Now that everyone’s back at work and even the children are back at school, the reality of the daily grind is kicking in for most people. It’s a fact that the general mood of the nation is blue at this time of the year, (did you know that yesterday, Monday 14th of Jan, is officially the most depressed day of the year!), and yet if you’re dead set on starting a new life abroad in 2013, perhaps you’re one of the few wandering around with a smile on your face!
After all, what better way to banish the winter blues than to banish winter altogether by starting a new life abroad in a country where the sun always shines! Today, in the second part of our mini series about where to live abroad in 2013, we’re going to focus on Central America.
A region often overlooked by Britons, it’s greatly in favour with our American cousins, and it’s a region offering incredible diversity, fantastic weather, an affordable cost of living, and plenty of liveable countries to choose from. You can even find tax-free living in Central America…
Belize - this is a former British colony where English is the main business language, and where The Queen is still Sovereign. It’s also a stunningly beautiful nation with incredible tourism appeal.
Unsurprisingly, it’s also a popular choice with expatriates who choose its fabulous climate, Caribbean coastline and laidback lifestyle.
If you’re looking for tax-free living, Belize could be the right choice for you if you’re aged over 45 and can prove you’re in receipt of at least $2,000 USD a month from an approved income source derived from outside the nation.
Qualifying individuals can then enjoy anything they earn outside of Belize tax-free. Naturally enough, in a low-cost nation a tax-free salary can enable you to live a fantastic lifestyle, or enjoy retirement much earlier than you could if you remained living in the UK.
Panama - perhaps the most well known nation in the region, Panama is enjoying a period of massive sustained investment and positivity thanks to the expansion of the Panama Canal.
The nation also enjoys a seamless blend of first world sophistication and untouched cultural integrity. Expatriates living in Panama benefit from an exceptionally high quality of life in a country with an almost uniform tropical climate.
The high temperatures in Panama combine with relative humidity, meaning that whether you prefer beachfront living or a home in the interior highlands, you can enjoy a wonderful outdoor-centric lifestyle.
The economy locally is very strong, meaning there are investment and employment options for expats.
Costa Rica - benefitting from fabulous Caribbean and Pacific coastlines, as well as a lush and verdant interior, Costa Rica is a real paradise in Central America.
It is perhaps the safest choice in the region too, as it is so politically and economically stable it doesn’t even need its own army!
Whilst no country in Central America should be considered a ‘soft’ choice for expatriates who aren’t ready to deal with a massive changes in pace and way of life, Costa Rica has been fairly well explored and ‘colonised’ by American retirees and pioneering expats already. Therefore, if you do choose Costa Rica you wouldn’t be alone in making this fascinating nation your new home abroad.
If you want to enjoy a low cost of living, stunning palm fringed beaches and wonderful azure seas, consider Costa Rica.
Nicaragua - finally for our look at where to live abroad in 2013, the most adventurous would-be expats out there could find an awful lot to love in the much misunderstood nation of Nicaragua.
Simply put, if you’re looking for somewhere to retire away from big brother, the nanny state and the failing economy in the UK, Nicaragua will offer you a much freer way of life.
The local people are genuinely welcoming, the economy has massive room for positive development, there are investment opportunities aplenty, and the cost of living is incredibly affordable.
Known as the land of lakes and volcanoes, Nicaragua is also home to rainforests and rivers, and almost a fifth of the nation’s land is designated as a protected area featuring national parks and nature reserves. It is a country that’s as beautiful as it is bio-diverse, and having made great inroads into stabilising the country and reducing crime, the government is today ensuring the economy and infrastructure are enjoying a steady re-growth
Last but not least, it just remains to say that the tax breaks for qualifying expats applying for a dedicated retirement visa are very attractive. Not only will you pay nothing on foreign sourced income, but you can import personal effects including a car tax-free – and of course you will gain residence status.
For those prepared to look beyond the evergreen (and recession hit) British favourites like Spain and France, there is a whole world of opportunity out there. Central America offers expats the chance to find a haven where the cost of living is low, the pace of life is sedate, where the sun almost always shines, and where big brother has got better things to do than watch what you’re up to all day long!