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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!)

  #271 (permalink)
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xelaar View Post
Guys, anyone considered to live aboard a decent yacht? Mobility, safety (of getting stuck in any country with rapidly deteriorating regime) and tax free, ability to live a bit in many countries around the globe..

I've thought about it a lot. If I could afford it I would seriously consider it, but these are the main issues:
  • You'll want a ~40-~50 ft catamaran ($250k-$500k+) and its a depreciating asset.
  • You'll need to perform regular maintenance, have insurance, etc.
  • You'll have extended-stay slip rental fees which will range from $500-$1000/month for certain areas.
  • More than likely you'll plan your travel to avoid harsh winter/summer areas.
  • Internet access is either going to be spotty or EXTREMELY expensive ($1000/month).

You could do all of this far cheaper, but you're going to be less comfortable living aboard and U.S. citizens can never escape taxes unless they reside in Puerto Rico and qualify for special status. My currently favorite single-handed capable catamaran is the Chris White Atlantic 47 Mastfoil.

In a lot of cases it may make more sense to travel by plane and get weekly/monthly rate studio-sized apartment rentals. Or travel by RV or camper van and stay for free in/near national parks or cheap in RV parks.

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  #272 (permalink)
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90 days indeed. No tax on capital gains. As a sole trader, you'd pay about 140 EUR taxes a year (60 for 1 car, 80 for a nice big rented flat) and that's it. Living standards are far from the hype of Monaco ! Atmosphere is closer to a village. Costs are cheaper than neighboring France, especially flat rentals since a lot of buildings are still empty from the crisis, food to some extent, insurances a bit. Lots of foreigners. You'll be introduced to traders easily as everyone knows everyone. 99% of territory is covered by fiber optic.

However now it's toughter to get in... you have to invest 13 times more than 1 year ago : 400k !
They indeed intended to meet Monaco like standards which appears a big joke. Actually they are already backing off and immigration laws are bound to change again in the coming months. The government reacts very quickly which is an advantage of being such a miniature country.
Anyway, right now I'd suggest that you run a small (internet) business parallel to trading and then residency is yours for 'free' (corporate gains will be taxed 2% if they come from oversea activity then no bond/financial/real estate investment required)

Do you mean immigration via company? Active residence? Nobody is doing it, the new law is very controversial they have said. I was thinking that if you can put 400k in capital, some of it might be borrowed and maybe it can be considered "investment" so you don't have to actually invest but use it for trading. However this is also this immigration via Company.

I currently consider Malta.

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  #273 (permalink)
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MrYou View Post
I've thought about it a lot. If I could afford it I would seriously consider it, but these are the main issues:
  • You'll want a ~40-~50 ft catamaran ($250k-$500k+) and its a depreciating asset.
  • You'll need to perform regular maintenance, have insurance, etc.
  • You'll have extended-stay slip rental fees which will range from $500-$1000/month for certain areas.
  • More than likely you'll plan your travel to avoid harsh winter/summer areas.
  • Internet access is either going to be spotty or EXTREMELY expensive ($1000/month).

You could do all of this far cheaper, but you're going to be less comfortable living aboard and U.S. citizens can never escape taxes unless they reside in Puerto Rico and qualify for special status. My currently favorite single-handed capable catamaran is the Chris White Atlantic 47 Mastfoil.

In a lot of cases it may make more sense to travel by plane and get weekly/monthly rate studio-sized apartment rentals. Or travel by RV or camper van and stay for free in/near national parks or cheap in RV parks.

Well it all depends, first of all boats are not cars, mostly they are better when 3-5 years old at least, not new. Since they are not produced by robots, most have issues that first owners care about. So smart buy is to buy something up to 10 years old and well-maintained. Easy under 200-250k.
I like cats but I would argue it's best option is you want to sails the oceans or go around the world. If you plan to mostly live aboard in a well-protected marina and just go out on weekends or sail for few days distance maybe one a month or on vacations, you are better off with motor monohull. Lots more space than in a sail boat, huge cabins, more luxurious than on a comparable sail yacht, and cheaper than a sail yacht with similar qualities.

I am considering Malta as a home base and option to live aboard and travel around Med and to Caribbean for a winter. Atlantic crossing is doable on most of motor boats ocean class, not necessarily very expensieve Norhavns, dutch Elling E3-E4 is awesome too, and can be bought even new for 350k euro. Good used one probably 200k.

It's stretching a bit for a motor yacht, but then again, depends on the main purpose.

