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

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