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Can I Get Good Medical Care In Belize
The medical situation in Belize is interesting. Most villages and all of the main cities have government-run hospitals and polyclinics. Medical visits are free as are some medications. Additional testing such as x-rays, MRIs and ultrasounds are paid by the patient at a greatly reduced rate. Expat residents can qualify to receive this free treatment but just remember the old adage you get what you paid for. That is especially true about healthcare in Belize.
For more serious ailments or if you are in search of better service, there are plenty of private clinics. You can expect to pay $25 for a doctor visit. Many medications do not require a prescription and local pharmacists are very helpful. On the other hand, the dental care in Belize is equivalent to the States and will at least half. You can find more information about the medical care in Belize by visiting Belize.com.
Because there is no level one trauma center in the country and the skill for very technical surgeries or treatment options are just not available in the country, it can be a good idea to obtain medical coverage from their home country.
Buying Property In Belize
There comes a time in every expats life when they find themselves in love. Next comes the need for the commitment of buying a house.
Buying property in Belize is very similar to buying a property in the United States albeit a much cheaper process. There are no restrictions on foreign land ownership and residency is not required though it is recommended. Expats in Belize have the same rights as citizens when it comes to land ownership.
You can purchase property direct from the owner by using an attorney or you can use a real estate agent. You will find familiar franchises such as Century 21, Re/Max, and Keller Williams. There is also an assortment of local real estate companies.
Residential real estate commission rates are the same as in the U.S. at 6 to 8 percent and vacant land is at 10 percent. Just as in the States, commissions are charged to the seller, and hence the service of a buyers agent is free.
As a word to the wise, just make sure you use your own attorney and not one that is associated or recommended by your agent. This helps to ensure transaction neutrality.
There has been cases when the property owner did not have a legal title but only a government-granted land lease or that the title was transferred without their knowledge. It happens. So, for your own financial security, make sure to obtain legal counsel.
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Spending From Your Assets
To close the gap between the income you need and the income you have, youll need to spend from your assets.
Live Off the Earnings?
Some people imagine retirement as a time when they live off the income from their savings. But for most people, thats not a reality. Especially if you plan to retire with $500k in assets, you , will probably need to spend down your assets. Thats because interest rates are relatively low, and most retirees prefer to avoid taking major risks with their life savings.
To save enough to avoid spending from your principal, you might need to continue working longerwhich isnt always an option. The other option is to save so much of your income that its hard to enjoy yourself and make memories during your working years. Thats probably not very appealing, either.
A Safe Withdrawal Rate?
Its critical to make your money last. You dont want to run out of savings before you die, as youd need to make unwelcome sacrifices at a time in life when youre vulnerable. So, how much is safe to spend? One rule of thumb suggests that you can spend 4% of your savings per year. The success of that strategy depends on several factors , and the topic is constantly debated. Still, the 4% rule can be helpful as a starting point for learning where you stand.
Tip: If you want to be safe, use a lower number, such as 3%. Recent studies suggested a 3.3% rate might be appropriate when interest rates are low and markets are near all-time highs.
Your Money Goes Further In Belize
Belize is definitely not the cheapest place to live in. A tropical paradise with so many advantages does not come as cheap as other retirement areas in other Latin American or Asian countries. In fact living on a North American or European lifestyle here will cost as much or more. But resident expats here say they live more comfortably than back home. Retirement cheques, stocks and investment income, just appear to go further in Belize.
Services that are significantly more economical in this country include basic medical care, cable TV, household help, insurance, farm produce, seafood, property taxes, and yes, wine, song and so on. This tropical paradise produces and exports high quality rum made from locally produced molasses and cane sugar. In fact sugar is so cheap it is one of the rare local products smuggled out of the country into the neighboring republics. The other side of the coin is that gasoline, are more expensive. Mobile, house telephone and Internet access have been vastly improved. DIGI as of December 2019 rolled out Fibre To The Home to about 75% of the population. A 3 in 1 package that includes mobile, mobile data, home phone and Internet access at up to 120 Mbps is available for U.S. $99.99 Belize now has the fastest, most economic and reliable Internet service in Central America. Its 4G LTE mobile network is the fastest in the region.
Sample Budget For Expatriates Living In Belize On $1,500. Or Less
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Does Belize Have Retirement Benefits For Foreigners
On February 18, 2019, the Belize Social Security Board changed its regulations to allow foreign nationals to register for a Social Security card. This entitles qualified foreign workers to the same retirement, disability and death benefits as Belize citizens.
