THIS NEWSLETTER CONTAINS NO ADVERTISING - WE SHILL FOR NO ONE
here is what's on the inside...
What's Happened to Costa Rica?
When I began writing this final editorial, my intention was simply to bow out gracefully, leaving words of encouragement to those who have the passion and desire to live an adventurous life living abroad.
While that encouragement still exists, I feel that I would be remiss if I didn't offer a strong dose of precautionary warning to those adventurous souls.
I don't care what you read and hear about how great, unspoiled, inexpensive and safe Costa Rica is. Don't believe (on face value) WITHOUT first doing your own extensive research. As I have repeatedly said for the last six years, if somebody has something to gain by you moving to Costa Rica (or for that matter anywhere, don't believe it. VERIFY EVERYTHING.
I have come to know many people, especially gringos, that will fill your heads with all sorts of Pura Vida Bullshit. They will make you believe that Costa Rica is the happiest and safest place on earth and where your dollar can buy more that you can imagine. Where the healthcare deliverable is second to none and that the "simple life" will add years to your life. While there is a modicum of truth to that, sorry folks, IT'S SIMPLY NOT TRUE. And if you are still not sure of their motivation on selling you on moving to Costa Rica, just look at their websites.
If the answer is YES to any of these indicators, then you should really scrutinize the content of these websites very carefully.
For example, websites that profess how much WE LOVE Costa Rica or how you can RETIRE FOR LESS in Costa Rica, exemplify this aura of deception. While very careful not to publish easily verifiable claims (aka lies), readers are lead down the false path and are not being served up the full truth. The authors of such sites perpetuate an "ignorance is bliss" mentality.
Dedicated expat groups like the ARCR (the Association for Residents of Costa Rica) appear to be informational sources designed specifically for the inquisitive expat. But in truth, are little more than vehicles to sell legal services, travel services and of course to promote real estate opportunities. These groups should always be looked upon with very skeptical eyes. My biggest gripe I have with this group is they cater almost exclusively to those living in or near San Jose. They provided nearly zero benefits to expats living or wanting to live in other parts of the country. Their public internet forum, while it appears to promote an honest exchange of ideas and opinions, continues to be tightly monitored. Any content deemed "not in keeping with the positive promotion of Costa Rica," is summarily removed and those individuals are can be banned from the site.
I say this not to besmirch the informational value of these resources, but instead to make you keenly aware of the potential bias or conflict of interest that exists. Additionally, I'll be the first to say "QUESTION EVERYTHING I SAY." While I don't profit from anything I produce, occasionally my writings can be overly critical and incendiary on some topics. (YA THINK!) While my negativity can seem overpowering at times, it does represent the "other side of the coin" when it comes to fulfilling your Costa Rican due diligence responsibilities.
My final words on this subject is very direct...
BOLO... Be On The Lookout...
There's A Sucker Born Every Minute
You are going to be inundated with sales pitches from people who are tied to real estate ventures and international retirement programs. Their goal; convince you to buy land, build houses, and to invest your hard earned savings in overseas speculative ventures. They will tell you everything you want to hear and they will convince you to do this by way of their own self-generated, non-validated propaganda. If you go down this path, take off your blinders and do so with your eyes wide open. These people are experts at separating you from your money.
Expat Life May NOT Be For You
Nearly half the people who move to Costa Rica return home in within the first 12-18 months. An even greater number of people are returning after just 5-6 years. WHY IS THIS? For starters, those who leave early do so because they "fell into lust" with the country and thought that the life they were living on vacation would simply morph into their newly adopted expat lifestyle. But as they soon came to learn, reality bit them squarely on the ass. Of all the bullshit they were lead to believe in the beginning; little came to fruition.
But what about those adventurous souls who make it 5-6 years? Well that was us. But unlike this declining demographic, our plan was to return to the States when we were eligible to receive Medicare. However, this was not the attitude of many of our friends. It was their desire to (eventually) become one with Costa Rica and live the Pura Vida. Some went so far as to say they even planned on even becoming one with the soil.
We Really Miss The Kids
But over time, something happened to change their minds. There were many reasons. For some missing family was their number one reason. For others it was the skyrocketing cost of living. Many expats believe the Costa Rican government really does not give a damn about retiring expats. They merely see us as sources of revenue. And when you look at new tax proposals, you'll see that it is truer now more than ever.
Where Are The Cops When You Need Them
Growing crime is becoming a huge issue. Once confined to the larger cities, both petty and major crimes are spreading to small towns and the ever popular tourist areas. To make matters even worse, Costa Rica's law enforcement organizations are under funded, under manned and corruption is rampant throughout its ranks from the top federal officials, down to the local cop who shakes you down for money at a traffic stop. Check out this report that compares Costa Rica's crime activity to that of other countries.
You Mean The National Healthcare System Isn't That Great?
The national medical system (La Caja) is a total embarrassment. Underfunded, deeply in debt, and managed by incompetent bureaucrats who are more concerned with lining their pockets with public dollars than helping people in need, La Caja is on the verge of collapse. As for us, even though we were mandated to pay into the Caja system, we rarely made use of it. And for those few times when we did avail ourselves of their services, we were generally unhappy with the product we received and in the way it was delivered. Yes...that is the "gringo" in me coming out.
We opted to pay for private medical care but can say (almost without exception) that it too was sub-par. And it was for this reason we made the decision to return to the U.S. earlier than planned. Had we stayed, Fran was on a path to irrecoverable blindness. Today, just one year after our return, Fran is finally being properly treated and her future is significantly brighter.
So What's Going To Happen To Boomers Offshore?
I have invested thousands of hours into developing this website. And in doing so, authored (I hope) many interesting and thought provoking articles about real life in Costa Rica. Additionally I produced over 160, highly informative videos, that highlighted the mistruths about expat life and focused on making your time in country more fun and secure.
Sure, some of the information might be a bit dated but for the most part, the majority of that information is still very valid. Some Costa Rican laws have changed (and dare I say), some processes may have actually improved. But for the most part, the educational value of the content of Boomers Offshore will be valid for several years to come.
With that said, my plan is to keep the website up and running in it's current state for the next two to three years. While there are no plans to produce any new video content or newsletter editorials, I will continue to answer reader questions and of course offer my honest opinions. And ya never know, if for some odd reason I really get pissed off, I might temporarily come out of retirement and voice a scathing opinion.
If you have stayed with this editorial rant thus far, you can probably guess WHY this is going to be my final newsletter. My "attitude" has taken a massive shit and I find it extremely difficult to keep a positive attitude.
But Fran and I are now writing a new chapter to our life story. We are back to being homeowners having bought a nice home in Venice Florida. When I am not Driving Miss Daisy, I am playing music and performing Acoustic Classic Rock concerts in the area. This is my music website.
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