Archives for March 2017

Start planning your retirement with these 10 steps…

Rather than fear the pending changes, it is best to regard retirement as an outstanding life opportunity. Everyone’s retirement is unique. Staying busy, which I prefer, may not appeal to you. You may be content reading lots of books, watching TV and playing golf. You may decide to travel to those places in the world you always wanted to see. Before settling into any lifestyle, start your due diligence for what may be the last quarter or even third of your life with these 10 steps.

First, decide if retirement is for you. If it is, decide if you will plunge into it full time or opt for part time.

Second, if you opt for retirement, plan when and where. Remember that it is far easier to downsize at 65 than 90.

Third, review your finances to determine your lifestyle. Your income will set the parameters for your lifestyle.

Fourth, think about what you want to do with your time. Couples may agree to pursue their own interests separately but also have some joint activities.

Fifth, with the aid of the internet thoroughly research your options.

Sixth, prepare a Ben Franklin, honestly writing down the pros and cons of each of your options.

Seventh, visit the locations you are interested in, live in a dwelling and talk with the locals in each area. By analyzing places at different times of the day, you will find the spot most suited to you.

Eighth, live in different areas of the country by renting accommodations before choosing the final location and perhaps buying a home. I continue to rent, which also is an option.

Ninth, learn the language, if it is not English or your native tongue.

Tenth, if you have a significant other, be sure you are both on the same wave-length about how you want to live and where. If you are a woman that needs a male companion, be sure to bring him with you. Finding one in Costa Rica can be a major undertaking because many eligible men choose women young enough to be their daughters.

Deciding to retire in my case happened when the parent company filed bankruptcy causing my job of a lifetime to disappear. Dealing with the shock, I determined I did not want to return to the good-ole-boy commercial real estate business that I had battled for 25 years or to work in retail. I looked for something to supplement my income but could not land an acceptable part-time job being close to a presumed retirement age.

As I evaluated my choices, my goal was to be able to enjoy an adventure that would ensure my golden years would be happy, healthy, and content.

After seven years of living in Costa Rica, to pay for my good life, I published a book in 2012. This year I released the third edition of “Retiring in Costa Rica or Doctors, Dogs and Pura Vida” to pinpoint the changes and growth in my second country and to update all the data and links.

The book enables readers to take the first step in performing due diligence beginning with the new chapter, Retirement 101, also available as a booklet on Kindle. It encourages you to look beyond your financial plans and to consider carefully what you will do with your wonderful free hours. And, you may contact me through my website for the password to download a free Moving Guide and workbook, useful for any move.

If Costa Rica is on your list of possible locations, you’ll undoubtedly discover if retiring to this emerging nation is, or is not, for you. If your choice is retiring to another foreign country, the book may help you to recognize what you might face when adapting to a different culture.

You could also decide to keep working, if only part-time, or to create a business you have always wanted to pursue and to live near family and friends. It’s your choice to make for your great opportunity. Pura Vida!

By Helen Dunn Frame*
Special to Retire NOW in Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s Imperial beer – first beer globally to be declared water positive!

Imperial, “The beer of Costa Rica”, was declared the first beer globally to be water positive.

Being “Water Positive” means having strategies in place to contribute with water conservation, “Imperial has managed to reduce in over 44% the consumption of water in its manufacturing process, with the help of investments in high technology equipment, and the establishment of good environmental practices regarding the adequate use of this vital liquid”, explained Gisela Sánchez, director of Corporate Relations for Florida Ice & Farm.

In order to earn this certification, the quantification is revised by Mexico’s Center of Analysis of the Life Cycle and Sustainable Design and verified yearly by the Technical Norms Institute of Costa Rica. Some of the aspects considered have to do with the obtaining of raw materials, manufacture, distribution, final disposition and packaging recycling practices, this helps determine the water footprint and the real impact in the ecosystem .

The positive value is also accomplished through the community water projects being developed in two important areas of Costa Rica: Gavilán Canta in Talamanca and Brasilito in Guanacaste.

