Retire Young in Costa Rica – Interview with Author Nadine Hays Pisani

Nadine Hays Pisani - Happier than a BillionaireHave you ever dreamed of quitting your job and selling everything to move to paradise? Nadine Hays Pisani and her husband did exactly that and are now living in Costa Rica on $1000 per month. Paradise doesn’t have to be as expensive as you may think. Nadine shares her story in this interview.

How long have you lived in Costa Rica?

I moved to Costa Rica four years ago. We only traveled here a few times before deciding we wanted to retire there. We didn’t know anyone, just knew that this was the type of lifestyle we were dreaming about. It was a big leap of faith but thankfully it worked out.

 What did you do to prepare to retire?

We didn’t do too much planning. We sold everything and figured we could live for 10 years on our savings. It was important to have enough money that we were not rushing into any businesses since we knew nothing about how to set up one in Costa Rica. By taking our time, we were able to see where different opportunities exist. I think that’s the most important thing about moving to a foreign country, not rushing into anything.

What was the impetus to quit everything and move to a new country?

I knew that working the rest of my life in an office was not for me. We all have a tendency to put things off, thinking we will have the time to do it. But the longer I waited, the more I realized it was never going to happen unless I dramatically changed the way I lived. I finally decided to go for it. There is a lot of fear when breaking out of ones comfort zone. But once you do it, a whole new world opens up.

Do you earn an income at all now?

The income that I earn is now through my book. It’s a humorous account of the adventures my husband and I had during this process. No one can ever prepare you for the cultural differences you encounter when assimilating into a new country. I also had to learn to let go of a materialistic lifestyle so that I could have a happier life. The longer I lived here, the more I was able to identify all the things that made me unhappy, and a lot of that came from always thinking I had to buy something to achieve pleasure. Now I appreciate each moment and have gratitude for the simple things.

Can you earn a good living as an author?

I believe if you write a compelling story, others will want to read it. In August, a CNN reporter heard about my book and did a story about me on their website. It was a great break and the sales shot up significantly. It goes to show that you have to put your work out there, and each small bit of marketing you do will grow upon itself. In addition, having a good website is also important. It’s a great place to connect with your readers and answer their questions.

Can you give us a rough idea of your monthly living expenses in Costa Rica?

We live on $1000 a month. We have a great deal with our landlord and only pay $150/month. They live in the states and needed a responsible couple to care of their home. Although you may not find a deal like this, average rents are around $400 to $600 for a nice house, you just have to be here on the ground to scout them out. We pay around $125 in electricity, very high because we moved to the beach and like the air conditioning. Our health care is $50 per person and food is around $250 dollars a month. Fruits and vegetables are very cheap but anything imported is about twice what it is in the states. We ride a scooter to save on gas and I have a funny video on my blog of all the groceries my husband insists on stacking onto it. You can’t say he’s not resourcefull.

What are the drawbacks of living in a country like Costa Rica?

The drawbacks are few, but not knowing the language makes everything a little more difficult. Thankfully, the people are so friendly here, we usual accomplish things without too many problems.

Can you offer any advice or recommendations for people considering early retirement and moving to Costa Rica?

First visit and see if it’s a good fit. Then rent for a while in different parts of the country to see what area you like best. It takes at least a year to start feeling settled. And have a sense of humor, it makes the journey easier and you will end up with a lot of funny stories that can fill a book. I should know…it happened to me.

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My name is John Bardos. My wife and I gave up our business, house and possessions in Japan to search for more meaning and fulfillment in our lives. We've discovered that a satisfying life is about rich experiences, quality relationships and meaningful contribution, NOT consumption.

4 Responses to Retire Young in Costa Rica – Interview with Author Nadine Hays Pisani

  1. Wow, very awesome.

    So great to see someone young who’s attained what I’m reaching for. It’s really inspiring!

  2. Susan says:

    Our family has been living in Costa Rica for 2 months now and are amazed at how little Nadine and her family are living on. We’re a young family of 7 and would LOVE to find some housesitting jobs, but I know our larger family is not too appealing to home owners, even though we have very well behaved children. We were able to find a good deal on a home over the internet (only $650/month includes all utilities and high speed internet), so it is very feasible to live her for much less than in the states.

    We can attest to fruits and veggies being substantially less than in the US (who can get a BIG bunch of bananas for $0.80 in the US???) and the imports being pricey. Last week, I saw a jar of US peanut butter for $8.40 and it was a small jar. Food expenses overall have been higher for us here than back in Florida, but not bad.

    I look forward to learning more about Nadine’s family’s adventures here in Costa Rica. It truly is an amazing place to live!

  3. Awesome post. It’s great to hear about an expat who’s thriving in Costa Rica and their motivation for moving out of the U.S. Nadine and her husband are certainly making their new life work and there are thousands of other Americans, Canadians, and people of just about every nationality doing the same all over the country. Costa Rica is a great place to live for the reasons Nadine lists and many more.

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