Where to Go?
The banks need to be good and have real bank secrecy. No bank failures. A couple of “rules” about banks; never have accounts in your own name EVER. Have more than one off shore bank account using LLCs or IBCs. Never have ALL your funds in one bank account, and definitely NOT in the country you live in. Should that country crash, you will have funds elsewhere and not be devastated. Buying property should always be in a company name — use an LLC or IBC for this as well. Keeps your name off the public info lists, keeps you private and safe.
Not residency but citizenship. Do they have a clear path to citizenship? If you meet the requirements will they grant it or will your application be pending for years and never approved. Be careful. Residencies are normally extremely easy, citizenship is not. Apply for residency in Guatemala after 90 days. If not, you need to leave the country every 90 days to get your passport stamped. Residency has it’s good points here; can own and carry guns, no need to leave the country to get the passport stamped, can get a driver’s license.
The government needs to have a constitution and enforce it.
They need to be issuing anonymous bearer share corporations; this is an indicator of how the nation feels about privacy.
Needs to be not tied to the USD or any other currency. Needs to not be the USD and this knocks out Ecuador, Panama and El Salvador. For example, Guatemala has an exchange rate of almost 8 GTQ to 1 USD — that’s an excellent exchange rate when you are living on your social security or other foreign income. Also, in Guatemala, off shore income is not taxed. Guatemala is NOT dependent on the USD.
Country should have abundant, high-quality food supply. Food should be cheap. Growing season should be nine months or longer. No chem trails nor aerosol spraying of the people or crops… In Guatemala, they have a year-round growing season.
This is another way to see how free you are going to be. If you can buy and carry guns it is a most excellent sign.
Look for places with low wages. Makes it easier if you need to start growing food and raising animals.
You should be able to live easy enough without heat or air conditioning. Antigua, Guatemala, is at about 5300′; most homes there have no a/c nor heating, other than fireplaces. Weather is spring-like all year round — 55 lows, to 75-80 highs. Not much humidity in this city either. Living at some beaches is very humid and hot, if that’s for you, then fantastic! Just investigate first!
How to Decide?
You should definitely try take a trip to any country you are considering before you relocate there. If this is not possible, then do your best research. Do you want snow? Sun? Desert? Do you want to have a huge garden, or do you want to dine out all the time? There is an entire planet to explore; don’t think you have to settle in just one place.
Think about how you want to live; what is important to you. Do you want to invest in real estate in a specific country, or just rent a home or apartment there? Are you happy staying home, or do you want to travel? Do you have children? Need schools? Pets — can they be brought into the country? What are the rules? Health issues? Need to be close to hospitals and doctors?
There are many many fine, top-of-the-line hospitals and doctors planet-wide. Many countries where you can find treatments and remedies that you can’t find in the USA. For example,laetrile, or vitamin B17 — this is readily available and legal in most countries, and hasn’t been in the USA. Looks like some forms are now available in the USA to treat cancer and other diseases. A couple other sites are: VitaminB17.org, and metabolicproductssupply.com. The point being, do some research if you have specific needs or wants before relocating.
Sit down, and make a list of what you want, what you are willing to accept, and what you definitely don’t want. Think of the pros and cons. Do your “due diligence” first before making the move.
AbroadMost of you will be seeking out countries where the cost of living is low. Not many of you are going to be moving to Monaco where a 2 bedroom apt. costs $13,000 a month and one could get a decent wage assuming one had working permits there.
With the low cost of living comes low wages. If you are capable of starting a business fine. If you are self employed fine. Internet businesses is another way to go. Working as a teacher is a common one; forget this unless you wish to work for peanuts and are bilingual with fluency.
Do not do serious banking where you live. Keep your serious savings in another nation for safe keeping. A corporation or LLC or IBC is a good idea for a small bank account to cycle household bills through. Use a corporation or LLC or IBC to own or lease the house, cars, utilities etc. Keep your name out of public records as much as possible, you do not know what the future will bring.
OK this is a big expense here. Some popular expat countries will tax an imported car into the ground. A $30,000 car in Ecuador could cost double that due to taxes. You need to investigate this.Now let’s say you import in a used car from the USA. OK first understand the parts are going to be different. The smog will be different. The safety features will often be different and forget transferring any warranty. In Latin America one can get cool turbo diesel cars that are not sold in the USA.
American cars in Guatemala are about the same price as in USA. If you bring in a used car most countries will put a VAT tax on it. Expect this to be 12% to 19% BUT the value they base it on can be what their blue book says, ouch. We usually suggest not importing cars. It costs to ship them, insure them and import them. In many expat countries the used cars after three years old are about 50% of the new price. It is common to find low mileage used cars. Many homes will have 3-7 cars and thus low miles. So sell your car and buy another one when you arrive.
