Tuesday, June 2, 2009


My second watercolor effort.
Ray teaching himself to paint in Belize.


This may offend some list serve subscribers, but I recently got a reply from one long term friend on the bz-culture listserve, who complained that he did not understand how we as a family we could live on $700 usa per month, when he living in the USA, paid $2500 usa a month just for his medical insurance.
There are many answers and a lot of them depend on your outlook on life and priorities. I have always taught my children and my second wife and family, that the name of the game, is SURVIVAL. It is not a status based standard of living. My wife and I have lived before on a 30 foot sailboat in Miami area with two dogs. So lifestyle is important to us. Basically I believe in QUALITY OF LIFE and not in status style living standards. If you are trying to impress your friends and stay better than the JONES next door, then you have a physcological problem. If you follow our philosophy, then you realize that survival is based on having a roof over your head, to protect you from the elements and a supply of food, good health is a priority and following that is some sort of medical treatment that is adequate. Everything else is a luxury.
Given those priorities for sake of SURVIVAL, then you must manipulate the ingredients to live within your means and desires. Shelter depends a lot on the country you live in, the type of climate you will experience and thus the size of shelter you can afford. The first thing to shake off, is the indoctrination, or brain washing, based on patriotism propaganda, that whichever country you are a national of, usually by birth right, is the best place in the world to live. This is not true! It depends on your comfort zone and desires. I tried very hard to make my children and they in turn are teaching my grandchildren to be cosmopolitan in outlook. To be world citizens. To be comfortable anyplace on Planet Earth. We are citizens of planet Earth, our space ship that circles the sun of our solar system.
If you accept that the EARTH, the whole planet is your backyard, then you can live anywhere. The criteria then comes down to geography, the type of political governments, the latitude and climate you desire in which to live and other nuances of costs, versus expectations.
My wife and I chose to retire in Belize, having tried some different countries and for various reasons stated in the last paragraph. Much of which the long term list serve members well know. We are extremely happy where we live. We have everything we need and more than we could have, or afford if we were in the USA in retirement. We are also not only independent of mind, we are self reliant and do not need the artificial stimulus of metropolitan living and those accoutrements of life style that go with it. How we live is not for every personality. Lan Sluder’s wife called it utilitarian one time. I thought that was cute and remembered that term.
If you want a specific type of climate, then your search for a place to retire will include those parameters. There are many countries that fit your criteria. Food and the cost of food is a requirement to study. Fortunately this location has lots of food and since we eat FRESH food and not processed foods, the cost is relatively cheap. The draw back for those accustomed to the myriad choices of processed massed produced food in the USA, is the lack of variety here. Since for health purposes we believe what we eat will dictate your health, we prefer much less variety of food choices and so do not miss USA supermarkets. We prefer what we have. We eat for body fuel and good health, not for pleasure as provided by the myriad thousands of choices in the USA supermarkets, or that of Europe. Since I’ve reduced the portions I eat each day, I’ve lost weight and feel a lot better and my rubber tire is almost gone now. This translates into good health.
It is in health services and costs that one must consider. My friend in the USA complaining of a $2500 a month health insurance system, has made choices based on other criteria obviously. The USA is a country run in my opinion by a Health Criminal Conspiracy. Many countries and many THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES have better medical treatment than in the USA. My experience is based on Metropolitan Miami-Dade County medical services in Florida. We get much better, cheaper, faster and SUPERIOR medical services where we live in Western Belize. If you have been brainwashed by television ads to believe only the USA has good medical treatment, then what can I say? I feel sorry for you, you poor gullible fool.
Latin America is full of superior medical hospitals and treatments. There are certain types of medical treatment that might be superior in the USA, like burn units, which do not exist here. For all standard type medical treatments, like neurological brain damage, kidney stones, arthritis and so forth, the Latin American countries can beat what you have in the USA, or match it, at a smaller amount of currency. Plus you can pay CASH. Where we live at my age, if I go to the Government Hospital, my medical treatment is FREE. If for some reason I choose a private hospital I must pay, but still costs are far more reasonable than in the USA. Usually less than the co-payment for an insurance scheme in the USA.
Those basics of SURVIVAL taken care of, then the rest of living costs depends a lot on your character, life experiences and capabilities. We are having a lot of fun with our life. Good health and having fun are our life style choices. Since we are old, a siesta every midday and into the afternoon is normal. Chores and hobbies, or projects get done not on some timeline, but as we feel like it. I haven’t touched my art for about a week. We have some other projects that are currently taking up the available time in the day. Mostly I devote 2 hours a day to my hobbies and projects in the early morning and those I cannot do myself, I pay local day labor to do for me. Couldn’t even begin to do that in the USA. I am an avid reader and probably spend more of my day reading than any other activity. My wife watches cable tv news programs and is absorbed in various loom and weaving projects.
I could tell you how to arrange your life in the USA to preserve your assets and live less expensive, but that is another story. It also gets into estate management to preserve your assets from being attached by medical liens from the hospital, or lawyers who have checked your worth and decided to nuisance sue you. The basic secret is to own nothing. You do not need to own anything, you need only control your assets. Limited liability companies, foundations and trusts are the method usually of doing those things. Even small people can do these things to protect their assets. No, you don’t need a lawyer, but you do need to study some legal stuff on the internet and be able to type.
Read about our life in Western Belize on the internet at: http://westernbelizehappenings.blogspot.com
We are currently building a duplex on the ridge above our current home and hostel, which here consists of, five bathrooms, two kitchen and dining areas, one is private ours, the other is a public open kitchen, a living room with hammocks instead of sofas, two furnished one bedroom and bathroom, with their own kitchen apartments, with verandahs with scenic views over the valleys, a modest fair sized warehouse, which includes work bench and tools as well, two smaller storage rooms, parking place under the second floor and two dormitories for our hostel guests to choose from. We can sleep 17 persons besides our family that lives in our smaller interior two bedroom and bath 420 square foot inside personal house. We also have two vegetable and flower nurseries in the yard and a work space with benches for working. We have decided to sell this place if there is a buyer for $338,000 usa and move to the duplex on the ridge above here, one block over. It is not imperative we sell, but seven years have passed and we have new challenges in mind. We have not yet decided to list with a real estate commission agent. I hate to give a commission ( grin! ) Besides they are asking too much for a commission around here. We also are desirous of buying a place in Coban, Guatemala, for the hot summer months high in the mountains also. We have some business ideas to try out, up in the mountains of Coban, Guatemala. Our hostel accommodations were built as an income security blanket in case something happened to our USA assets. Also to supplement our retirement income, which is minimal, about $1100 usa per month. We did not want to work too hard, if at all. So far, all our plans and vision has worked out well, more or less on schedule as planned. We started building about eight years ago and have been retired here for three years. There are other retired expatriates in this area, but we don’t mix much with them. We know most of them casually. Some are very happy and others are unhappy. A lot depends on your personality and self reliance. Some people should never leave their metropolitan city environments. I kind of subscribe to the theory you should live someplace where everybody knows your name and say hello on the street when meeting you. I’m not at all happy living someplace where I am only a statistic, identified by a drivers license photo and social security number. Smothered by rules and regulations.
see: http://folkmusicfl.tripod.com/retirementinbelize

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