Friday, December 24, 2010
Chile is arguably the overall best place in the world for most people to live. But that fact does not mean that Chile is the best place to keep the majority of their assets. Indeed, many other places are better-suited for that task: Singapore, Guernsey, Jersey, Labuan, Liechtenstein, Abu Dhabi and Andorra, just to name a few.
The most widely-known financial instrument that Chile has going for it is the Chilean peso, which is about as solid as it gets for a fiat currency. Further, peso accounts can be denominated in Unidades de Fomento (UFs) which, in short, is an inflation-proof quasi-currency based on the peso.
Chilean stocks have also doubled in the last two years and a mutual fund or brokerage account has been a good friend to those who have had one. The biggest problem with UF and fund accounts for foreigners is that one must have a visa (and national ID card/number) to open them. When one can qualify for these accounts, he can realize some significant financial benefits.
However, there is also another Chilean product that should be in the limelight: life insurance. On account of very favorable legislation in Chile, a person with a visa can profit handsomely in Chilean or global stocks through a variable universal life contract. Why should one consider such a product?
1. No death tax (which is otherwise as much as 25% in Chile);
2. No capital gains or income taxes on your profits;
3. Lawsuit and judgment proof (including divorce decrees for alimony or child support);
4. Face amount and death or disability benefit is stated in inflation-proof UFs;
5. Face amount is payable to the insured prior to death for total disability;
6. Face amount and death or disability benefit increase with the amount of investment and are always significantly greater than the policy’s cash value;
7. Policies can be overfunded with unlimited amounts of cash, without fear of “modified endowment contract” conversion like in the USA (meaning that, for example, one can buy a UF2,000 policy–US$90,000 face amount equivalent–with a annual premium equivalent of US$4,000, and dump in an extra US$100,000 equivalent every year without losing the legal protections and tax advantages of life insurance;
8. Overfunded policies have surrender penalties but illustrations at assumed growth rates of around 10% show that the full investment (and more) can be recouped by the second year of the policy, making the investment medium rather than long term in nature, with larger additional contributions making the surrender penalty problem much less significant.
Imagine writing a check representing nearly all the value of your estate to the life insurer upon news of a terminal illness, immediately transforming your estate into a tax free benefit. All your money would be protected in your VUL contract. With a little more creative thought, you can probably think of other valuable uses for this product.
I have worked in the financial services industry for over 15 years and this product is unparalleled in the USA. The eight benefits listed above are simply tremendous. And property rights are secure in Chile. For that reason, as part of my services to expatriates, along with buying Chilean gold coins and real estate, I help them set up overfunded life insurance accounts. In January, we will be announcing a special visa program for wealthier clients which includes quick access to life insurance, UF, mutual fund and brokerage accounts as part of the service.
Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost ever topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service, where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
So, I’m watching the US and world economy going down the drain. I’m seeing the globalization of America, and seeing real hard times coming. So, I’d like to prepare myself and at the same time, do what the enviro-lefties want, and reduce, reuse, and recycle. Here’s my plan:
I want to obtain some land, maybe in Montana. I’d like to build a home (think log-cabin), and then farm the land to feed myself. I might also do some work as a carpenter, and perhaps trade with some other folk in the area, maybe some vegetables for meat or furniture for animals. I won’t require anything of anyone. I won’t use force to make people do anything for me or provide me with anything. I will help people when I can, but not if they don’t want my help.
Only one problem with my plan — it will not be possible, because it would break dozens, if not hundreds of laws. I’d have to pay taxes on the purchase of the land. I’d be required to pay annual taxes simply for living on the land. I may run afoul of various federal laws if I happened to plant vegetables in “federally protected” lands. I would get in trouble if I defended my life against a wolf that was intent on killing me. I would be required to pay taxes on voluntary transactions between myself and other willing people. I would be evicted from my home by force if I didn’t receive the correct government permits before building, and would jailed or killed if I attempted to live in a house that did not meet arbitrary government standards. I would have my family taken from me, should I attempt to allow my children to help me labor on the land, or if I were to allow others to employ them to learn a useful skill. If I were to go to the bathroom without getting permits and following government regulations for connections to various government systems, I would also be jailed or killed.
