By Jason Holland
For Greg and Jen Seymour life in Dallas, Texas had been taking its toll for years. Jen, 44, was in commercial title insurance. And Greg, 41, was a top manager at a company that did research for law firms.
"My job could definitely be stressful, but it wasn't as demanding as Greg's," says Jen. "People were always calling or texting him-24 hours a day. Any problem that came up, he had to take care of it, even it was the middle of the night or we were at dinner."
The couple was living well-the big house, the cars, dinners out, and all the rest. But they were stressed out and Greg's health especially was suffering.
"I was burnt out. So we were looking for a change," says Greg.
Opening a business, moving to a small town, changing careers, heading out on the road in an RV...they considered all these options. But once they started reading about retiring overseas, it seemed the way to go. And Costa Rica quickly rose to the top of their list of destinations because it's an easy flight back to Dallas and there's good infrastructure, healthcare, and Internet access. And the climate where they live in the Central Valley is perfect year-round.
Most importantly, Costa Rica's low cost of living allowed them to retire early and live within a pretty modest budget from their savings and retirement accounts. They manage to stay within $1,500 a month-though they've spent as little as $1,200 since arriving in June 2013.
"We're living on a quarter of what we spent in the U.S.," explains Jen.
They rely on buses and taxis to get around and rent a nice two-bedroom home in the hills above Grecia in the Central Valley region. A big saving comes from shopping at the weekly farmers' market in town, where they buy mostly fresh fruits and vegetables.
The Seymours have had no trouble getting into the rhythm of retirement. They finally have time for things like hanging out with friends and meeting new people.
"We didn't have much of a social life in Dallas," says Jen. "We were always so busy."
Jen practices yoga once or twice with a neighborhood group-$5 a class. She's started up a bake shop out of their kitchen, selling bread and desserts (awesome éclairs, by the way) to friends. And she's also making jewelry.
Greg has taken up photography and is up and out of the house for long walks early every morning.
"I've lost 35 pounds, and I'm off my blood pressure medication. I think it's because of our diet and exercise," says Greg.
Both also have started writing about their experiences on blogs (costaricacurious.com and costaricachica.comfi) and other outlets. Jen's working on a book as well.
All in all, they're truly enjoying their new life in Costa Rica. And they have no regrets about selling everything they had back in the U.S. for a fresh start.
"Once we decided to simplify our lives and sell our stuff, it was very freeing," says Greg. "Now, we wouldn't have it any other way."