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Golden Years in the Sun – Retirement in the Caribbean

Your Guide to Retiring in the Caribbean - Article


At retirement age many people choose to relocate to a warmer climate with an environment that offers a more relaxed way of life. The Caribbean offers many ideal places to retire and enjoy the golden years with a lower cost of living and fantastic leisure opportunities. After years of hard work what could be better than relaxing on a beach, swimming, hiking, fishing or simply swinging in a hammock in the warm sunshine. For those looking into the Caribbean as a retirement destination there are a few things to consider when making that move.

Cost of Living

The Caribbean region generally has a lower cost of living that the US or Europe and thus offers economic advantages to expatriates seeking a place in the sun. Many Caribbean countries have stable currencies that are fixed to the US dollar and goods and services are much cheaper than could be found within the States. For Brits and Europeans the strength of the Pound and Euro make it an advantage to exchange currency and can enable retirees to stretch their money much further than if they stayed in their native lands.

This economic advantage can be an absolute necessity for many retirees who are seeing rising costs in their own countries threaten their savings and jeopardize their standard of living. A recent report from the US indicates that in 39 of the 50 states, the number of retirees who can expect to outlive their financial assets is 59% or above. In some states this bleak outlook forecasts that 70% of new retirees will see their money run out in their lifetime. Thus the favourite retirement hotspots of Florida, Arizona and California are now way beyond the budgets of many. On the other side of the Atlantic, British retirees are seeing property in sunny Mediterranean destinations their boom out of their price range and are no longer able to make the move there in their retirement. In either of these cases the Caribbean offers a viable alternative. 

On some islands, building a home or buying a property is much less than property value of the home country. Therefore if you decide to sell your existing property you will often have enough left over to acquire your new property and pay for travel and shipping costs. Some countries offer tax incentives and duty free concessions for goods imported so it is worth finding that out in advance.

The lower cost of living in the Caribbean can make services like having a maid or activities such as eating out or getting a massage very affordable and life becomes much more enjoyable. The Country Comparison chart compiled by Caribbean Land and Property gives an overview of affordability of various commodities and services on the islands. It is vital, with a fixed income, to do an assessment of the cost of living to see if it is viable to live in your chosen destination.

Accessibility – Airports and Flights

Of course many retirees have a family of children and grandchildren that they want to consider before making a leap to a whole new country. With the increased mobilization of younger persons for work and study, it may be that the family is already dispersed and moving abroad will not significantly affect relationships that are already sustained over long distances. Those who are at present living in close geographic proximity to their loved ones will want to consider islands with easy international accessibility, direct connections and regular flights.

Many Caribbean countries have direct and quick flights and some can be reached in as little as 2-3 hours. Once you have found your ideal place, most family and friends will be all too willing to take advantage of a new place to take a vacation.

Lifestyle

Do you want serenity or adventure? Are you looking for a simple quiet life or would you prefer a variety of opportunities for socializing and entertainment? Are you happy to live off the land or do you need a supermarket within walking distance? Do you want the heat of the coast or the coolness of the mountains?

A 2006 study in the American Journal of Psychiatry reported that the happiest retirees are those who have a sense of purpose and participate in activities they enjoy. Therefore it is important to assess your needs and see if your chosen destination can fulfill your needs.

The Caribbean is filled with an eclectic blend of cultures and activity and if you are clear on what you want and open to new possibilities you are sure to find what you are looking for.

Medical/Insurance

Most islands have modern medical services and facilities that can deal with many conditions but some do not. If you have any medical needs that need regular attention or specialist services it is important that you locate a place to live that is close to a facility that can deal with your needs. Also check that any medication you need can be purchased locally. Enquire with your insurance company in your home country to find out what they will cover whilst you are overseas as it may be necessary to get additional insurance locally that can cover medical expenses and emergencies.
 
A Home to Suit Your Needs

With the often cheaper cost of construction it is possible to buy land and have your home built to your specifications. If you choose this option it is wise to find some local consultants and professionals that can assist you with the planning and building of your home. During the construction phase it is worth considering renting a place nearby in order to be present to supervise the work and ensure everything is being done to plan.

If you decide to buy a ready made home take a look at its features with the years ahead in mind. Have the house checked for structural quality and its ability to withstand any extreme weather conditions. You may want to invest in some renewable sources of energy to power your home and reduce some bills in the future.

Planning a Wonderful Retirement

Each Caribbean country is different and the above ideas are just a start to get thinking about before you choose your destination. It is also essential to do some good background research through guide books and the Internet. To further decide on a location for a future home some people take a cruise which offers a snap shot of each island, followed by a longer follow up visit for those at the top of the preferred list. If you have the ability to rent a place for 6 months and test the waters this could assist you in making the correct choice for a long and happy retirement in the sun.Caribbean Land and Property are always happy to offer their services in helping you find the right home for your retirement.

 


Article written by Caribbean Land and Property 
Text and Images Copyright 2008 Caribbean Land and Property Limited



Last Updated On 27 Apr 2017