You must submit your application with your valid passport and work permit if you qualify. Permanent residents and Belize citizens must present a birth certificate. The $26 registration fee doesnt apply to permanent residents and Belize citizens.
Here are the requirements for the Belize Social Security retirement pension. You must:
- Be 65 years old or older.
- Have made 150 payments to the pension system.
- Provide a summary of your employee history.
New Zealand: A Pricey But Beautiful Retirement
New Zealand offers a temporary retirement visa for seniors 66 and older, which allows them to stay in the country for up to two years as long as they meet certain income requirements. Those who move to the country on this visa will almost certainly want to stay longer, after falling in love with New Zealands natural beauty, opportunities for adventure, and commitment to leisure. Be warned, thougha substantial nest egg will be required to live here, as the cost of living is quite high.
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Belize Cost Of Living Index
Now lets talk about the Belize cost of living index. The cost of living indexes compares the average need-based living expenses for food, shelter, transportation, energy, clothing, entertainment, and the like.
It is an accurate method for comparing costs against a base city. In our example, the base city is New York, New York, U.S.A. The following chart compares the cost of living in several Latin American countries relative to prices in New York City and Canada.
Belize has the lowest rent index in comparison to Mexico, Panama, and Costa Rica. The cost of eating at restaurants is only slightly higher than Mexico. Belize has the second lowest cost of living index in our comparison.
Realistically, however, comparing the New York to Belize would be like comparing a big apple to a pomegranate seed. We need to factor in rural America. So, lets step back and look at the national averages.
Ambergris Caye San Pedro
Living is so easy on this island. People typically nix cars in favor of bikes, walking or golf carts. San Pedro is the only town on the island. It only has 3 main streets: Front Street, Back Street and Middle Street. The atmosphere is casual and the people tend to be friendly.
The town is full of small shops, informal restaurants and bars. The dress code involves straw hats and sandals. As you can imagine, the nightlife is very active on this island of 10,000 people. Ambergris Caye has one of the largest expatriate populations in the country.
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Are We There Yet
So far, you have:
- $30,000 of income from Social Security and pensions
- $20,000 of withdrawals from your $500k in assetsignoring taxes, to keep it simple, but you may pay taxes in retirement
That leaves you short by about $2,000 per year. Plus, you might owe taxes on your $20,000 of withdrawals, which were ignoring for now. However, if you assume taxes of roughly 15%, thats an additional $3,000 per year you need to budget for.
So, what can you do?
The first thing most people think of is cutting their spending. Thats also the most difficult. If you can snap your fingers and spend $2,000 less each year, thats greatproblem solved.
How to Fix a Retirement Shortfall
Besides cutting your spending, there are several other ways to close the gap. None of them are ideal, but its smart to know your options in case you find yourself with expectations that cant be fulfilled . Several tips to help you retire are below.
Work longer: From the category of Least Popular Solutions, you can work longer. Doing so is surprisingly powerful:
Withdraw more: Using our example, you could take your chances and withdraw the extra $2,000 per year. The result would be a 4.4% withdrawal rate on $500,000 of savings. Thats a bit higher than the traditional 4% rule, but its not off the charts, and it could workespecially if youre willing to adjust your withdrawals in response to market crashes.
How To Retire On Us$2000 Per Month In Belize
One of the big reasons we set our monthly estimate at $2,000 is the Qualified Retiree Program. It requires a monthly income of at least $2,000.
In fact, people who live frugally in more rural parts of Belize get by on far less.
Adventurous bloggers living in small villages report monthly budgets of around $600. Meanwhile, many couples get by on around $1,200.
At $2,000 income per month, you meet QRP requirements and can live comfortably. You can use the following budget to cover expenses and save:
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Getting A Visa In The Caribbean
There are 26 countries in the Caribbean. Each one has a unique culture. The countries there variously speak English, Spanish, French, Creole and other languages, and many have their own currencies. Some are territories of European nations, and some are independent.
As you might imagine, then, each island has unique visa restrictions.
To get a retirement visa in the Bahamas, there are a couple of options. The first is to purchase a property in the Bahamas worth over half a million U.S. dollars, then apply for permanent residency. The second option is to purchase a property in the Bahamas then apply for an Annual Homeowners Card. This will allow you and your family to stay in the country throughout the year. The annual fee for this card is $500.
