For pretty much our entire twenty years together, Donna and I have understood that our retirement years, when we reached them, were not going to be very well funded.
We've worked hard our entire lifetimes, but at nothing that ever made us much money. We were never able to buy property. We never played the stock market. We've always saved up what we could, but emergencies and just life would always keep it from ever getting to be very much at all. We feel rich anytime our "estate" hits the five-figure mark. We realized early on that our retirement funds would in all likelihood consist of little more than our two monthly Social Security checks. So we didn't spend much time planning anything out.
But now things are different. The fat lady is warming up as I am about to start getting my early SS next month and Donna just hit the 65 mark. And as that and our spinal situations are cattle-prodding us into retirement, options are playing out as we now have some hard numbers to play with.
So here are the top 5 retirement options we have been seriously considering of late that are within our budget:
• Buying a very cheap mobile home in some very cheap mobile home park here in southern California, packed in like sardines next to other mobile homes, next to some freeway somewhere.
• Getting on waiting lists for subsidized senior housing and eventually taking whatever dinky apartment comes available first. Although I don't know what we'd do during the years until that happens.
• Buying a large travel trailer and having it towed to different places we can afford to park it in for a few months at a time before moving it and ourselves to some other area.
• Moving into my sister's "extra" house in Leavenworth, Kansas at a greatly reduced rent.
• Emigrating to Costa Rica, even though we have never been there before, and turning our retirement into the easily affordable and wondrous adventure of our lifetimes.
To be honest, I had considered Costa Rica in the back of my mind for a long time, but since we started seriously thinking about and researching that last option on the list, we have completely and totally lost all interest in the other four. They don't even come close. No contest. I have been doing tons of research. I've been chatting with dozens of expats already down there who have been giving me a wealth of information. I have become entirely enamored of the place and of the idea of spending the rest of my days there.
We are currently focused on the area in and around Atenas. Since the climate is one of our primary concerns about anywhere we end up, it seems like the best place to start there, from what I've gathered. It has a lot of other things going for it too. Only a half hour away from San Jose, the Big City of Costa Rica. Lots of expats there to befriend and network with. We may move around from there, but it's where our first night in the country will be.
Our exploratory mission will happen just as soon as we can manage it. Hopefully by or before the beginning of next year. If our one or two week trip there results in us still loving the place, Phase Two will happen a few months later when we pack up what we want to keep in the States as a fallback, move it to my sisters enormous outbuilding on the property she just bought, and move to CR with just a few suitcases and begin living there for at least a few months. If we decide to stay, Phase Three will involve coming back to ship what we want to CR and putting down stakes there when we get back.
F*ck me for taking French in high school.