Nicaragua Competes for Retirees

article_lp_augA legal framework with modern and luxurious housing complexes complement the attractions that the country offers to retirees.

Lucydalia Baca, Humberto Galo y Josué Bravo

During his working life in a Texas, the Latino market linkages, led him to accumulate a lot of attraction to the Hispanic culture and found in retirement the perfect time to clear his concerns. Among the long list of countries that offered benefits to settle, he chose Nicaragua.

"Here the cost of living is very cheap; you can employ three people and enjoy life. When in America, when? In the United States I could only afford the work of one person through half-time, the pace of life here is very relaxed, "said Kent Payne who left his native Oklahoma and now resides full time at Gran Pacifica Beach & Golf Resort, located in Villa El Carmen, in the coastal area of the department of Managua.

At 63 Payne and his wife Denis enjoy the security offered by the country and are fascinated with the facilities their new residence affords them, located just one hour from the capital. It allows them to travel constantly to enjoy quality cigars that are made in Esteli, the exuberance of nature in Rio San Juan, beauty and hospitality found in Corn Island, or the charm of the colonial cities.

They also really enjoys the interaction with neighbors. Payne currently teaches a course guitar to children in the community of San Diego, in Villa El Carmen.

In said complex retirees invest between 99.000 to 200.000 dollars to settle.

NICARAGUA IN THE "FIGHT"

En Centroamérica la historia de los Payne es cada vez más común y Nicaragua no se queda atrás. Una serie de modernos y lujosos desarrollos habitacionales a lo largo de la costa del Pacífico se han convertido en el complemento perfecto de las peculiaridades culturales, ambientales y climáticas que ofrece el país a este segmento de inversionistas —principalmente de Estados Unidos y Canadá—, que buscan el lugar ideal para disfrutar del retiro.

In Central America the Payne’s story becomes increasingly common every time and Nicaragua is not far behind. A number of modern and luxurious residential developments along the Pacific coast have become the perfect complement to the cultural, environmental and climate features hat the country offers in the investors segment – mainly from the United States and Canada – who are looking for the ideal place to enjoy retirement.

And to facilitate the establishment of these retirees in the country, in recent years have been enacted and amended a number of legal regulations that provide that once installed, each month they get here their pension check, which in turn translates into revenue for the country.

According to Zenayda Laguna Delgado, Executive director of the National Tourism Chamber of Nicaragua (Canatur), one of the advantages that Nicaragua offers to this audience is the ability to acquire modern properties in privileged sites to a relatively low price.

"Nationally there is a possibility that they could take up residence, but the main focus of attraction are in the Pacific, perhaps by the fact that the area has been promoted more", says Laguna.

In the south, San Juan del Sur and Tola, Rivas, have been the most attractive for foreign retirees. However, it also has begun to promote this segment of visitors from some areas of the west.

According to Laguna, other major strengths that the country offers are good safety ratings. "We also confident that investing in property may have a similar quality of life as they would in their countries, as they have the same income and mainly the possibility of living near tourist attractions," said Laguna.

LEGAL PROVISIONS

Samantha Aguilar of Taboada & Associates law firm explains that Nicaraguan law establishes certain prerogatives which this audience can enjoy.

Law 694, Law on Promotion of Income of Pensioners and Annuitants Residents, was approved in 2009 and has its regulations approved that same year. Also the Tax Act (LCT) adopted in 2012, which in force the exemption and exoneration provided in the Act 694. Aguilar says that these differentiate the annuitant resident to the pensioner resident.

The first is whoever has a pension or retirement from the government, public or private, equivalent in national currency to the amount of $600 dollars. While the annuitant resident is one that has a permanent stable income generated abroad for a minimum monthly equivalent in national currency of $750 dollars.

In both cases you can reside permanently in the country, by applying and obtaining permanent residence to the General Directorate of Immigration. Nicaraguans that demonstrate they resided in a stable and permanent way over ten years and have a pension or income generated outside the country with the conditions and amounts mentioned above can also avail the benefits of this law.

 WHAT ADVANTAGES OFFERS THE LEGISLATION?

 En el caso de los extranjeros, también se les extiende la categoría migratoria (residencia permanente) a sus cónyuges, padres e hijos menores. Aguilar detalla que entre otros beneficios, quienes se acogen a esta Ley gozan de ciertos beneficios y exoneraciones tales como: el depósito exigido por Migración. La franquicia arancelaria y exención de todos los impuestos de importación por la introducción del menaje de casa (no puede exceder de los 20,000 dólares).

In the case of foreigners, it is also extended the immigration status (permanent residence) to their spouses, parents and minor children. Aguilar details that among other benefits, individuals seeking this Act have certain benefits and exemptions such as: the required deposit for Migration. The franchise fee and exemption from all import taxes by the introduction of household goods (can not exceed $20.000 dollars).

Among the incentives there is the exemption of Value Added Tax (VAT) for once, in the purchase of materials to build a house that does not exceed $50.000 dollars; exemption from import duties and VAT for the introduction or local purchase of a vehicle that does not exceed the $25,000 dollars, among others.

According to the lawyer in Central America there are a number of rules similar to the local, as "our countries seek to obtain liquid currency, strengthening the capacity of national development".

COMPETENCE WITH THE REGION

In Honduras, the Law for Residents, Pensioners and Annuitants and Decree 93-91, authorizes the entry into the country of natural persons under the category of pensioners or annuitants that provides similar benefits to the locals.

In Costa Rica the General Immigration Law and its Regulations have a specific section governing the requirements, so foreign pensioners can apply for a temporary residence that allows them to access certain tax privileges and benefits such as access to security system social.

In the case of Guatemala the requirements and privileges are similar to those of the rest of the region.

  • There is competition

    The director of the National Tourism Chamber of Costa Rica, Tatiana Cascante, admits that Costa Rica is no longer the only magnet for American retirees, but they now face strong competition from Nicaragua and Panama. "Maybe its not that they are taking away field, but that they are looking for different options to attract tourists," she said.

  • We need to reach other segments

    Despite the creation of the legal framework that facilitates the establishment of retirees in the country, the president of Calvet & Associates, Raul Calvet, estimates that there is still much to be done to turn the country into a destination for retirees. "We are just in the learning process," he says.

    On the pending aspects, he points the importance of developing health infrastructure to ensure basic emergency care, stabilization and transfer to first-level hospitals. The construction of the new Military Hospital is expected to contribute to attract more retirees.

    He adds the need to decrease the cost of airfares, which are still above the recommended.

    Also considers essential to develop housing complexes of lower cost than can be purchased by retirees living on a pension check, but are associated with care services and medical care.

    "Until now we just have retirees with a superior economic position. However, studies have been conducted because there are developers interested in building such complexes in Carazo "he says.

  • These are the figures

    According to CentralAmerciaData.com digital publication, between 2006 and 2011 the numbers of American Retirees who have taken up residence in Panama and receive their pension payments increased by 65 percent, to reach 2,164 people.

    While, In Nicaragua went from 595 to 1,322 people.

    However, these figures fall short when compared with those of Mexico, where more than 50,000 pensioners received their payments.

    In Costa Rica receive their pay over 5,000 retirees.