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#208933 - 02/16/03 09:29 PM "Retire" in Belize???  
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 16
spartan11 Offline
spartan11  Offline
I am the new guy on the block having just joined today. I have a zillion questions so "y'all" get ready. I have spent days and days surfing numerous websites on the subject including virtually all sites mentioned on this board. The first question stems from the QRP program. Is it REALLY possible to subsist – and “comfortably” (I realize that is a relative term) – on the $1,000 (or as senior Ric would say from the “north” website - 2,000 "dollah") in Belize? As time goes by you all will become familiar with me but for now I’ll just say that I have “watched” Belize for the last 6 or 7 years for two reasons: tarpon and retirement. Unfortunately, I have yet to visit.

Having recently been laid off by corporate America and, although it happened 4 months shy of my early retirement, I did get my retirement and I could meet the $1,000 minimum. So, that’s the first question and the second would be where, in Belize, do you get the best for that money AND have a large contingent of expats? I really like what I see in SP but it does seem more expensive than other parts of Belize, which gives rise to question one.

Then we can get into the tarpon angle. I have a flats boat that I REALLY would like to figure out how to take with me but, particularly in SP, I see problems with that. Being an itinerant tarpon fisherman, I currently trailer it everywhere and I can tell you that keeping it in the water for any length of time is much more trouble than it’s worth.

Anyway, these are the first of many to come. The idea of retiring to fish for tarpon all day is much more enticing than trying to get another job, which is proving to be VERY frustrating not being 20-something AND with the constant threat of war. I am twice divorced, totally unattached (not even kids), have spent many years in third (or maybe even fourth?) world countries and LIVE to fish. The boat doesn’t HAVE to accompany me but I can tell you it’s just not the same only fishing from shore. So, any insight anyone has would be helpful. I’ve been thinking of coming down for a week or so just to fish a little and maybe even meet with a few “residents” to get a better idea. And, I know Lan is out there somewhere lurking with TONS of knowledge and advice so, OK, now it’s y’alls turn. Over…….

Webster: "gonzo" = freewheeling or unconventional especially to the point of outrageousness
#208934 - 02/16/03 10:18 PM Re: "Retire" in Belize???  
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 232
tincup Offline
tincup  Offline
First, if have not already done so, read Lan's book "Adapter Kit Belize".
Then take a nice long trip and visit the places you think may be best for you. If you want to hang around the expats and you want to fish there really aren't that many places to consider.
You will need to decide if you are going to cut all ties with your life in the States, or will you live in Belize only part time. If you plan on keeping a place to live in the States it is going to cost you a lot more, particularly if you will need a car, boat etc. when you are back in the US.
Before you sign up to become a QRP you will need to know if you ever plan on working in Belize, 'cause uder that plan you are not allowed to hold a job.
You will need to have some idea of how you will spend your time. Although you think now that you will spend every day fishing that will probably not be the case.
Do you have enough capital to buy a place to live, or will you rent? The boat will be the least of your problems as there are many good boats available in Belize.
Take that trip and see how you like it first. GoOd luck!

#208935 - 02/17/03 03:31 AM Re: "Retire" in Belize???  
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 713
susangg Offline
susangg  Offline
You might want to check out Bocas del Toro Panama. The cost of living is much cheaper there. I don't know one kind of fish from another but there is a lot of water and therefore a lot of fish.
You might want to buy a sailboat and live on board. There are a couple of nice marinas down there where you can have a boat slip with electricity, showers, etc. for about $250 a month. Money goes far down there.
Living on $1,000 in Belize is possible (not on AC, forget it) but difficult. Remember that you have to factor in not just the cost of day to day living (food, rent or mortgage, etc.) but also stuff like health insurance, dental care, things break down and have to be replaced, trips back home to see your family, etc. Corozal area is probably the cheapest place to live in Belize, all things considered.
One comment: If its real important to you to have a lot of expats right there, and you prefer to hang with other gringos, you might be happier staying in the US. There are some places that have water and fish that are relatively inexpensive to live right here in the US. Why go to another countryto live if all you want to do is hang out with other Americans?

Susan Guberman-Garcia, Attorney at Law. Phone: 510-792-2639
Fax/Voicemail:: 510-405-2016 Email:
#208936 - 02/17/03 09:30 AM Re: "Retire" in Belize???  
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 3,054
Lan Sluder/Belize First Offline
Lan Sluder/Belize First  Offline
Just a note on the retirement program: It now requires US$2000 a month, not $1000.

--Lan Sluder

Lan Sluder/Belize First
#208937 - 02/17/03 10:21 AM Re: "Retire" in Belize???  
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 918
o jackie Offline
o jackie  Offline
Gee, I wonder what it will be in another 21 years, how long did it take to go from 1,000 to 2,000.

