Dear Friends of Grand Baymen,
Mike and I just returned from our annual three week vacation in California.Â We spent most of our time in the San Francisco Bay Area, where we lived for well over 20 years.Â It's always interesting to note the changes that have occurred in a year.Â And, we can't help but revisit our rationale for leaving such a beautiful region of the world for little Belize...
When we first bought property in Belize, on Ambergris Caye, it was for the investment.Â That was over 11 years ago.Â We wanted to own property on a tropical Caribbean island, so we could vacation here and enjoy snorkeling, swimming, scuba diving, and just walking the beach...Â Of course, our expectation was that our property would increase in value. Â If we liked it here, we knew we'd spending at least part of our retirement here.
Obviously, we decided that we do like it here on Ambergris Caye. Â And we did eventually move here with the intent to retire.Â Retire isn't really the right descriptor, though, as we certainly keep busy with both business and pleasure.Â What we didn't expect was how much the world, and Northern American life, would change during the last ten years...Â We are happier than ever that we made the move.Â But these days, our rational for living here is quite different...
As part of the "on-the-ground" team for Grand Baymen Belize, I am fortunate to participate in the financial conferences held at our resort, Exotic Caye Beach Resort.Â In particular, the Â conferences sponsored by Sovereign Society, Caye International Bank, and Porter Stansberry's this year have been enlightening.Â At the August conference I spoke about Belize real estate.Â Â Â But I made sure to stick around for the up to date review of the recently passed HR 2947.Â This is the bill that will negatively impact our future overseas money transfers as of 2013.
These days, people visit Belize for reasons other than just the lovely Caribbean Sea, vibrant barrier reef, and friendly English speaking locals.Â The emphasis has shifted.Â Now visitors are just as interested in hearing about Belize's private, secure banks, attractive retirement program, and how to set up an offshore trust or international business corporation.
And lately, I've been surprised by the number of doctors attending our Chill Weekends.Â They recognize the potential to set up a medical tourism practice in an attractive, viable, low cost, English speaking country close to the USA.
We spent many years living in the San Francisco Bay Area, and thoroughly enjoyed it.Â But the cost of living and pace of life there are just too much for us these days.Â Our three weeks in California were delightful.Â The September weather was crisp and crystal clear.Â We relished every fantastic meal... Each glass of divine wine.Â The prices were indeed extravagant.Â But when we only spend a few weeks there a year, it's an affordable treat.
Upon returning to our little country of less than 330,000, we were still relieved that we had left California and the USA and moved to Ambergris Caye, Belize...
We meet many future expat retirees when they come to visit us at Grand Baymen, from various geographies and walks of life.Â It has become very clear to me that a large proportion of our Baby Boomer generation watched a big chunk of our retirement savings evaporate at a critical time in our lives.Â Most of us are feeling the pinch.Â We're wondering how we'll maintain our quality of life during our golden years.
Unfortunately, the topics the experts presented in San Pedro at the August Financial Conference were often disconcerting.Â The new bill I mentioned, HR 2847, requiring banks to take a 30% bite out of overseas money transfers starting in January of 2013, is indeed troubling.Â Apparently this money is destined for the IRS, whether or not the source is our "after tax" savings accounts.Â I asked my Schwab advisor how they plan to address the new requirements.Â He had no answer at the time...
I don't usually dwell on negative topics.Â But, I felt it is critical to share this information, since not everyone knows how this bill will hinder our ability to invest or move overseas in the future.Â We all have a window of opportunity during the next two years to make some hard decisions.Â Â Right now it's still rather easy to diversify your investments overseas.Â We all still have the option to purchase a home in a less expensive country - to maintain our lifestyle.Â But in two years it will be much more complicated and costly.
So, if you are planning to visit other countries to consider your retirement options, don't put it off...Â DO IT SOON! You can still easily set up an offshore bank account.Â And, don't forget, Belize is a fantastic place to consider.
Of course, we'd love to have you visit us at Grand Baymen Belize, for one of our Chill Weekends.Â If you prefer, sign up for one of the many offshore financial conferences, to learn the details of HR 2847 and other changes coming our way.Â Either way, learn as much as you can while you have more options to choose from.
Although part of this newsletter covers the August financial conference, the majority of it is dedicated to describing noteworthy local news and events.Â Of special interest this month, I've included an article about the recently protected Marco Gonzales Maya Archaeological Reserve located on Ambergris Caye.
I hope to meet you in the future at one of our events.
Ann Kuffner Brunette
Grand Baymen Belize