Panama is still the easiest place to obtain residency [until this happens…]

March 11, 2015
Panama City, Panama

I’m starting to feel like a proud uncle. I flew in to Panama yesterday afternoon and thought, “look at how much you’ve grown!”

Things were so different the first time I came to Panama in 2004.

It was quieter. Underdeveloped. Backward. And cheaper. You could buy an oceanfront condo for $50,000 in the nicest part of town.

Over the years as I’ve traveled back and[...] Click here to continue reading

How to get a second passport: four options that anyone can obtain

We like to think of the solutions we provide here at Sovereign Man as seatbelts—common sense tools you might never need it, but could save your life in a real emergency.

If you live, work, bank, own property, invest, structure a business, store gold, etc. all in the same country of your citizenship, you’re at mercy of the political climate of one single jurisdiction.

This is a lot of faith to place[...] Click here to continue reading

3 of my favorite low-tax places to retire

September 12, 2014
Sovereign Valley Farm, Chile

If you’re thinking about retiring to Florida for the warm weather, lack of state income tax, and plentiful medical care facilities, you might want to reconsider.

A 68-year old Florida retiree recently filed a lawsuit against Orlando-based Florida Hospital after doctors there allegedly mixed up her lab results and told her she had terminal cancer.

The woman suffered in agony for months believing that[...] Click here to continue reading

Set your child up for life with a second citizenship: 5 places to have a baby

"The Baby and the Sea" by Maria Rosario Sannino,  CC BY 2.0
August 28, 2014
Bangkok, Thailand

For many people, where we are born has a tremendous impact on our lives.

For example, being born in certain countries might mean that we are obliged to serve in the military, or go fight and die in some foreign war.

In others, it might mean that we are required to pay taxes on our worldwide income, even if we don’t even set foot in that country.
[...] Click here to continue reading

Your questions and important updates

June 11, 2010
Santiago, Chile

As I mentioned in yesterday's subscribers-only letter, I've been to Chile numerous times, and I like it more each time I'm here. For this trip, which is unfortunately short, I wanted to survey the countryside to see the extent of the earthquake damage.

It's easy to have already forgotten February's 8.8 earthquake in Chile, roughly 500x stronger than Haiti's.  That's because there was scant media coverage, limited outpouring[...] Click here to continue reading

Two interesting opportunities in Panama

June 9, 2010
Panama City, Panama

Panamanians are generally a carefree lot... but there are a few things that they curiously take very, very seriously. Mother's Day is one example-- it's held in December, and the entire country shuts down for the day, including banks and government offices.

Voting is another example-- it's actually compulsory in Panama to go to the polls, and the government ensures that you don't have any excuses by[...] Click here to continue reading

The positive trends I see in Panama

June 8, 2010
Panama City, Panama

I've been pleasantly surprised this week by some recent changes in Panama that continue to demonstrate this country's positive momentum.

Yes, there is still corruption, squalor, pollution, and traffic amidst the soaring condominium towers and luxury car dealerships. But the larger point to capture is that Panama is clearly on an upward trend-- month by month, it becomes better, nicer, more modern.

In contrast, the dying[...] Click here to continue reading

What I learned from the government agents

June 7, 2010
Panama City, Panama

My weekend in New York City with fellow Atlas 400 members was really spectacular and first class all the way. There were about 50 of us in total, all with varied and interesting backgrounds from all over the world-- a renowned heart surgeon, a music business mogul, a couple of best-selling authors, successful entrepreneurs, etc.

I want to tell you a lot more about the event because[...] Click here to continue reading

Questions: A multiple flags overview, no more euro, a no brainer, Italians in Panama

May 14, 2010
Undisclosed location

I want to start off today by once again thanking you for all the well-wishing emails after my operation this week. I read through a large backlog of email last night, and I was truly humbled by all the positive energy and goodwill out there. Thank you.

With that, I'd like to jump in to this week's questions:

Phil says, "Simon, I sincerely appreciate the info contained[...] Click here to continue reading

Questions: the next trade, Panama’s future, robbed of his gold, confidence

May 6, 2010
Undisclosed Location

If you'll kindly indulge me, I will jump right into this week's questions.

