Many of you know my family lived in Belize for one year, from 2004-2005.
A week or so ago, I received a link to an article in US News on: How to retire comfortably for under $1,500 a month. The location: Belize.
I read the article with great interest, and decided to comment on what I think is true, and what I believe may be slightly misleading.
The couple in the article moved from Canada to Belize, three years ago. They bought a piece of property on the sea, but it does not say where. My guess is perhaps in Corozal/Consejo Shores area in the north, close to the Mexican border where we lived when we first moved to Belize.
Here are their expenses: (I added my comments after each category.)
- Rent: $300 (PROBABLY RUSTIC FOR THAT PRICE. DEPENDS ON LOCATION TOO.)
- Utilities: telephone, and Internet: $500 (Your biggest expense in this country.) (I AGREE.)
- Groceries: $150 (IF YOU LIVE LIKE A LOCAL IT’S CHEAP. NOT WINE, FILET MIGNON.)
- Health insurance: $50 (WE DIDN’T HAVE ANY.)
- Entertainment: ($100 EATING BURRITOS AND FRIED CHICKEN OUT IS CHEAP. NOT TOURIST RESTAURANTS WITH AMERICAN STYLE FOOD THOUGH.)
- Car expenses: $300 (GAS IS EXPENSIVE.)
They barbecue lobster and filet mignon at home. They have reliable Internet to keep them connected to the outside world. My biggest disappointment in Belize was the frozen lobster in the supermarkets. I never found a store with fresh lobster. As far as filet mignon, I would not call it “filet mignon” unless you ordered it from an upscale American restaurant and it was imported from the U.S. There were two butchers on Ambergris Caye, and their meat tasted better after a few months of living on the island. Seriously, your taste buds change.
They have reliable Internet. I’m not sure about that. There were several hours a week when the electricity shut off in the entire town/country. We went for eleven hours straight without electricity. We had a satellite dish and there were also times, during heavy cloud cover, we were without Internet.
Through Belize’s Qualified Retired Persons program you can establish foreign residency as young as age 40. We applied for our QRP cards before leaving the U.S. They were supposed to arrive within six weeks from the Belize Tourist Board. We never received them, after one and a half years and paying $5,000 for them. The reason: they were being redesigned with a security feature attached. We never saw ours.
Belize is a beautiful little country. It’s a peaceful, eco-tourist retreat home to more than 540 species of birds, 4,000 species of flowering plants, and 700 kinds of trees. That I agree with. We fell in love with the sense of adventure and the beauty of the country, especially the islands and snorkeling.
Furthermore, Kathleen Peddicord wrote an article on , “7 affordable places to retire abroad,” and strangely enough, France is listed among countries such as Panama, Belize, Mexico, Uruguay, Croatia and Malaysia. I have lived in France and Belize, and visited Mexico, and I certainly wouldn’t place France in the same category of affordability as Belize and Mexico, and not from what I hear about Panama either. So that seemed like a huge surprise.
Any tips on retiring comfortably for under $1,500 a month?
(Even if you’re 40.)