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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a hundred reasons to pack up and leave the US. I've read countless books, but its hard to find material intended for young families as opposed to retirees. I read forums regularly about why this place vs that place, setting realistic expectations, etc etc. Our situation in a nutshell:

Me: 27 DH: 33 DD:5
I want a simpler life. Even though I love my job, I love my family more and I want to establish a life that revolves around them, not work. I hate the consumeristic American culture and I want my daughter to grow up valuing things that matter. We love the beach and could live with never shoveling snow another day.

While we are young, we have a little more than 1 years salary in retirement -- not a gold mine, but certainly on track, and we would need substantially less upon retirement if we move to a lower COL area. We own two houses which we would sell before leaving -- doing so should net us about $30k for the move and to keep in reserves until we figure out work. DH thinks we need a few years, I want to go before DD is too attached to her home/friends/school.

So... that said, why shouldn't we go? For a young family, what are the risks beyond not liking the chosen location or deciding to return home?
 

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I have no reasons why you shouldn't go, but what work do you do? How would you earn a living in Belize?

Why not stay a little longer and think about starting a business in Belize? Businesses are a lot of work at first, but in a low COL area like Belize, you can hire people to do most of the hourly work for you while you check in from time to time. You just have to be a great judge of character.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well as long as we have a decent cushion, I'm quite content to just see what opportunities arise when we get there. I do have an entrepreneurial spirit and a few business ideas but I'm scared to shout them from the rooftops as our plan to make a living until we've been there long enough to assess the market and competition.

I'm an event planner by trade. I make a living planning corporate events for a private company and I spend my weekends running a wedding planning service. DH's background is in sales. I think we could easily translate our skills into some kind of service that ties in well with Belize's tourism industry. I'm not tied to event planning but its a solid background to have and is an easy, low-cost startup option. I also am an avid yogi and would love to pursue that as at least a part-time income stream.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
@BBC Sure we have. I realize it has drawbacks and truthfully we aren't tied to that country if there are other options that are a better fit but when I look at other options, I can't help but feel trapped to English speaking countries if we think we're going to eventually be able to have an income. Not opposed to learning a new language but it certainly doesn't happen overnight, and Belize's residency requirements are appealing compared to other countries I've looked into.
 

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Did you look at New Zealand? The economy there is in substantially better shape than Belize's (if I'm looking at the figures correctly), and they have a point-based immigration system that would tend to favor you and your family (ages, married, a child).

The best performing English-speaking economy is probably Singapore's right now, but Singapore would not be the obvious choice if you think the U.S. is too consumeristic.

I should point out that the U.S. has wide variations in how "consumeristic" it is depending on state and local area, so I wouldn't discount in-country options, perhaps for "staging" purposes.
 

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Some common misconceptions of people like you:
- The simple life is elsewhere.
In fact, an unfamiliar environment (of any kind) will make things more difficult. For a simple life, stay on familiar ground!
- I will start a business to earn a living.
Running a business is difficult and hard work anywhere, but even more so in a foreign country, where you will always be at a disadvantage compared to the locals. Many have tried and failed, only very few succeeded.
- I need to leave this place - I just have to find the right country to move to.
No country is perfect - and you will only find it's problems after living there for a while. You have much greater chances of arranging yourself with them if you are already familiar with that place (e.g. from travels or former temporary residence) and have reasons you want to move there, rather than just reasons to leave another place.

Apart from that, one year salary as reserve is a pittance for pulling up all sticks and starting from scratch elsewhere. I wouldn't do it below five years, and even then be prepared to return empty-handed afterwards.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks. This is exactly the kind of reality check I need. I don't disagree with any of your points, but a few thoughts:

*I already own a successful business, and while it isn't internet based and I can't just pick up and move and keep my client base, I'm not running into the idea blindly with no idea of what to expect or what kind of work would be involved to get up and running. This is one of the reasons I mentioned not being overly confident that this was THE answer, just some options we've considered. I'm a hard worker and wouldn't let my family sink, and I'm not above working on a farm for accommodatons or washing dishes at a restaurant to stay afloat during the transition. I think its really great to have a plan on how we will earn our living but I also feel like there are opportunities that will arise once we are on the ground and start to develop a community and network. Maybe that's my rose-colored glasses coming through.