In other words, in this country, once the land of the free, it is now a large number of serious crimes to simply attempt to live free. Oh, how I yearn for freedom.
Monday, September 6, 2010
The three most popular cities in Ecuador for retirement are now Quito (the capitol), Cuenca (a high-elevation city in the Andes), and Vilcabamba (in the spring-like "Valley of Longevity" to the South).
More than 100 people a day are now moving to Ecuador to experience its amazing year-round weather, abundant food production, culture and comfortable cost of living.
According to US News and World Report (http://finance.yahoo.com/news/The-W...), here's how costs of living add up for typical single-person living in Ecuador:
Rent: $200 (see below for more details)
Utilities and Internet: $120
Health Insurance: $50
Of course, this is just a basic living package. In some areas, you'll spend considerably more on rent, but food is affordable just about everywhere!
I lived in Ecuador on and off for two years (and plan to go back!), and came to love what it has to offer. Here are my thoughts on the three most popular retirement destinations in Ecuador:
Ecuador's top three retirement destinations for homes and landQuito
Pros: Easy access to international airport, easy to find and buy things you want or need.
Cons: Crowded. Air quality isn't as good as other cities. High-density city living.
Pros: Very "European" feel in architecture and culture. Top destination for Europeans to buy homes. Lots of shops for food and household goods.
Cons: Considerably colder weather due to high altitude. More rain than other areas.
Pros: Amazing year-round weather, ridiculously easy food production in rich soils, with abundant water from nearby mountains. More "country" living than city living.
Cons: Higher rent due to shortage of affordable housing. Must drive to Loja for shopping.
Real-world costs of living in EcuadorIt's true that Ecuador offers very affordable living, but only after you acquire land and a house there. That can cost you anywhere from $100k and up depending on where and how nice your land is. Home construction is accomplished with high quality materials but takes more time than home construction in the USA or Canada.
Once you have your home and land squared away, living in Ecuador is extremely affordable. That's why it has become one of the most popular retirement destinations in the world.
If you want some domestic help, budget in another $250 per month (or so) for a cook or groundskeeper. If you decide to own a vehicle there, you'll need to budget for that, too (don't expect to buy a car on a loan, you'll need to pay it in full up front).
Realistically, I would recommending budgeting more like $1200 per month to live more comfortably, and that's after you've acquired your house and land. A couple can live comfortable for only slightly more, and a family of four can live well on $1500 per month.
Vilcabamba resourcesVilcabamba Real Estate Company (VREC)
One of several available ranches with a home and orchard:
Amazing photos from Hacienda San Joaquin:
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
|Written by Admin of D.R. Listings |
|Monday, 07 June 2010|
Real estate investors looking to the Caribbean destination will be able to take advantage of the market's low prices and value for money.
The news provider claimed that a change in demographic of buyers - from wealthy individuals to lower-income lifestyle purchasers - would be a positive thing for the Dominican property market.
"Along with the Venezuelan island of Margarita, the Dominican Republic offers the lowest priced property in the Caribbean," Property Abroad claimed.
"Now that things are recovering, people will be keen to get in and buy while things are still slow, in the hope that a lower offer may be accepted."
Furthermore, property investors looking to take advantage of the holiday rental market in the country will be encouraged by news that the region has been enjoying monthly increases in tourism numbers since September 2009.
According to minister of tourism Javier Garcia, USD12 million will be invested in the infrastructure of the destination in the next few years.
|Last Updated ( Tuesday, 08 June 2010 )|
Monday, July 26, 2010
Margarita Island--with it's beautiful beaches, lush green valleys, friendly people and reasonable prices offers cultural diversity, lots of beaches, nightlife, eco tours, and plenty of bars...
something for everyone! For more information......
