Blue List Bests For 2009
A friend wrote the other day to tell me about Lonely Planet’s Blue List for 2009, its list of this year’s Ten Best Destinations.
Lonely Planet caters to travelers, especially adventure travelers, rather than retirees and investors like you and me. But I’m happy to report that we’re ahead of Lonely Planet curve with many of these spots.
In recent months, intrepid Correspondent Paul Terhorst has covered Luang Nam Tha, Laos, one of Lonely Planet’s Top 10. And, as I write, he’s on his way to Yunnan province in China, a second Blue List Top 10 destination.
Paul and his wife Vicki live in Thailand, from where they report regularly. If I know Paul, and I do, he’ll soon make it down to Ko Tao, Thailand, another on Lonely Planet’s Top 10 list.
Two of the other Top 10 destinations are in France: Languedoc and the Basque country.
I used to live in Paris, and I keep a home there still. Furthermore, as I reported to you earlier this week, Correspondent Lucy Culpepper has recently decided to settle, with her family, in Pau, just north of the Spanish border. Lucy will be filing regular reports on her family’s adventures discovering and settling in to this Blue List region.
Plus: The March 15 issue of the Overseas Retirement Letter features a full report on retiring to Languedoc.
In other words, we believe we give you better coverage on retiring in France than anyone.
Lonely Planet rounds out its top 10 list with two remote, isolated beaches, one in Tasmania and another in Colombia, a destination in the U.S. (Hawaii Big Island), and two spots for eco-tourism, in the hinterlands of Norway and in Chile.
Here’s the point: We try to keep you ahead of the traveler’s curve…and WAY ahead of the overseas retiree curve. We give you not only yesterday’s destinations–France and Mexico–but tomorrow’s destinations, too. Tomorrow’s destinations include France and Mexico, to be sure, but also Nicaragua, India, Oman, Vietnam, Panama’s Azuero peninsula, and other spots that we’re researching now. I predict that you might find some of these places on Lonely Planet’s 2010 list.
Stay tuned. You’ll get it here first.
P.S. To recap, here’s our Live and Invest Overseas Top 10 List for overseas retirees and other adventurers in 2009:
- Panama’s Azuero Peninsula
- Leon, Nicaragua
- Luang Nam Tha, Laos
- Ko Tao, Thailand (watch for a report from Paul Terhorst)
- Languedoc, France (featured in the March 15, 2009, issue of the Overseas Retirement Letter)
- Istria, Croatia (featured in the Feb. 15, 2009, issue of the Overseas Retirement Letter)
- Yunnan, China (watch for reports from Paul Terhorst starting later this month)
- San Rafael, Argentina (featured in the Dec. 15, 2008, issue of the Overseas Retirement Letter)
- La Barra, Uruguay (featured in the Oct. 15, 2008, issue of the Overseas Retirement Letter)
- Antigua, Guatemala
Intrepid Correspondent Paul Terhorst writes this morning to say:
“My friend Waswo, a thoughtful American photographer who lives in India, has a show in Delhi these days. See what VOA has to say about it: ‘American Photographer Waswo Captures Images Of Rural Life, Crafts in India.’ The show moves to Milan in a couple of months.
“Anyone interested in retiring in India, or even running around in India, should take a look. His photos and miniatures show remarkable facial expressions…just wonderful.
Guatemala Correspondent Michael Paladin reports he’s planning for a gala weekend of expat merry-making in Antigua:
“First,” he explains, “on Friday night, there’s Capt. Bob at the Improv (comedy, they say). Then, Saturday night, The Merry Widow opera, European cast, full orchestra, choir, in old church. I’m dusting off the tux and patent leather pumps.
“Finally, Sunday afternoon, it’ll be Vegas Night for the local NGO’s (gambling). I’ll be attending in white linen/Panama Jack mode…”
“To suggest Panama as a tax haven is completely uninformed, and to suggest that there is any privacy is incomprehensible given the U.S. presence there. To justify this is too painstaking, so I’ll refer you to: http://lowtax.net/lowtax/html/jpapetx.html#income.
“I’m sure you’re familiar with this site, and they, too, list Panama as a ‘tax-haven’; however, given the numerous taxes and very restrictive employment options, it is not a good choice.”
— Stephen, United States
An international tax attorney friend replies:
“A tax haven is a country where someone can operate an international business and not pay taxes in that country (domicile). Because, when you structure things properly, you do not pay tax on your worldwide income in Panama, it is, in fact, an excellent tax haven.
“For example, if your business is manufacturing in China and selling to the U.S., that operation can be structured through a Hong Kong holding company to be managed by a Panamanian corporation tax-free. As other examples, a publishing business, consulting business, bank, financial services company, or an insurance company…any of these could be structured in a tax-free island and managed from Panama. The net result can be zero tax.
“In most cases, if management is done on the same island as the holding company, corporate and income taxes apply. By mixing jurisdictions, taxes are eliminated or minimized. Because of access to labor and infrastructure not found in other offshore jurisdictions, Panama is the best place to manage an international business today.
“Of course, all countries tax local income and require employers to take care of their employees. For example, if you set up a restaurant in Panama City, your business taxes will be significant. Also, as an employee of a Panama corporation, you will pay personal income tax and (probably) Social Security. The requirement to provide for employees is the reason countries like Panama allow for international structures that are not taxed in the country of domicile.
“To avoid this, the foreigner living in Panama should be an employee of an offshore subsidiary or a trading partner of the Panama company.
“Bottom line, with minimal planning, especially when compared with other famous jurisdictions, such as Switzerland, for example, Panama is, in fact, an excellent tax haven.”