Retirement is all about relaxing, having fun and enjoying your golden years. You’ve worked hard and saved your whole life looking forward to it. A good way to ensure that you get to have your “happily ever after” is to retire to a different country. Now is the time to start planning – to hand-pick a place that meets all your individual retirement needs. It can be quite tough to choose a retirement destination, as one must consider several factors including the quality of life in the country, security, cost of living and taxation. Luckily, Belize makes the decision easy. This Central American country is an excellent choice for anyone considering retiring abroad. Here are some of the reasons why Belize is one of the best places in the world to retire:
Belize is a Beautiful Place to Live. Period.
Belize is popular for its beautiful sandy beaches and warm tropical weather. The state's coastline is littered with hundreds of islands which have perfect beaches. It has one of the longest barrier reefs in the world. The coast offers a broad range of outdoor activities; from sea kayaking to scuba diving. There is practically no end to the things you can do and see in Belize!
To add onto this, the country is perfect for nature lovers. Jungles, mountains, and rivers cove the western side of the country. These are home to a diverse range of plant and animal species. Some of the rarest orchids and other flower species are found in Belize. The country also houses several exotic birds and fish species. Belize is a developed and modern society but it is not plagued by the perils of a heavily industrialized region or polluted cities. The air is cleaner, the climate is warmer, the produces are fresh and of amazing quality, there is less dependence on processed foods or artificial additions and a plethora of natural wonders.
You Will Love the People and Cultures of Belize.
The community in Belize is amiable and welcoming to visitors. The country is quite cosmopolitan; it is made up of native Mayans, the Spanish, Britons, the Chinese and other Asians as well. All these diverse cultures live together communally. The life is easygoing, with less attention being paid to schedules and working hours, but more towards cultural festivals and fairs.
An added advantage of Belize is its familiarity. There are thousands of retirees and expats from all over the world living in the country. This makes the experience much better as you get to interact with individuals from your home country.
The National Language in Belize is English.
Everyone in the country speaks English. This may be attributed to the long British hold over the country. The other recognized languages include Spanish, which is spoken by most of the locals, and Belizean Creole. It is therefore easy to get around, shop, and chat with locals. As a matter of statistics, the English-speaking population in Belize is a prime reason why many people from the US, the UK and Canada prefer Belize over countries like Mexico, Panama, and Thailand. Expats and retirees in many Central American or Asian countries must contend with the language barrier. This is not the case in Belize.
The Economy in Belize is stable.
Belize's economy is different from the surrounding countries. Its banking industry is very solid, and the country has one of the lowest inflation rates worldwide. The cost of living in Belize is quite low, especially when you consider that you are living in a tropical paradise rather than a big, over-developed city. Cost of living is an important consideration for many retirees, as they often need to make every penny count. The set 2-1 Belize Dollar to US Dollar ration in Belize will provide more value for every dollar you spend. When one compares the cost of living with countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany or Switzerland, almost everything is cheaper. Property, healthcare, insurance, household help, cable television, agricultural produce, fish & meat and taxes, all are cheaper in Belize. A retired couple could easily live on $1,500USD per month for a lifestyle comparable to how they lived in the US or Canada.
The Belize Real Estate Market is Attractive to Retirees and Investors Alike.
Property in Belize retails at relatively low prices. There are thousands of beach houses and condos on Belize's island, most of them at almost half the price of similar property in the US. The structures are of good quality, most of them made of concrete.
The real estate market is also quite liquid. One can easily dispose property whenever he/she desires to. To add on to this, the taxing system of the country favors investment in the sector; property taxes are very low, and sometimes not applied to overseas ownership of property.
There are Ample Investment Opportunities in Belize.
In addition to being a tax haven, the government of Belize has several incentives for investors. The country of Belize is in a prime trading location, is rich in natural resources, and is a quickly developing nation. This spells "opportunity" for the savvy investor. The government provides legal support for the establishment of investments. This applies to any investment that is deemed to be economically and socially beneficial to the community. The Qualified Retired Person's Act (QRP) program is one such programs. Other programs support investment in processing,import/export, the development of infrastructure and technilogy, the gaming industry, and commercial services. These programs enable retirees to keep earning even after retiring, while at the same time improving the country's economy.
Belize is a Tax Haven.
Foreigners relocating to Belize enjoy a lot of tax benefits. Investors in real estate reap the most from these benefits. A lot of expenses related to realty qualify for tax write-offs, thereby ultimately reducing your tax liability to as low as zero. Some of these expenses include:
- Maintenance and repairs costs
- Scouting and acquisition costs such as traveling expenses
- Purchase costs
- Management fees (for rentals)
- Overseas real estate investments
In addition to tax breaks, the country imposes very low property taxes and does not tax capital gains made when disposing the property. There are also benefits of overseas property ownership. Most countries have very low tax rates, if any, for overseas properties.
The above incentives are why the country is considered a small tax haven. According to Kathleen Peddicord of Usnews, Belize has one of the best tax systems for foreigners, making it an excellent retirement destination. The government of Belize has also put in place more incentives that specifically benefit retirees in the Retiree Program.
The Qualified Retired Persons Incentive Act (QRP)
The government of Belize passed the Qualified Retired Persons Incentive Act (QRP) in 1999 with the aim of attracting retirees to the country. The act offers residency to retirees and tax-free transfer of their goods and vehicles to the country. This exempts all the commodities the retiree brings from duty and levies. It is, therefore, the perfect way to avoid duty charges from the importation of high-end boats, vehicles, and aircraft.
Most retirees qualify for this, as the minimum requirement is that one must be able to deposit $2,000 into a Belize bank account monthly and be over 45 years. The benefits of the program also extend to the retiree's children who are under the age of 18years or still in college.
Belize is one of the best places in the world to retire!
Belize is an excellent retirement destination. The tropical country has a lot to offer for retirees; from the beautiful sandy beaches of the coastal islands to the thick jungles and mountains. The country has a good economy with a low cost of living. The attractive real estate market, coupled with its tax incentives, make it very affordable to own property in the country. To add on to it, the country's QRP plan for retirees lifts off a huge cost of relocation. It is the easiest way to start a new life. If you are retiring soon, there is no better place to spend the rest of your life in.
So, what are you waiting for? The opportunities are endless and life is good in Belize!