Category: Z Legacy: Expat

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Gun laws in Panama

January 21, 2010 Panama City, Panama Nazi leadership realized long ago that one of the chief ways you instill fear and obedience in the people is to take away their ability to fight back.  This is a time-tested method of making the people afraid of the government, and thus preventing the converse. As

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The truth about Mexico

Mexico City (DF), Mexico 20 January 2010 My route to Panama has become quite slow and roundabout thanks to a bit of bad weather, and the fact that I gave up my seat on an oversold fight to accommodate a lady who was rushing home for a family emergency. I am optimistic about

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Case Study: Multiple Flags in Venezuela

January 19, 2010 Mexico City (DF), Mexico For such a pale skinned gringo, his Spanish was impeccable. We were both sitting in the business class lounge at the airport, and the fluidity with which he was prattling away in Spanish on his mobile phone caught my attention. Ordinarily, given his very light complexion

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Go to this city if you want to disappear

January 18, 2010 Tangier, Morocco If you’re on the run and looking for a place to lay low, one city you should consider is Tangier. You have to start with a bit of history– as far back as the days of the Phoenicians and Carthaginians, Tangier was an important commercial center due to

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I ignored the warning signs

It was an interesting weekend, to say the least, and what I am about to tell you is a true story. I ‘intended’ to drive down to Gibraltar this weekend, hop a ferry for Morocco, and spend a few days in Africa. As it happened though, once the famous Rock of Gibraltar emerged

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How to avoid living in a police state

If I have been too subtle in the past, let me be absolutely clear this afternoon: the time to do something, the time to take action to safeguard your future and your families livelihood, is NOW. I’m more impassioned than usual this morning… and with reason.  Reluctantly, I tuned in to Team Obama’s

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Four jurisdictions to store gold overseas

January 7, 2010 Reporting from: Estepona, Spain I’ve long believed that exchange controls will eventually return to the developed world, specifically in the United States and Western Europe. Struggling to find buyers of their debt, these governments will likely impose strict penalties for net outflows and retail currency transactions. Unfortunately, most people will

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How to value foreign property

January 6, 2010 Reporting from: Estepona, Spain I’m sitting now in lovely Estepona, Spain– a coastal town on the Mediterranean that experienced a massive property boom over the last decade. The community I’m in is anchored by a five-star Ritz Carlton golf resort, and surrounded on all sides by the mountains or the

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You’re officially on your own…

January 5, 2010 Reporting from: Estepona, Spain I’ve spent a lot of time lately sitting on the terrace of my coastal villa here in southern Spain, enjoying great conversations with friends, pondering the markets, and making significant investment and business decisions. I’ve found that it’s much easier to do this in a peaceful

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Multiple Flags Overview

Reporting from: Malaga, Spain I do not have tremendous faith in world ‘leaders’ (as ridiculous a moniker as that is to use); last month’s debacle in Copenhagen only further underscored how perverse and ineffective the existing political process is, and everyone is really starting to see it. The Social Contract is deteriorating rapidly,

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The end of the end is the beginning

I’m sitting on a sunny terrace overlooking the Gulf of Taranto in Italy’s southern Puglia region, and it’s absolutely spectacular. If the world goes to hell in 2010, this will be on my short list. Puglia is Italy’s breadbasket– staple crops here grow like wild flowers due to the temperate climate and rich

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Subscriber Questions

I receive a lot of subscriber questions, and while I cannot answer them all, I wanted to specifically address three of them that key in on recurring themes in this community– second citizenship, investing, international opportunities, corporate structures, banking, and gold/silver storage. 1) Paul asks– “I was wondering what your 1st choice would

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Capital controls are a foregone conclusion

So much for BMW’s run-flat tires. Believe it or not, I’m actually sitting on the side of the A3 motorway in central Germany, about halfway between Frankfurt and Munich, waiting for the tow-truck to arrive.  Apparently you’re supposed to be able to drive on these tires even when they’re flat… and with such

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Six speeding tickets for a second passport

I spent a couple of days this week in a fast BMW with Matt, my friend and business partner. We had a meeting in southern Spain yesterday with a key figure in the world of second passports, and we raced at speeds up to 250 km/h so that we could make the meeting

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The best places in the world to start a business

I hold it as a guiding principle that there is quite literally a world of opportunity out there… and this goes especially for business. Years ago, there were limited consumer markets available where entrepreneurs could sell their products and services. Today, the playing field has truly leveled. Emerging Asian economies have a burgeoning

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Why not Thailand and Uruguay?

