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Making Retirement Decisions before moving to Costa Rica

Estimated Reading Time: 4 Minutes

Making Retirement Decisions

To make important retirement decisions, we needed to be specific about our criteria.

In my introduction, you know that we have decided to make Costa Rica our permanent retirement residence. So, I’d like to show you how made retirement decisions based on a step by step process.

Our criteria and circumstances are specific to us. You may see some parallels with your situation or you may not. But the process we used to arrive at our decision should work for anyone in any circumstance.

In the summer of 2011, it was time to get serious about determining when and where to retire. And even more important, how we were going to pay for our golden years.

First, we had many long discussions about what was most important to us. We didn’t have to worry about the kids anymore, as some others do. I think, every couple or individual needs to take a serious look at what retirement should look like. And what goals they value most.

I am aware of no class you can take for this. Usually, you only get one good shot at making your ultimate retirement decision a success. So, my wife and I felt it was very important that we agree on what we wanted to do with our lives after our careers. And how to prioritize the criteria that would allow us to be the happiest as long as possible.

Making Retirement Decisions

Reduced income

There we sat, two hard-working stiffs, ready to make retirement decisions. We’re both old enough to collect Social Security. But we are unable to shine nearly as much “financial light” as when we had entered the last recession. Therefore, we had already tried to diversify our retirement assets.

Our net worth got caught in the economic down spiral and became only a fraction of what it had been. Including the equity in our home. Therefore, we were looking at a considerably narrower retirement vista for our “senior years.”

Meanwhile, we watched a dysfunctional national government helpless in dealing with severe financial problems of their own. The governmental budget imbalances already had negatively impacted our lives and were likely to continue to do so.


Your decision criteria to make retirement decisions may differ from ours. To achieve our retirement happiness, we boiled it down to five fairly basic things:

1. Weather

We both had a few other lesser criteria, but still important related to favorite activities and enjoyment. However, we were both adamant about prioritizing these five things. My wife didn’t ever want to see another flake of snow, except in a snow cone.

I would be truly happiest avoiding blistering heat—a temperate climate.

2. Affordability

After the recession, we were no longer rich on paper or in any other way. Nonetheless, we still wanted a comfortable lifestyle and the ability to afford to travel. A low cost of living.

3. Stability

A stable government and a safe place to live was vitally important. We didn’t want our retirement to be interrupted by a political coup. Or even a catastrophic financial collapse. We insisted on economic and political stability.

Making Retirement Decisions

4. Medical Security

The older you get, the greater ‘excellent,’ not just ‘adequate,’ affordable medical care becomes. In short, we wanted world-class health care.

5. Comfort

And, “comfort” to us did not equate to merely amenities and lifestyle. Therefore, the “friendliness” factor was a must.  We wanted to be surrounded by people with compatible values and interests.

The Author

The author of this blog, Ticonuevo, is a US expat who moved to Costa Rica. He and his wife used the services of GoDutch Realty to purchase a property in Costa Rica. In his blogs, Ticonuevo describes his own experiences of taking the step of moving to Costa Rica and getting a new life started.

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