Retire in Belize? Okay!
Dec 12, 2012
No doubt many people around the world, especially those in the Northern hemisphere, dream about retiring in an exotic tranquil location. Sun-drenched beaches, limitless recreational activities on land and in beautiful tropical waters and a friendly community of locals and other expatriates are only a few reasons why Belize may be a perfect spot to consider retirement or a second home. Belize is known as a travel destination around the world – mainly due to its affordable cost of living, tropical climate and the fact that the primary language spoken is English. Belize prides itself with providing schools with high academic standards, good health care facilities, convenient shopping and, perhaps most important when considering a new place to live, warm and welcoming neighbors.
The Qualified Retired Persons Program (QRP)
Belize has one of the world’s best retiree programs. Via the Qualified Retired Persons Program (QRP), the government gives qualified retirees an exemption from taxes on all income originated from sources outside of Belize, whether this income is earned or passive, and whether or not it is remitted to Belize.
The minimum age requirement to take advantage of the QRP is 45, but you don’t need to be retired. Restrictions are minimal: you must be able to show that you have sufficient means to deposit a minimum of $2000 a month along with a couple other minor requirements. To maintain your QRP status, you must spend at least a month out of each year in Belize.
Aside from the tax benefits, should you choose to retire in Belize, you are also able to import personal and household goods, including a car or boat, without having to pay import duties or other taxes on items up to the value of $15,000.00.
As a QRP, you are allowed to participate in lucrative employment so long as your business activity takes place outside of Belize and does not involve Belize residents. You are allowed to own your own business in Belize, but as anywhere else in the world, it’s always better to discuss details with an attorney.
Cost of Living
How much it costs you to live in Belize is not dissimilar to living elsewhere in the world. It all depends on the kind of lifestyle you have! Although services (yard work, housekeeping, etc) are very affordable, the location you choose to live in Belize can largely affect how much you pay for a home or property. It may seem like a magical dream to live on an island – of which there are many in Belize – but keep in mind that purchasing goods may be tricky and more expensive, as they need to be brought onto the island. The same can be said for living directly on the beach, stunning, no doubt, but certainly a bit more costly. It is absolutely possible for a couple to live very comfortably, close to the beach, for $3000.00 a month. Just like anywhere, learning where to do your groceries, eat a good meal and enjoy a cocktail all for the most bang for your buck, starts with meeting your neighbors and chatting up locals.
The government is the main provider of health services in Belize and is a country that has a concrete and solid foundation when it comes to medical and health services for its residents and visitors. Similar to other Central American countries, most doctors in Belize have been trained in the U.S. and offer first-rate care. Treatments are relatively affordable, especially in comparison to the U.S. or U.K. The Belizean government has placed a high priority on improving its medical health care facilities, and it’s possible to receive basic healthcare in every area of Belize.
If warm, tropical weather, friendly locals and affordability are what you’re looking for in your retirement, then Belize may just be the place for you. That being said, part of the excitement of researching exotic retirement locations is visiting them. You wouldn’t simply move to a new city in your home country without visiting first, so it should be no different when considering an International residence. Visit Belize to see if it’s the right fit for you!