The results are in!
Thank you, everyone who took the time to participate in my survey about moving to Costa Rica - the response was huge and I really appreciate it!
Now that I've crunched the numbers and read your responses, it also gives me a greater insight into who you are, why you're looking to move down to Costa Rica, and what needs, challenges and resources I can help with.
And the best part is that one of you is going to win a $25 Visa card, as promised! (So scroll down to the end if you want to see if it was you.)
Here are the results of the survey and my quick notes (with little colorful surfboards attached):
It looks like most of you are either gung ho about moving to Costa Rica ASAP (28% within one year) or just thinking about it in the future with no definite time (44%).
About a third of you are set on moving to Costa Rica, a third of you are considering other countries, and a third aren't sure at all!
Surprisingly, the largest group (54%) of people considering moving down to Costa Rica have never been there!
While there are a lot of retirees (54%) moving down to Costa Rica, a good number of you (25%) are looking to semi-retire or just live a slower pace of life when it comes to work.
To that point, only a third of respondents say that they definitely will have to work and earn income when they move to Costa Rica, while 29% aren't sure and 38% won't.
Lifestyle is the biggest attraction to moving to Costa Rica, followed by the lower cost of living, its proximity to the US or home, and healthcare. Interestingly, Costa Rica's natural beauty is only the fifth most prominent reason for moving there.
Figuring out the visa situation is your biggest concern, followed by the language barrier if you don't speak Spanish, and then, how you'll make a living. If you ask me, earning income and making a living should be the #1 concern!
How can I best help you with your move down to Costa Rica? You want accurate information on living expenses, the visa and residency situation, buying or renting real estate, where to move in Costa Rica, and any possible safety issues.
Oh yeah, the $25 Visa gift card. Thanks for reminding me!
After a random drawing, I'm happy to announce that...
Jeff Crispell is the winner! Jeff - just email me to claim your $25 gift card.
This week, the U.S. will be celebrating their Independence Day - July 4th. For those of you who are moving down to Costa Rica, you may be wondering how the holiday is celebrated in this country, if at all.
The good news is that Ticos and American expats alike rock out for July 4th! In fact, the U.S. Embassy in San Jose throws a HUGE party every year for all U.S. passport holders and their families and friends, and many bars, restaurants, and social clubs around the country do the same. Called "The American Colony Committee," it's grown so big that they hold it in a local park and the festivities start on the 3rd, culminating with star-spangled fireworks.
The event includes plenty of games, bands, historical reenactments, and, of course, beer and hot dogs!
In the spirit of friendship and partnership, I've found Ticos to be really supportive and even excited to celebrate the United States Independence Day.
I first went to my U.S. Embassy party as far back as 1999 and had a blast then, and it's still a fun and fantastic patriotic event.
Here are a few photos (from the Tico Times and other sources) to show you more. Have fun and celebrate the 4th safely, no matter where you are!
The Official Expat,
I received an encouraging email this week from a really nice U.S. surgeon who is looking far ahead to his eventual retirement or semi-retirement and strongly considering Costa Rica as his best option. Already having purchased the Moving to Costa Rica Handbook, he was kind enough to reach out to compliment the info it contained, but also see if I had any extra or parting nuggets of advice for him.
Off the top of my head and considering his circumstances, this is what I emailed him back. Of course, everyone is different, but this is one to grow on, as they say, as you start planning your move down to Costa Rica, too!
1. Think about spending part of the year in Cost Rica and part of the year back in the States. Even though it’s paradise, for me, the rainy season can become a slog of wetness and mosquitos haha. It's also nice to get back to the U.S. and see family, friends, and do some shopping/paperwork/banking, etc. I think that balance allows me to appreciate both even more!
2. Be VERY careful when it comes to finances. I’m making a broad assumption that you’re comfortable financially, and while that will afford you many opportunities in Costa Rica, it can also potentially make you a target. Stay low-key and be careful, as there are scams and hustlers everywhere, and far too many expats move down and start shelling out huge chunks of money in real estate deals or to open businesses, only to go belly-up and lose a portion of their precious nest egg.
3. Do some charity work – either here in Costa Rica or in neighboring Nicaragua, where they REALLY need it. I find that living in Costa Rica or abroad is great, but all of the sunshine and good times won’t mean anything without a PURPOSE or MEANING to our lives, including the inherent human need to be connected and part of something bigger than ourselves.
