“Kathleen, I very much enjoy reading your e-mails regarding the different countries. I’m interested in Costa Rica, purchasing a small condo near the beach (Caribbean side), but all I can spend is about US$200,000 max.
“I’m not sure of my time frame yet; it may be a year or two, or five years.
“I’ve been thinking about either that area of Costa Rica or Mexico.
“I think I would like a small but new house where other Americans live. Would you have any ideas at this time, or more information on cost of living, medical care, etc.?
“Thank you so much for all of the information and input you provide.
“Happy New Year to all of you!”
–Marie B., United States
Marie, as you’re at the beginning of your retire-overseas thinking process and have some time until you’ll be ready to make your move, I’d suggest you take a step back and consider your options more broadly.
Costa Rica isn’t on my Top Havens list, but I know expats and retirees living there contentedly. Mexico is one of my top choices for 2011, but Mexico is a big country, with both Pacific and Caribbean coastal options, plus many interesting mountain and colonial towns to consider.
However, again, before you focus too seriously on either of these countries, I’d say you should think about some of the other appealing options in this part of the world. There are many.
Then, before settling on any one, take a personal survey. Consider, formally, your preferences and priorities, your must-haves, as well as things you would find intolerable. You have begun this work by recognizing that you’d like to live among other Americans. That’s a great start, as the decision to live among other expats or in a more local area or neighborhood is an important one that sets you on a particular track in your research.
The best resource for you, at this getting-started phase, would be my book, “How To Retire Overseas.” Of course it’s not surprising that I’d recommend my book as a top resource! However, in your case, it seems like just the thing you need to help you formulate your plan.
“When I complete my current assignment in Bahia Negra in northern Paraguay, along the borders with Bolivia and Brazil, I need to decide where I go next. Back to friendly Chitre, Panama, or to Montevideo…or back to my second home Medellin? You are making my decision easier.
“Feliz Año Nuevo.”
–Bob A., United States