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Questions: Health, Taxes, and Citizenship

July 30, 2010
Budapest, Hungary

This weekend I’ll be in a forgotten corner of eastern Hungary, just south of the Polish Slovak (thanks Jana/Rad) border and just west of the Ukrainian border; it’s a beautiful area, adorned with splendid castles and palaces that were commonplace during the Hungary’s days as a powerful kingdom.

One of the interesting things about the area is the abundance of natural hot springs. There’s an interesting mountain cave in place called Miskolctapolca where the water is a balmy 31C (88F) and contains a variety of aromatic minerals.

Many ancient cultures believe in the healing powers of these natural hot springs, especially to reduce bone and joint stress, ease respiratory infections, and relax the muscles.

On that note of health, this week’s first question is from G. Mitchell Sr.:

“Simon, I’m finding much useful information in the e-letters, but here’s a question I’ve not seen addressed– I’m just home after six weeks away. I now find that I’ve put on about five pounds/2.7 kilos. How the bloody do you keep fit whilst travelling full time?”

Nothing is more important than our health… and it’s true that traveling can take a toll.  Eating out every night can lead to weight gain, and it’s easy to skip out on the gym. Fundamentally, though, staying healthy is a question of priorities and lifestyle.

For me, eating well and working out is something that I plan into the travel. For instance, I always seek out a gym wherever I go. Constantly paying day rates can be a bit annoying, though– I estimate that my monthly gym dues in various cities/countries probably run about $300/month in total.

For those who’d rather sweat it out in their hotel rooms, my friend and fellow Atlas 400 member Craig Ballantyne has designed a fantastic series of hotel-based workout programs that take as little as 15-minutes; you can check them out on Youtube.

Eating well can be a bit harder. I avoid chemicals and try to eat natural foods as much as possible; when I go out to eat in a new city, I do a bit of research first to find the restaurants that serve organic food. I also subscribe to a few services that do this work for me, like

The bottom line is, there really is no great mystery to keeping fit and healthy– eating well and getting exercise is the tried and true formula that will work for every human being alive. Ultimately, though, it’s up to each of us to make it a priority in our own lives.

Next, Jerry asks, “Simon, I applied for Irish citizenship several months ago via genealogy. Once I become Irish I will renounce my US citizenship and live in Panama. In this case, will I have to pay Irish or US taxes on income that I earn from a portfolio of US mortgage loans?”

The United States government has its hand out for a piece of all US-source income, regardless of who earned it. An Irishman living in Panama who generates US income will owe a certain percentage of that income to the IRS, plain and simple.

The Irish government, however, does not tax non-residents on income that is not sourced in Ireland. Furthermore, if you sell your portfolio to someone else for a gain, Ireland does not tax capital gains that do not arise in Ireland and are not remitted to Ireland.

Next, Kate asks, “I had twin boys at a US military hospital in Germany. My husband and I are both American. Are my boys eligible to acquire German citizenship?”

No. German nationality is based on the principle of Jus sanguinis, or right of blood. Children born in Germany must either be stateless, or have at least one parent who is German (or living in Germany with a permanent residency permit).

Lastly, John asks, “Simon, I’m clicking around the Internet and see that Poland is very bureaucratic, does not recognize dual citizenship, can require a person to pay income tax on money earned abroad, serve in the Military, and other possible disadvantages. Given all this, is it worth pursuing Polish citizenship?”

This is why I consider Google to be the “Black Hole of Accurate Information.” A lot of what you are reading on those sites is just plain wrong, or taken out of context.  Do what I do– ignore the armchair expats and go straight to the source.

In this case, you should consult with a Polish immigration attorney. You can find you own, or use the one that I already pre-screened for you while I was on the ground in Poland. Either way, get your information from credible sources so you can separate fact from fiction.

Have a great weekend.

About the author: Simon Black is an international investor, entrepreneur, permanent traveler, free man, and founder of Sovereign Man. His free daily e-letter and crash course is about using the experiences from his life and travels to help you achieve more freedom.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Giselle

    Hi Simon, I love your newsletters! They are so informative and sometimes funny and witty. What I wanted to ask you was this: How do you cope with traveling alone, or do you always travel with family? I have been traveling for the last couple of years but the longest I’ve stayed in one place is two weeks. I become extremely homesick. I plan on taking a two month trip somewhere to get rid of it and really try to learn about the country and how locals live. How do you do it?

  • Subhas Mukhopadkyay

    Simon, I enjoy very much your daily e-letters. Thanks for sharing these valuable information.
    I carry a Brazilian Passport and a permanent resident in Canada. My investment account is in US and managed by a French Bank. As non-resident foreigner I sign W8 and is waived from US applicable taxes. I believe this should also be valid for a person holding Irish Passport and residing in Panama. However, I understand we all have to pay taxes to US Government if it originates from a real estate property or other Government origin payment. Am I wrong?


  • Rad

    You do realize that there is one more country between Poland and Hungary, right? ;)

  • John

    I have a green card and EU passport, so I can easily expatriate. However, since almost all of my retirement income is coming from the US, will there be any advantage? US will withhold maybe more than I would pay as a resident?

  • Joe

    It is awesome to read about how to stay healthy when traveling. I made a recent purchase from guys at Tacfit who design the bodyweight exercise. I don’t want to be so rely on gym but using it as an extra to my workout wherever I travel.

  • Mkurbanov

    Simon, regarding a US having its its hand out for a piece of all US-source income even for foreigners. Do i understand right that it also applies to capital gains on stocks foreigner not living in US trades on US stock market ? That would be different what I know. Or rules have changed ?

  • Netsamir

    Hi Simon,

    It has been a while that I am following you, and you seem no tired to travel. I think I would be exhausted.

    However, thank you again, you are a great man and a genius. You share with us so many information.

  • Quietboard

    Hello, how do you ask Simon a question? I replied to his email list and apparently that doesn’t work.


  • Srwsearch

    So what is this about being able to immigrate to Canada if you start a business or are self-employed and pay no taxes for 5 years, acquire citizenship then can move on to wherever?

    • Rad

      Canada is not a tax haven. I doubt that you can immigrate and not pay taxes for 5 years.
      However, the Canadian government will allow you to invest almost half a millon dollars in special bonds for immigrants in investor class and will give you back the money after five years with zero interest. Some deal!
      If you want more info about immigration to Canada read here:

  • Alexander Holiday

    Mr. Simon,

    I a young guy (19) but I have US and Brazilian Citizenship because my mother was a Brazilian. I had a Brazilian passport, but it expired and because of some paperwork troubles down there I can’t yet get a new one, but we have a lawyer working on that, I think.

    I read in another post (though I am new to your wonderful site) that a Brazilian passport would be one of the most valuable. What or why exactly will this be the case?

    Also, I’m wondering what places you would recommend a young adventurer/entrepreneur who is considering living abroad for large periods of time.

    Also, I’m curious about Brazil, and how it would be to live there. They’re government is a ‘bit’ socialist, but for an expat or world traveler, is it a good country to reside in?

    • Alexander

      and I do apologize for all the grammatical errors. Looking back at this post is slightly embarrassing. Also, I suppose I should have said Mr. Black at the start.

  • Pale

    Simon, what do you think of French citizenship, for a U.S. citizen with a French parent? I have this option. Thanks.

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