Retiring in Belize

Is living in a retirement paradise an option for you? From the clear blue Caribbean waters and white sandy beaches, to the beautiful untouched jungle that lies in the middle of the country, Belize is beautiful and the low cost of living makes it an added plus for retirees.

If you are over 45 years old, you can qualify for Belize’s retirement program which entices foreigners looking for permanent residency there. If you qualify for its retirement program, you will be exempt from paying taxes on all income from sources outside of Belize. However, as a retiree, you are not allowed to work in Belize, and you must spend at least one month there every year to maintain your status as a retiree resident. To qualify for the program, you must have an income of at least $24,000 a year.

Although Spanish is spoken, English is the official language of Belize (formerly known as British Honduras). It is a stable Caribbean country with only about 300,000 people living there. Worries are few because the cost of living is low. You can buy a house on the beach for as little as $40,000.  And, despite its 9% sales tax and 1.5% real estate tax, income tax on retirees remains non-existent. 

Belize has a mixed healthcare system that includes free or low-cost care at government-run hospitals and there are doctors with private practices. Most doctor visits will cost about $20 a day, plus any medicines prescribed.  A hospital stay costs about $50 per day. Be careful to note whether the prices you pay are in Belize or U.S. dollars. Many places charge in U.S. dollars, but remember that one U.S. dollar is equivalent to two Belize dollars.

Belize’s terrain is both sandy and mountainous. The Maya Mountains lie in the southern part of the country, but its coastline is flat with many lagoons. The largest river is the Belize (also known as the Old River), which flows down to the Guatemalan border. The tropical climate varies in temperature because of the elevation. The higher you go, the cooler it gets.  Average temperatures in the coastal areas range from 75° F to 80°.

Spend your days swinging in a hammock surrounded by palm trees, while listening to the gentle waves of the Caribbean waters. You can enjoy year-around diving, swimming and fishing in the warm sea as well as exploring the Mayan ruins. This is a peaceful nation of friendly people. 

If you crave government turmoil, it has easy access to the United States.