Exp-Pats Surviving In Belize

What’s the best way to make a million dollars in Belize? Come with two and leave before you lose the other half! 

There is a lot of truth in that often quoted remark. Why?  In a country of about 315,000 there simply isn’t a lot of money. I ‘d venture that the average full time employed Belizean makes about $20US a day. Admittedly that figure only comes from my 6 years of extensive experience in this country and not a reliable, trustworthy, goverment agency. I’ll delve further into my observations to say that maybe 40% of adult males between the ages of 25 and 50 hold what would be considered full time employment. I’d say that figure is closer to 20% for women in that age range. Who then, is purchasing the products and services we are selling and how much money is out there to buy anything?

 Nealry 100% of my ex-pat friends are self employed and nearly all live with financial hardships AND, now this is important, we are not carrying debt here like in the US. Financial hardships there can nearly always be directly attributed to living beyond one’s means. In the US, where I’m from, making money isn’t the real issue, keeping it is. Credit card debt, a mortage, 2 car payments etc, etc. The things we “need” consume us. It is well documented that the vast majority of Americans live beyond their means.   Major and minor resort owners, hoteliers, contractors, tour operators and makers of granola & peanut butter here will all tell you the same thing, especially with alcohol induced honesty, you might be able to make a living in Belize but making money is very difficult.   Making a living here means buying groceries, keeping the vehicle that you paid cash for running, keeping your children clothed and supporting your habits. The things we “need”, we really need! Making a living here doesn’t mean supporting your two car payments, mortage and enormous credit card bills because most people, and I’m talking ex-pats, cannot make enough money here to do those things nor is that kind of credit available to most people. In Belize almost no one carries that kind of debt. When you hear that living in the tropics is a simpler kind of life it means that we focus on the simple things, food, shelter and alcohol.

If you come to Belize retired with a pension or still able to make US dollars or the equivelant you are in excellent shape and probably can live comfortably. What can an ex-patriated individual do to make a living in Belize? Find a need and meet it is a simple answer. Here’s a few things I know we need around here; A good sub shop, more than 1 competent, honest mechanic for small engines and vehicles, someone to set up off the grid power systems, an amazing ice cream shop, some serious competition in the pizza arena to help drive prices down ($5 in the states $15-$20 here), a small movie theatre, a store that sells clothes for men and carries outdoor gear, an honest politician, ok, I’m getting carried away.  What we don’t need is another mediocre restaurant or a new resort, we are full up with those. 

Yes, you can move to Belize. Maybe, you can make a living. Yes, you can make a million, just bring two!

About BelizeBritts

Jim and Jacquelyn moved to Belize in 2004 after spending much of their adult lives as US Navy Deep Sea Divers. Jacquelyn specialized in the Navy's Marine Mammal Program handling sea lions and dolphins with the US Navy's Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) as well as conducting underwater repairs on navy ships. Jim was a Navy Chief specializing in underwater repairs to ships and submarines as well as operating a recompression chamber for the treatment of injured divers. They moved to Belize in 2004 from Pine Island, Florida where Jacquelyn is a 4th generation native. Jim is from all over but calls Nashville, Tennessee home. In March 2013 they moved back to Pine Island, FL to spend more time with their family.
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9 Responses to Exp-Pats Surviving In Belize

  1. Stephanie Newcum says:

    If you guys want to try some off the grid creations yourself check out these 2 sites, http://woodgasifiers.com/ and http://instructables.com/

    both have very useful information for setting up your own systems.

    • belizebritts says:

      Thanks Steph. I’ll take a look. Right now we run on solar, a diesel generator and a battery bank. The system needs tweeking and upgrading for sure but it’s what we have now.

  2. Preston Wright says:

    I used to write this kind of thing on the Belize forum. Gave up about five years ago because of all the “pie-in-the-sky” attitudes of people wanting to come to Belize. People wrote me off as just grumpy. I wasn’t. Just was being honest about how life really is.

    Make money in Belize? The only way to do it is to sell services to people from other countries who already have money. If you start a business, it is really a hobby.

  3. 12061206 says:

    Is internet and cell phone (back to the states) readily available?

  4. Tim says:

    How well could a single guy live with a 3k pension?

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