Archive for the ‘Retire Abroad’ Category

costarica1Is home really where the heart is? Or does your heart follow along wherever you go, as long as you make positive decisions that really make you feel better about your life and yourself? The truth is that home can be absolutely anywhere you want to make it. It seems there are so many xenophobes out there that assume that anything out of the ordinary or anything too far from home is simply not safe. People conjure up images of foreigners being targeted or mistreated and neglect the opportunities that exist in the world for retirement.


Sure retiring or living abroad may not be for everyone. I mean you have family, friends and comforts close to home that you simply do not want to give up or say goodbye to. But isn’t it just nice to know that there are other options out there, just in case you change your mind or simply want to get away? You do not have to retire abroad, you do not have to move away to get away from things, but sometimes it just feels good to know that there are other places and other ways of life that can give you some of the things that you do not have. Costa Rica is one of those places and if that surprises you then you need to take a look at these top 12 reasons to retire abroad in Costa Rica.


Now I am not trying to sell you anything or promote the country in any way, so this all comes with a little bit of a disclaimer. Costa Rica doesn’t necessarily offer all the excellent things it did for expats in the past. The government has made some poor decisions and there are drawbacks that you have to keep in mind. If you are looking to retire abroad in a place that offers you the comforts of home and in a place where you can connect and be close to other expat retirees, this is the place to be.


If you are looking for something a little off the beaten path and actually looking to get away, there may be better options. With that being said, the country is unbelievably stunning and really, really cheap. So let’s get right into it. Here are 12 enlightening reasons why you should consider retiring to Costa Rica.


Reason to Retire in Costa Rica #1- Universal Health Care


Ah, universal health care, one of the only arguments that comes into place when people compare Canada and the USA. However, Canada isn’t the only place with affordable health care and Costa Rica actually outranks the USA in overall quality of health care. The entire system operates quite in the same way that Medicare does in the USA which means you aren’t going to have to put a second mortgage on your home to take a trip to the doctor.


What is even better is the fact that Costa Rica’s universal health care also covers dentistry and even cosmetic surgery. Now you can get that perfect veneer smile to match that golden brown tan you spend so much time working on at the beach. Forget Hollywood, maybe Costa Rica is the new land of plastic smiles and George Hamilton tans. Okay, maybe that is taking it too far but you get the point.


costarica21Reason to Retire in Costa Rica #2- Low Cost of Living


Yes, the cost of living has risen in Costa Rica over the years and yes, there are wealthy expats who throw around large amounts of cash in the country on a monthly basis. However, recent studies have still shown that the cost of living in Costa Rica is approximately 35% lower than that of the USA. What does that mean for retirees? It means you still have the chance to live a comfortable retirement even though the recession “stole” a large chunk of your 401k right from right underneath your pillow.


Groceries cost less, dining out costs less, alcohol costs less and housing is far more affordable than it is in most places within the USA. That is of course unless you dream of retiring in a cabin nestled in the woods of Northern Ontario, or a government assisted living complex in New York. But hey, to each his own right?


Reason to Retire in Costa Rica #3- Stunning, Never Ending and Unique Beaches


Many people call the beaches in Costa Rica the most beautiful in the world, and not many people actually argue that opinion. Costa Rica is a country that is crammed between stunning beaches on both sides much the way sardines are crammed into a can. No matter where you go you will stumble upon every kind of beach you could imagine.


There are rocky beaches, fishing beaches, surfing beaches, beaches connected to jungles, black sand beaches, empty private beaches or beaches packed with tourists. The choice is yours and the options never end. It is kind of like a bag of Lindt Lindor chocolates that never ends and comes without any calories.


Reason to Retire in Costa Rica #4-Good Ol’ Democracy


I’m not coming out and saying that democracy is above and beyond the bees’ knees or the cat’s pyjamas, because it can be argued that it barely works at home. However, Costa Rica’s democratic form of government means you can dispel those images of rebels, revolutions and government upheavals that haunt the dreams of so many expats considering a move abroad. The system in Costa Rica is as stable as it gets and incredibly boring, just the way we like it.


