Moving to Belize is more popular than ever, partly for its affordability. But just how affordable is it? Luigi Wewege from the Caye International Bank talks about the cost of living in Belize.
After visiting Belize as a tourist, many people find it to be the paradise home they’ve always wanted to live in. Perhaps you’re feeling the same.
But before you decide, look beyond the beautiful weather, the friendly people, and the relaxed pace. You also need to consider the economic factors related to the cost of living in Belize. Here are some of the more important things to know.
General cost of living in Belize
As you consider the cost of settling in Belize, the estimates you find online may surprise you. Expect to find a range between US$1,500 to $2,500. This is good news for anyone dependent on a pension, social security, or a limited digital nomad/remote work salary.
Keep in mind that your actual costs may vary. A lot depends on the type of lifestyle you want and where you live. Even so, you’re likely to find Belize compares favorably with anything else you’d find around the Caribbean region.
The Cost Of Living in Belize – A Complete Guide https://t.co/PdKFdY7Ewl
— Breaking Belize News (@belizemedia) February 3, 2022
Competitive pricing for a home
When you look at the Belize housing market, don’t be surprised to find comfortable houses in the low six figures. There are other options, some as high as in the seven-figure range. Belize has plenty of affordable choices for couples or singles who want a simple home with a couple of bedrooms, and a yard for grilling out and entertaining.
Where you live will also influence the cost. Properties close to city centers or along the shore will be more expensive. Even so, you’re likely to find the prices lower than anticipated.
Affordable utility costs
The cost for utilities like electricity, water, cable, internet, and phone service will come as a pleasant surprise. There are bundles available in certain areas that provide excellent pricing for combinations of services.
How much can you expect to spend on utilities? Estimates vary, but around US$400 is likely to be sufficient in most areas.
Attractive tax structure
Expats who establish residency will find the tax structure straightforward in Belize, with several perks offered. Residents pay a rate of 25% for income tax. Pension income is currently not subject to income tax. Even if you set up a way to earn money during your retirement, the first US$14,500 of your annual income is not taxed.
It’s surprising to many to learn there’s no capital gains tax to manage in Belize. All in all, the tax structure is much simpler to understand than in several other countries. To learn more about taxation, and what sort of obligation you would take on as a resident, talk with an attorney who can acquaint you with how the tax structure works.
Entertainment options that won’t break the bank
There’s plenty to do in Belize. Municipal celebrations occur throughout the year, with minimal cost to take part in. Prices for movies, plays, concerts, and other forms of entertainment are likely to be a fraction of what you’re used to paying.
Estimates for entertainment are in the range of US$100 – $200 a month. Those who prefer entertaining others in their homes and enjoying pastimes that cost little to nothing may spend even less.
Food prices to love
When it comes to food and drink, the most expensive options will be anything that’s imported. Those who focus on locally-grown produce, dairy, meat, and packaged foods will find the cost very low. The same is true for alcohol – beer, rum, and wine produced in Belize will keep the price lower.
There are farmer’s markets that make it easy to buy produce in season for low prices. You’ll also find local shops specializing in certain foods. If you want to eat out, stick with restaurants offering local cuisine – the cost of a tasty dinner for two will often be less than you would pay for a couple of supersized meals at a fast-food restaurant in the United States. Expert tip: Immerse yourself into the BBQ culture in Belize, both for eating out and eating in!
— Central America Living (@VidaAmerica) August 22, 2019
Affordable basic health care
Belize offers a combination of private and public sector options for healthcare. Finding a general practitioner and a dentist won’t be an issue in most parts of the country. Many accept insurance, something that helps to cover the costs. Even without insurance, you may find that treatment will be under USD$100 per visit. Medications – which rarely need a prescription – are also a fraction of what’s generally paid in many countries.
One area of caution has to do with needing major medical care. Hospitals in Belize have limited abilities to deal with major issues. Those who are used to the types of services found in North America or the United Kingdom should consider having a plan, in the event of an illness or accident that could be treated more effectively elsewhere.
All the financial services you need
One other area to consider is how to meet your banking needs. On this front, there are no worries. The banking system in Belize is simple to understand, provides excellent security for bank customers, and offers many different account types.
You may find that some accounts are a little different from what you have at home. It’s not just the type of account, but the rate of interest that your balances can accrue. Compare what you could earn from balances in time deposit accounts, savings accounts, and checking accounts. Depending on those balances, you may earn a reasonable amount by moving most of your funds to a bank within the country.
Caye International Bank (CIB) Chaired by Ambassador Joel Nagel, received five major banking awards in 2021. Luigi Wewege, newly elected president of CIB, was also an awardee: https://t.co/8CvIbtLrt0 #finance #bank #offshore #invest #global #private #wealth #international #caye pic.twitter.com/dLklRzV8Kr
— Caye International Bank (@CayeIntBank) January 7, 2022
Visit Belize with the eye of a resident
There’s always more to learn about relocating to any country before making your final decision. Consider revisiting a few times, and taking a closer look at the cost of living in Belize from the perspective of a resident rather than a tourist.
What you find out will help you decide if this is the place where you want to settle in long term. Odds are, you’ll find out why so many expats call Belize home.
Luigi Wewege is the President of Caye International Bank, headquartered on the island of Ambergris Caye, Belize. He is also the published author of The Digital Banking Revolution, now in its third edition.