Hi, my name is Kevin XYZ. Former USAF. About ready to retire and looking to relocating to Costa Rica, alone. My state pension is only abt $1,500 mo. Is it true that I can live there on that amt? I don’t need the “BIG” party life. Just want to decompress from years of working. I have modest needs, but want to be able to experience and see Costa Rica. I know you must get many emails from folks from here in the states, but I do hope you respond.
Thanks for touching base! First off, thank you so much for your service to our country - I sincerely appreciate it. And congrats on your imminent retirement. To answer your question directly; yes, it's possible to live on $1,500 a month. Now the fine print; Costa Rica is actually one of the more expensive countries to relocate to. It's incredibly beautiful - no doubt - but you'll also face some challenges. Some people will find the infrastructure disorganized, difficult to obtain visas or open a business, and crime is getting worse. If you live in a tourist area or right by the beach it probably will cost you more than$1,500, but there are plenty of chill places in the mountains or in more local areas of beach towns where you can live humbly on that budget.
You'll find this useful - I just wrote an article for the Huffington Post: How to Live in Paradise for Less Than $1,500 a Month by huff.to/1fdFzqh
Before you make a big decision about your retirement, I would check out Panama and Nicaragua (great place, just very poor.) I lived in San Juan del Sur in Nica for a while and it's a tiny quaint town. Also Granda City in Nica is nice, and in both places you could easily live for $1,500 a month. Of course there are pro's and con's to any place you live, and a process of adjustment you'll face just by moving abroad. For instance, I recommend you don't dive into things like buying a house, a car, or starting any business or doing any investments for at least a year, until you really learn about the place.
While we're at it, I would suggest adding Colombia in South America (absolutely amazing) and Ecuador to your list. I'm in SE Asia right now and thought it's way far from home, it's a GREAT place to retire - Vietnam is cheap and so nice and safe with great food, the Philippines is very rough around the edges but the people are great and the beaches are amazing, and Thailand is super nice (though getting touristy.)
I hope that helps! I'm actually putting together an eBook with more detailed information about living/retiring abroad because so many people have asked. BTW before you move to Costa Rica, give a read to South of Normal, the book I wrote about my year living there. Eye opening!
Ok sir, have a great holiday and please keep in touch!