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How to retire in costa rica And do it on Social Security benefits alone!
Major Expense #1: A place to live
These costs can vary widely depending on where in the country you want to live (mountains, beach, city), and what kind of amenities are absolutely necessary. A Place to live That being said, most expats should easily be able to find something affordable. We have a two bedroom, one-bathroom house in a town we love. Our rent includes water, electricity, and Internet. Total = $450 per month
Major Expense #2: Food
Generally, food is just as expensive in Costa Rica as it is in the United States. However, deals can be had at farmer’s markets. And tiny “sodas” (mini-restaurants) offer simple and filling meals for as little as $4. Food We have a family of three, and on average we spend $300 per month on groceries in Costa Rica, and about $100 per month eating out. Total=$400 Grand Total=$850
Major Expense #3: Transportation
Unlike the United States, public transportation is EVERYWHERE in Costa Rica—cities and rural towns alike. These are very cheap options, and are safe and efficient ways to travel without having to own a car. Transportation My family uses the bus and taxi system every day to get into town. On average, we spend $35 per month on the bus, and roughly $100 on taxis (though many spend much less). Total=$135 Grand Total=$985
Healthcare For many retired people, this is by far the biggest area of concern. But you can rest easy: the country has an excellent healthcare system, with two different forms of insurance you can afford.
HealthCare Option #1 If you can show that you have $1,000 of guaranteed income every month (your Social Security), you can qualify to be designated as a “pensionado.” By obtaining this designation, you are required to buy into the country’s socialized medicine plan, CAJA. The cost is roughly $50 per month, per person. TOTAL FOR TWO=$100 GRAND TOTAL=$1,085
Healthcare option #2 However, as is the case with socialized medicine, there can be long delays for treatment that is not considered life-threatening. Many expats choose to purchase private health insurance as well. Bought through the country’s INS, this usually runs between 7% and 11% of your monthly income. Taking the midpoint, this would be 9% of the $2,663 Social Security income for you and your spouse. TOTAL=$240 GRAND TOTAL=$1,325
THE BIG PICTURE
For $1,325 per month, or about $16,000 per year, you and your spouse can: Live in a comfortable house in a tropical climate. Eat well. Be mobile enough to be involved in your community. Have suitable medical coverage. Let’s review This means that you could almost live off of one person’s Social Security check. If your spouse has the average check as well, that’s over $1,000 in discretionary spending every month!
A quick caveat Moving abroad won’t work for everyone. Some people simply don’t like the idea. There will be a time of cultural adjustment. And there are certainly countries other than Costa Rica that offer the same type of opportunities.
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