Retire in Belize –
The Belizean government has taken steps at attracting expatriates and retirees to make Belize their new home. For example, it has implemented the Qualified Retired Person (QRP) program, which entitles the import of personal items and vehicles of transportation free from import duty and tax. This entitlement applies to all qualified persons upon their first time entering the country. Moreover, a person is exempt from the payment of all taxes and duties on all income or receipts which accrue from a source outside of Belize, whether
that income is generated from work performed or from an investment.
Money, USA News wrote: Since Survivor and Temptation Island put it on America’s radar, the white sand beaches, coral reef, Mayan ruins and virgin rain forests of Belize have been attracting the attention of American retirees. Belize is a safe, stable and welcoming country that feels like a small town. The sun shines year-round, everyone speaks English, the cost of living is affordable and establishing residency is easy. Here’s what you need to know about retirement in Belize.
Belize is one of the best values in the Caribbean, while also being relatively expensive by Central American standards. However, like anywhere, the cost of living depends on your lifestyle. The more time you spend here and the more familiar you become with how life works, the less expensive your living costs can become. Many expats fall into the trap of living as if they are on vacation, and settle in a resort-type setting and buy imported products. Belize offers that lifestyle in places, particularly on Ambergris Caye, and that standard of living can be great if your budget supports it. However, if your nest egg is smaller, understand that the key to maintaining a lower cost of living is getting to know the local vendors, farmers and suppliers. With their help, you can access locally grown organic foods that are generally far superior to the much more expensive processed foods imported from abroad.
San Pedro beach has excellent resorts for retirement but is more costly than other areas in Belize.
When it comes to retirement, there’s no one-size-fits-all plan. The cost of moving to and living in Belize depends on the person and their lifestyle. Yet what we can do is look at the prices for property, utilities, and food as they stand right now to get an idea of the affordability of Belize as a retirement destination.
Belize is fast becoming a hotspot for ex-pats seeking a simple life. The residency laws are lenient, and Belize itself offers stunning natural beauty, perfect weather, and an English-speaking community. The average income in Belize is lower than neighboring Caribbean countries like the Bahamas, but the laid-back approach to life, combined with lower costs, makes it an excellent place to retire.
When it comes to getting a sense for the overall costs of retiring in Belize, Investopedia estimate around $1,700 per month. This is higher than the monthly estimates for a frugal couple, who might only need $1,200 to live a comfortable life. Let’s break this down further into individual expenses.
One of the benefits of retirees moving to Belize is the Qualified Retirement Program (QRP). The program currently costs around $2,100 per couple, and is open to people age 45 or over who have a fixed income of at least $2k per month from pensions or social security.
The QRP allows you to move yourself, your entire family, and all of your possessions to Belize tax and duty-free. It’s the best place to start if you are thinking about retiring to the country, and the initial cost of the program pays for itself many times over.
Aside from travel expenses, such as flights to actually get to Belize, the main concern for retirees is finding the right property to buy or rent. Property prices vary greatly depending on what you are looking for. It is possible to buy a simple Belize-style home in a rural area for as little as $15k, whereas a luxury villa in San Pedro could set you back $500k or more.
When it comes to renting, you can expect to pay around $700 a month for an apartment in Corozal, whereas a sea view apartment in Placencia is closer to double that amount.
You can live a simple life in Punta Gorda, where costs are less.
You can see that average house prices vary greatly across different areas in the country. The lower-cost areas include the undeveloped Cayo and Punta Gorda, where you can buy several acres of land and have a house built for under $100,000. In the ex-pat areas like Ambergris Caye, resort-style living quarters will cost around $200k.
Understanding Costs Of Living in Belize
Belize is actually more expensive than surrounding countries like Honduras and Guatemala, but it does offer a generally higher standard of living for retirement. Utilities like electricity and water are a similar price to in the USA, and reliable internet connections come at the price of around $40 – $80 per month.
Food is only expensive if you buy American imports. Otherwise, you can save a lot of money on your weekly grocery bill compared to the USA, and enjoy fresh, locally grown produce at around 60% of the cost in America.
When it comes to eating out, Belize is famous for its delicious street food. You can find meals like the national stewed chicken dish for around $5 wherever you are, while eating out at a quality restaurant will set you back around $30 per couple with drinks; slightly more expensive than a typical meal out in the Bahamas.
Be aware that the price of gasoline in Belize is an average of $1.54 per liter(end of 2018), which is nearly double the price in the USA. The country is smaller, and many travels using bicycles or golf buggies, but if you do own a car this will be a significant extra cost.
Retiring in Belize is quite simple thanks to the Qualified Retirement Program, but it all depends on the area you want to live in, the property size and type, and the standard of life you lead. Having said that, you can predict that the typical cost of living in Belize will be around 40 – 80% of the cost of living in the USA.