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Best Caribbean or Central America location to retire? (Now with South America!)
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Best Caribbean or Central America location to retire? (Now with South America!)

  #91 (permalink)
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cedar View Post
good point about children, that really changes the equation. There was a time I wanted to live and work(tele-commute) from Costa Rica, looked into schools and medical care, both are much better than the carribbean. I believe Costa Rica is much better choice than the caribbean, more diversity ot terrian, mountains, forests, beaches etc. and for you single guys, the women in San Juan are very friendly -

I know couple of people(both traders) who moved to the US Virgin Islands, one actually from TX. However their stint lasted less than two years. There is something to be said about the isolation of the Islands that is hard to overcome.

Children is the reason that I have re-think over thing. My search ended up with 2 locations, neither of this would consider a retire locations. The locations are Hong Kong and Singapore.

Both locations have very high cost of living. Probably on par with NYC if not higher.
Both have excellent education and medical system.
Both speak English
Both are classified as tax haven
Visa are easily obtainable if you have $$$ to invest in them. Either as investment or open a business
Both governments have little or no debt.

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  #92 (permalink)
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A few people have private messaged me, talking about people they knew who moved to the island areas (Caribbean) and then moved back to their homeland within a couple years.

This concerns me a bit, so I'd like to hear from anyone who has taken the plunge and moved from their homeland and moved into an island type community/country... can you speak about island fever, and any thoughts on how to know ahead of time if someone will "make it" or want to retreat back to their homeland?

Personally, I feel that I have all the strength necessary to make it as an island person. But I'd like to hear from others in case I have failed to consider something. Obviously, it is a bit nerve racking to make an enormous investment in time/money in your retirement and then not be able to stand living there...

Mike

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  #93 (permalink)
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Big Mike View Post
A few people have private messaged me, talking about people they knew who moved to the island areas (Caribbean) and then moved back to their homeland within a couple years.

This concerns me a bit, so I'd like to hear from anyone who has taken the plunge and moved from their homeland and moved into an island type community/country... can you speak about island fever, and any thoughts on how to know ahead of time if someone will "make it" or want to retreat back to their homeland?

Personally, I feel that I have all the strength necessary to make it as an island person. But I'd like to hear from others in case I have failed to consider something. Obviously, it is a bit nerve racking to make an enormous investment in time/money in your retirement and then not be able to stand living there...

Mike

Mike,

The Navy moved me to Hawaii when I was just 19/20 years old. I thought, well, I am in the United States right...

Anyways, at first, I absolutely thought it was cool. That lasted about 5 minutes. Then, I absolutely thought it sucked, couldn't sleep (too hot), realized the people didn't really like me (being white-n-all and a dude) right from the beginning, and couldn't wait to get the hell out of dodge (4 years later but with lots of trips all over the world in the interim).

When I got back to the mainland, I didn't miss it and then after a few years I decided to go back for a 'vacation' and decided I would 'retire' back there after I cashed out on some deals. I have to say, it was a great move as it moved me emotionally and mentally into a much better place than where I was caught up in the typical American materialism and egoism's...

I personally have never suffered from "ROCK FEVER", but I know many people who do and who freak out. Most of those people who do move back quickly are very 'reserved' in their cultural beliefs and have difficulty adjusting to another culture. They are not the type of people who have a smile from ear to ear when they travel to distinct and challenging locations (like I do... ).

Culture is a big problem for most people. They can't or choose not to accept or be molded any by that culture which will always kind of scrape at your core being a bit. It will drain you and you will yearn for the mainland USA.

Personally for me at this place in my life, I would like to get back to the mainland most of the time so my kids can get what I consider a more reasonable culture and education. There is a lot I do not like about the American way, but in the end, it is a lot better than the island way....

I could go on for weeks about stories of how people behave on islands that are different than continents.. haha.. Really, I think it is both island and tropical because every warm climate I have ever been to they behave similarly.