Too many expats go abroad and just become lost or depressed because they lack those things and just start drinking every day or withdrawing. Getting involved and helping those in need is the most positive, effective way to counter that!
Those are my two cents (three cents?) since you were nice enough to reach out.
Please read through the handbook at your leisure and then contact me any time so we can chat or answer your additional questions!
Living in Costa Rica is a wonderful daydream, but without a practical plan to make income and earn a living, it remains just that - wishful thinking.
Here’s the good news for all you 9-to-5’ers and corporate slaves out there: the dream is possible. You CAN travel or live anywhere in the world and take your job with you, still making money in the U.S. (or your home country) virtually.
I’m not going to blow sunshine at you at tell you that it’s easy, as it may take a lot of research, planning, and hard work. But it IS possible to live your life by a beach, or on top of a mountain, in a foreign country and still make a living. They even have a name for these new virtual workers – Digital Nomads.
Advances in technology and the prevalence of freelance job portals online like Fiverr.com, Freelancer.com, and Upwork.com have made working virtually easier than ever. In fact, people have been doing it for years, and a U.S. Census report shows that the number of people who work virtually or from home has soared by 41% in the past decade.
The prevalence of virtual and online work has also set us free (geographically speaking) to live abroad or travel like never before, with an estimated 6 million U.S. citizens live overseas. I’m seeing more and travelers and expats working virtually from their laptops, making just enough money to keep their dream alive (especially in some countries where living expenses may be much lower), while others bring in $10,000 or even $20,000 or more every month working virtually.
So, whether you are a stay-at-home mom looking for side work, a college student who wants to backpack around Europe and still make some money, or a 9-5 burnout who gives it all up and lives abroad to be a beach bum (like me), the dream is alive and well.
In part one of this series, I covered 10 of the 50 virtual jobs you can do from the beach (in Costa Rica or anywhere you choose!).
Here are the next 10 jobs you can do from the beach in Costa Rica:
4. Web developer
This is one of the most common live-and-work-abroad jobs, and it does take a technical knowledge of web-building code and platforms, of course, but you can teach yourself or learn online.
9. Video producer and editor
Produce videos for corporations, non-profits, or entertainers.
11. On-line post-secondary teachers
There is a growing trend of online universities, colleges, and also high schools. Additionally, there are a lot of online teaching portals like Udemy.
13. Virtual tax preparer
You can prepare those pesky income tax returns over your laptop.
15. Data entry
Menial and unfulfilling, but who cares if you can do it by the beach?
20. Outside sales
Many sales jobs can be done via the Internet, phone, fax, Skype, etc. and are based solely on commission.
27. Graphic artist
Every company needs a logo, infographic, or other artwork.
36. Educational tutoring
Tutor children in after school programs or learning centers, or college kids in specific subjects.
Manage the books and accounting for any business - from the beach.
50. Life coach
Life coaching and the personal self-help industry is doing huge business, and what better mentor than someone living the dream from the beach in Costa Rica?!
Please note that these are just a sample of the jobs you can do virtually, so by no means is this list exhaustive.
Likewise, there are plenty of jobs you can pick up IN Costa Rica that are popular with foreigners, and many multi-national companies (like resorts!) located in the land of pura vida that are ready to hire.
You’ll find actual listings of these companies, more information on jobs you can do virtually, a special interview I did with the Founder of FlexJobs.com, tips on work visas, and other hacks in the Moving to Costa Rica Handbook's Special Report.
It's a tiny investment if you're serious about moving to Costa Rica but need to keep earning income!
The Official Expat,
How are you doing with your move to Costa Rica?
I thought I'd check in with you this week and see where you're at with your move to Costa Rica. My intention when I wrote the Moving to Costa Rica Handbook was to provide as much information, value, and help as possible to folks who are considering making the move down here to the sunny and beautiful land of pura vida.
So, the best way for me to do that is to get your feedback with this super quick survey. I promise that it will only take a minute or two and just by submitting it, you'll be automatically eligible to win a $25 VISA card in a random drawing!
Thanks again - and if there's anything at all you'd like me to write about or help you with, don't hesitate to drop me a line!
The Official Expat,
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