Reason to Retire in Costa Rica #5- An Array of Climates and Weather beyond Imagination


At some point or another we all dream about tropical weather and living in a land of sunshine and beaches. The problem is that for some retirees that sort of weather can get boring after a year or longer. Spending everyday in humid and hot conditions can slow you down and sometimes have you missing the weather at home for than you thought possible. This is not the case with Costa Rica.


The country boasts every type of climate that you can imagine. There are beaches, ranges of volcanic mountains, acres of fertile soil for farms, deep jungles, rainforests and even dry prairies. If you want you could choose to spend your day in a different type of climate each day of the week. Hot, cool, dry, wet, the choice is yours.


costarica3Reason to Retire in Costa Rica #6- Bio-Diversity in Costa Rica


Whether you spend a week here or settle down for years, you are going to see things that you have never seen before and cannot find anywhere else in the world. The wildlife is unique, varied and fascinating.


Scientists and researchers from all over the world continually stream to the rainforests in Costa Rica to study rare species of plants and animals that do not exist in any other place. From Sloths, rare birds, jaguars, prehistoric trees and insects, monkeys, sea turtles and everything in between, you will be wowed by nature at its best, no admission ticket required. Take that Siegfried and Roy.


Reason to Retire in Costa Rica #7- A Haven for Small Business


If you own your own small business, or have dreams of starting one up, then Costa Rica is one of the best places in the world to be. Whether you want to consult people online, operate an online store, work as a blogger, get into affiliate marketing, or pretty much do anything that is based around self employment, Costa Rica is often as comfortable as it gets.


The government will exempt you from taxes that you would have to deal with in a number of other retirement destinations, which simply means more money in your pocket for cocktails. This is excellent news for people who are short on retirement savings and need to get a little creative when it come to side income. The fact is that Costa Rica wants you here and the more money you have to spend the more money you will funnel back into the economy. It really is a win-win situation.


Reason to Retire in Costa Rica #8- Always a Stone’s Throw from Paradise


Even if you cannot afford to pony up the cash for an elegant beach home, or you decide that you want to live in a condo in the middle of the city, you are always steps away from paradise. One day trips to mountain ranges, volcanoes, surfing spots, jungles, national parks and hiking trails are commonplace. There are not many places in the world that offer so many natural, fun-filled locations that are in such proximity to one another.


Reason to Retire in Costa Rica #9- The Food is Healthy and Delicious

A lot of travelers and expats who haven’t been to Costa Rica assume that the local cuisine is comparable to other Central American destinations or even Mexico. That assumption couldn’t be further from the truth. The Eastern coast offers a smorgasbord of Caribbean foods and flavours, as well as succulent seafood. The traditional Costa Rican meals revolve around vegetables, rice, chicken, fish and a lot of beef.


There are never ending choices when it comes to international cuisine as well, but if you get used to living like a local you will fall in love with how hearty yet healthy the food really is. Kick back and enjoy the flavours of spectacular cuisine while losing weight, could retirement get any better?


costarica4Reason to Retire in Costa Rica #10- Education is a Priority


Costa Rica separates itself from other countries in Central and South America when it comes to how seriously education is taken. The literacy rate is estimated to be over 95% and you will find schools in even the most remote locations. For decades the Costa Rican government has piled close to 30% of their overall funding into primary and secondary education.


That statistic alone makes sure that there are no children left out in the cold. Even in the middle of thick jungles you will come across small school huts which ensure that education is at the forefront of every community.


Reason to Retire in Costa Rica #11- The People are Undeniably Friendly


While there are a number of different cultures and people represented throughout the country, you will be blown away by the overall friendliness that absorbs Costa Rica. You will find a friendly Caribbean vibe on the East coast while the West coast is built on tourism so the locals realize how important you are to the economy.


You will truly be welcomed with open arms and confront people that are more than willing to show you around and flash an abundance of smiles. The easy going nature is addicting and you will be overwhelmed with the calm feeling that blankets most communities. If Thailand is the land of smiles then Costa Rica is the home of handshakes, hugs and heartfelt acceptance.


