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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Costa Rica Retiree Shares Journey

My Path to Retiring (and Writing!) in Costa Rica

By Helen Dunn Frame 

Review quote from Rowdy Rhodes

About 13 years ago, I faced the BIG decision. Should I retire or go up against the unseen wall preventing older citizens from obtaining a job despite extensive experience?

When the parent company filed bankruptcy, my job of a lifetime disappeared. I determined I did not want to return to the good-ole-boy commercial real estate business that I had battled for 25 years. I looked for something to supplement my income. One real estate company’s president wouldn’t hire me as a receptionist with the bonus of a broker’s license because he felt I would want to retire soon.

As part of my due diligence, I visited Costa Rica, a then financial friendly country, to assess living there. When I returned home, despite what many financial advisors would advise I took Social Security early based on the idea that money now is worth more than later. I ran the numbers and determined I would have to collect my benefit for at least 13 years to break even.

Like others, I had to decide if I wanted to retire full time, part time, or not at all. As I approached what could be the last quarter or even third of my life, I did a Ben Franklin and listed the pros and cons. My goal was to enjoy an adventure that would ensure my golden years would be happy, healthy, and content. To pay forward, I wrote a book, first published in 2012, called Retiring in Costa Rica or Doctors, Dogs and Pura Vida. This year I published the third edition to pinpoint the changes and growth in the country.

The book offers readers the first step, beginning with the new first Chapter, Retirement 101, in which I encourage you to look beyond your financial plans and to consider what you will do with your wonderful free hours. If Costa Rica is on your list of possible locations, you’ll learn about its environment. You’ll undoubtedly discover if retiring to this emerging nation is, or is not, for you. If your choice is retiring to another foreign country, the book will help you to recognize what you might face when adapting to a different culture. You could also decide to keep working, if only part-time, or to create a business and live near family and friends.

In Retiring, you will find a lot of data, including references to other books, links to websites, and much-needed phone numbers that will enable you to carry your research to the next level. And, you may contact me through my website to download a free Moving Guide and workbook, useful for any move.

Freelance Writer Rowdy Rhodes wrote: “If you are contemplating permanent retirement, investing, or even birding in the forest reserves in Costa Rica, then you must read this book. An in-depth, comprehensive guide by U.S. expat Helen Dunn Frame, it provides a systematic method for the entire process of making your tropical retirement dream easily come true."


Helen Dunn Frame, an accomplished businesswoman (formerly a commercial real estate broker in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, specializing in retail and restaurants), developed professional writing skills. Plus, living in England, Germany, and Costa Rica; and her love of travel (in 50 countries where she gained an appreciation of the value of diverse cultures) have provided background for several books. 

Helen wove many threads of her experiences into the fabric of GREEK GHOSTS followed by the second in the mystery series, WETUMPKA WIDOW. Living in Dallas during a major scandal resulted in SECRETS BEHIND THE BIG PENCIL. In a third edition this year, Helen advises Baby Boomers in her book about RETIRING IN COSTA RICA or Doctors, Dogs and Pura Vida. It features a new chapter, Retirement 101, which is also a booklet available on Kindle.

A graduate of Syracuse University (Journalism School), and New York University (Master’s Degree in Sociology/Anthropology), major newspapers and magazines as well as trade publications in the United States, Costa Rica, England, and Germany have published her writing. She has edited newsletters, a newspaper and other author's books, created business proposals for clients and spoken to groups. 

She is the author of Retiring in Costa Rica or Doctors, Dogs and Pura Vida (Third Edition); Greek Ghosts, Love and Danger; Wetumpka Widow, Murder for Wealth; Secrets Behind the Big Pencil, Inspired by an Actual Scandal, Retirement 101, Planning Beyond Financial Security. Get to know her on her Web site at ,  Facebook: , her


 The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. It is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.

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