"Happy Little Costa Rica. The One Real Republic in Central America - Civilized, Prosperous, Orderly and Most of Its People Whites."
Over one hundred years ago on 3rd March 1909, these were the headlines for a newspaper article written by Frederick Palmer and published in the New York Times. Needless to say that kind of a shocking news headline would never be published today...
Over fifty years ago on the 1st January 1945 Time Magazine published an article entitled Costa Rica: Happy Land.
On the 4th July 2009 the New Economics Foundation, a British think tank that promotes ecology and sustainable economics came out with the results of their most recent survey of 143 nations:
"Costa Rica comes top of the Happy Planet Index 2.0."
"Costa Ricans report the highest life satisfaction in the world, have the second-highest average life expectancy of the Americas (second only to Canada) and have an ecological footprint that means that the country only narrowly fails to achieve the goal of 'one-planet living': consuming its fair share of the Earth's natural resources."
In Time Magazine's article over fifty years ago, they wrote about how: "Costa Rica has Central America's highest standard of living, one of the highest in any tropical country. "In Costa Rica we don't have classes--there are rich and poor, but the rich are not so rich as in some countries, and the poor are not so poor."
Costa Rican girls rank culture, personality, good health and a liking for home life (in that order) among the traits they want in their husbands. Faithfulness they rank, fifth: good looks, 24th. Said one: "I don't think there is a faithful husband in Costa Rica."
Although the U.S. is not the most popular nation in Costa Rica (ranking below Mexico, Argentina, Spain, France, El Salvador), Costa Rican girls fancy Americans as husbands: half of those questioned (56) would like to marry Americans. One: "Americans are more considerate, faithful and helpful, and less jealous." Costa
Rican men never dry dishes."
Today 2009 it would appear that the more things change, the more things stay the same...
Costa Rica still has a very high standard of living, the ravishingly pretty Costa Rican women - the Ticas - are still looking for men with "culture, personality, good health and a liking for home life," and the Costa Rican men are still
unfaithful and never dry the dishes...
In the investment world, we are accustomed to seeing the disclaimer that says "past performance is no guarantee of future results" but after seeing these headlines about Costa Rica for over one hundred years, you can't help but
think maybe - just maybe - Costa Rica really is an extraordinarily happy place in which to live and retire.
I lived in the UK for many years (the UK is ranked 74th out of 143 nations surveyed in the Happy Planet Index) and survived a marriage, two children, a divorce and a decade on Wall Street (the USA is in the 114th position) before
moving to Costa Rica in 1999.
I will have lived in Costa Rica for ten years this coming September 2009 and I don't need an index to tell me how I feel.... I know that I am happier, more free and content than I have ever been before in my entire life.
Will Time Magazine, the New York Times and New Economics Foundation be saying similar things about Costa Rica in another 50 or 100 years?
I honestly don't know but if you're only half as happy as I am living in Costa Rica, you'll be waking up with a big smile on your face every morning...
Hasta luego from your 'amigo' in Costa Rica - Perhaps your new home of stunning scenery, sunshine and smiles.
Scott Oliver - Founder of WeLoveCostaRica.com and author of 'How To Buy Costa Rica Real Estate Without Losing Your Camisa' (Shirt) and 'Costa Rica's Guide To Making Money Offshore in Bull & Bear Markets.