An interesting dichotomy is FIJI and Hawaii. Fiji is amazing and beautiful and it looks like Hawaii did 50 years ago. A lot of Indians and natives as well as the typical white person. The big difference between the two islands is the level of 'Aloha'. Hawaii people are just not friendly anymore. I don't know why that is, but the friendly culture has mostly died out and while they are not too rough around the edges (like what I would say about Californian's or New Yorkers/Chicagoans) and they will not take the piss out of you, they will definitely not hold out a helpful hand as often as you will see in the Midwest.

I have lived in all parts of the country (USA), overseas in several locations as well as mostly Hawaii for many many years. In the end, island living is fun, but you truly have to be someone who can immerse themselves and truly enjoy the culture as well. NOT JUST ENJOY THE WEATHER.

I always ask people in Hawaii (mostly transplants after they tell me how much they love it here) would you live here if the weather were the same as Chicago/New York/Boston, etc...

They typically respond, "Of course not..."

If you could say, "Yes, I think I would still find it interesting" then I would heavily consider it. Otherwise, set a 2 year lifetime sabbatical with a plan to come back to the mainland and see where the wind blows you.

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  #94 (permalink)
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Big Mike View Post
But I'd like to hear from others in case I have failed to consider something. Obviously, it is a bit nerve racking to make an enormous investment in time/money in your retirement and then not be able to stand living there...

Mike

sorry I didn't read the entire thread, but its not clear to me if you have lived in the caribbean for an extended period of time? I would suggest take some time and live in the caribbean for 3-6 months before the final move.

just to share, tired of the cold weather in the NE US. I always wanted to live in California, particularly San Fransico. I thought SF would offer big city life similiar to NYC. Thankfully before our final move, my wife and I rented one of those fully furnished apartment for four months in Japantown section of SF. After couple of months we realized SF was not for us. We both missed our extended family in NE. The weather is weird in SF, even in summer its cold and damp! and the whole timezone thing, three hours behind the east coast was unsettling. So back happily living in New York again....

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  #95 (permalink)
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cedar View Post
sorry I didn't read the entire thread, but its not clear to me if you have lived in the caribbean for an extended period of time? I would suggest take some time and live in the caribbean for 3-6 months before the final move.

Have not lived there, just a few trips down. I like the slower lifestyle, more laid back, etc. I also like how people are happy with what they have, I could benefit from being surrounded by such people.

Yes, I absolutely will rent a place to stay for at minimum several weeks (if not months) prior to moving.

Mike

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  #96 (permalink)
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Big Mike View Post
A few people have private messaged me, talking about people they knew who moved to the island areas (Caribbean) and then moved back to their homeland within a couple years.

This concerns me a bit, so I'd like to hear from anyone who has taken the plunge and moved from their homeland and moved into an island type community/country... can you speak about island fever, and any thoughts on how to know ahead of time if someone will "make it" or want to retreat back to their homeland?

Personally, I feel that I have all the strength necessary to make it as an island person. But I'd like to hear from others in case I have failed to consider something. Obviously, it is a bit nerve racking to make an enormous investment in time/money in your retirement and then not be able to stand living there...

Mike

I was born in the UK, grew up in Australia, but have spent most of my working life (20 years) working in different locations around the world. While all my family (parents and siblings) are still in Australia, I have chosen to make the US my home. That said, I have moved between the US and Australia 5 times in that 20 years. What I can tell you is that being happy in a place has more to do with being happy within yourself than necessarily the place - i.e. it is more psychological than anything else. I have often found myself nostalgic for Chicago or New Zealand, but it is the memories of the times I live there that I miss. Going back to any of these places, while wonderful, is not the same.

There has been a lot of discussion on this thread around tax consequences but I would advise that this is the last thing that should enter into your consideration. Decide where you will be happiest and enjoy life to the fullest and then work out the most effective tax plan to support your choice. International tax planning, especially for US citizens and permanent residents, is way more complicated than even this thread suggests...the US tax system reminds me of the Eagles song "Hotel California"...you can check out any time you like but you can never leave :-)

Even as an Australia citizen who holds UK Citizenship, the fact that I am a US Permanent Resident means that even if I decide to leave and return home to Australia or anywhere in the EU, I still need to file US taxes for at least 10 years after I leave. Obviously I could refuse and just decide not to file, but it means I could never come back to the US - ever - unless I was prepared to be arrested at the border for tax evasion. There is a huge difference between tax evasion (which is illegal) and tax avoidance (which is not only your right, but your obligation!). A decent site to start your research on tax issues for US expats is Tax Avoidance vs. Tax Evasion for American Expats

Gary.


