How much money do you make?
Not a complicated question, right?
It feels a little strange that it’s so culturally inappropriate to ask that question, “How much do you make?” For most of my closest friends, I know their deepest struggles, fears, hurts, hopes… but I have no idea how much money they make. Before you send me a message, I’m not asking you to tell me your salary! (just making a point) Somehow it feels so personal… so private. Maybe we get a sense of self-worth from the size of the dollar figure?
The picture to the right is of a new friend I made in Costa Rica. His name is Francisco. He’s a police officer… chasing and fighting bad guys is what he does for a whopping $5 an hour. Isn’t it strange that he had no problem telling me his salary? I didn’t even ask! Like Francisco, I’m going to voluntarily tell you my financial situation for my new opportunity.
Well, wanted to be awkwardly honest with you regarding our financial situation with Costa Rica. Here’s a quick glimpse into what we will hope to be making. Per the advice of a wise friend, I created several budgets. I call them the Gold, the Silver, the Bronze and the Plastic. (I did have a good friend tell me to come up with a Platinum Budget… I like that kind of talk!) I want to unpack the Plastic budget.
I studied and studied the means to establish residency in Costa Rica… I was shocked at how expensive it is! You should’ve seen my face!
Costa Rica is so happy to take our money. You can buy land. You can invest in businesses… you can spend all kinds of money, but… getting residency is virtually impossible, and legally working there is just as difficult! To become a legal resident (and we want to honor the country by honoring their laws), we only qualify for one option. It is called, “Rentista.” It requires me to put $60,000 into a Costa Rican bank. I pay the government $10,000 to process my request. That is the cost to buy 2 years of residency. (So far, that’s $70,000 total) Now, 10 months to 2 years after receiving my $70,000 (which I can’t touch), they let me know if I’ve qualified. If I do qualify, I will have to withdraw $2500 a month (and exchange it into colones) from the $60,000 CD. That means I will have to have at least a year’s worth of money to live off of (assuming my residency request goes smoothly) for the time period my residency is being processed. That would easily be at least $100,000. This would cover almost 3 years. The problem is that we have to have this up front to apply for the residency.
To further complicate it, I cannot legally work there unless 1) I have a specialized skill, and it is approved by the country, or 2) I start my own business (of which I must hire Costa Ricans to do all of the labor).
Back to the $100K. If I had the $100K, that budget (= the Plastic budget) would not give me a single dollar for any of the following: rent / mortgage payment, any type of medical insurance / treatment (not even 1 doctor’s visit), any funds to invest in developing a ministry (i.e. resources / renting space), funds for 6 airline tickets. In addition, this isn’t even including the extra 20% to 25% I’ll need to give to greedy Uncle Sam (so, Uncle Sam, feeling a little worked up at the moment). Don’t get me wrong, we would be thrilled to raise $100K! We are planning on finding ways to generate profit while there to make up the difference. The words, “It can’t be done,” are not part of our thinking! We will find a way.
At the same time I catch myself feeling entitled… want to be honest about that ugliness in my heart. I feel entitled to a car. I’m not 100% sure that we will be able to have one, but even if we don’t, we will be fine! Feeling rather entitled when I sell stuff for pennies on the dollars… at times it feels so liberating and exciting to purge my stuff. At other times I notice entitlement being manifest in the form of grumpies. Wanting to break off that entitlement thinking… wanting to steward it all well… wanting to live out a generous heart.
Learning and growing along the way. Tonight my son looked at me and randomly said, “I see you growing.” Not sure what spurred him to say that, but I’m hoping it was a playful way for the Lord to say that maybe I’m growing even if I can’t see it.
Really needing financial support… really hopeful… yet feeling quite powerless.
If you feel lead to contribute, we would be so grateful for your contribution. You can give online, and you can also find the link on any page of our website. We would love to hear from you any time. We cherish your prayers.