Some countries roll out the welcome mat for foreign retirees, offering sometimes significant tax breaks, in-country discounts, and other perks to anyone who qualifies for resident retiree status.
The age you qualify as a retiree can have a broad definition, depending on where you go. For example, in Belize, you can qualify for retirement residency and the associated perks as young as 45, and Panama has no stated minimum age requirement for its Gold Standard retiree residency program.
Costa Rica was the first country to make a concerted effort to attract foreign retirees with a program of special benefits. Its pensionado program was responsible for bringing tens of thousands of foreign retirees, mostly Americans, to the country in the 1980s and 1990s. While the pensionado visa is still available in Costa Rica, many of the tax breaks and other special perks it once offered have been discontinued. Costa Rica has also become more expensive, both as a place to live and as a place to own a home. For these reasons, while Costa Rica is perhaps the world’s best-known overseas retirement haven, it no longer qualifies as one of the best.
Today, these four countries are working hard to attract foreign retirees:
Just over a decade ago, the government of Belize enacted legislation to allow qualified retired persons to obtain permanent residency in their country. This is a quick and efficient program. As a QRP, you could become a full-time resident of the country, but you can also enjoy the benefits if you spend as little as one month a year in Belize.
Belize’s QRP residency program isn’t only for senior citizens. It’s available to anyone age 45 or older, and it grants a host of incentives designed to encourage foreigners to come and bring their money. These incentives include a permanent exemption from Belizean taxes, including income tax, capital gains tax, estate tax, and import tax on household goods, automobiles, boats, and even airplanes.
The only requirements to qualify for Belize’s QRP program are that you be 45 or older, consider yourself to be retired, and have at least $2,000 a month in guaranteed income to support yourself in Belize. While pension income can be shown to meet the last requirement, the easiest way to prove financial means is simply to deposit a minimum of $24,000 per year into a Belizean bank account.
In practical terms, the “consider yourself to be retired” requirement means that, as a QRP, you can’t apply for a work visa. This is not to say that you can’t do international, Internet, or even local Belize business as an entrepreneur. You just can’t take a job working as an employee of someone else in Belize.
Even if you’re not contemplating retiring in Belize for several years, this is the time to apply and lock in the benefits of the current QRP law. Once you’ve qualified, a one-month holiday in Belize each year will maintain your QRP residency status while you work toward your ultimate retirement plan.
Read more: http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/on-retirement/2014/06/17/4-countries-that-welcome-american-retirees#ixzz3aG1ujLxr