Some countries court foreign retirees, offering discounts (on everything from in-country travel to prescription medicines and closing costs on property purchase) and tax breaks (from the right to import household and personal belongings, even a car, tax-free to zero tax imposed on pension or foreign-earned income) to tempt you to take up formal retiree residence.
Costa Rica is the best-known example. In the 1980s, this country aggressively solicited American retirees, even hiring a Madison Avenue ad agency to brand it as the “world’s top overseas retirement haven.”
The copywriters did their job. Ask any American about places to retire abroad, and he’ll likely mention Costa Rica.
Costa Rica is a good case study, not only because it so successfully attracted so many foreigners to its borders in retirement…but also because it then changed its mind. After about a decade-and-a-half, the Costa Ricans decided they had enough gringo retirees living in the hills around San Jose and building homes along their Pacific coast and abandoned many benefits of their famed pensionado program…without grandfathering the existing pensionados.
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