Friday, July 09, 2010

Expat Experiences: Costa Rica - Andy and Fran Browne

Who are you?
Andy and Fran Browne

Hello, we are Andy and Fran Browne, two hard working yet forcibly retired gringos now living in Playa Hermosa Guanacaste Costa Rica.

Fran and I grew up in South Florida, attending many of the same schools and lived only blocks apart, but somehow we never met. One day while at party at a friend's house, we finally did meet. At the time, Fran was dating a friend of mine but it seemed that things between us just clicked. Within three weeks we were sharing an apartment and just 6 months later we wound up married.

What can I say... it was the 70's and we all did impulsive things. So here it is, 38 years later, we're still married, unemployed and loving life in Costa Rica. To our credit, we raised two wonderful sons, one of which is married and has graced us with two very energetic grandchildren and our second son remains single, but is trying to settle down.

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

In August 2008, within the short span of just one month, Fran lost her job as a Marketing Executive with a large printing company in Charlotte North Carolina and I lost my job as an I/T Vice President with Wachovia Bank. For years we joked about moving to Costa Rica following a vacation there in 1999. However, months before everything came crashing down, we had a feeling something bad was going to happen regarding our employment situation. So we immediately began looking at what our post employment plan B was going to be. Heck, we were only 58 years old at least 7 year before any sort of planned retirement. But our backs were up against the wall. Failure to plan now would put us at the mercy of our employers and that was not a very comforting feeling.

The first thing we did was to contact our Financial Advisor. We needed to know the value of our ever declining retirement "war chest." The second thing was to create a very detailed accounting of all our expenses including our debt pay down. It was at that time we realized that our current funds would only last us for maybe seven more years... just in time for Social Security. But the down side to that is we would have spent through all our cash reserves and living on the government dole. That was unacceptable to us.

We began looking for alternative places to live. Having traveled quite a bit to Europe, we thought about moving to the Tuscany region of Italy. We loved it there. But truth be told... our war chest would be depleted in only about three years...


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