Last edited by garysu; December 9th, 2011 at 11:24 AM.
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  #97 (permalink)
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HEROES Act removed 10 years filing requirement and replaced it with a Mark to Market on all your net asset if you denounce your citizenship or give up on the PR. I think if your net worth is less than 2 millions, you are exempt. Ask a tax professional on this.

Before the HEROES act, the exit tax does not apply to PR.

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Until this thread I had never thought about "island fever". Now that I've thought about it, I can definitely see this being an issue for me, so I can't see myself permanently moving to a small island. And for the most part I've always really enjoyed the changing of the seasons so I'll probably stay a resident in the same region I am now. The local municipal fiber broadband is also pretty attractive when compared to the offerings from the big ISPs.

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  #99 (permalink)
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Free[ort, Grand Bahama Island


tDave View Post
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Big Mike great topic, I've done some extensive research and I believe Freeport, Grand Bahama Island is the best for a variety of reasons:
What I'm looking for:
- Warm climate- east of Fort Lauderdale, Fla, advantage over Fla is lower humidity,(Island breezes)
- High speed reliable internet- for the most part
- Reliable power for most part (I can get a generator)- for the most part
These 2 topics go together it would be good to have a generator plus a back up satiliite internet for a security blanket.
- English spoken is a big plus- yes part of British Commonwealth
- Low taxes on income from trading- No income taxes. All taxes are customs duties and a small tax on banking transactions. No property taxes on real estate. As in Bermuda taxes are customs duties.
- Stable currency as much as possible- on par with U.S. Dollar
- Easy Citizenship requirements, - not a problem, however not necessary. For U.S. income tax purposes if you are e.g. trying to establish the "physical presence" for the "earned income exclusion" even residency is not required. When you are coming onto the Island there are diffent exemptions from duties based on if you are a "resident" or a visitor so you may not even want to establish residency.
- home ownership, etc- Is easy if you can pay cash for your house. Unlike, Bermuda, housing prices are more reasonable than in Florida for a comparable home. Housing prices are reasonable because it is difficult for Bahamians to get a mortgage. They require a large down payment or if you build a house you cannot get a construction loan until you pay for the land and have about 40% of the house built. There is a local who makes his living building houses and selling them rent to own. A little trick he uses is he lets his purchasers "skip" their December payment which is folded into the principle and ends up extending the mortgage. As a financial decision it may be better to just rent. Keep in mind that if you tie up your capital in real estate you have less money to trade with. Much better idea to put your 110 to 200 grand in a trading account and generate the income to pay your rent and probably keep adding to the value of your account. Rents are reasonable and right now the economy there is depressed so you will not have a problem negotiating a lower rent especailly if you are going to be a long term tenant.
- People are happy and friendly- yes yes yes, the locals are extremely freindly and great people.
It would also be helpful if I could afford to live there
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yes i will elaborate on all these topics as folows:
Grand Bahama Island The Bahamas - Home to Freeport, Lucaya, and West End
Grand Bahama Island is the best place for a trader to live. When The Bahamas were given their independence from Great Britan the Queen kept a large portion of Grand Bahama Island for herself. The result is that this portion of the Island is a tax haven with in a tax haven. She leased this part of the Island to a wealthy american businessman to develop for her. This part of the island is ran by what is called the "Port Authority" I have made friends with locals who have educated me on the usefulness of this dicotomy for people like us who want to live in the Caribbean and trade for a living.

The Island itself is not as touresty as Nasaua.

The rest of the island is owned by owned by the locals and it is unlikely it will ever be developed because the people own it like Native American reservations and can't get clear title to the land to sell it to developers so it is just passed on to family members.

