I may have to rethink Bora Bora. Belize wants me.
This tiny, English-speaking South American country is providing incentives for the 45+ group from anywhere in the world to retire there. Called the Retirement Incentives Program, anyone who meets the criteria of a Qualified Retired Person (QRP) are offered a host of goodies to consider Belize their retirement home. For example, QRPs can import all of their belongings, including their car, boat, and plane, tax and duty free. Their income (the $2,000 per month requirement from a source outside the country) is tax-exempt.
So why retire to Belize, one might ask? According to Wikipedia, Belize is one mighty fine place to live. It boasts beautiful weather year-round (except for the hurricanes that come with frightening regularity), and is home to the Belize Barrier Reef, the second-largest barrier reef in the world.
Unlike the rest of South America, Belize is English-speaking and English is the official language. QRPs can adjust quite comfortably to the cost of living there, too: $1500 a month can support two people living a “simple” lifestyle.
Everything is much less expensive in Belize than in North America, except for gas and North American consumer goods. The government is also very generous with its land: apparently, you can buy or rent property with a 30-day tourist card.
Health care in Belize is reportedly affordable and modern. I don’t think I would consider giving up Canadian health care, but it’s good to know that, as a QRP, I wouldn’t have worry about a minor illness while abroad. But what about the health care from one’s country of origin?
In Ontario, as in the rest of Canada, our health care is free. Our employer co-pays the premiums for what our government doesn’t cover (for example, our drugs and eye care). I’m not inclined to relinquish my free health care, especially in my twilight years, so I did some investigating. The Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) continues for out-0f-country Ontario residents–as long as they are in the province for a minimum of 153 days of a 12-month period for 5 consecutive years for each subsequent absence. A lot of words to say that, as long as your in the province for a few months of the year, your golden.
So what does all this mean to me. Not thrilled about the hurricanes, but Belize is looking pretty tempting.
Can’t give up on Bora Bora though. Wonder how a person could get to Bora Bora from Belize…