Costa RicaCosta Rica

Baby Boomer Retirement

A cool breeze wafts through my house and it's completely silent except for the chirp of a rufous-collared sparrow perched near the open window. I'm drinking fresh limeade, squeezed from the mandarin limes my neighbor left on the doorstep last night. It's 70º F, and the blue sky is interspersed with puffy clouds -- a typical morning in the Heredia mountains. As I do almost daily, I look around and consciously appreciate how happy I am in my own little piece of paradise.

Tens of thousands of Americans residing in Costa Rica share my sentiments. Due to the recent economic downturn, 10% of baby boomers have chosen to retire outside the U.S., taking their retirement plans and pension dollars abroad where life is less expensive. By the year 2020, more than 50% of Americans will be over 50, and many will choose Costa Rica for their approaching retirement. Good choice!

sunset sailFor retirees looking for the best of all worlds -- affordable cost of living combined with quality of life, excellent healthcare, proximity to family back home and fantastic weather --Costa Rica is the answer. Here, you can stretch your dollar without making big sacrifices: $1,500 monthly will cover a three-bedroom home rental, a weekly house cleaner, public healthcare, reliable public transportation, and utilities including high-speed Internet and cable television.

Medical care in Costa Rica is widely known for its low cost and high quality. As a legal resident, you'll have two options: the public heathcare system (known as the Caja), or the public system combined with private insurance. Public healthcare costs roughly 10-11.5% of your income, starting from about $25 per month. Private insurance runs an extra $50-$100/month per person, and allows access to a wide selection of excellent private clinics and hospitals throughout the country.

Costa Rica's natural beauty is unparalleled and worthy of exploration, so retirement here is never dull. More than 25% of Costa Rica's land is protected, guaranteeing that the country retains its wild, wonderful biodiversity. Within a few hours' drive, you can explore misty cloud forests, dive into warm ocean waters, or hike into picturesque rainforest. Spend the morning sunbathing on the beach and the evening snuggled up in front of a fireplace -- here, you can choose your adventures, climate and pace.

As a popular retirement location for Americans, Costa Rica has a large expat community, which often serves as a built-in welcome club. Your social life will be as active as you please: join the local theatre group, birding club, bridge association, political group, or wine and foodie club. Your neighborhood will welcome you into the fold as well, and you'll soon be waving hola to your neighbors and greeting shop owners by name. In no time at all, Costa Rica will feel like home and it'll be your turn to relish your own personal paradise.

Baby Boomer Retirement in Pictures