Why Belize Is A Top Live, Retire, And Invest Overseas Haven

Escape, Reinvention, Independence, And Adventure

March 19, 2014, Panama City, Panama: Belize offers a unique opportunity to reinvent yourself and start your life anew.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

My first trip to Belize, coming up on 30 years ago, was organized courtesy of the Belize Tourism Authority. I was a starting-out travel writer; the BTA was looking for press. This was well pre-“Survivor,” pre-“Temptation Island.” The only people who knew this tiny country existed way back then were divers and backpackers.

And Morley Safer. Around this time, Mr. Safer broadcast a “60 Minutes” segment from Belize, in which he traveled the Belize River in a small wooden boat. From that humble perch, on the river, looking up into the camera, Morley declared:

“The good news from Belize is…no news from Belize.”

The sentiment stuck. It was repeated to me by several I met during that first scouting trip, and, over the years since, I’ve borrowed it many times myself.

Today it comes to mind again as I sit down to write to you of the Live and Invest in Belize Conference taking place as you read this. This must be…I don’t know…maybe the 30th Belize event I’ve sponsored. What can I tell you about this country…about the conference taking place in Belize City this week…that might qualify as new, interesting, and worthwhile?


Why Do Americans Retire Overseas?

We Must Be Pretty Weird Because, You Know, We’re Expats

March 18, 2014, Panama City, Panama: Countries generally live better on the inside than they look on the outside.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

In my experience, most countries look better, and live better, on the inside than what we'd predict from the outside.

Consider France, for example.

Outside France we read about strikes, the world's highest taxes, a broken welfare state, and Arab riots. We hear of snotty innkeepers, arrogant food vendors, and pickpockets who target tourists.

Yet once inside France we enjoy red wine and leg of lamb, the Louvre and the Pompidou. We wander through a thousand years of European history. We still hear about things like subway strikes, but we find that those things rarely affect us.

Or consider Argentina. From outside Argentina we read about travel restrictions, currency controls, import controls, an arrival tax targeting Americans, media censors, and a terrible crime problem. From the outside, Argentina looks exactly like the mess it is.

But once we're in Buenos Aires we eat thick steaks, dance tango, go to the opera, and sit at beautiful sidewalk cafes. We spend a morning at the Costanera Sur, perhaps the world's finest urban wildlife refuge.


Advantages Of Living, Retiring, And Investing Overseas

Live, Retire, Invest Overseas? What’s The Point?

March 17, 2014, Panama City, Panama: CNN and BBC offer one view of the world; Live and Invest Overseas offers another.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

What is it I think I’m doing…the CNN reporter wondered of me on Friday?

This business…this life…what is the point, he wanted to know?

I tried not to sound defensive as I offered the simplest response my brain could muster in an instant.

What’s the real answer to that question? I was distracted all weekend trying to figure that out.

In January 1985 I took a job with a little publishing company in Baltimore, Maryland, where I’d grown up and gone to school and had no plan, at the time, ever to leave. I was an English-lit major who wanted to write. The publishing industry in Baltimore was small, and if I didn’t find a place for myself in it soon enough my father intended to find me a job in the computer industry instead. That seemed a more sensible path to him. Surely I couldn’t count on making a living as a writer.


Budgeting For Retirement Overseas

How To Afford To Retire Wherever You Want

March 16, 2014, Panama City, Panama: Identify the destinations overseas where your budget will buy you the retirement lifestyle you're looking for.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

Could you afford to retire how you want wherever you want? The opportunity for you to do just that could be greater than you might imagine.

The most important thing to understand when trying to determine how much retirement lifestyle your retirement budget will buy you is that you can control your cost of living most anywhere in the world within parameters. You choose where you want to live, how you want to live, how often you dine out, whether you have help around the house, where and how frequently you travel, where and how you shop, etc.

This is why there's really no answer to the question, how much does it cost to live in XYZ? The more relevant question is, how much money do you have to fund your retirement? Figure that amount and then identify the destinations overseas where that budget will buy you the retirement lifestyle you're looking for.

The bulk of any budget is given over to housing--rent or a mortgage, if you have one--so start here. Are you going to rent or to buy?

I strongly recommend that you rent at least at first, for 6 to 12 months, to give yourself a chance to try the place on for size before committing. However, if you do eventually decide to invest in a home of your own, recognize that property ownership comes with carrying costs. As a home-owner, you'll have maintenance and repair costs, insurance, in some places property taxes, maybe grounds-keeping, etc. As a renter, you have none of these liabilities, which is why renting long term can make a lot of sense for the retiree abroad.


Obtaining Bank Financing For Property Purchase Overseas

Can A Foreigner Finance The Purchase Of Real Estate Overseas?

March 14, 2014, Panama City, Panama:Options for non-resident foreigners to borrow for the purchase of real estate overseas are limited in the current market climate.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

Yesterday afternoon I participated in our “How To Buy And Profit From Real Estate Overseas” webinar. For the hour-long conversation, Kathleen Peddicord, Real Estate Marketing Director James Archer, and I welcomed three special guests representing key markets of interest right now—Panama, Brazil, and Argentina/Paraguay/Uruguay.

The agenda for our discussion was broad. We talked about the main benefits of investing in real estate overseas, as well as the pitfalls and risks. We talked about how you get started investing in real estate overseas if you’ve never done it before. And we focused on some key current opportunities (this with the help of our special guests).

We also fielded questions. Unfortunately, we ran out of time before we were able to address all of the questions raised by participants in the event. One that we received from a number of listeners on the line but weren’t able to speak to before our hour ran out had to do with financing.

Specifically: Can a foreigner get financing for a property purchase in another country?

Like so many questions to do with buying real estate overseas, the answer is that it depends—first on the country. If you’re looking to buy in a country where it’s possible for foreigners to borrow for the purchase of property, then it also depends—this time on whether you can meet the local requirements for lending.

Often, in countries where formal lending for the purchase of real estate is available, banks treat resident foreigners the same as resident citizens. If you’re living and working in a country legally, banks likely will consider you a “local” for the purposes of lending money to you as long as you have a job with a local company and can show formal paystubs.


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Kathleen Peddicord

Kathleen Peddicord is the founder of the Live and Invest Overseas publishing group. With more than 25 years experience covering this beat, Kathleen reports daily on current opportunities for living, retiring, and investing overseas in her free e-letter.

Her book, How To Retire Overseas—Everything You Need To Know To Live Well Abroad For Less, was recently released by Penguin Books.

Read more here.


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