Updated: Jun 11, 2019
Standard wisdom says don't retire until you can afford it... if you live that long. We decided to get a little creative.
My wife had reached her career peak managing a medium sized law firm office and was mentally ready to cut the cord. She quit and decided to start drawing her Social Security at 62. Now she crochets beautiful creations with thread and sells them on her Etsy site called ThreadLoops. It pays for the thread, her haircuts and keeps her off the streets.
I had a printing and graphics business for 28 years which had ground me to a pulp. I'd had it. I then worked a couple of part time jobs for a few years but now I am also retired.
We visited Costa Rica because we heard that many people go there, or other places, to retire in a more peaceful setting that costs less. We kept going back for vacations and explored the idea of living there, getting more serious about it each time, eventually building a small casita at Lake Arenal. When we are not there, we make it available on VRBO - https://www.vrbo.com/7599555ha. We have plans to build a larger home someday and will continue to rent it or we can host family and friends there.
Should we sell our home and move there full time? What if we don't like it after a couple of years? A lot of people move there and later wash out. It's a beautiful and wonderful place to explore and the people are friendly and patient with us non-Spanish gringos. But life is different there. It's not all American-ized, which is part of the allure. It's like stepping back in time 50 years, except everyone has smartphones. You can't just get what you need or want a few miles away. In fact, there are a lot of things you can't find anywhere in the entire country. This is the complete opposite to how we are living near Portland Oregon. Hey, are you sure about this?
Where we live now is terrific. I can drive three miles and get 90% of what I could ever need or want. For everything else there's Amazon. We've got Home Depot, Lowes, Trader Joes, Cabelas, FedEx, Apple store, craft stores, veterinarian, medical services, shopping mall, theaters, you name it. Even without using the car, we can easily walk to the grocery store, the post office, and about 30 different places to eat or drink. It's great. We look out at trees behind us and there are forested walking trails and city parks at our doorstep. Why would we want to leave all this? The I-5 freeway is only two miles away... and it's calling. We want to travel not only to Costa Rica, but to see more of the U.S. and to live a more modest, even minimalist, lifestyle.
So let's think about this... people pay a premium to live in this area of Portland because of all this convenience. Why not let that be a positive thing? Rather than sell it, we can rent out our place and live part of the year full-timing in our Airstream Interstate RV and part of the year in Costa Rica. Adventure is waiting. Why would we not seize it while we still can? If something doesn't work out, we can always come back home at the end of the lease term and hook up the cable TV again.
Oh, and we also wanted a dog... but not just any dog.