Devoted to the brand’s purpose to set the pace in being a different type of brand that leaves a positive footprint, and our philosophy of making of Costa Rica a “Pura Vida” country in every aspect, in Imperial we have been working on a sustainability plan that consists in developing diverse strategies to protect our ecosystem. Ticos are privileged to have abundant water resources in comparison to other countries, but we must have a proper use and sustainable management of water to preserve it for the current and future generations, and our brand is aware of this, and of the importance of preserving this wealth”, said Juan José Altmann, Brand Manager of Imperial.

Florida Ice & Farm (Fifco), also announced that they are launching a strategy named “Fifco Air Brands” with the purpose that their brands do not generate any environmental or social footprint during their life cycle.

The company expects to reach this goal by 2020 with their brands: Tropical, Cristal, Imperial, Mecochón Cero, The Westin Golf Resort & Spa Conchal Beach, Seagrams and Magic Hat.

Costa Rican Public Health System Recognized by World Health Organization!

The Costa Rican Public Health System became the first institution in the Latin America and Caribbean region, and the seventh in the world to be internationally certified for its emergency and disaster relief services.

The World Health Organization granted the emergency medical team of the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS), which runs the country’s universal public health care system, the highest level (level 1) international accreditation.

According to Milton Salazar Acuña, a medical doctor at the Center for Emergency and Disaster Care of the CCSS, the certification recognizes the center’s capacity to treat up to 100 people in a day in an emergency or disaster situation anywhere in Costa Rica. The certification will allow the agency to create a health team that can respond to regional disasters and emergencies as well, said WHO officials during their visit to the country last week.

Last October, the CCSS acquired a mobile emergency care unit which cost an estimated US$700 thousand, said Salazar, which, together with expert procedures and highly trained personnel, guarantees the provision of medical services during emergency or disaster situations

The timely acquisition of the mobile unit allowed the CCSS to provide emergency support to the Upala health system, and to guarantee the continuity of regular services in northern Costa Rica when Hurricane Otto ravaged the area in late November.

The mobile hospital, ensures the provision of health services in emergency and disaster situations, such as earthquakes, floods or health emergencies and can be moved and installed in a few hours to any community in the country, said Salazar.

By Wendy Anders, The Costa Rica Star.

Guanacaste, Costa Rica to Host World Famous Ironman in June …

After a five-year wait, Carrillo, Guanacaste finally made the cut to host a Ironman 70.3 triathlon this year. This is the first time Costa Rica will host one of the world famous endurance competitions, and it is almost completely filled.

With 2,000 competitors already filling all of the general registration spots for the June 18 event, according to the Ironman website, event organizers expect the race to bring at least eight to ten thousand visitors to the Playas del Coco region of Guanacaste province, as each Ironman competitor travels with two or more companions on average.

The Ironman 70.3, also known as a Half Ironman, is one of a series of long distance triathlon races organized by the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC). The number 70.3 refers to the total distance in miles (113.0 km) covered in the race that involves a 1.2-mile (1.9 km) swim, a 56-mile (90 km) bike ride, and a 13.1-mile (21.1 km) run, said the WTC. The segment disatnces are half of those in a full Ironman triathlon.

The Ironman 70.3 series culminates each year with a world championship competition, which competitors qualify for during the 70.3 series in the 12 months prior to the championship, said the WTC.

The 2017 IRONMAN 70.3 Costa Rica will offer 35 qualifying slots to the 2017 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Chattanooga, Tennessee, according to the Ironman website.

Finish times range from under 4 hours by elite athletes to 8 hours and 30 minutes. Times vary from race to race and are influenced by factors such as terrain, weather conditions, and course conditions, said the WTC.

On March 1, 25 elite competitor spots will open for the Costa Rica race, as well as 100 additional spots – 70  individual and 30 relay spaces (one person per discipline). After this, the event will be completely filled.

The mile and a half long Playas del Coco, the race site, is one of Costa Rica’s most popular beaches. Protected by a bay, its gentle, warm waters are ideal for bathing, snorkeling and also boating.

Ironman orgnizers sum up Costa Rica like this: “Costa Rica is one of the world’s most unique tourist destinations. The natural beauty, stunning beaches, pleasant climate and the peaceful easy going nature of Costa Ricans make the country an attractive, must-see part of the world.”

By Wendy Anders, The Costa Rica Star

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