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An Expat Talks about Retiring in Coral Harbour, Bahamas

Feb 04, 2019


An expat who retired in Coral Harbour, Bahamas talks about what it's like living there - from the thriving nightlife to the lack of big stores, financial requirements for permanent residence and healthcare.

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Coral Harbour

Why did you choose to retire abroad?

I could not longer take the cold weather and wanted to retire in the sunshine.

Are you retired abroad all year or part of the year?

All year (although my wife and I travel alot)

Why did you choose the country you retired to?

Beach, sun, warm weather was our primary focus. However since we travel a lot we also wanted somewhere close to a major airport and low cost flights.

Did you ever live abroad before you retired abroad?

Yes, we lived in the Mediterranean for a few years before retiring here in the Bahamas.

How long have you lived abroad since you retired abroad?

We lived abroad for 5 years before moving to the Bahamas and retiring here 11 years ago.

How many countries (other than your home country) have you lived in as a retiree?

1

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What have been the most challenging aspects of being retired abroad?

The damages that can be caused by hurricanes. Make sure you put additional monies aside for unexpected damages that can and do occur when living in the Caribbean.

What have been the most rewarding aspects of being retired abroad?

We have made lots of new friends and get to spend our time in the sunshine. This is a big plus for someone like me who has a lot of aches and pains that are worse in the cold weather.

What would you do differently if you were just starting the retire abroad process?

The banking system can be difficult here for retirees. Make sure you properly look into what banking services will be available to you before you move here.

What is life like for a retiree in your city and its surroundings? (Is there an active expat community? Cultural Attractions? Recreation? Nightlife?)

Their is huge expat community here, people from all over the world and all types of characters retire here. This is a Caribbean island so don't expect to much amenities as you would find in the U.S.A. or Europe. We do not have a Walmart, Auchan or Harrods here although we did just get an IMAX theatre. We have lots of recreational activities related to the sea (having a boat is a huge advantage). We also have all types of nightlife as the tourist industry is fairly vibrant here as well.

What residency documents or visas did you need to obtain to retire in your host country? How difficult was this process? (Please describe)

The process is fairly simple if you come from North America or European countries. You need to be able to show that you can support yourself financially and that you will not be a burden on the local economy. Make sure to get private health care insurance.

Did you buy a home or apartment, or rent one? Is this a difficult process? (Please describe)

We rented at first to make sure we were happy here. We later bought a home and both options work well. For the residency documents you can use either a rental lease or a property deed but the minimum value has changed over the years.

Financially, has living abroad in your host country met your expectations? Exceeded them?

Yes, we expected it to cost us more and it has. No kidding, this is not a cheap island to retire too. Everything costs more here from groceries to real estate. Expect to spend more then you would in your home country.

What are the most important financial considerations for retiring to your host country?

Properly check your finances and make sure its realistic for you before coming. Healthcare is another must. It is necessary to have here and you should have one that does not have an age limit on it or you may find yourself having to leave once you pass 75 years old.

How much can a retiree live on comfortably in your host country?

Housing costs vary greatly but the last time I checked you needed to spend $500,000 USD as a minimum on the home in order to qualify for a permanence residence. This number may have risen in the last couple of years as they have talked about changing it to 750,000 or 1 million dollars. Besides that expect to spend at least $800 a month in groceries for a couple that eats well. Restaurants can run fairly expensive at about $50 for dinner for a couple up to thousands of dollars in the fancy places.

Do you have access to quality medical care? (Please describe - is it close? Expensive?)

We have both a general hospital and private hospitals as well as private clinics. The healthcare is adequate. For major health issues many people choose to fly to Florida as well. The cost is comparable but the choice of healthcare is perceived to be greater.

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Is there a lot of crime where you live? (Please describe)

The east end of the island definitely has more crime then the west end. In recent times the crime has come out west as more of the wealthy people live out west. This is mostly non-violent crime unless you are involved with criminal elements such as the gangs or drug scene.

Describe available transportation where you live. Do you need a car? Is there access to safe public transportation?

The public busses are sketchy at best. We have our own car and that has served us well. Taxis are readily available for shuttling around if you prefer not to own a car here, however that could get rather expensive.

Is there high-speed internet access where you live?

Yes. The common providers are BTC (telephone company) and REV (cable company). Both work well for recreational internet use. If you need more upload capabilities then the average person then check the package offered by REV. This is the most upload bandwidth available on the island a the moment.

Do you have any other thoughts you would like to share about retiring abroad?

You have worked hard during your life time and now you deserve to enjoy your retirement. Consider what makes you the happiest. Is it the weather, sporting activities, clubs, social life? What ever it is make sure your destination will provide you with that, then work out the rest of the details.

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