First, Jeff writes, "Simon- you really called the gold/euro short (XAUEUR), I'm up 25% since you mentioned it. Where do you see it going now?"

The European-induced panic is causing a rush to 'quality' once again. The dollar has surged, Treasuries rallied, and just about everything else fallen, including oil, silver, and that third-world[...] Click here to continue reading

Questions: Colombian investments, Perth Mint disclosure, Biking in Panama, Thai crime, Medellin for women

April 16, 2010
Medellin, Colombia

Yesterday I celebrated tax day by charging up my AMEX card on one of the IRS's official payment websites. There's nothing like earning travel points for keeping the flames of bureaucracy burning.

And speaking of travel, I should be headed to Ecuador this weekend where I plan on spending several days hopefully hopping around the country; more to follow next week.

On to this week's questions...

[...] Click here to continue reading

Questions: Being a target, Panama and the IRS, Taking your money

April 9, 2010
Panama City, Panama

My time is winding up here in Panama and I'm trying to sort out my travel for the next few weeks. I need to be in the US for two conferences by April 26th, so that gives me about 2-weeks to kill.

I'm thinking about heading to Medellin, Cuenca, Lima, Santiago, Asuncion, Buenos Aires, Florianopolis... but let's face it, that may be a little ambitious for two[...] Click here to continue reading

What emerging markets have in common with puberty

April 8, 2010
Panama City, Panama

Do you remember that really awkward phase we all went through as adolescents?

Growth spurts, voice changes, menstruation, and yes, pimples-- in the end, while we all came out of it more mature and grown up, there was a difficult and sometimes painful transition period in which we had to learn how to deal with new realities.

Developing countries go through the same sort of transition,[...] Click here to continue reading

The strongest Latin economies for buying property

March 31, 2010
Panama City, Panama

It appears that not all is amiss with sovereign debt: Panama may be one of the only bright spots, at least in the western hemisphere... the country recently had its debt rating upgraded by Fitch to 'investment grade' with a positive outlook.

Now, I have been quite vocal about my disdain for the ratings agencies... these organizations completely missed the boat before the financial crisis, slapping AAA[...] 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

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

Gold in Uruguay, Swiss francs, Polish citizenship, Moody’s

February 26, 2010
Bangkok, Thailand

It's "Judgment Day" in Thailand. I wrote about this on Monday-- a Thai high court will rule today on the disposition of ousted former PM Thaksin Shinawatra's frozen assets valued at several billion dollars.

According to the mainstream media, the entire country is supposed to erupt in chaotic and violent protests today. Even BloombergTV, which I normally respect, has been running sensationalized stock footage of fires, vandalism, and[...] Click here to continue reading

Questions: Jobs update, a dollar crisis, gold banking in Singapore, sustainable community

February 19, 2010
Bangkok, Thailand

I really need to start out today's letter by expressing how truly humbled I am to be part of such a fantastic community.

Matt and I have spent much of the last few days combing through resumes (200+ so far) for the job openings that I posted on Monday, and the caliber of talent and energy is really impressive.

Applicants vary in age from 17 to 70.[...] Click here to continue reading

This survey will make you want to leave immediately

February 17, 2010
Bangkok, Thailand

I couldn't believe what I was hearing... and I found myself wondering out loud- "Are these people insane??"

Apparently, yes.

I was watching Richard Edelman this morning on Bloomberg Television discussing the latest results of his research and PR firm's annual "trust survey."  Edelman takes a scientific poll each year, drawing on a global pool of educated, well-informed people from G20 nations.

The theme is always[...] Click here to continue reading

Questions: Travel, buying property, moving gold, second passports

February 12, 2010
Pattaya, Thailand

I'm happy to report that I seem to be in the final throes of my Asian jet lag-- I finally managed to go to bed and wake up at a reasonable hour.

I appreciate the emails that I received giving me advice about how to deal with it more effectively... honestly though, I think time is the best remedy for everything.  With jetlag, I take a "sleep when[...] Click here to continue reading

Your questions: anarchy, healthcare, mortgages, China

February 5, 2010
Mexico City, Mexico

Greetings once again from Mexico; I'm sure many who listen to the mainstream press would be amazed to find that I have spent 48 hours on the ground here with nary a swine flu infection nor simple mugging to report.

