Our advice to retirees is to find a place to live in Costa Rica. It is the cheapest retirement destination near the US and has beautiful panoramic views, low property prices, high-quality medical services, and more. Situated along the Pacific Coast and Caribbean Coast, there are many famous beaches and no distinct season. It is warm all year round, making it a perfect retirement destination.
No matter what your pace of life is, there are options available for you. From beach towns to a large city like San Jose, you can find natural beauty everywhere with national parks and a slower pace.
While international living in a foreign country might not have been your plan when thinking about the future, you can quickly see that it is a perfect retirement destination. Whether you are from Central America or a European, South American, Canadian or American retiree, you will see expat retirees throughout the country. Due to the high number of American expats, you will find a large expat community wherever you live.
Finally, not only is it easily affordable to live there, with universal healthcare and a low cost of living, all easily funded by a retirement income or a retirement fund, Costa Rica is also high up there for being the safest country and providing a high standard of living without the hefty price tag. So definitely add Costa Rica’s beautiful beaches and perfect climate city living to your retirement plan.
Average Cost to Retire in Costa Rica
Usually, you can get utilities and internet for under $150. Depending on the size and location of the house of your dreams, you can pay anywhere between $330 and $2,000 per month to rent, but you can also buy a home for under $200,000, with most decent-sized homes being close to $120,000. You’ll find many affordable options, but you’ll also find luxury properties with outstanding views and a great community like the one in Marina Flamingo.
Medical care isn’t much of a problem either. Usually, public healthcare costs a percentage of your income that ranges between seven to 11 percent of your reported income. This provides access to a very affordable universal healthcare program for people who have residency in Costa Rica. However, if you want something more privatized, you can get health insurance options comparable to the United States, but for a fraction of the cost. The average doctor’s visit costs around $50, while a specialist can cost around $80.
Usually, there are three main average price ranges for those living in Costa Rica. Those who are well off can easily spend $5,000 a month or more. However, if you aren’t crazy with your money, but want a comfortable lifestyle, most people can get by on $2,000. If you live a little frugally, it is more than possible to have a budget as low as $1,200 a month.
As you can see, it is well worth giving Costa Rica a try for retirement. While it costs little to live there, it isn’t cheap living by any means.
Can Non-Residents Buy Property in Costa Rica?
Yes, residents and non-residents have the same rights as Costa Ricans, especially when it comes to buying a home. In other words, you don’t have to have permanent residency to be able to become a homeowner in any Costa Rican town and enjoy your retirement benefits on the beach, in the jungle, or a gated community with splendid ocean views.
When looking for housing, working with a real estate agent is always a good idea. The buying process is pretty straightforward, but only if you are already familiar with it. Having a real estate team working for you and taking care of the paperwork makes acquiring property in Costa Rica much more manageable and helps you get exactly what you are looking for.
Tips on Saving for Retirement
In 2021, most Americans receiving Social Security benefits made only around $1,650 a month. This isn’t much, especially in America. That’s why, no matter where you choose to live, it is important that you begin saving for retirement as well, instead of simply relying on your benefits.
Future retirees should start saving as soon as they can. If you can, get a 401(k), ideally from your employer, to raise the amount. If that isn’t possible, then getting an IRA is another excellent option.
If you are struggling and not sure what steps you can take, there are also certified financial planners that can help you make a plan for your retirement and save as much money as you can.
If you want to handle the process on your own, use the retirement calculators online that can help you figure out how much you need to put up for retirement a year.
Steps to Retiring in Costa Rica
The first step to retiring in this beautiful Latin American country is to make sure you have emigration approval. There are three main programs to choose from based on your needs.
- Pensionado Program – This is the most popular program and what most retirees choose to do. The program requires you to be able to prove you have a monthly income from a pension or retirement fund of at least $1,000 a month.
- Rentista Program – For this option, you can either have a monthly income of at least $2,500 a month for two years or deposit $60,000 into a local Costa Rican bank account.
- Inversionista Program – This program is a good choice for people with generous budgets. If you have $200,000 lying around, you can invest it into a Costa Rican business or real estate and take advantage of this program.
There is also paperwork you must fill out. To apply for these programs, you must have $250 on top of the above income requirements. The consulate will also charge you $40 for every document you have to turn in, including documents such as authentication, translation, notarization, and any other official documents you may need.
Per year, you will need $100 to reapply, though you can get permanent resident status after reapplying for three years in a row.
The next step is the most time-consuming yet the most exciting of them all: finding a place to call home. Talk to a reputable real estate agent from Costa Rica Christies, and ask them to canvas the area for properties that fit your budget and answer your needs. They know the area and can tell you if you are being overcharged, as well as what amenities are in the area that might benefit you.
They may even help you find your dream place in Costa Rica, even if it isn’t where you thought it would be. It can be a cozy property in the capital city of San Jose, or it can be an extravagant abode in the heart of Playa Flamingo.