Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Living In Belize As An American

Some people get really excited about the "Retire Belize" Program (Qualified Retirement Program) when they think about living in Belize as an American but the reality of making that happen is that they have to go through a long drawn out procedure to get this special retired persons visa. It is probably best to get an attorney to handle it for you as it is not a simple matter for even the most patient of Americans living in Belize. We are just not used to things being quite this complicated and drawn out. Nothing in Belize is simple and here are some reasons why that might be the case.

Before I even tell you this, just understand it will be a shock. Things in Belize are not computerized. Just let that sink in for a few minutes. The government is not computerized. The banking system between branches is not computerized. The local law enforcement is not computerized. Rewind back to the 60s and 70s and think about how things were done in America. Everything had to be written by hand or typed. 

Bookkeeping was by hand on ledgers. Records were created in duplicate and everything was filed in a filing cabinet and if you wanted to have the information you had to contact the person or organization that had it and ask for a copy of it or to verify it with a form. The result was that everything was form based and was very slow moving. And if there were not copies when all record were lost of what had transpired then it was just lost. Can you even imagine going back 40 years in time?

This country is very behind in terms of technology and they seem to be perfectly OK with that. This country is the definition of relaxed and laid back. No one gets too excited about anything much. They have a high rate of unemployment and a very high rate of poverty too. They live very simple lives with very small homes often crammed with several people and little furniture. Tiny homes with 5-10 people and one shower and it is OK. Many walk everywhere because they don’t own a car and getting upset is a waste of energy for everyone. Now if you're into all of the modern conveniences and speed of access to everything we enjoy in A,erica than this may not be the place for you. However, these qualities are also what is attracting many retirees to this wonderful, simple little country. It truly is a great way to escape the rate race and live the 'tranquillo' lifestyle. 

One other important thing to ask is, Where is Belize? When you discover that Belize is located right in the middle of Central America you can relax a little. It's easily accessible from numerous U.S. airports, some less than two hours flight time away. So, if you find yourself getting a little island fever it's simple enough to hop on a plane and get your city fix in Houston or Miami. Or you may even want to use your new home as a base to spring board south to discover Panama City or other south American destinations. 

If your thinking about moving to Belize and especially if you haven’t spent much time there, will be a shock but it will be a slow shock. One that may ultimately make living in Belize as an American a frustrating experience if you are not prepared for it. You just need to talk a breath and go with it if you intend to be in Belize for very long. Darling, you’re not in Kansas anymore!

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