Aug 31 2008

Is your retirement on hold?

With both stock prices and real estate values declining, more and more baby boomers approaching retirement age are finding out that their savings aren’t adequate for them to stop working.  Add to that the high cost of health care, and the fear of a serious illness wiping out everything, many sixty-somethings are returning to the workforce.

This is good news for employers; this generation has a lot of skill and knowledge, without which their companies are at a disadvantage. But it is definitely NOT good news for those of us who have been dreaming of leaving the daily grind and enjoying life.  On two separate occasions, people we’ve met in Costa Rica have said to us, “If we stayed in the States, we would have to work until we died.”  The July/August 2008 AARP Bulletin reports that 28% of us at retirement age have postponed any plans to retire. And 17% of retirees have either returned to work or are looking for work to make ends meet. You’ve seen those older people working in fast food restaurants and at Walmart.  Is that what you want in your future?

I know I don’t.  Paul and I have researched places, in the U.S. and in other countries, where our retirement dollars will go farther, where we won’t have to live each day terrified that an illness or accident will wipe us out financially.  Costa Rica is that place for us.  By retiring there, we don’t need to postpone our retirement.  Medical care is good and much less expensive than in the States.  Most utilities cost less and some, like heat and air conditioning, aren’t needed at all at the higher elevations.  There are always fresh fruits and vegetables at the farmers markets, thanks to the year-round growing season. And there are the people you meet, other expats with whom you have a bond and a shared experience, and Tico neighbors and friends who welcome you into their homes and extend themselves to you. The more I think about retiring in Costa Rica, the more I can’t wait!

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