Five years ago, Macarena Rose decided to relocate from Florida to Belize. "I said enough to the uncertainty and the worries of life in the United States and opted for a new life, in a new country," she says. "The American Dream of a comfortable middle-class lifestyle in retirement may be harder and harder to realize in the United States, but it is alive and well in this beautiful little English-speaking country. And your retirement income, whatever it is, can stretch much, much further here." Here are 10 reasons Belize is such an appealing retirement spot:
1. The economy of Belize is stable. This country has one of the lowest inflation rates in the world.
2. English is the official language. Belize is the only country in Latin America where this is true.
3. Belize is close by. You can get to it in two hours or less from Houston and many points on the east coast. You can easily visit your family and friends (and grandkids) often and vice versa. Living in Belize, you'll be surprised how many visitors you'll have from back home.
4. The laws are familiar. The system of law in Belize is based on that of the British and therefore familiar and comfortable for Americans.
5. Real estate is affordable. Belize is not the cheapest place in Central America to buy real estate, but the cost can be amazingly low compared with the cost of comparable property in the United States.
6. Low taxes. The government of Belize welcomes you and isn't going to excessively tax you. Depending on where and how you earn your income, you could have zero tax liability as a retiree in this country.
7. Retirement perks. If you're 45 or over, you can take advantage of a "retiree" program to help you establish legal residency in Belize and enjoy special benefits and tax advantages.
8. Belize itself. This is a natural paradise of sun, sea and surf. The barrier reef offshore is second in size only to that in Australia and should be on everyone's bucket list. Inland are the famed rainforest and Mayan ruins, which are more bucket list items. Throughout Belize you'll find exotic flora and fauna. This is a country where Mother Nature has outdone herself.
9. The sense of community. The joy of family life and community are Belizeans' biggest priorities.
10. The expat community. Belize is a quirky country that has been attracting expats and retirees from around the world for decades. These are like-minded people who want to make their own way and live well on what they've got. Expats bring their dreams to this country, and Belize helps to make them come true.
Kathleen Peddicord is the founder of the Live and Invest Overseas publishing group. With more than 28 years experience covering this beat, Kathleen reports daily on current opportunities for living, retiring and investing overseas in her free e-letter. Her newest book, How To Buy Real Estate Overseas, published by Wiley & Sons, is the culmination of decades of personal experience living and investing around the world.
More From US News & World Report