Reason to Retire in Costa Rica #12-Costa Rica’s Incredibly Low Crime Rate


The overall notion of many people throughout North American and Western Europe is that Latin American countries are unsafe. Truth be told, Costa Rica has one of the lowest crime rates in all of Central and South America and is a place where people of all races and ages feel safe.


Women can walk alone all over the country whether it be in the city or the jungles without fear of their safety. Crime is frowned upon and personal safety is taken very seriously in the country which adds to the overall comfort level for retired expats in the country.


Just think about. That is all I ask. You do not have to pack up and move away today or start planning your retirement to Costa Rica this very second. Just look into it, shun those assumptions that tend to overtake the mind sometimes and bask in the excitement that the country offers. Just knowing what else is out there and realizing that you have other options can lift the weight of the world off of your shoulders, especially when times are tough.

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retirementAren’t you sick of all those retirement planning guides that you see on the internet, on TV, and even in the mail? Doesn’t it seem like they do not actually apply to the people who really need retirement savings help? Every time I watch one of the commercials or hear some other financial expert tell me that I need to start saving 25% of my income every month, it just makes me want to crawl back into bed and give up. It can’t be just me either, as the recent downturn in the economy has meant thousands of people lost a big chunk of their 401k savings and even more people have lost their jobs altogether.


Even before this recession came about companies were slashing pension plans and retirement funds like it was their job. So what can you do aside from having to move back in with your kids when the time comes? Get a new full time job, go back to school, start all over? The good news is that you do have more viable options for a happy retirement, but it isn’t going to come easy.


What does Retirement Mean to You?


Before you can go about planning your perfect retirement you need to be able to define what you want in your life. If your goal is to own a luxury yacht, cruise the world and live on champagne and caviar, you definitely have your work cut out for you and this article may not be for you. In all likelihood though, your goal just may be to get out of your mundane routine, say goodbye to your boring job, and be happy. While you may dream of retirement for the freedom and the chance to spend more time with your family, money is going to be an important part.


So get out a pen and a piece of paper and write out exactly what you want your retirement to be like. What do you see yourself doing on a day to day basis? How much is what you are doing or where you are living going to cost you? How does it feel to finally have that freedom? What can you do now that you never had the opportunity to do before?
You are never going to get the retirement you desire until you figure out what exactly it is that you want.


Peruse your Dreams for Side Income


Everybody has talents and hobbies. The fact is that these hobbies can often prove to be a nice way to add a little extra income to your retirement. Whether you enjoy writing, cooking, hunting or sewing, having the time to do those activities is probably one of the things that most excites you about retirement. The real question is whether or not you think it would be less fun if you did it as a way to make money.


Every little bit of income can help when it comes to retirement, and with the growth of the internet there are more and more ways to make money through your passions. Blog about what you are doing, consult people online, or even teach a class once or twice a week. Many soon to be retirees actually end up starting a small business because they have to and then realize just how rewarding it is, financially and emotionally. Your passions may even allow you to make money from wherever you choose to settle down in the world, whether it be a cottage in Canada, a tiny sailboat in the Caribbean, or a beach hut in Ecuador.


Take a Clue from Corporations and Downsize


If you get used to cutting back on certain things now you will not only have more money later on but you will also be comfortable without a lot of luxuries. If you live in the lap of luxury and then instantly cut back when you retire there is a big chance you will go through withdrawal or be downright depressed. This doesn’t mean you have to cut out everything fun but just be more aware of the money you spend. Ask yourself which expenses you could easily live without and which ones actually give you a lot of pleasure.


Even cutting down from a Café Mocha at Starbucks everyday to once a week can save you $100 a month. Write down everything that you spend money on and become conscious of how often you pull out your wallet. A few cut backs and you could have a healthy little nest egg that could provide for a comfortable and stress free life abroad later on.


retirement2Create Income through Creativity


Your full time job doesn’t have to be your only source of income. You may as well get used to being creative and bringing in money so that you will be better at it later on down the road. If you own a large house consider renting out a room to students. At $400 a month that could equal out to be enough to buy a beach house in Belize over a few years.