In some expat countries furniture is very cheap. For example, in Guatemala wood furniture is real cheap. You can walk in with Architectural Digest and have pieces custom made for 10% of US price. So if you sell furniture before coming you can use the suitcase moving trick.
Gold & SilverHere is the problem. First getting the metals out can cause issues. Receipts, source of funds, seizure etc. Now if you get the metals out transporting them is another issue. So you show up in the new country with 100 1oz gold rounds. Great. You declare them great. Now the customs guy has his buddies rob you leaving the airport. Think it doesn’t happen, guess again.
Do you know what $170,000 is to these people. Like $17,000,000 to you. So you declare the gold coming in. OK how do they know you are not going to sell the gold? They don’t. So they put a VAT tax on the gold. Sell the gold and silver and reacquire when you have arrived in your new home. When everyone started accumulating Gold and Silver they never thought they would need to be leaving the USA. There is no good way to get it out and transport it.
We get calls about importing the 43 gun collection. Forget this. That is a militia or a gun store to many of these expat countries. Once you get situated as a permanent resident or citizen (this varies from country to country) you can have guns and import them. Plan on 3 guns. Some types of guns are not allowed which also varies by country.Then do not try to import 5,000 rounds of ammo either. Here is this new guy and he wants to bring in 18 guns, what the heck? Got it. Concentrate on a low profile. Do not expect to find a friendly NRA. Actually Guatemala has started up something like that and one for the gun dealers but such a thing is rare. Guatemala is gun friendly. Mexico recently eliminated carry licenses. I think in Ecuador a carry license is non existent or very hard to obtain. Go visit gun stores and talk to them. They will know who they can sell a gun to or not.
If you are so inclined buy it in the country after you are there. Local doctors can advise you as to what works there. Do not buy expat health insurance.
We suggest renting for the first six months to a year. This lets you figure out what city or section of a city you really want to live in. You get to learn if you like the country or not. Don't just jump in. Always have a lawyer do the lease or purchase. Never use a lawyer known to the landlord or seller. Do not let the realtor suggest a lawyer. Go find your own lawyer who has nothing to do with any of the parties involved in the real estate.
MedicalAlternative health care availability will vary from country to country. Check this out before moving to make sure you do not get shut out. Chiropractors are not found everywhere for instance. You will find there are a lot of US board certified docs in most of these countries.
The hospitals will be cleaner and friendlier with low secondary infection rates as a rule with exceptions of course. Usually drugs are available without a prescription for you and your pets. Prices for drugs should be about 1/3 or less of US prices.
PetsYou may not yet know this but your dog can bark in Spanish, French and even Chinese. Watch he will show you that the dogs in the new country understand him. You need to contact a vet stateside to get shots, health certificate and US Dept. of Agriculture approval to get the pet out of the USA.
This can take two weeks easily. Getting the pet in varies from country to country. Usually takes 45 min like in Guatemala. Some places may have a nasty quarantine, be careful. Dogs and cats are easy. Snakes, parrots, ferret, iguanas and other more exotic pets can be very problematic so investigate this thoroughly.
OK many will say I will bring a 40 foot container. OK. You can even anchor your car in there and pack the car up nicely to save space. The country you are going to will ask for a list of everything. We mean everything!For instance: 24 men’s cotton T shirts, value $0.25 per. So imagine the size of the list. Now expect to pay VAT tax on these contents. Expect 12% to 19%. MAKE SURE YOU ARE NOT GOING TO A 220 volt COUNTRY. Trouble here. You need converters. Lot of things like computers do not run so good on converters although a laptop should be OK since there is a battery. If you have to use power converters, stop, sell appliances and get the 220 stuff in the country when you are there, especially computers, refrigerators, washers, dryers, vacuums.
Look at home schooling or private schools that are bilingual. The private ones are usually quite good and affordable. Home schooling can lead to home schooling groups which can be good.
ShoppingIf you like GMO foods and other various and sundry toxins locate the nearest Walmart. Trust me there are plenty. They also have Price Club and Sams Club equivalents. They have a great variety of food with MSG, GMO ingredients and many other toxins
Prices are cheap and declining health will be almost immediate. Seriously these places are good for things like: batteries, ball point pens, pads, copy paper, toner, appliances, toilet paper, razor blades and some other things for the home. Find out where the locals shop. Might be an open air market. Go there for your meats, fruits and veggies. Food should be much cleaner, cheaper and fresher plus its fun to shop there.
The Sneaky MoveHere is a "sneaky way" to move. You will need to read the section on furniture too. Assuming you do not need to bring furniture, just load up 10 to 20 suitcases and move this way. Typically there is no VAT tax this way, no container charges, no insurance, no nothing.
The airline will ding you whatever for extra suitcases so the move might cost you $2000 max. If you cannot handle all the suitcases break it up into two trips. No waiting for your stuff, no local moving charges, packing, customs brokers, etc. Think this one through hard but it can be a a real help for some people. Yes you can pack the kid's toys and books.