When one door closes, another one opens. Or maybe two or three.
It turns out Central America wants me too–maybe more than Belize. I feel like a debutante at her cotillion, surrounded by prospective suitors. Let’s see what these other suitors have to offer:
1. Costa Rica. In 1980, Costa Rica began its retiree incentive program, directed mainly at the U.S. It was wildly successful, to the extent that now the Costa Rican government is scaling back: they’ve increased the pensionado income requirement from $600 per month to $1,000 dollars per month.
2. Panama. Panama, to the south, is doing some serious courting. Its retirement incentive program has been called the gold standard. Highly westernized, Panama is a stable country which enjoys excellent health care. For the retiree, you pay no taxes on your property. You are able to import a new car every two years, tax-free. You also get discounts on a ton of things, from dining to health services. It’s all yours if you earn $1,000 per month–and for that thousand, you can own property, hire maids and landscapers, and a manicurist or two.
3. Nicaragua. North of Costa Rica, Nicaragua also boasts an attractive retirement incentive program designed to attract real estate development and tourist dollars. Nicaragua’s incentives are similar to those in Belize, and includes things like a $50,000 tax exemption off the cost of building materials.
It’s hard not to think of this region–particularly Panama and Nicaragua–as anything other than treacherous war zones run by ruthless dictators. Fortunately for us–and them–things are different now.
I’ve thought a lot about my needs in what will be my new (part-time) country. I want it unspoiled, but modern; I want a hut, but with all the conveniences; I want a modern, accessible health care system, free of cost; I want a life unencumbered by red tape; I want the freedom to change my mind.
I want Canada, only with palm trees.