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What To Think About Before Retiring Abroad in Costa Rica

Costa Rica Retirement – A lot of us dream of moving and retiring to an exotic European country or a tropical country in South America. Top countries for most popular retiree destinations are Argentina, Costa Rica, Belize and France because these beautiful countries all offer a lower cost of living, warmer and temperate weather all year round and quality health care service.

The idea of retiring abroad may look like the best answer to our need for change or a chance to a once in a lifetime adventure, however we all need to understand that relocating to a different country is not like a vacation rather it is a life changing decision since it is not going to be a visit for a couple of weeks rather a long term stay.

Before making up your mind on where to relocate, there are a couple of things we have to ponder about first.

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  1. We have to assess not just the quality but also the cost of health care service available in the country we are moving into. We also have to keep in mind that even if we areretiring in costa rica moving someplace with low-cost but relatively good health care, services and associated medical, dental and vision fees vary between cities and regions. It is imperative that health care services should be close or in par with that of the United States for if not you will find yourself burdened with travel fare, lodging fees and medical bills travelling back to the United States to get the medical procedure you or your spouse need. Another thing to remember is that Medicare does not cover health services provided outside of the United States so you need to find out if you can buy into a country’s health care plan or purchase a private insurance policy.
  2. Do not expect a big tax break. Be reminded that so long as you are a citizen of the United States you will be taxed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) no matter which part of the globe you are in. Furthermore most countries require that people moving in have a validated steady source of income. On top of that the United States have laws that allow IRS to collect income tax from retirees who moved their assets outside the US territory so you may want to consider moving into a country that has a tax agreement with the US like Canada and Mexico to avoid getting taxed twice.
  3. Be pragmatic about the actual total cost of living. For instance, it is true that the real estate property you are eyeing in a different country is less expensive than what you have to pay for a similar home in the United States but when you compute the relocation costs, groceries, electricity, mobile phone service, internet service and other utilities and monthly bills your may find yourself spending more than now. You also have to add in transportation costs within the country and getting back to the United States to visit relatives and friends.

The most important thing we have to determine is the amount we can actually afford so it is imperative that we analyze our income resources to figure out a budget that we can follow after moving in to the country of our choice. Just like what Curtis, a CNBC Financial Advisors Council member, “Financial planning for living abroad is no different than financial planning for living in the U.S.”

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