Belize retirement investment programme proves popular with expats

Published:  22 Jul at 6 PM
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The Caribbean country of Belize is attracting increasing numbers of expats with its combination of a retirement incentive programme and the fact that English is widely spoken.

Just a few years ago, the Belize expat population was numbered in dozens. Nowadays, there’s an expanding, vibrant community of residents from mainland Europe, the USA and the UK, all attracted by the country’s recently unveiled Retired Persons Incentive Programme.

Location and lifestyle are other attractions, with the country’s coastline backing the Belize Barrier Reef and offering water sports and the countryside offering unspoiled natural beauty. The weather, of course, is great.

Bordered by Mexico to the north and Guatemala to the south and west, the vibes are a combination of Central American and Caribbean. The incentive programme includes tax-free living and is open to all over the age of 45 with an income from overseas of more than US$2,000 a month.

The country now has the largest expat population of any Central American state, and living can be as economical or as grandiose as is required. Services including electricity and telephones are cheap, although imported goods are relatively expensive.

After dropping considerably during the world financial crisis, real estate prices are slowly moving upwards, but still give great value for money, with American retirees the major buyers at present. Tax and residency breaks including income tax exemption are available to those who qualify for retired residential status, and personal effects import taxes are not charged up to a total goods value of US$15,000.
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