Margarita Island is such lovely place with charming views, I'd love to vacation there as an avid Scuba Diver , the pictures were fantastic. And the Curmudgeon did a great job as it's been one of the most fun sites I enjoyed surfing. As far as taking my family there I would like a little more infra-structure, and we will be writing about retirements destination that offer the stability and environment that a family needs to raise children in, and have the structure in place to retire comfortably.
Notes from the Field
Date: July 26, 2010 Reporting From: Krakow, Poland
By the late summer of 1939, Hitler's forces had absorbed Austria and Czechoslovakia into his growing empire, and Germany's military was massed at the Polish border clearly preparing for invasion.
In an astonishing display of perhaps the greatest complacency in the history of the modern world, however, Polish people sat lazing about their lakes, beaches, and riverbanks worrying about more pressing matters-- like how to beat the summer heat.
In September of that year, German troops easily vanquished the Polish army, and Krakow became the colonial seat of the occupying forces. Almost immediately, under the direction of the German SS, anyone who posed a threat was rounded up and imprisoned. This included over 180 Polish university professors and many businessmen.
Krakow, of course, is also very close to two of the main concentration camps used during the German occupation, nearby Oswiecim (Auschwitz) and Plaszow.
The worst part is that, even after the war was over, Poland merely swapped fascism for Stalinism. Overall, the country was shrouded in brutal totalitarian control for half a century; undoubtedly, the Nazi invasion of Poland set off a chain of events that would forever affect the lives of all Poles.
It's true that no one had a crystal ball back then... but it would certainly stand to reason that with Hitler knocking at your door, you would probably want to have an escape plan. Even more prudently, perhaps to have already executed it.
Many Poles did just that; they spent the preceding seasons liquidating assets, stocking up on gold, and getting their travel documents in order. By the time Hitler came to town, many of the smart ones were already gone.
My guess is that the ones who left were probably ridiculed by their peers as "crazy", or "fringe", or "out of touch", or my personal favorite, "unpatriotic." It's as if they had a solemn national duty to stay, get roped up and waste away in a concentration camp for the 'greater good' of Poland.
For those who escaped before the war, many of them went on to build new lives in places like the United States, Brazil, and Argentina. They prioritized freedom and opportunity, and they went to the best places that were safest for themselves and their families.
I've met a businessman here (I'll call him "Jarek") who I think has the best story to sum this up; when Jarek's father was just a boy in Krakow, the family saw the warning signs and decided to leave town. This was 1938.
Jarek's grandfather owned a successful bakery at the time, yet he felt that he would rather start over somewhere else than risk the safety of his family by living in a police state. They sold everything-- the house, livestock, and business... and everyone else thought they were crazy.
Within six months, the family was in Curitiba, Brazil; Jarek's grandfather soon established a new bakery that eventually became a thriving business. Jarek's father grew up in Curitiba and integrated into the local culture, yet he maintained his roots since there were many other Poles who followed them there.
30-years later, the face of Brazil started to change. By the mid-1960s, the whole of Latin America was becoming a military dictatorship. Once again, the family decided to get out while they could and head towards better opportunity; they sold the business, liquidated their assets, and this time headed towards the United States.
Jarek was just a baby when the family made this move. He grew up in a Polish neighborhood of Chicago, spoke Polish at home, and married a Polish girl from his neighborhood.
He was working as a young real estate professional in the Chicago suburbs when the Berlin Wall fell, at which point he began making more frequent trips to Poland to visit his family's homeland.
In his subsequent trips throughout the following years, Jarek began feeling like there was more and more opportunity in Poland; in 2003, fearful of what would happen in Chicago because of the "War on Terror," Jarek moved his family full-circle back to Poland because he felt like it was the safest, most opportunity-rich place for him to be.
He may have been right; his business is booming, and the family really enjoys the life they have built for themselves here. To listen to him talk, though, they would happily leave and go somewhere else if the right circumstances were presented.