Seriously… isn’t it time the investment community stopped listening to the rating agencies? Moody’s, Fitch, and S&P– these are the usual suspects who completely missed the boat on the US sub-prime debacle.  Back in 2005, they gave pristine credit ratings to risky mortgage portfolios stuffed full of borrowers who are notorious for not

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I finally need to say something about it

I tend to shy away from politics and policy.  Sure I’ve discussed taxes, privacy, and healthcare a few times, but I don’t normally whine about government too much because (a) it’s unproductive, and (b) living a ‘multiple flag’ lifestyle means that governments have little impact on me. Last night, though, President Obama spoke

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My top picks for Asia and Latin America

  I’m sitting in a comfortable, overstuffed leather chair this morning typing away at this letter while a team of local women give me a traditional Thai foot massage.  30 minutes in the chair will set me back about $4, and I can’t think of a better way to part with my money.

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Panama, Inc.

If he keeps this up, they might start calling it Panama, Inc. Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli has been in office less than 6-months, yet to the extent that it is politically possible, he seems bent on running Panama with the same vision as when he ran the chain of supermarkets that made him

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3 ways you can save 60% on luxury international flights

After a hard afternoon of jet skiing yesterday, my friends and I came off the water right as the sun was descending in the horizon over the ocean. The sun sets in Thailand in a more vibrant, distinctive way than most other places in the world that I have seen, and quite honestly

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It’s not your problem, it’s my problem

Tony looked the part– measuring tape draped over his shoulder, wire frame spectacles, and ashy hands that had been sullied by the chalk marks he had been making on my garments.  “SAHM SIP!” he said in Thai, announcing my 30-inch waist to an anxious-looking recorder.  The fitting was almost over, and Tony’s crew

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Medical care in Thailand

I was reading a menu, but I wasn’t in a restaurant. Liposuction: $625 Tummy Tuck: $1,250 Breast Enlargement: $1,125 Sex change operation: $1,625 I did a double take. Yep, that wasn’t a misprint. Thailand is renowned for a lot of things– beautiful beaches, crazy nightlife, political instability, etc. One of the things it

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Real Estate in Thailand

First of all, thanks to all the well-wishers (especially Dusty) after my accident… your concern is much appreciated, and I’m feeling a lot better. Today I want to talk about real estate in Thailand, and particularly here in Pattaya.  I’ve spent the last few days scouting property, and talking to agents, developers, and

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Answering your questions after the wreck…

I’m actually reporting tonight from bed-side in my hotel room; I managed to crash my $3/day motorcycle rental this afternoon, and between the cracked rib and other pleasantries, I’ve decided to call it an early evening. Fortunately for me, Thailand has some of the best healthcare in the world, at least if you’re

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Fight night in Pattaya

The air smelled of sweat and blood, and I could barely hear my friends talking to me over the screaming crowd.  With each blow, bookmakers were shifting odds and taking bets with such a frenzy that the arena may as well have been the New York Stock Exchange on Black Monday. This was

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Why the only direction for Thailand is up

November 4, 2009 Thailand I arrived into Thailand at 3am this morning from Shenzhen, and instantly I felt a bit happier. China is undoubtedly a booming colossus full of opportunity, but culturally it can be a bit grating after a while.  After a month on the mainland,  I needed a break, and Thailand

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What China’s wealthy want…

  I spent the better part of my day today at a small conference attended by many of Shanghai’s wealthy, plus their lawyers and accountants.  Considering the subject material is highly frowned upon by the government, I was surprised that so many were in attendance. So what was the topic of discussion at

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Dubai is struggling, but rising (a bit)

Dubai is looking something like Rocky Balboa late in his first fight with Apollo…bruised, battered, struggling to his feet– but still fighting. Of course, if you remember the movie, Rocky didn’t win that fight. He was all heart, no belt. I think the analogy fits. To be clear, I think Dubai is great…

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Set up your kids for life

If you’re presently expecting a child or are planning on having one soon, you should really consider having your baby overseas. There are many countries, particularly in the western hemisphere, which grant citizenship to all children born within its borders, regardless of the nationality or immigration status of the parents. The legal term

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A day at the knock-off market

Thanks to an unexpected computer crash, I’ve spent the majority of my day trolling around one of Shanghai’s infamous technology marketplaces, where just about everything you see is a knock-off.From my condo in Shanghai’s Pudong district, it’s about a 15 minute metro ride to “Pacific Digital Plaza,” which ironically is just a stone’s

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Guns and Fortune Cookies

The sight of nuclear missiles being paraded down the street in a perfectly crisp formation is simultaneously revolting and awe-inspiring.  Yet the Chinese government knew exactly what it was doing when it orchestrated its most prominent display of military hardware in the middle kingdom’s history. This week is China’s biggest holiday week of

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Could it BE any more obvious?

Stunned. That was the word used to describe the aghast crowds gathered in Chicago this past Friday upon hearing the news that their beloved city had been passed over for the 2016 games by the International Olympic Committee. Based on the poll numbers, most Chicagoans (and Americans for that matter) were confident that

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Panama: Don’t let this law affect your decision

I’ve received a few questions recently about a piece of legislation recently passed in Panama known as Resolution 52. A bit of background– the construction boom and ensuing real estate bubble for Panama City condominiums lasted from 2003 until approximately 2007.  Tens of thousands of units were designed and sold off-plan to speculators,

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