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  #274 (permalink)
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Yes active residency as "self-employed". I have visited 3 lawyers for a friend that wants to move in with family. None expressed a single concern. You can actually meet lawyers that are part of the governement and who vote the immigration laws for foreigners, so you cannot be fooled when they acknowledge your project.
I believe that now active residency is a smarter choice than passive one since the change of laws in july 2012. Actually you can consider any forced investment as disguised taxes...
Out of the 400k passive investment, just the 50k government bond alone that pays no interest rate can equal a loss, that is if you plan not to leave the country, then you can consider it like paying years of taxes in advance Even if you leave, it deteriorates as sleeping money, just like the other investment types will have limitations as well. Within any type of structure, no bank would let you trade borrowed money if they knew, guaranteed.
Anyway, we're opposite of the carribean

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  #275 (permalink)
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SARdynamite View Post
Yes active residency as "self-employed". I have visited 3 lawyers for a friend that wants to move in with family. None expressed a single concern. You can actually meet lawyers that are part of the governement and who vote the immigration laws for foreigners, so you cannot be fooled when they acknowledge your project.
I believe that now active residency is a smarter choice than passive one since the change of laws in july 2012. Actually you can consider any forced investment as disguised taxes...
Out of the 400k passive investment, just the 50k government bond alone that pays no interest rate can equal a loss, that is if you plan not to leave the country, then you can consider it like paying years of taxes in advance Even if you leave, it deteriorates as sleeping money, just like the other investment types will have limitations as well. Within any type of structure, no bank would let you trade borrowed money if they knew, guaranteed.
Anyway, we're opposite of the carribean

That's a valuable info, thanks. So far it doesn't look to good. But let's see if they make changes again. In regards to borrowed money I was thinking more of investments, not loans from the bank. A structure like a partnership or just a regular company with shares allocated to investors. Depends what they consider as "investment". Can I ask you, are you a native Andorran or came there some time ago?

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  #276 (permalink)
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xelaar View Post
That's a valuable info, thanks. So far it doesn't look to good. But let's see if they make changes again. In regards to borrowed money I was thinking more of investments, not loans from the bank. A structure like a partnership or just a regular company with shares allocated to investors. Depends what they consider as "investment". Can I ask you, are you a native Andorran or came there some time ago?

I'm half french/swiss, moved to Andorra early 2012. Always loved the mountains (lived in Chamonix before) more than the dreamy beaches (spent part of my youth in french polynesia) and Andorra felt a lot better choice to pursue a long term trading carreer (and/or remote business) than France and even Switzerland. Was feeling a lot insecure trading there with constant regulations evolutions & blur and shrinking financial perspectives in the long run. In fact I was trading under a corporate before but got tired of feeling like a UFO towards most official organisations.
In Andorra, which I chose over other options (Antigua was second but never appealed to me), I don't even fill an annual declaration... It's tiny but does not lack anything. Peaceful, very secured, and a melting pot of people (maybe to the despair of the andorrans who are only a third in their own country).
I think what is the most enjoyable is the "easiness" of everyday life. No administration (felt), same day health appointments with specialists (as opposed to 6-9 months in France), no distances (traffic jams), spanish hours spirit (living later at night, shops opened 7/7 till 8pm non-stop), very nice people within a family space bubble, you always hit / is redirected to the good persons. I remember having a financial project query and the lawyer offered me to contact the prime minister next day, which she did ! lol ...As opposed to France, I would have spent 3 hours hanging on the phone just to reach some totally ignorant administration officer. I think that their strenght relies on some ability to not overly complexify stuff, but its mostly due to their size and a little will too.

Investment to my knowledge is either government bond (pays no return but is fully refunded if/when leaving), real estate purchase which you can fill partly with bank loans at good conditions, or private banking products which are about the same as elsewhere. Banks have their own desks with poor conditions (high fees because they rely on intermediaries, mostly phone rather than platform trading except for stocks and high minimums, 200k/500k for a local futures account ! they do not take risks lightly! lol) which I'm not sure you could get authority on as investment.
As per your request, I know they have a certification for "foreign investments under a company" but it usually goes along with active residency requests indeed. I don't think it could count for the passive requirement, maybe some form of it ?. Something to ask.

I own a passive 30k residency (under old scheme) that I eventually plan to trade for an active residency. The business conditions are very good : tax/costs= little, year-round paperwork=more than ok

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  #277 (permalink)
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Awesome stuff, thanks! Could you maybe tell about options for active residence with the company? It doesn't require 400k investment but requires hiring some locals, etc? Right? And still nobody know how it really should work.

PS I love skiing too! And mountains.

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  #278 (permalink)
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xelaar View Post
Awesome stuff, thanks! Could you maybe tell about options for active residence with the company? It doesn't require 400k investment but requires hiring some locals, etc? Right? And still nobody know how it really should work.

PS I love skiing too! And mountains.

As a joking note, I think what strikes me the most as opposed to France is that some morning you do hear actually good news. Sometimes you open the newspaper and you read "governement has cut car importation taxes by half" without reason or "doctors have lowered their rates" and as a french guy you just go "WTF ?! that would have never happened on the other border". What I noticed is that they are quite flexible. They do not fear to go backwards when decisions were poorly done, that's why they are revising part of the active residency laws only a couple weeks after they were voted... they figured out it was not clear, too complex.

If you love skiing then it's the largest resort of the pyrenees mountains The slopes are rather easy (compared to some french alps resorts) but the infrastructures are awesome (excellent freestyle modules, lifts to free areas with no borders, etc, excellent fields for speedriding) and you can end the day on one of the spas!