"My most important obligation is to my family," he told me. "I will go wherever I can provide the best life for them, whether that is Poland, America, Brazil, or anywhere else. Nothing lasts forever, you have to expect that these things will change from time to time. People have to learn to change as well, to not get rooted in ideology.
"I think Jarek has an interesting point; I'd really like to hear from you, though, what do you think?
Sunday, July 25, 2010
For destinations on the North coast, people generally fly into PUERTO PLATA Airport named Gregorio Luperon which is located just 11 miles East of Puerto Plata.
Punta Cana. Another popular connection for U.S. travelers is to the international airport
Santiago de los Caballeros, however some of those flights arrive in the middle of the night to early mornings.
Since the beginning of 2007 the international airport EL CATEY in Samana has opened but not operating to its full capacity yet. As of 2008 there will be more airlines flying to El Catey which will make it so nice for arrivals going to Samana and Cabrera. El Catey is close to one hour East of Cabrera and the roads are narrow but in pretty good conditon.
All of these airport locations help facilitate and ease your traveling plans wether you visit to investigate investment possibilities or wanting to vacation on one of the North coast of the Dominican Republics beautiful sandy beaches.
A few tips about movers in Dominican Republic.
Useful information about luggage shipping Dominican Republic.
Ask your questions to expatriates in Dominican Republic on the Dominican Republic forum.
Make contacts in Dominican Republic with the expat network Dominican Republic.
Expats' advice: how to work in Dominican Republic and how to find an accommodation in Dominican Republic.
Find an house or a flat for rent, a job in Dominican Republic, and much more in the Dominican Republic classifieds.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
a) Name, nationality, place of residence, economic solvency and the profession of the interested party or the activity to which the applicant is or will be dedicated in the country.
b) Relationship or parentage of the person that will be responsible for the applicant during his/her stay in the country, if this is the case. (This is not necessary if the person is applying by way of a consulate abroad.)
c) If the person is applying individually, the letter should explain the person's economic solvency, nationality and profession or primary activity. (This is not necessary if the person is applying by way of a consulate abroad.)
d) If the person is employed or to be employed by a company in the Dominican Republic, the application should be made on company stationary and signed by the highest ranking officer of the company, indicating the position to be occupied by the applicant. The company needs to establish that it will be responsible for the applicant during his stay in the country.
2. Form 509-Ref -Typed or printed, accompanied with a Internal Revenue Service stamp. Citizens of the United States, Spain, Italy, Panama, Mexico and Norway do not need to purchase these stamps, because the visas are free for them.
3. Three front view 2 x 2 photographs.
4. Two complete copies of all pages of applicant's passport.
5. Certificate of Good Conduct issued in the jurisdiction of origin. If the beneficiary has been more than three months in the country, it needs to be issued by the competent local judicial authority.
A Tourist Card permits a legal stay of up to 60 days for tourists coming from:
Andorra, Antigua, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Brazil, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czechoslovakia, Curacao, Denmark, Dominica, El Salvador, Finland, France (includes Guadeloupe, Guyana, Martinique, Reunion and St. Kitts), Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Guatemala, Holland, Honduras, Hungary, Ireland, Turks & Caicos Islands, Italy, Jamaica, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Mexico, Monaco, Norway, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Russia, San Marino, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Surinam, Trinidad & Tobago, the United States (including Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands), Ukraine, Venezuela and Yugoslavia.
(1) All legal residents (green card holders) from the United States of America and Canada can enter the Dominican Republic holding travel documents that substitute their passports.
(2) If the person would like to extend the stay in the country, the tourist needs to visit the Migration Department in Santo Domingo and request an extension. Those that do not do so will need to pay a surcharge at the airport upon departure.
Countries with which Dominican Republic has agreements FOR DIPLOMATS and Government Officers to Travel without Visa:
Argentina, Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, and Uruguay.
Note: In addition to a valid visa, nationals of China (PR) require an authorisation from the Director of the Migration/Immigration Department.
What documents will be required?
