Thinking about retiring in the Dominican Republic? That's understandable. The Dominican Republic—or "the D.R." as it's known—offers white sand beaches, a warm climate, a stable infrastructure, good healthcare, and a low cost of living.
Many Americans consider overseas destinations for retirement living. With a lower cost of living, attractive climate, and friendly locals, many places outside the U.S. offer better options for retirees—especially those on a budget. Here are four reasons why Americans are retiring in the Dominican Republic.
- The Dominican government offers special incentives for retirees (and investors).
- The D.R. is one of the least expensive places to live in Latin America. It's possible to live comfortably on about $1,200 a month.
- Recent infrastructure improvements have made it easier—and faster—to get around the island.
1. Low Cost of Living
When Americans think of retiring on a budget, they often think of Latin America, and for good reason. The Dominican Republic is one of the least expensive places to live in Latin America, which makes it a very desirable place to retire.
Expats can live comfortably on a monthly budget of $1,200 in the Dominican Republic. With a monthly budget of $2,000, you could enjoy a larger home, household help, and more lavish entertainment options.
If you'd rather buy a home than rent one, your monthly cost of living could be much lower. It's possible to buy an upscale condo for less than $100,000.
2. Familiar Lifestyle, Easy Access
White sand beaches, clear water, and year-round sunshine are attractive to almost any retiree, and you can find all of these things throughout the Caribbean.
What sets the Dominican Republic apart is more of a European lifestyle (though independent now, the D.R. was once controlled by Spain and France). This means U.S. retirees can live in the tropical setting of another country but still feel at home.
As a bonus, the D.R. is only a two-hour flight from Miami, and it's less than four hours from New York City. This makes it easy to fly home to visit friends and family—or invite them to visit you.
3. Updated Infrastructure
The Dominican Republic has recently upgraded its airports, allowing for easy travel in and out of the country. New highways and road systems have cut down on travel time on the island.
In years past, driving on dirt roads meant it could take as long as six hours to travel from one end of the island to the other. Now you can make it across the island in three hours or less.
These infrastructure improvements make it easier to get around, and they've also cut down on the cost of living. It now costs less to transport food and other goods to markets and stores, which has helped bring prices down.
4. Simple Retirement Application Process
Another reason the Dominican Republic is attractive to retirees is that the government offers special incentives to retirees (and investors) under Law 171-07. Introduced in 2007, the law provides for several tax benefits and allows retirees to stay in the country if they have a stable income of just $1,500 a month.
There is no minimum age restriction, and the income can come from a government pension plan, a private pension, or independent income. If you're retiring as a couple or family, you'll need an extra $250 for each person who is joining in the move. The application process normally takes roughly 45 days for approval.
The Bottom Line
Many factors make the Dominican Republic attractive to retirees. Of course, you should always consider the risks of living abroad, no matter where you're thinking about retiring. Be sure to check the U.S. Department of State for any travel advisories or warnings, and sign up for its Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.
Carefully research where you plan to move within the country before you leave. Ideally, as with any proposed move abroad, spend several vacations there at different times of the year—and in different locations—before you make a final decision.