RELOCATION RULES: STOP, LOOK, LISTEN – CHOICES & PITFALLS
There are isn’t necessarily a “right” way, as everyone is different. There is, however, a strongly “recommended” way to achieve the goal of moving to a new country and being happy where you land. Most who have lived here for awhile are aware of their mistakes, how they would have acted differently and are a good barometer and resource for those following in their footsteps. This is why it is important to get to know and talk to LOTS of others (personally, blogs, websites, videos, seminars, etc.) who already made the move, and learn from their wisdom and their mistakes.
LIVING IN COSTA RICA - BUT WHERE?
The decision to make the move to Costa Rica invites a number of considerations and challenges. Foremost is where to live upon arrival. Many considering relocation visit several times, take retirement/investment tours (recommended), travel about the country and make a qualified decision on a specific area to further investigate and “test.” Others visit once or twice, fall in love with the country, and they “just do it,” generally in the area they visited and “fell in love with.” Sometimes to their regret. Where to Relocat Lifestyles?
MOVING IS…A LIFE CHANGING EXPERIENCE
Don’t rush. Allow the time and budget for adequate exposure and exploration. Rent and spend a month in two or three different areas. The Utopia, of one may not be that of another, or even one’s own.
The best advice is not to leap too quickly. That may sound obvious and trite, but so many are overly anxious, and budget often applies to this group. Even if the decision to move is done in a calculated fashion, then the next stages become a frenzy of “get it done now, because I can’t afford to keep going back and forth, and I have to sell this to buy that, or I can’t maintain two homes in two different countries.” Look closely before leaping. Not to mention before shipping all a life and belongings to Costa Rica.
PEOPLE LEFT BEHIND
Moving to a different country often means leaving friends and family behind. Yes, in the beginning, the whole world promises to visit and views friend or family in another country as a free place to stay! Interestingly, they never seem to come, or at least not in the expected droves. It’s somehow different when you can’t “drive there.” It takes about as long to fly from New York to Florida to go to Disney, as it does from Central Florida to Costa Rica. The latter, however, just seems more daunting.
The most commonly heard mantra from retirees who have relocated is….”I miss my children and grandchildren. My daughter or son is graduating; getting married, having a baby, getting divorced and I want to be there for these life-changing family events.” Grown children also have jobs, lives, responsibilities, budgets, and specified vacation time. They can’t simply visit on a whim, regardless of who pays for the trip. After the first obligatory trip, they’ll probably just go to Disney or the Grand Canyon next year.
Another important consideration for younger retirees is their parents back at home. It is great to make the leap, the move and adventure of a new life. When parents left behind have issues of aging, health, accident, who will care for them? Management of the situation is exacerbated by distance and communication with family members and care providers. Not to mention it is more difficult to make proper evaluation of needs and services when living in another country. Before moving, it is important to have a plan in place, before the need arises.
The good news is, there are a growing number of developers who are designing and building communities to answer this important consideration. Multi-purpose communities with single-family living (the retiree), condos, assisted living and nursing care all in one location. A full “continuum of care” community meeting the needs of aging family members who may make the move with their children, and those retirees who will have future requirements.
Healthcare is more affordable in Costa Rica. Medicare is on the horizon of working out reciprocal arrangements with Costa Rican providers. Lastly, seniors in this country, as a matter of culture, are still afforded “elder” respect and courtesy, delivered with a caring and loving hand. Intermediate and long-term-care is not only more affordable, but is delivered with greater kindness and respect.
PLAYING HOST… PLAYING GUEST
For retirees who no longer maintain a residence in their country of origin, it gets expensive to pay for family to visit, or to visit family. It isn’t fun for very long, either for the guest or host, to share/juggle cars, take everyone out dinner, take presents, and still be expected to do what you always did, while visiting or receiving guests on a budget.
As a host in Costa Rica, you want to and are expected to entertain. There’s a cost attached. As a guest of family or friends, the same is somehow expected of the visitor. Over-spending is a common thread whether receiving guests or being one.
A week or two moving about in the homes of friends, children or parents, interfering with their patterns gets old quickly. It becomes an endurance process of imposition and lack of privacy for all. The best advice for you or them, rent a car, pay for a hotel room and there you have it. But not in everyone’s budget.
Holidays can also be a challenge to those who have recently relocated. Somehow it isn’t quite the same when cooking or entertaining a new group for Thanksgiving, Christmas or the New Year. Familiar traditions and people can be sorely missed. New friends are a pleasure, just different, for awhile.
Costa Rican winter is North American summer. Even those from Sunbelt states get confused, as it seems odd putting out Christmas, coming into spring.
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