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Jun 15 2015

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In The Mailbag – Cost of Living, & Being Happy in Costa Rica

emaildelivery-200pxOur newsletters and posts generate lots of discussion, on our website, in emails, and on facebook. Here’s a glimpse into our mailbag.

Cost of Living

In response to our Annual Cost of Living Issue, we received the following comment from Melanie:

Hello,

I just wanted to let you know I appreciate your emails and newsletters.  We live in Brasilito with our family of 6 (kids are 7,9,11,15).  There is a big difference in costs living here.  I have been keeping track of our costs and they are $9-10,000 a month!!!   We could live 2 months for your 12!!   We do love being by the beach, despite the costs.  Thanks for sharing.”

Melanie E.

Our response?

Hi Melanie. Thanks for writing. Wow! $9-10,000 a month! But if you love where you are living and can afford it, why not? As long as you are happy. that’s the important thing.”

And here’s some helpful info on this topic from Mark and Debi C.

I just read your annual spending report.   Thank for the info. and thanks for the time it takes you guys to post everything.  What a good job!

schwab-logo-bankAn account with a USA Charles Schwab bank allows you to use a debit card, at any ATM, in the world with no ATM fee.  On the monthly statement, you will see all ATM fees charged by each bank, but the Charles Schwab bank refunds to you each charged fee at the end of each month.  So – just make sure you have money enough in the account to cover all the fees until the end of the month, when you get credited for all fees.

When my wife and I spent a month in Nicaragua and Costa Rica, summer 2013, we used the Charles Schwab card to withdraw enough cash to pay for all daily spending.  And all ATM fees were re-imbursed.  As far as I know I have never paid any fees of any kind, ( mo. or yearly ) and the card cost nothing to apply for inn the beginning. The bank pays a very small interest rate on any balance remaining in the account.  I keep only a couple hundred dollars in the account each month.

Additional good things:

  1. Single withdrawal cash amount can be set as low as you want, for security reasons.
  2. Total daily withdrawal cash amount can also be set, for security reasons.
  3.  If you need to make a large single cash withdrawal, simply telephone the toll free number on the back of the card and after going through security questions, tell them the amount you need, they change the allowance amount, you take out the money, and then you telephone them back and re-set to the lower level.
  4. The card can also be used as a credit card and the single transaction amount and daily amount can be set different from the cash withdrawal amounts.
  5. They also have a good alert system.  You let them know where you are going, and what you most likely will be spending your money on, and they will watch your account for fraud.

I hope this helps! Please stay in touch and please keep the newsletter coming.”

Mark and Debi C.

And, on facebook, in response to our article, Costa Rica Isn’t for Everyone?, we received these comments:

Great reply Gloria Yeatman! All the “griping” I hear here relates to not being willing to adapt to what is different from “back home”. Would I like to have some of “back home”? Definitely. Would I give up the gains we’ve found being here? No, emphatically!

Life IS what you make it. And it is about choices that we, the retirees, have to make in deciding to come here. Leaving friends & family behind has been the biggest negative. That said, Skype is a blessing. I see my 93 year old mother almost everyday.

I also note, as we’ve told our kids, we spent many hours and miles travelling to visit parents/inlaws in our younger years. We made the effort. Frankly, we EXPECT our kids to do some of the same now that they’re making the high wages we enjoyed when we were in the workforce. Selfish? Maybe & that accusation has surfaced. However, we made the firm decision that OUR lives, being able to retire comfortable, happy and living what we could only dream of years ago is what is THE most important thing for us.

Costa Rica is such a wonderful country, providing what we need & enjoy. The bonus surprise was how many others like us made the same choice and who now are our newest circle of friends.”

Bob & Linda B.

And from Ninfa D.:

Great Article Paul! I feel it’s what you make of any situation. I know people here that live in a Del Webb community with a beautiful home, a huge club house with just about everything you could ever imagine in a club house, yet they are bored and hate everything about the clubhouse! They complain about the city they live in and the weather and everything they can complain about. I feel Costa Rica is a great place if you want it to be like you and Gloria have demonstrated in your blog and newsletters!! Thanks so much!!”

Ninfa D.

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