If you’re wondering if Belize is the ideal setting for your retirement years, don’t feel alone. There are many ex-pats who find that the climate, the cost of living, and the eclectic mix of cultures is to their tastes.
How do you know if this is the right choice for you? The only way to know for sure is to learn more about what to expect in terms of the general cost of living. Doing so helps you come up with a plan that’s within your means and allows you to enjoy retirement without financial worries.
As you prepare resources and developing a viable budget, keep these seven tips in mind.
Establish and Contribute to Financial Accounts Now
The years leading up to your official retirement are ideal for learning more about banking laws in Belize and how they would apply to you as a lawful resident. Be aware that this is a good opportunity to identify accounts that you can open now and begin to fill with funds you can draw upon later.
For example, you could open what’s known as a term deposit account. This allows you to create a nest egg above and beyond pensions and other types of retirement funds. The nice thing is that term deposits can range from anywhere between one and five years. The deposited funds generate interest that will accrue faster than you think.
While you’re establishing accounts, find out more about the options for checking and general savings accounts. Doing it now will make it all the easier to make use of them once you begin your residency. It’s also another way to create more resources and have them on hand when you’re ready to make the move.
Consider Your Monthly Retirement Income
How much monthly income will you have from all of your retirement accounts? Think beyond the pension that your employer provides now and consider the disbursements you’ll also receive from other sources. The goal is to determine the amount of income you can depend on to arrive each month.
Why does this matter? Part of the residency requirements for internationals wanting to settle in Belize has to do with providing proof of reliable monthly revenue. There is a minimum that you need to meet in order to be granted resident status. Make sure your income meets that current minimum.
You don’t want to factor in financial resources that you only plan on drawing on under unusual circumstances. Consider those to be above and beyond what you will use to create a practical monthly budget. See that as one more way to ensure you have funds on hand to deal with unanticipated financial situations.
Think About the Type of Living Arrangement That’s Right for You
What sort of living arrangement works best for you? Some people prefer to own homes and have enough space for gardens and other features. Others have no desire to keep up the grounds around a home and are much happier with apartments or condominiums. Think about which of these settings would allow you to enjoy your retirement years a little more and start checking out pricing.
Remember it’s not just about the type of dwelling that suits your needs best. Consider the location as well. As in any country, there are parts of Belize that are more expensive in terms of home purchases or rentals. Spend some time identifying cities and other venues that seem like a good fit and find out how much it would cost to own or rent a place on average. That will make it all the easier to set goals for savings if you want to buy or determine the maximum amount that will go toward rent each month.
Investigate the Cost of Transportation
Once you arrive in Belize and settle into your new home, how will you get around? Consider what it would cost to purchase or ship a vehicle to the country. If you prefer an area where you can walk most of the time, it still makes sense to see what sort of alternative transportation options are on hand. That includes all types of public transport that will help you get where you want to go.
The expenses related to transportation will vary, based on the methods that you use. If you own a vehicle, there’s fuel, maintenance, and insurance costs to consider. You’ll also need to look into the cost of registration and annual taxes assessed on the vehicle.
If you’re planning on making use of public transport, consider the monthly cost in terms of single trips versus passes that allow you to ride as often as you like. Depending on how much you like to get out and do things, the monthly pass may be the most cost-efficient solution.
Learn More About the Cost of Food
Next to housing, food is likely to be one of the more important line items in your budget. Research the cost of purchasing fresh or packaged foods in the area where you plan on living. While you can expect some fluctuation in pricing from one season to the next, a general idea will suffice.
The goal is to ensure that the food budget you create is sufficient to keep the kitchen stocked with nutritious and tasty options. On those days when you prefer to stay home, it’s nice to know there’s enough money to ensure you have plenty of meal options.
Your food budget should include some funds for eating out. There will be times when you want to get out of the house, meet new people, and try a new cuisine. Given the cultural richness of Belize, it helps to have an idea of how much those meals will cost. That allows you to allocate funds for having dinner out two or three times each week.
Explore Health Care Options and What They Would Cost
Belize does have options for private as well as government-funded health care. With the latter, you would pay little to no fees for basic services. Private health care can be used instead of or in conjunction with government health care. Even then, you’ll find that the costs for the most part are affordable.
To be on the safe side, learn more about the plans available throughout the country. Pay specific attention to medical expenses associated with any chronic condition that you currently manage. This will help you have a better idea of how much money to set aside each month to manage any expenses. It will also provide some idea of how much to tuck away in a lifestyle account for major medical emergencies.
Funds for Traveling to and From Belize
Once you retire to Belize, do you have any intention of traveling outside the country? If so, it makes sense to allocate funds that will cover those expenses. Even if you plan to live in Belize for the rest of your life, there may be events that require returning to your home country. Weddings, anniversaries, and holidays are examples of events that you may prefer to attend in person rather than over an internet stream.
Plan your budget to set aside some travel money each month. If you never use it, the funds are there to use for other purposes. In the event you do need to make as trip back home, there are no worries about how to manage the cost and still keep up with your basic living expenses.
Start Preparing Now to Retire Later
These are only some of the points to ponder as you create a viable plan for living in Belize. Talk with a financial advisor and have the professional take an objective look at your current financial state. With the right type of planning, you can make the move much less demanding and a lot more fun.
Caye International Bank headquartered on Ambergris Caye island in Belize is the perfect place to establish an offshore banking account. Contact Caye today and get started on the right financial path to a happy and successful retirement.