*Its not so much that I want to leave here as it is that I really want to experience the rest of the world. One of the reasons I feel like we can do this is because it doesn't scare me to move to Belize, decide we don't like it and pack up and move on to the next place. If all else fails, I'm not afraid to come home and resettle either. I have the travel bug bad and a once a year vaca isn't cutting it. I don't want to sit around and wait my whole life to see the world -- I want to do it while I'm young and able to experience it with my family without limitations. If we travel the whole world and never find the perfect place, i don't feel like that would be time wasted -- it would be the experience of a lifetime. I don't hate america, and I don't take for granted the advantages we have here. I can acknowledge that there is a reason many people in other countries want to leave their homes to come HERE. I also think there is substantial perspective to be gained from spending time in places less fortunate. While I like what I do, I feel my work is sometimes meaningless in the bigger picture and I want to find a way to make a difference beyond the few hours a week I spend volunteering.

I'm rambling now but I guess what I'm trying to convey is that I don't see this as an escape, just an opportunity I feel I would regret not taking.

Some common misconceptions of people like you:
- The simple life is elsewhere.
In fact, an unfamiliar environment (of any kind) will make things more difficult. For a simple life, stay on familiar ground!
- I will start a business to earn a living.
Running a business is difficult and hard work anywhere, but even more so in a foreign country, where you will always be at a disadvantage compared to the locals. Many have tried and failed, only very few succeeded.
- I need to leave this place - I just have to find the right country to move to.
No country is perfect - and you will only find it's problems after living there for a while. You have much greater chances of arranging yourself with them if you are already familiar with that place (e.g. from travels or former temporary residence) and have reasons you want to move there, rather than just reasons to leave another place.

Apart from that, one year salary as reserve is a pittance for pulling up all sticks and starting from scratch elsewhere. I wouldn't do it below five years, and even then be prepared to return empty-handed afterwards.
 

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I'm a hard worker and wouldn't let my family sink, and I'm not above working on a farm for accommodatons or washing dishes at a restaurant to stay afloat during the transition.
You can safely forget about that possibility!
You don't want to work for the salaries (and under the conditions) common for menial jobs in poor countries and you don't want to live like the local poor population.
The reason you want to go there is because you think you'll be relatively better off than the average local (and thus the country looks cheap to you, but not them).
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Did you look at New Zealand? The economy there is in substantially better shape than Belize's (if I'm looking at the figures correctly), and they have a point-based immigration system that would tend to favor you and your family (ages, married, a child).

The best performing English-speaking economy is probably Singapore's right now, but Singapore would not be the obvious choice if you think the U.S. is too consumeristic.

I should point out that the U.S. has wide variations in how "consumeristic" it is depending on state and local area, so I wouldn't discount in-country options, perhaps for "staging" purposes.
I suppose you're right on there being lots of options in the US. My hurdle here is that I want a beach nearby. I don't have to own a beachfront luxury home but I want to be able to get up and walk to a beautiful beach every day if I wish. Having spent my entire life in Iowa, I need some scenery. This is what draws me to the Caribbean. Belize in particular because of the ease of living and obtaining residency should we decide to move. Beyond that its a short and inexpensive flight back to the states to visit family and for them to visit us, unlike New Zealand or Singapore. While we don't need to be back for every event, its important to us to find a place we can return when we want.

We love Belize's access to Mexico and other places in Central America. DH and DD speak a bit of spanish and I'd love to learn so there is opportunity for some language immersion. While I'd love to visit Asia some day, its much more intimidating to me as a long-term residence.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
You can safely forget about that possibility!
You don't want to work for the salaries (and under the conditions) common for menial jobs in poor countries and you don't want to live like the local poor population.
The reason you want to go there is because you think you'll be relatively better off than the average local (and thus the country looks cheap to you, but not them).
People travel through farming for accomodation networks all the time. It takes time to get a business up and running and not having housing expenses would be huge for stretching dollars to build the business. Its not my long term plan, its a potential stepping stone.
 
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