In all cases the following will be required:
Photocopy of the photo page of the passport showing personal details of the applicant.
- Fee, payable by cheque. Applicant's name and address must be written on the back.
- Stamped, self-addressed envelope for postal applications.
- Application form
Time required to issue visa:
Tourist Cards: few days
Tourist and Business visas: 6-8 weeks, since they have to be referred to the authorities in the Dominican Republic unless requested by cable (the cost of which must be paid by the applicant)
What is the cost of a visa?
Aprox. 15 Euros
A tourist card can be purchased for US$10 at the consulates or at Dominican airports at the time of entry.
How long is the visa valid for?
Tourist visas and single-entry Business visas: 60 days.
Multiple-entry Business visas: up to 1 year.
Monday, July 19, 2010
a) If the visa is requested in the DR, the letter of application needs to be made by the rector of the university or educational institution.
b) If the application is made from abroad, it needs to be remitted via the corresponding Dominican consulate.
2.- Letter of Guarantee or Affidavit addressed to the Minister of Foreign Relations. Legalized by the corresponding consulate.
a) Signed by the parent or tutor certifying he/she will cover the student's expenditures in the country.
b) Proof of economic solvency.
c) If issued in the country, it needs to be legalized by a notary public.
3. Three front view 2"x2" photographs.
4. Form 509-Ref - Citizens of the United States, Spain, Italy, Panama, Mexico and Norway do not need to purchase these stamps, because the visas are free for them.
5. Certificate of Good Conduct: Issued by the jurisdiction of residence, legalized by the corresponding consulate. If it is a renewal, it should be issued in the country by the Attorney General.
6. Photocopy of the previous visa, in case of a renewal.
7. Medical Certificate: Issued by the jurisdiction of residence of the applicant, legalized by the corresponding consulate. If it is a renewal, it can be issued in the DR, using a IRS form .
8. Proof of registry from the university: This can be a photocopy of the registration.
9. Two complete copies of the applicant's passport.
Embassy contact information:
For all other countries for more information contact the Dominican Republic embassy or consulate in your country.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
1. Letter of application addressed to the consul or the Minister of Foreign Relations (in case the person is already in the DR), signed by the applicant or legal representative. The letter of request can be issued by an individual or a company and should contain the following:
a) When the application is filled out by an individual: individual's name, nationality, place of residence, and the activity to which the applicant is or will be dedicated in the country. If the application is filled out by a company, in addition to the data on the applicant, the request should be made on company stationary, and signed by the highest ranking officer of the company, indicating the position the applicant will hold.
b) Indication of the ties to the country that can be any of the following:
1-b) Dominican by origin.
2-b) Married to a Dominican.
3-b) Have a work contract, legalized by the Ministry of Labour.
4-b) Proof of economic solvency (investor, retiree).
2.- Form 509-Ref, duly completed and signed by the applicant, to be submitted with the other documents to the Ministry of Foreign Relations. Typed or printed, accompanied with a Internal Revenue Service stamp.
3.- Certificate of Good Conduct issued in the jurisdiction of origin. If the beneficiary has been more than three months in the country, it needs to be issued by the competent local judicial authority.
4.- Medical Health Certificate. Issued in the jurisdiction of origin. If the applicant has been living more than three months in the country, a recent medical certificate should be presented, legalized by the Ministry of Public Health (SESPAS).
5.- Three front view 2"x2" photographs.
6.- Birth Certificate.
7.- Certificate of the Department of Migration with proof of the last entry of the person to the country and copy of the Tourist Card.
8. Two photocopies of the applicant's complete passport.
1. All documents received from abroad need to be legalized by the Dominican consulate in the corresponding jurisdiction.
2. All documents need to be presented in original and four copies with the exception of the passport.
3. The passport needs to be valid for a minimum of three months after having been deposited for the visa.
4. If the application includes the spouse, a marriage certificate should be included.
5. Minors are exempt from the Good Conduct Certificate requirement.