Because of it's proximity to Florida you can get back and forth fairly cheaply by plane and you can also take a small cruise ship called the "Discovery". It goes back and forth to Ft. Luaderdale daily. You can go there once a month and go to Costco, Wal-mart and other stores to do your shopping. The other advantage is that if you are suffering from "island fever" it is easy to go to florida for a break. News flash, just went to get the link for the discovery Cruise and they've gone out of business. There is another cruise ship out of Palm Beach called the Celelebration. So that option is still available.

Also, the close proximity is helpful so your mom can use her medical insurance in Florida.

There are a lot of day traders there for this reason.

I met someone who had a trading business located there. He had day traders and swing traders that were his employees and were prop traders.

He relocated his business to the U.S. Virgin Islands because the U.S. tax incentives for corps that employ 10 or more locals only have to pay 5% corporate tax. He hates it there and so does his wife, they want to move back to Freeport.

Since they were paid income for doing their jobs they qualified for the foreign income exclusion. ( unlikely day trading would not be exempt, however there are ways to legally shelter this income while you are "physically present " in the Bahamas. see Foreign Earned Income Exclusion - What is Foreign Earned Income So if you can establish a business ther you can exclude 80k in income plus 24k for living expenses from you US income taxes.

It's laughable that someone sent a link about tech Tycoon William Millard as an example of were tp reside to get favorable tax treatment. He may have been briliiant at computers but he didn't know how to avoid taxes legally or he wouldn't have the IRS on his tail. Obviously he was illegally evading taxes.

Sir John Templeton (Templeton growth funds) knew exactly what to do. When he decided to retire he moved to the Bahamas, renounced his US citizenship, then he sold all his holdings completely tax free. He legally avoided all taxes on his huge fortune.

In honor of this fine man our great Senator, Carl Levin sponsered an amendment to a bill that anyone who moved out of the US and renounced their citizenship wouild be charged 30% tax on their wealth (called an exit fee) and would not be able to visit the US for more than 30 days per year.


Big Mike, I have alot more info that I don't want to spend the time typing here since I hate typing. If you want to contact me by email i will be more that happy ro provide you with more info.

Just wanted to respond with some updated info.

Reasons why Freeport, Gramd Bahama Island is the best place for the Day trader to relocate.

It's in the Eastern Time Zone so it is much easier to day trade than California.

Island fever is not really an issue. I informed you of the easy and cheap access to Florida for shopping and doctors appointments. Spirit runs $39.00 flights. I've done more research and there are several high speed Catamarans that go from either West Palm Beach or Fort Lauderdale 6 or 4 days per week. From Ft. Luaderdale it is $49.00 and 2 hours and from West Palm Beach it is 3 hours. Cloud X - High Speed Ferry - Bahamas - West Palm Beach.com.

On December 9, 2011 Balearia Group will begin 6 day per week Catamaran Ferry from Port Everglades, Fort Luarderdale, FL They are also running a similar ferry from Miami to Bimini Bahamas. Soon they will be running ferrys between the Bahamas Islands.

I want to thank everyone's imput on this topic. Especially the tax discussion. After reading all the posts it is obvious we need to get rid of our slave tax system. Fair tax is the way to go but maybe I'll start a thread on that topic.

If you are going to go the renounce your citizenship route I'd say the best way would be move to Wndsor, Canada take advantage of the 5 year tax holiday, get into the free health care system, you become a citizen of Canda and the United Kingdom. Move to Freeport and pay no taxes on your trading. Bahamas is a member state of the UK. Canadians don't pay taxes on income they make outside of the country. Canadians don't need a visa to visit US.
Temporary Visitors to the U.S., and I guess all UK counties are part of the Visa waiver program so that would include the Bahamas. Visa Waiver Program (VWP)

No where else matches the advantages of Freeport. Island living with ease of access to US mainland and all those advantages, where that people are great and friendly.

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For us US citizen, the 5 years tax holiday does nothing for us.

But it is interesting through about Windsor Canada.

I am hoping for HK. My reason is China will be replacing US as the world biggest economy in a decade or two. Want to be where the action is. My wife is a China national and she has a lot of her friends in China.

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