In Belize, retirees must be 45 years old to apply for the Belize Retired Persons Incentive Program . QRPs must move $2,000 per month into a Belizean bank account, have proof of a pension or Social Security, and have adequate funds to stay in the country. The QRP fee is $150, plus a $1,000 payment to the Belize Tourism Board and a final $200 payment for the card. The card is renewable annually for $25. To renew your card, you must spend at least one month in Belize per year and may come and go from Belize as you please.
Safety In The Caribbean
The safety of Caribbean islands varies widely. Some islands, such as Jamaica, have a problem with crime, and the U.S. State Department has issued a warning about this. It also has issued a warning about the Dominican Republic. The most dangerous place in the Caribbean may be Haiti, which drew a Do-Not-Travel warning from the State Department because of widespread kidnappings and armed robberies. At the other end of the safety spectrum are the Caymans, Anguila, the Netherlands Antilles, St. Maarten and Monserrat.
The weather can be a safety issue. The area sees hurricanes most years in the fall, and some of these storms result in injuries and fatalities, as well as diseases in the aftermath. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control keeps an about any diseases and other risks on areas in the Caribbean.
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How To Retire On $500k
By Justin Pritchard, CFP® in Montrose, CO
Sometimes retirement advice relies on round numbers and rules of thumb. For example, you might hear that you need $2 million to retire. But the amount you need depends on things like your monthly spending and any sources of retirement income.
Most people never reach $1 million in savings, so it may be helpful to see how it looks to retire on $500k.
Ultimately, anybody approaching retirement faces a choice: Do you work longer so you can continue saving, or can you retire comfortably with less?
Contribution During Period Of Incapacity
Payments on contribution are not applicable in any week:
- Where the employee does not accomplish its task, and where he or she does not receive any remuneration.
- Such as Monday to Saturday of each week during which an employed person is receiving injury benefit, sickness benefit, or maternity allowance, under the Social Security Scheme. During that period, the Social Security Board will pay the required contribution on behalf of the insured person.
*Employers are required to pay only two days leave, instead of three, in the case of sickness or injury suffered by your employee, if the period of incapacity is less than 14 days.
*The contributions withheld from the employees salaries, along with the employers portion are to be paid no later than fourteen days after the end of the month. The employer will take an employee who is injured on the job, to the place of first medical treatment.
- Online Payments via SSBs online Contributions Portal
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The Us Dollar Is Accepted Belize Currency
The BZ Dollar still bears the image of the Head of State Queen Elizabeth II. With independence the Belize Dollar has sprouted some indigenous symbols such as various local flora and fauna as well as nationalistic symbols and landmarks. But the U.S. Dollar is accepted everywhere coins are not.
You can pay for most anything in Belize with your U.S. Dollars except, and we are not making this up, government offices or for any government transaction. A government that is perennially short of foreign exchange does not accept U.S. dollars at any government cashier, for e.g. the courts, the post office and so on that is unless the clerk on duty wants the foreign exchange and accepts it and then pays in the Belize Dollar equivalent out of his or her pocket.
But apart from this, any other business establishment, be it the gas station, insurance company, medical doctor, your local grocery or supermarket and of course Belize Attorney At Law, will welcome your U.S. Dollars. The BZ Dollar has been pegged at the rate of two BZ Dollars for One U.S. Dollar for decades. Thus for those who bank in U.S. dollars prices remain stable as the value of the Belize Dollar does not float.
There Are So Many Things To See Or Do In Belize
There are so many things going on in Belize it is very hard to get bored. If youre bored here, its your own fault. The country may be small but its rich diversity of landscapes, cultures and as it is rapidly developing this makes for almost no end of things to do, places to explore, projects to plan and maybe even start a new business.
If you are on a budget, you will find and be able to take advantage of specials that are offered on the off season. For example the local airlines often offer half price airfare deals for cash only customers and these are often only announced locally.
Belize is a natural wonderland. It is home to thousands of species of trees and flowers, orchids, animals, birds exotic tropical fish and butterflies.
The cultural diversity of Belize is what attracts some many visitors again and again. If you are so inclined you can spend the rest of your life studying and learning the rich flora and fauna of the country. The culture and history of the Maya dates back thousands of years.
Spaniards were the first Europeans to venture into the area and in fact the Father of the Mestizos Gonzalo Guerrero was the first European to make Belize his home. Later immigrants were the Scots, Irish and British, Africans, Garifuna, and more modern immigrants such as the Mennonites, Central Americans, Lebanese, Chinese and other Europeans. Every local ethnic group has a colorful history to explore, cuisine to enjoy and cultural events, festivals and fairs to enjoy.
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