According to Generation Mortgage Co, almost 80 percent of US baby boomers are afraid they wont be able to retire comfortably. They’re facing shrinking nest eggs, investment properties that have lost value, a weak job market, and a rising cost of living. Add to this expensive health care plans and under-insurance, and it’s no surprise that a growing number are starting to shift their perspective beyond US shores.
The US Social Security Administration reported that the number of retired Americans receiving benefits overseas has increased 32 percent since 2002. That number is set to grow. Many are bypassing Florida for their retirement and heading a little further south to countries like Costa Rica, Belize, Panama and Nicaragua.
The Central American region benefits from a close proximity to the US mainland and the number of direct flights from Miami, Houston, Los Angeles and Atlanta increases each year. But the key attraction is a massively reduced cost of living, making the promise of a full and rich retirement still possible despite the trying financial times. Retirees who have made the move say they can “live a life of luxury” for under $1500 a month. In Nicaragua, some US baby boomers scale that number down even further to $950 a month, and that still includes a full time maid.
Added to this are a host of extra benefits and incentives available to retirees under government designed retirement residency programs. In Nicaragua and Belize for example, the retirement age is just 45 and ‘retirees’ are eligible for exemptions on local taxes and are not taxed on income earned out of the country. In Panama the retiree program also offers discounts on a number of medical, travel and entertainment expenses.
The real estate in the region remains highly affordable. A report by international property site RevealRealEstate.com showed that Nicaragua real estate in particular stands out as offering very low cost property options, significantly lower than Costa Rica and Belize, for example. With beachfront property available for a fraction, even 1/10 the price of property in the US, that ocean side retirement dream is no longer out of reach for many US baby boomers willing to make the move.