Choosing a country for retirement…it doesn’t have to be North America…
Most of our buyers are from North America…the really cold parts (brrr…). Almost all of them make the decision to consider the Dominican Republic based on their aversion to long, harsh winters. While Canadians have been snowbirds for many years in places like Florida and Arizona, lots of people are realizing that there are other choices that are warmer, have outstanding value, and offer an exceptional quality of life. For us, and many others, the Dominican Republic was the best choice and offered the best balance of services, weather, properties, and price point.
Climate is certainly the biggest reason people choose the Dominican Republic. An average year round temperature of 28 degrees Celsius, (and no hurricanes on the north coast) make this an idyllic climate. Quality of life improves dramatically when you are warm; see sunshine almost everyday; eat natural foods grown in a tropical environment; and never have to wear a coat. Once you escape from scraping windows, grey skies; months of being inside, and the endless cold of winter, you will understand the value a warm climate has to offer.
But it’s not all about the weather….
Climate doesn’t matter at all if community, services, stability and infrastructure are not available. I think these four things are the other necessary ingredients in creating a perfect retirement home. The government of your new country must be foreign investment friendly, tax light, and above all, a stable, working democracy with close ties to the US and Canada. The Dominican Republic is a very good example of all these things.
Infrastructure is also important. As an example: strong, consistent Internet is no longer a luxury; it’s a necessity. Most of our clients operate VOIP phones, Facetime, Zoom, etc. to communicate with their families and friends back home. Other huge considerations are good medical services and hospitals; shopping; banking; restaurants; and other services. Retirement should not feel like going away to camp – all the lifestyle choices you are used to should be available – even if they may be presented differently. Top quality, reasonably priced medical services are non negotiable services – they MUST be available in a timely fashion, with qualified personnel, in facilities with modern equipment.
The same goes for dental services. In the Dominican, a couple can pay $750/year for excellent medical coverage that also includes most dental services. You should also be able to buy name brands you are used to in stores, be able to get a great haircut, buy shoes, communicate in English with the waiter… the list goes on.
Your retirement home should be Canada/US south – not a delve into a completely different world. It should be like home, only warmer :).
One of the most important boxes that needs to be ticked, and one that most people rarely consider, is community. A great climate with lots of services is wonderful, but very lonely if you have no friends to enjoy it with. I know this is a big reason people buy on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. We have a large, thriving community here of North Americans and Europeans. This area has been an ex-pat retirement location for over 25-years. This means that all services cater to us, and there is a big enough community that finding friends with similar interests is easy. Whatever you are interested in at home, you will find it represented here. And it just keeps growing….
This is a welcoming community. Some people live here full time, others come and go with the seasons, but the overarching feeling of being welcome, and of neighbours making time for each other, prevails.
It’s a good life. And we are never cold! Come on over for a tropical bbq – we make a mean steak and margarita!
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