#208938 - 02/17/03 10:24 AM Re: "Retire" in Belize???  
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 11,001
klcman Offline
klcman  Offline
maybe ya better buy one of Tim's units NOW :p

_ _ _ _ _ _ _________________ _ _ _ _ _ _
But then what do I know, I am but a mere caveman
#208939 - 02/17/03 11:38 AM Re: "Retire" in Belize???  
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 16
spartan11 Offline
spartan11  Offline
The first site I encountered on retirement was which does state $2,000 but in the ton of other sites I encountered I seem to remember a few claiming “updates” to that. I can make the $2000 but some of the “updates” mentioned $1,000 if you are single. So far I haven’t found an “official” government site with specifics but since I could make the higher figure, it’s just a point of interest. Of more interest to me is the reality of retirement. There was a site claiming you could get by on $450/month and a book on this if I wanted to spring for it. So, even if it’s true for single people all you need to qualify is the $1,000 I’m curious how realistic that is.

As far as the ties are concerned, I have one brother in Alaska, a brother and aunt in Seattle, and my stepmother in Phoenix. I live in Florida. That’s it. Trust me, you would have to hold a gun to my head to get me to Alaska (no offense Mike, I just HATE the cold) and I may spend as much as 5 days every two years or so in the other two locations for the holidays. Teeny family and it’s only holidays I spend with them.

On expats, the only concern there is I wouldn’t want to be isolated from them. Not knowing the communities other than what I read, it doesn’t appear to be an issue. It seems the largest group is on AC but that seems to be the most expensive, too. Just curious there, too.

One of the BIG questions is: QRP or not QRP. I have no particular interest in working but I recognize I may have to. But that’s why I’m curious how realistic $1,000/month is. If it is realistic in say, Corozol, why would I want to work if I don’t have to? I’m certainly not against contributing/volunteering and would expect to do something like that. QRP is only a question because of the exemption on duty, i.e. the boat. I know there are plenty of boats there but if I already have one, and I am the original owner, why buy something used there?

I lived in Panama for a while and it’s just not near as good a place to hunt tarpon. I don’t expect to do that 24/7 but it’s the freedom to do so at that pace if I want that is the draw. I have plenty of other interests but if I can’t do that I’ll keep looking.

One other question I’ll add at this point has to do with musical instruments. In my time in Central and South America I carted around a guitar and with no a/c it was rough on it. I know a lot of the hotels have a/c but how common is a/c for residents? I have a couple not so cheap instruments I can’t live without but humidity can be an enemy.

Oh, and the reason I don’t just stay here in Florida is that WITHOUT a job, it would be a struggle to make it on $2,000/month without selling the house. That IS an option but if I have to do that, why not Belize? The job market has been horrible and projections for 2003 are worse than 2002. With the declining market my rollover continues to lose value unless I annuitize real soon. Thus all the curiosity about Belize now instead of later.


Webster: "gonzo" = freewheeling or unconventional especially to the point of outrageousness
#208940 - 02/17/03 12:20 PM Re: "Retire" in Belize???  
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 3,054
Lan Sluder/Belize First Offline
Lan Sluder/Belize First  Offline
Belize is like Florida, or most warm-weather places; you can live on almost nothing or you can spend a small fortune.

I know an American fellow in Corozal who built his own house out of scrap lumber he found floating in the lagoon and other material he scrounged or bought cheaply. He probably spent just a few thousand dollars. And he probably lives on a three or four hundred dollars U.S. a month.

But then there are expats in San Pedro who can barely make ends meet on $50,000 a year.

It's just a matter of what you want and what you can accept in the way of amenities. As in most developing countries, except for a few things like household help and medical care, it generally costs MORE to duplicate a U.S. lifestyle in Belize than it would back home. But nobody says you have to duplicate the U.S. lifestyle.

Per capita income in Belize is less than one-tenth that in the U.S. So the vast majority of Belizeans get by on far, far less than even poverty level families in the U.S.

--Lan Sluder

Lan Sluder/Belize First
#208941 - 02/17/03 01:59 PM Re: "Retire" in Belize???  
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 10,850
Ernie B Offline
Ernie B  Offline
Don't try to live in San Pedro on $400/500 per month. I lived there for a year and it cost me $75,000 US. Living there and visiting there are two different things. Visit first, you can get by cheaper than I did, but I enjoyed every moment. I didn't leave because of the cost of living but other personal reasons. One day, I will return. (sounds familiar.

Gun Control is Hitting Your Target.
#208942 - 02/17/03 02:29 PM Re: "Retire" in Belize???  
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 232
tincup Offline
tincup  Offline
Just an example for you. We are in the process of building a house north of the cut on Ambergris Caye. We are about 2 1/2 miles north on the beach. We will have a first floor rental apartment, one bedroom/one bath, total 600 interior sq ft (steel reinforced concrete construction). It will have AC (but only in the bedroom//bath area), ceiling fans in all living areas, tile floors, full kitchen, covered parking for a golfcart, 200 foot pier, and will be furnished. I estimate that we will ask $650 to $700US a month, tenant pays their own utilities. This will be available for a long term rental only.
Now add to this a budget for utilities, food, fuel (for the boat), medical/dental, entertainment (booze, casino, travel?), fishing/boating gear, golf cart maintenance.... you get the idea. It would be impossible to make $1000 cover everything.
As far as air conditioning goes, I think most people try to make do with as little as possible. Electricity is costly, about 3 times what you would pay in Florida.
Hope this provides more of the type of info you are looking for.

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