With an unstable American economy and uncertainty about how far their retirement dollars may go, or if they will still have Medicare to fall back on, many older Americans are thinking of retiring to nearby paradises like Costa Rica and Belize. Many real estate brokers are now even advertising on American television to lure prospective buyers to Belize. And why not? The comparable value of real estate in these warm-moderate climates is amazingly low, and you can actually live comfortably on a Social Security income.
In Belize, for example, you can live comfortably on about $700 a month. You could even have a driver, a maid, and a gardener on your Social Security income. And with Medicare issues leaving many Boomers wondering how long it will be there for them, you can buy health insurance for $150 a month or less and often get free health care. For about $100,000 American, you can buy a good size ocean front property or place up in the mountains. The Cayo region of Belize is where many tourists come to see the Mayan ruins, waterfalls, and rain forests. Legal residency is easy to obtain through Belize’s QRP – Qualified Retired Person – program. Perhaps best of all, you pay no tax on non-Belize income. You may be able to reduce your income tax debt to maybe zero!
Living in Belize is affordable, the locals friendly and the environment safe. It has a Parliamentary-Democracy type government and is populated both by an ever changing group of tourists, amongst those foreigners from around the world who’ve come to make Belize their new home. This includes artists, musicians, bankers, film stars, etc. The official language is English but many Belizians speak a dialect called Creole English. Property taxes are between 2% and 9%, there are no capital gains tax, no inheritance taxes, and no restrictions on foreigners owning property there. As a QRP, you can even import your household goods, your car, boat, or airplane, whatever without being taxed. They have no national airline, but Belize does have a major international airport. It’s only a short plane ride back to the U.S. if you wish to go “home” to visit sometime.
As for Costa Rica, if you bought land there and wanted to build a home, it would cost you $150 per square foot where as in Los Angeles or Miami would cost at least $500. Building costs in other places in the U.S. would be somewhere in the median range. Therefore, you could build a fairly big house for what you’d pay for a much smaller home in the U.S.
Here are some other things Costa Rica has to offer:
1. Not far from home. Costa Rica is just 2-1/2 hours plane ride from the U.S. It too has a major airport which transport throngs of American tourists and business people back and forth every year.
2. Political stability. Costa Rica has been rated #1 in Central America for political stability and lack of violence. They even out ruled the military in 1948.
3. Tax incentives. The government of Costa Rica offers many tax incentives to foreign buyers. The taxes are also low in Costa Rica. They charge an annual flat 0.5% rate calculated on the structure and amount of land declared.
4. Bilingual. Because of the universal education programs, most Costa Ricans speak English as their second language.
5. Excellent Quality of Life. Costa Rica ranks 26 out of 193 countries for quality of life surpassing even Sweden and the United Kingdom. They claim to have the highest education levels in all of Central America and have reduced poverty from 40% to 20% in the last 20 years.
To find out more about retiring in Costa Rica or Belize, follow the links below.