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How I Decided To Retire in Belize

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There are many things to consider when you are planning to retire. One of the biggest factors is deciding where to live. While many people chose to stay in the United States to be close to family and grandchildren, others prefer to move outside of the country, which can be a very exciting experience. There are many countries that are great picks for retirement, however, Belize is definitely one of the top countries of choice for retirees. Picking a country to retire in can be a very hard task but the amazing locale paired with the cost of living in Belize just makes good financial sense.  These reasons are what make so many people decide to retire there (including me). The Belize Retirement Incentives Program, the cheap cost of living, and the general location make Belize a great place to retire.
Retirement Incentives Program
The first great thing that influences people to retire in Belize is the Belize Retirement Incentives Program. You can qualify for the Belize Retirement Incentives Program if you are older than 45 and will cover your spouse, children who are under 18, and older children who are attending college. Under the Belize Retirement Incentives Program, applicants must be able to prove that they have a monthly income of $2,000 or more through a pension, annuity, or social security payment. The next step is to undergo a background check. Once accepted, applicants will be able to transport their personal belongings including a method of transportation to Belize for free. They will also gain permanent residency status faster than a non-applicant would. In order to apply you will need to produce certain documents such as a birth certificate and/or marriage certificate, passport, proof of income, proof of medical examination, and passport photos. There are several application fees, however, it is cheaper to apply for the program than to go to Belize on your own and establish permanent residency.
Cheap(er) Real Estate
Another great reason to retire in Belize is the cheap cost of real estate. It is wonderful to know that just because you are budget conscious, doesn’t mean you can’t retire in paradise! It is certainly cheaper than other Caribbean locations. Any properties that are close to the beach are more expensive than property in a more remote location, so depending on your budget and personal taste you will have to do some research. But even the inland areas are beautiful.
Location, Location, Location
Finally, Belize has a great climate and offers retired people many things to spend their day doing. Although Belize falls within the Hurricane Belt, the weather is almost always warm and enjoyable. People who love the summer weather will find themselves comfortable in Belize. There are also many activities to do in the outdoors. You can do things that you never had the time or ability to do while living in the United States such as snorkeling, sailing, cave exploring, and windsurfing. If you are looking for a more relaxed lifestyle you can simply lay out on the beach all day with no worries. You will also have the chance to meet new people who are vacationing or living in Belize since everyone is almost always doing something outside.
Belize is a great place to live and these factors help influence many people to decide to retire there. If you think you can qualify for the Belize Retirement Incentives Program then it is something you should definitely consider since no other countries offer this “discount” to the retired. It will really help your budget down the road. You can also find real estate for a great price in Belize whether it is on the oceanfront or in the countryside. Finally, you will get to experience the great outdoors in perfect summer weather all year round. In short, Belize is the perfect retirement destination!
Kate Johnson writes and edits the Retirement website RetireAway.org. She is currently living the high life, retired in Northern Belize. She recently published a piece on Retiring at 62.

29 comments

  1. I saw the title and thought, wow Laurie is doing it right. 🙂 Anyway, my wife and I have thought about this and would definitely be open to retiring in another country…especially one where we would not be getting snow in May. 😉

    • Laurie says:

      LOL, have to agree with you about the snow, or the lack of it, during retirement. We will likely stay in the U.S., but somewhere warm, God willing. 🙂

  2. What a great incentive program and I can see why Belize is such a popular place to retire to (beyond sun and beach!). We plan to travel quite bit during our retirement, but right now plan to continue to US home. But who knows what the future will bring?

    • Laurie says:

      I agree, Shannon. Being that far away from family would make it hard, I would think. But those incentives sure do sound nice. My dad and stepmom were in Belize for a vacation once and liked it so much that they seriously considered moving there.

  3. Matt Becker says:

    My wife and I recently honeymooned in Costa Rica and we met another couple who had just come from Belize. They certainly loved it, and it sounds like a really beautiful place. While this sounds awesome, for me personally the big hangup would be leaving behind my family. Maybe I could convince them all to come along with me!

    • Laurie says:

      My parents loved it there too while visiting, Matt. I’m on the same page with you regarding leaving the family behind. That too was the one thing that kept my parents from moving to Belize after their vacation there. Although at this point I’d be happy if the family would go with us at least to the southern U.S. The snow has pushed us to our limits this year.

  4. Pauline says:

    Belize has become increasingly popular as a retirement destination, and since English is the official language, it makes things easier than in Costa Rica or Panamá. I like Belize for a holiday, living in Guatemala it is close enough and convenient, however mainland Belize is not very attractive. The capital is small and dirty, there isn’t much to do, imported goods are expensive, so are internet and communications. The islands are gorgeous, you can dive, sail, enjoy the beach, but you have to enjoy island life, I feel like going back to the mainland after a few days.

    • Laurie says:

      Nice to hear another perspective, Pauline. Those are the types of things you wouldn’t necessarily see with your vacation eyes. 🙂

  5. CashRebel says:

    I’ve seen this type of arrangement on house hunters international, and it’s always intrigued me. That’s amazing that they have an incentive program!

  6. I’m not sure I have it in me to retire internationally, but it’s an idea that makes sense in many ways. I would love to be somewhere tropical. The older I get, the less I like the cold.

  7. Belize sounds incredible. I would imagine that it would feel like a permanent vacation to be able to live there which would be really nice. That being said, I’m not sure I could be that far away from the rest of my family and friends, maybe we’d do it for just a few months a year.

    • Laurie says:

      I’ve heard it’s wonderful too! But we’re in the same boat as you, wanting to be close to family and friends. Maybe just for a couple of months a year or something.

  8. As recent empty nesters, my husband and I have been considering retiring abroad (Belize, Costa Rica or Panama), too. The lower cost of living is a big advantage, especially the lower cost of health care. That is my biggest concern–how much will health care cost in the next 10 or 20 years? What I’ve read about health care in these other countries is mostly very positive–well-trained doctors, modern hospitals, low-cost insurance. It’s a scary idea to move so far away, but exciting, too!

    • Laurie says:

      I agree, Anne! Many times the smaller countries are much wiser about these things than the larger ones. Good luck with your retirement plans!

  9. Belizean says:

    Belize is great for some, but this post does not address the very high crime rate in Belize which must be factored in when evaluating the country.

    At this time Belize Is Ranked The Sixth Most Violent Country In The World according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Belize 2013 Crime and Safety Report.

    The location of Belize has made it a transit point for drugs and other illegal transhipment between South and North America.

    Most any tourist guide books and Belize tourist board sponsored websites do not refer to this very real fact of everyday life in Belize.

    • Laurie says:

      Thanks much for bringing up a very important point. No matter which country or state you’ve decided to retire in, looking at crime rates should be a very important part of the decision-making process.

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