I did, however, miss my flight to Canada.

What can I say... Mexico City traffic has got to be the most dangerous thing in this country.[...] Click here to continue reading

Three real estate traps in Panama

February 3, 2010
Panama City, Panama

Panama is a popular destination for expats, and for good reason. But there are some critical property traps that you should be aware of if you’re looking to buy.

The first trap to watch out for is the tax law; for years, the government stimulated the real estate industry by promising property tax exoneration for up to 20-years. In order to qualify, a project must have been[...] Click here to continue reading

Business opportunities in Panama

February 2, 2010

Panama City, Panama

I see a lot of opportunity in Panama right now for entrepreneurs and small businesses; in fact, I see more opportunity here than in just about every other country in the western hemisphere with few exceptions.


Panama has two strong emerging consumer markets.

The first is the obvious low hanging fruit: foreigners. Their ranks in Panama are growing by the day, swelling the[...] Click here to continue reading

The Panama You Can’t Find In Panama City

February 1, 2010
Boquete, Panama

It's almost like you're not in Panama.

Isolated in the Chiriqui highlands of Panama's western-most province, the town of Boquete might as well be in a different country.  Practically all you hear is English-- the local Panamanians have excellent language skills, and there are more gringos per capita here than just about any other place in Panama.

To give you an idea of what I'm talking about,[...] Click here to continue reading

Your questions: Central American healthcare, Swiss banking, Panama foreclosures, Belize

January 29, 2010
Boquete, Panama

It's a beautiful day in the Panamanian highlands, and I'm taking the opportunity to explore the countryside for undervalued land deals.  The Chiriqui province of Panama, where I am now, is sort of like the Panamanian version of Texas-- fiercely independent and proud... locals consider themselves to be citizens of Chiriqui first, and Panamanians second.

As we've discussed in previous letters, I have been sincerely exploring the idea[...] Click here to continue reading

Why you don’t want to go at it alone

Blair is in her early 40s from Southern California.  She's intelligent, fairly aggressive, and an experienced financial executive at a mid-sized manufacturing company. In total, she has about $250,000 in savings, some of which she used to buy property in Panama.

She is single with no children and has been traveling to Panama to plant flags since 2006. She plans on (semi) retiring there in another 5-years and has unfortunately learned a lot of[...] Click here to continue reading

Panama vs. Costa Rica

January 27, 2010
El Valle, Panama

For a future expat, there are three places worth seriously considering in Central America-- Panama, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica.  Much is written about Panama, and rightfully so; the country is the most stable, economically liberal, and business oriented.

Not to be completely ignored, though, Costa Rica has its own merits that are certainly worth an honorable mention.

First, to understand Costa Rica, you need to get[...] Click here to continue reading

A sustainable community in Panama

January 26, 2010

Panama City, Panama

I've been on the ground in Panama for a week, and thus far, the majority of my time has been spent investigating the sustainable community concept that I wrote about several weeks ago.

To refresh your memory, the idea is to develop a small, cost-effective, subscribers-only expatriate community in Panama that focuses on sustainability over luxury. Frankly, other developers laugh when I discuss the concept and[...] Click here to continue reading

An important update on the Panama private storage facility

January 25, 2010

Panama City, Panama

A few weeks ago, I told you about a new private vault facility that was opening soon in Panama called "Best Safety Boxes." At the time, I had not personally checked out the facility but at least wanted to make you aware of its opening.

Late last week, I had the opportunity to meet with the owners and take a personal tour of the facility. In[...] Click here to continue reading

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 such, I am frequently asked about gun control laws in many parts of the world... and while I am far[...] Click here to continue reading

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 be in setting up an online business offshore.  Which country would be best for business structure, hosting, and merchant accounts?"

[...] 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

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 and bring you some tremendously valuable information.

It came at a price-- six speeding tickets in total, mostly across the south[...] 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

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 one of the country's wealthiest men.

Step 1-- eliminate corruption in the government. All side deals and back room handshakes[...] Click here to continue reading