Stunning View of Granada, Nicaragua
Bushamy13 chose to retire to Nicaragua because of the low cost of living, the friendly people and the beautiful country. Bushamy13 says that a retiree can live like a Nica on $500 a month or buy your expansive colonial home and entertain lavishly. She lives on approximately $1500 a month, which does not include flights back home.
We always planned to retire overseas. We have traveled extensively around the world. Low cost of living made a better retirement possible.
Permanent residents of Nicaragua now.
We had narrowed it down to Central or South America and just kept visiting countries to narrow the decision. We kept coming back to Nicaragua because of the low cost of living, the friendly people and the beautiful country.
No though military service provided some experience in living abroad.
Just here in Nicaragua.
Language has been a challenge though it is getting better. It is harder to teach an old dog new tricks.
Bank ATMs and the Internet has certainly made living overseas easier. It is a challenge to get documents sent from the USA reliably.
Expats that move to third world countries tend to be type A personalities so relationships are a bit more difficult to develop.
Living here has been a rewarding experience. We work with several foundations to help the people here and are very active in the developing expat community. I think just knowing we actually moved away from our home country has provided a positive aspect.
Learning the local language is so important. In my next life I would learn the language by total immersion with a local family for at least six months. It would have greatly accelerated the cultural transition.
We do miss the symphonies, plays, golf, tennis, etc. but not so much that we would return to the states. And some of that exists here and certainly in different forms.
The community activities are increasing here as the expat community grows. With the low cost of living, we don't always get the cream of the crop from other countries but more and more normal couples seem to be arriving.
Nicaragua has a rich culture and there are so many outside activities. It is not far to other Central American countries and Miami or Houston is only a 2 hour flight away. There are many foundations here if you wish to help the people of Nicaragua.
Many of the expats live here on a 90 day tourist visa which can be extended to 180 days. At that time you must leave the country for three days.
You can become a resident as we did which makes things like opening a bank account easier. You can get a one year or five year residency. The needed document list is too long to list here but there are many benefits such as up to $20,000 household goods imported for free and up to $25,000 tax free on an imported car or one that is purchased here.
Nicaragua wants you to move here but that does not make it easy. Average time to complete the process is 3-4 months and that assumes you arrive with all of the necessary documentation. I have a website that helps answer these questions at www.nicaragua-guide.com.
Becoming a resident does not affect your USA citizenship. Yes, you still must pay USA taxes.
We bought a home but I recommend you rent first for at least six months. Not everyone likes it here.
You do not have to be a resident to buy a home or own a business in Nicaragua. It is fairly easy to buy a home but be careful! Everyone will try to sell you property and many of them are not stellar examples of character. Work with a known real estate agency. It is easy to forget to do the normal due diligence when you are looking from your potential property watching the sun set over the ocean.
It is easy to live simply and inexpensively here but it means no more traveling extensively unless you have a good retirement income. The question is the lifestyle you want to have.
We sold everything we had in the states and just kept one domestic bank account to receive any domestic transfers like pension or social security. Also for the one credit card we have.
Nicaragua is a cash society. We have no loans or credit card balances and it feels quite good. I go to the ATM when I need money and even pay utilities with cash. Owning our home eliminates the biggest bill which is the rent. Food is the next greatest expense. It makes purchase decisions so much easier. If we do not have sufficient cash, we do not buy it.
Live like a Nica on $500 a month or buy your expansive colonial home and entertain lavishly. We find we can live on around $1500 a month but emergencies do happen and that does not include flights back home. The world is different now with many things being fairly expensive now like gas, flights overseas, rising food costs, etc. We do have concerns on the falling dollar.
One of the most modern hospitals in Central America is 45 minutes away. We do not have health insurance which will shock many people but the USA is one of very few countries without universal health care.
We love our doctor who we feel is better than any doctor we have had in the states. He speaks English and we trust him completely. The office visit is $15.
Medical costs are low enough to pay as you go. Our prescriptions are less than the co-pay amount was in the states. How can that be? They are the same drugs.
It is relatively safe and we have experienced less crime here than in the states. We use common sense such as using taxis after dark, not driving at night, etc. Having said that, Nicaragua is a poor country and there is more common theft. For example, if you lay your phone, IPod, laptop on your table at a restaurant and turn away, it will be gone. It is important to have good neighbors and to form friendships with them. Our home has never been robbed in the past five years here.
Most expats do not have vehicles and walk everywhere or use a taxi. Taxi to anywhere in Granada is 10 cordobas (23 cordobas = 1 US dollar).
We have a SUV and a motorcycle but it would be cheaper to just hire a driver when we needed one.
How fast is fast enough? We enjoy speeds greater than the speeds we had in the states when we left five years ago. I just updated it again at a cost of $25 a month and have wifi in my home.
We do have times when the electricity or water is out. As I tell people, you can run an Internet business here but if it requires you to be on a 3 hour webinar every day you may have issues.
I do have a website to help expats considering Nicaragua at www.nicaragua-guide.com. Needs updating but it is a wealth of information.
We love being overseas.