OK so with active residency then once accepted it prevents you from any additional investment...
On a sidenote, as a resident you are then free to trade on your own (no capital gain taxes, no declaration) which appears to be the most simple plan, or manage your business' capital within your 'corporate's accounts (tax should then be 2% but at worse it might be 10%, I'm not 100% sure, will explain later)

You or/and your partners do not have to be locals to obtain active residency. If investors/partners are foreign, this leads to an additional procedure towards the government (that averages about 2 months) but it's possible and welcomed. Your project just needs to be accepted. They are quite open towards immigration plans as long as you don't take work away from the locals (that's mainly the rule of thumb if I try to sum it up).

Consequently, Andorra the past months has opened to 100% foreign investments on most activities (there are still quotas) which means you can run your own business without the need to share command with a local andorran like in the past.
(some fields like internet business were open to full foreign ownership since quite some time but now they expanded the possibilities a lot. In fact, they lack professionals and seeks to mature in a lot of sectors besides banking, tourism, etc that they keep for themselves)


The business category as "self employed" is the one being revised now and the amendments should be made public in the next days/weeks (I'm tracking the news as well)
They call it "autonom". Your responsabilities are then unlimited, as opposed to companies (limited responsabilities). You are obligated to pay for the local "security" system called CASS, which includes health coverage, retirement plan and some invalidity insurance (the health system matches the french one = very good, you can touch your retirement plan as a capital instead of pension if you have only paid for CASS not long enough, that's more freedom than France which requires 40 soon 43/44 years of work to touch full pensions)
CASS cost 300 EUR / month if your business earns less than 150k a year, and 400/month if you earn more than 150k/y (not talking about trading revenues here, which is appart, only business)
Extra health insurance to reach 100% coverage (with limits) depending on your age will cost 30 to 40 EUR/month.
All other insurances (property, care, etc) are slightly less expensive than neighboring countries.

For a comparison, as a pure passive resident, you would suscribe a fully private health insurance for about 100/130 EUR / month depending on your age (and as a single). The coverage is less good (more limits) and does not include a retirement plan that you can suscribe aside (or not)

On the other hand, you can choose a limited liability corporate called SL. It requires at least 2 partners and a minimum capital of 3000 EUR.
There are also SA corporates (3 partners, 50k) but that should not apply to you. SL and SA are required if you plan on providing financial services as your core business (like investment services but that's another story that would lead to deal with local financial authorities and might be tough to achieve. their banking system is well protected)
You can split shares as equal (50/50) or unbalanced (50+/50-). The main difference will be that as a 50+ partner you will rely on the CASS the same way than the "autonom" workers (fixed payment) as opposed to a minor shareholder which will only pay for social security costs up to 20% of its salary, if you give yourself a salary...
Instead you could pay yourself only in dividends and dividends are tax FREE ! You pay the corporate taxes (10% for business carried within Andorra, 2% for business carried internationally following an agreement with the governement, or 6% if you plan a mix of both) and then nothing on dividends...
If you plan to have lots of income, then choosing major shareholder is the way to go as 400 EUR fixed CASS fees equals to a 2000 EUR salary for a minor shareholder. Basically, you could be the next Bill Gates and pay social fees of a 2000 EUR salary equivalent maximum.
If you're going minor shareholder, the best case is to have some money left ahead of you to be able to pass the year without the need to give yourself a salary or so little of it. Then you can pay the minimum or no social fees and take the dividends for free after a 2% to 10% corporate tax.
When creating the SL, fees will be about 900 EUR for government, 2000 EUR for lawyer/accountant, 250 for notary(?). Then each year, 700 EUR for government, 300 EUR for the town, then accounting fees (could range from 350 to 1800 depending on your level of activity)

The fees for "self employed / autonom" should be obviously lower to carry and that must be the status more suited to you... Let's just wait a little to clarify that.

I skipped a lot of useful and uncommon info but then I would continue all night long I have it all on files but it's in french wordings so I cannot copy and paste unfortunately.


Last edited by SARdynamite; June 25th, 2013 at 08:04 AM.
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  #279 (permalink)
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My appologies to the carribean lovers for getting them a cold watching these pictures



(some nearby Costa Brava seacost shots)


Sorry for the awful langage (nah just teasing )



Now the beautiful one (talking about the langage, still!) (on the street, a lot more different languages are heard than the official one)



'Some' people (3 schooling systems : andorran, spanish, french + some international english driven institute)


Finally to relieve stress as a trader, you ave either this


...or this, when things went bad and you have the need for a "break"


Only a snapshot. There's only so much more...


Last edited by SARdynamite; June 24th, 2013 at 09:47 PM.
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  #280 (permalink)
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Absolutely awesome reply, many thanks for this level of detail! Looking forward to any updates on active residence. I think I can wait another year or even two before making a big move, as my daughter will need to go to pre-school somewhere and I will need to decide where and in what language. I am ok with both Spanish and English (Malta), I don't think Catalan would be a big problem, I know Spanish only so-so but understand most of what it is written in Catalan in Barcelona.

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