Questions: H.I.R.E. Hoopla, Panama without the Canal, cheap retirement, more

April 2, 2010
Panama City, Panama

It's been a great week so far in Panama. Each time I come back to this country I become even more sure in my conviction that Panama has a bright future.

For the next few days, though, I am going to set aside market forecasts and expatriation strategies... you see, my friends from the Atlas 400 club are starting to arrive, and I'm looking forward to a[...] Click here to continue reading

Questions: Panama sustainability, offshore incorporation, Thai banking, housing

March 26, 2010
Vancouver, BC

I'm headed to Panama shortly where I look forward to meeting up with my friends and colleagues in the Atlas 400 group. We're going to an exclusive deep-sea fishing resort for a few days, and afterwards I plan on taking up some unfinished business in Panama.

One of the things on my agenda is to revisit the sustainable community concept that I began discussing a few months ago.[...] Click here to continue reading

7 reasons why you should consider Malaysia

March 22, 2010
Hong Kong, SAR

If you have been considering planting a flag somewhere in Asia, I think you should really consider Malaysia. I briefly discussed the country in Friday's Q&A updates, but I wanted to dedicate a full letter on the subject because I really think the country is worthy of your attention.

1) Malaysia is cheap... it's one of the cheapest countries in the world, actually, on par with the[...] Click here to continue reading

Questions: RFID chips, moving retirement funds, offshore businesses, Panamanian citizenship

March 19, 2010
Pattaya, Thailand

My time here in Thailand is finally coming to an end, at least for now. On Monday morning, after I stop by the US embassy to pick up my renewed passport, I'll be headed to Hong Kong.

I should briefly mention something about passports. Starting in 2007, the US government began manufacturing all new passports with RFID chips-- small devices which record and transmit data.

Malaysia was[...] Click here to continue reading

Questions: An Emergency passport? European citizenship; foreign banking rules; walking away

March 5, 2010
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Greetings from Malaysia, where I'm spending an extended weekend before heading briefly to Singapore on business.  I'll tell you more about the country next week... but if you're interested in Asia, it should definitely be on your radar.

Before turning to this week's questions, I wanted to give you a quick update on the job posting from a few weeks ago.  Ordinarily, Matt and I would have[...] Click here to continue reading

The best places in the world to meet like-minded expats

March 3, 2010
Pattaya, Thailand

One of reasons that a lot of people are hesitant about making a move overseas is because they're concerned about being isolated. The world can be a cruel place, especially to newbies.

Sure there are the nomads out there who want to be left alone with their little slice of paradise in the middle of nowhere... but most people crave some human interaction from time to time, especially[...] Click here to continue reading

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 confidence in their country's manufacturing capabilities, the German rental car company didn't bother providing me with a spare.  Call me old-fashioned,[...] Click here to continue reading

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.

It is with great hesitation that I'm even sitting in this chair-- not because I don't like massage, but because[...] Click here to continue reading

Why Islam can save your wealth

Long ago, physical commodities were used as a mediums of exchange... gold and silver were quite popular because they were scarce, divisible, durable, and hard to replicate.

If you had a few extra ounces laying around and wanted to store it securely, you would seek out the people who dealt with precious metals all the time and had the right equipment and staff to keep it safe.  At the time, those were goldsmiths.

[...] Click here to continue reading