Now is the time to retire in Belize

Retiring to Affordable Belize? That Might be the Best Decision You’ve Ever Made

Finding a place to retire that’s more than a reasonable distance from your current abode can be fraught with complexity if you’re the worrying type. After all, retiring at home is stressful enough. Move abroad and things get complicated. But in many respects, finding an affordable destination and taking the leap can be the single most liberating decision you’ve made in years, once you see how nicely you can live on less at one of the most desirable destinations in the Caribbean.

Why choose Belize over typical retirement destinations like St. Lucia, Dominican Republic, Tulum, St. Thomas or Costa Rica? Because if you have a calculator—or you’re a pencil and paper person—math can tell the story. Browse real estate websites in a sampling of nations and compare property costs, but don’t stop there. It’s also wise to compare and contrast tax rates and cost of living, at which point, your decision could be a no brainer.

How will moving to Belize put you in a better financial light? First, you can do what so many retirees do when they choose Belize as their new home: Get rid of that heavy furniture that will cost you an arm and a leg to ship, and with those savings, buy gorgeous, affordable hand-crafted pieces once you arrive so you enjoy a complete fresh start. If you must schlep furnishings, take advantage of the Retired Persons Incentive Act: avoid duties up to $15,000 USD if your household goods are valued at under that amount.

Communicate with ex-pats who have already made Belize their retirement homes to learn how much awaits you in fun, sun, savings and a laid-back lifestyle. Typical of Belize’s sun-washed havens is Orchid Bay where deluxe beachfront condos won’t require you to hand over your first-born grandchild to buy in! If you need more room, opt for a single family home that’s big enough to host visits from family, since direct flights from major US cities are frequent and some houses are no pricier than condos.

Orchid Bay, Offering Villas, Condominiums & Land in an established community in Belize

Buy a place outright for $150,000 USD in Placencia, for example, and you can expect to pay about $24 a month in property taxes, according to http://www.belizefirst.com/cost.html, based on the site’s 2009 research findings. According to Belizeproperty.com, property taxes, based on housing type, run between 1- and 1.5-percent of assessed value and the property transfer tax is just 5-percent plus closing costs of between 6- and 7-percent.

There’s more. When last did you write a $50 per month check for your Internet service? You’ll find utilities more reasonable in Belize, too. Forget heating bills. Don’t expect huge air conditioning bills, either, since Mother Nature’s breezes costs nothing. Even retirees on a budget find bliss here. Emulate ex-pats who bought 800-square-foot “Prefab” Mennonite Houses for $16,000 USD to occupy their own lot. Land prices? According to Belize.com, property can “sell for $200 USD” per acre or less.

We know what you’re thinking—affordability and paradise? How is that possible? First, welcome to the world of “no purchasing restrictions” like those you find in some other Caribbean countries where your citizenship could be a deal breaker so your host country piles on the tariffs, taxes and levies. Further, your ability to negotiate your sale in English (Belize is the only English-speaking nation in Central America) gives you an edge. As a matter fact, you might make a list of reasons not to retire in Belize after doing your homework. Just don’t expect it to be very long.

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