When Due Diligence Turns Into “Let’s Buy!”

The cost of retirement is a big hurdle for many Boomers. See how this boomer is overcoming this problem to retire early and better.

I will be retired in in 1000 + days… not that I’m counting…

(1071 days +/-)

My wife and I are on our Sixty Month Plan to do due diligence to retire overseas. Through a circumstance called “life” we are under-saved. Suffice to say we have less than the recommended kajillion dollars all the retirement calculators recommend.

I was resigned to the fact that I would be working until I die.


Until my wife started poking around various websites and stumbled across a whole slew of ’em featuring the luxurious and cheap life of retirement in Central America.

As with most of her ideas I poo-pooed it.

  • Nicaragua?
  • Costa Rica?
  • Panama?

All off a sudden, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. We could sell our current house and stuff and move to a country where the cost-of-living is much, much lower. Those social security checks might be able to afford us a lifestyle that wouldn’t drain our under-savings in just a few years of underemployment.


After a week of surfing various websites, we decided that Costa Rica at least deserved a look-see. In January.

Booked flights. Got a place to stay. Even hired a semi-local to give us an “insiders” tour.

All the forums and blogs and websites have the same advice: Don’t move abroad without doing due diligence. Which of course is great advice.

Advice we plan to follow:

  • Make many trips before retirement
  • Rent, rent, rent before you buy
  • Learn the language

Yup, yup and yup. That’s the plan. Sixty Months. Five friggin’ years to do due diligence.

Until – until – we started looking at property for sale. Even though we would rent, rent, rent, on our first trip to Costa Rica we would want to see some houses for sale. If you’ve moved, you know that there is nothing like standing in the front yard of a prospective home purchase.

This is where due diligence gives way to “woo-hoo! did you see this place?”

55,000,000 colones – Three bedroom, two bath, 1.5 acres, fruit trees, vegetable garden, stream in back, 1,500 square feet, telephone, high speed internet, SKY satellite television, cable television, just off main road, 45 minutes to airport, 30 minutes to beach. Beautiful view of…

I’ll save you the conversion: that’s just over $110,000.

It’s not uncommon to find such property in a country where $3 a day is a good wage, the health care system is socialized and ranked high in the world, where 95% of the citizens are high school graduates, and the climate is perfect according to the National Geographic.

I have access to $110,000 that is fairly liquid (sell off some of her f-dollars and cotton.)

Let’s. Buy. Now.

Whoa down, Nellybelle. Costa Rica has pretty good property-protection laws, except for squatters. If someone moves onto a property and starts to care for it as if it was their own, it can become theirs. Or cost the true owner a bunch of time and money to it back.

We’ll still be “just-lookers” in January, and the next January and the next. But our due diligence research has provided some extra stress as we find these wonderful properties at bargain basement prices. Having to deal with the urge to BUY NOW, was not in our plans. It added a new dynamic.

Will these bargain properties be there in Sixty Months?

Time will tell and we will do our best to resist the urge to go all Billy Mays and Buy Now.

We will do our best to stick to the plan of rent, rent, rent before we buy because as they say on the innerwebs: it’s easier to buy than it is to sell.

Stay tuned. I’ll let you know if the due diligence turned into a down-payment due.

Originally posted 2010-12-18 21:07:30.

Author: Robert Fowler

Robert Fowler is President of Retirement Media Inc. Check out Robert's blog at BoomerPlaces.com

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