If you are friends with your neighbors talk about splitting on essentials such as a lawn mower or even create a communal garden. Think about tutoring students after school, sharing expenses with friends and looking around for alternative ways of saving and making money. You will be surprised at some of the options that are out there that could make life a lot more comfortable later on.


Get Out and Volunteer


The normal train of thought here is “who possibly has the time to volunteer?” If you do not have enough money as it is then why would you use up more time to work for free? In actuality volunteering is a very productive way to go about things when money is tight. In many ways you will get back quite a lot more than you put in.


Through volunteer work you can get an overall positive feeling about what you are doing and become a part of a very tight social network. This network can provide you support later on when you may need it most. Give what you can, even if it is just your time and remember that money isn’t everything. Yes it is important for a happy retirement but it comes and goes, happiness can stay forever. Volunteering is a great way to teach yourself to appreciate the little things in life and realize that life isn’t all about money.


Get Rid of your Mortgage


Mortgages are the main reason for stress from soon to be retirees. It is often the largest monthly expense for people and can put a major strain on retirement funds. Figure out if there is a way for you to up your payment now so you will not have to when you retire. It seemed like years ago many financial advisors warned against paying off your house, but that theory has gone out the window. If you can find a way to get full ownership of your home then you will be pretty comfortable when it comes time to call it quits.


If paying off your house in full is just not a viable option then maybe it is time to consider downsizing. Right now is proving to be the perfect time to buy a house for cash and there are a ton of options on the market. Seek out something small, comfortable and energy-efficient, and you could be well on your way to putting away more money for your retirement. If the kids have moved out there is no need to be holding onto your 4 bedroom house with a monstrous backyard, especially if it is weighing you down financially.


Get in the Right Frame of Mind


Money, money, money. Everybody is so focused on money all of the time, especially in this current economic situation. Of course it lays the foundation for life and retirement but it cannot always be relied upon. People are learning more than ever these days that money comes and goes faster than you even realize. We have to stop letting money control us and control what we do. If you want to break away and move abroad to retire, there are options. We can all learn a little lesson from the economic struggle lately and sort of realize what is truly valuable in life. A simple life on the beach with a cocktail in hand is a viable option if you get creative, cut back and put your mind to it. You do not have to be tied tightly to your desk job, your mortgage or your pension plan.


Is it easy? Of course not. Is it possible? Absolutely.

We, as people and as travelers, are all here for a reason. Even when we are down, out and broke, we still all have value. Figure out what you want from retirement and make it happen. Just enjoy the opportunities that are out there, be humble and remember that life doesn’t have to be judged by the amount of money left in your pocket.

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Laid Back Living for Pennies a Month

Laid Back Living for Pennies a Month

Truth be told, options are endless nowadays when it comes to travel, working abroad and living offshore. If you have contributed to your 401(k) appropriately, secured a decent pension or found ways to start your own business, then the doors are open all around you. Even if your finances or budget are a major concern there are still a number of countries, cities, and destinations that will allow you to live comfortably and settle into the perfect retirement. While we will be putting up more detailed articles for you to peruse, let us first take a quick look at some popular international choices that may be exactly what you are looking for. Whether it is friendly people, a high standard of living, a laid back lifestyle, a low cost of living, or a fulfilling culture you are after, these destinations offer it all. To be frank, you won’t find all the information you need in this article, but you will get a good idea of what options are out there. Hopefully this list will allow you to be able to dwindle down your endless list of options, and help you realize your dreams are closer than they appear.



Lake Chapala, Mexico



A picture of Lake Chapala, Mexico may just be found next to the word beautiful in the dictionary. While it is not far from popular American retirement destinations, you can live in Lake Chapala for a fraction of what it would cost to live in the USA. Better yet, you won’t feel as if you are far off the beaten path and can easily access restaurants, banks, hotels, shops, and anything else you might need. The climate is warm, taxes and medical treatment are affordable, and expatriates are allowed and encouraged to buy and sell property.





