No Longer The Top Overseas Retirement Destination
About three decades ago, this country decided to make a business of the foreign retiree. The Costa Ricans invested in a formal and successful advertising campaign, targeting Americans primarily. Tens of thousands of would-be retirees from the States took up the invitation and relocated to this beautiful land teeming with rainforests.
The benefits were terrific: tax breaks, special retiree discounts, great weather, and, especially, the super-cheap cost both of living and of owning beachfront real estate. Fast forward a couple of decades, and, thanks to investors and speculators, Costa Rica wasn't so cheap anymore, neither its cost of living nor its beachfront real estate. Meantime, while prices had risen dramatically, the infrastructure hadn't improved at all. The infrastructure in Costa Rica today is, by all accounts, no better than the infrastructure in Costa Rica when it rolled out the foreign-retiree welcome mat all those years ago.
Worse still, after working so hard to woo American and European retirees, Costa Rica seemed to change its mind. The Costa Ricans didn't eliminate their famous pensionado program; they simply eliminated most of the tax breaks it had promised, as part of a deficit-reduction austerity package. And they didn't grandfather existing pensionados. So those who'd chosen Costa Rica for the retiree benefits it offered were surprised and disappointed to find that those benefits existed no more.
Now the Costa Rican government is considering a further pensionado program adjustment. They're talking about increasing, maybe substantially, the minimum monthly income requirement to qualify. And, again, if the change is made, existing pensioandos won't be grandfathered. To renew your status, you'd have to qualify under the new requirements.
We'll keep you updated on all developments related to the Costa Rican residency changes in the Overseas Opportunity Letter.
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