brochure (aka the WSJ):
I’m 60 years old and retired from a 35-year career as a legal secretary…. The first thing I see each morning when I step out on the porch of my home in Costa Rica is the ever-changing Gulf of Nicoya…Besides doing normal household chores, my days are spent taking long walks, going to the beach (a 10-minute stroll), swimming in one of two local pools, napping, reading and corresponding with family and friends. We’re blessed with wonderful neighbors, a mix of native Costa Ricans (called Ticos) and expats from Canada, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Scotland, Spain, Italy, Singapore and the U.S. Especially during the dry season (November through March), parties (“fiestas”) are plentiful.
A failing Rhode Island public pension will go a lot further in a place like Costa Rica than in the US.It was once unheard of for seniors to go to Florida and Arizona for retirement, and the early pioneers were able to get cheap homes. Now the old retirement destinations are pricey, and many seniors can’t afford to go. But life can be so much cheaper overseas that more and more seniors are flying beyond Miami and Phoenix for new frontiers farther south. It may some day be as ordinary for the old folks to go beyond US borders as it is now for them to leave the Snow Belt.For some, the prospect of old age relocation is exciting and optional; for others it may be necessary. Public pension funds and union schemes, from the state level to USPS, have been grossly over promised, under invested, and the rate of return badly overestimated.A combination of cheap airfares, high unemployment and crimped retirement savings will induce many to consider following the American dream beyond our shores. Moving away also keeps pesky college grads from prolonged squatting at mom and dad’s. Skype and email can keep you in touch.Via Meadia wishes expatriates bon voyage. Moving abroad for your autumn years can be a fresh lease of life. It can also be a lot more than a change of scenery and cost of living. Retiring abroad offers potential new settings for community, cultural, business and humanitarian involvement.Government policy should advance this idea; I’ve written before and still believe that the US should work out arrangements so that medical treatment overseas could be covered by Medicare, and that foreign banks who meet tests of safety and soundness would be eligible for direct deposit of Social Security checks. For cash strapped older Americans, it means a retirement closer to the one they have been dreaming of. For the neighbors, it provides new sources of income and employment — without costing the US a dime in foreign aid.When the going gets tough, the tough get going — to Costa Rica if they have to.