Sit back and picture living in an absolute paradise for as little as $1,000 a month. Feels fantastic doesn’t it? Well in Belize it is an absolute possibility. Getting citizenship in Belize does not even take all that much work after you have lived there for awhile. You can also lease property from the government, build it up, and then buy it off for an impressively low price. Belize has done everything to make living there in retirement an affordable and attainable dream.



Costa Rica


What you get by retiring in Costa Rica is simple. You get a laid back lifestyle, affordability, and will be constantly surrounding by natural beauty. No matter where you live in Costa Rica you will be just moments away from volcanoes, beaches, rainforests, and mountains. It also offers an easy transition for retirees as English is spoken all around, there are numerous tax benefits to take advantage of, and pristine accommodations are scattered around the entire country.



Dominican Republic


While the Dominican Republic gets a lot of credit for being a popular vacation spot and an exciting option for Spring Breakers, it also offers a lot for retirees. If budget is a concern then this little island is an exciting choice for people wanting to live offshore. The people are laid back, you will have more than enough leisure time, and you will be able to really stretch your dollar as far as it will go.




 The scenery, culture and flavor of Greece are more than enough to make it a dazzling retirement destination. The history, the sounds, and the sights will mesmorize you, and it is a country that no one wants to leave once they visit. Even though there are so many wonderful sights, a culture and history that will amaze you, and some of the friendliest people in the world, property prices and living costs are still relatively low. While it isn’t the cheapest place to retire abroad, it does offer the perfect mix of comfort, culture, and affordability.






 While a lot of countries and governments put up a lot of red tape when you try to retire there, the government in the Bahamas is very welcoming. They are pushing for more retirees to come and it is working, for a number of reasons. The Bahamas offers seclusion on a tropical island while still allowing you to be just a short jaunt away from the USA. There are also a number of opportunities for part time work if you want to supplement your pension or retirement fund.





 In many ways Cyprus is the definition of an idyllic lifestyle. You can surround yourself in natural beauty, take comfort in the extremely low crime rate, and enjoy the high standard of living.  Health clubs, water parks, sporting facilities, and some scrumptiously delightful restaurants are just some of the things you can enjoy in Cyprus on an everyday basis.





Malaysia isn’t always the first destination that comes to mind when you are trying to choose where to retire, but it should be at the top of your list. The climate is wonderfully warm, the living standards are high, accommodations are affordable and elegant, and there is a very low cost of living. Expatriates also get a lot of freedom in Malaysia and as a retiree you will be allowed to own property and invest in a number of different ventures. The country also offers stunning attractions such as the Niah Caves and the Petronas Towers which provide a more than memorable experience.



Cayman Islands


Many retirees choose the Cayman Islands as a place to settle in, but property prices are much higher there. While Grand Cayman itself is known as a place where you can enjoy scenic, beauty, a relaxed lifestyle, and a number of tax perks, you should look into some of the smaller, surrounding islands. They often offer the same benefits as the main island but accommodations can come at a much more appropriate price.





If you have a certain passion for history and the arts then Italy could be the perfect place to set up your retirement home. You probably have already read up on what cities such as Rome, Venice, and Florence can offer you. Even still you should look into a place such as Naples. It has beautiful architecture, an appropriate cost of living, and more than enough beauty to keep you happy. However if it is the quiet, getaway from it all life you are after, the Italian Riviera could be the place for you.


While this clearly is not all the information you are going to need when choosing a place to retire, we hope it gives you a little insight into just how many comfortable options there are out there. With a little careful research and timely planning the world is definitely your oyster. Miami Beach may be housing that perfect life you have dreamt about all your life, but is often out of the question for many retirees. However, that doesn’t have to mean that you have to give up your aspirations of laying out on the beach, owning a beach home, or even retiring in an affordable paradise. No matter what you definition of paradise is there are a number of opportunities out there. All you have to do is go looking for them.  It is true that you may have to jump through a few hoops to get a Visa, find the perfect property, and pack up your entire life. But, 6 months of hard work could lead to years of fun in the sun, laid back living, and opportunities that are simply not available at home.