“Kathleen, I’m Here To Find Out If All These Promises You Make Are For Real…”
“Kathleen, I have to tell you the truth,” began the Retire Overseas Conference attendee who pulled me aside in the hotel hallway this morning…
“I came here to find out if you’re for real.
“I’ve been reading your emails and spending time on your website for months. I’ve bought several of your products. And it all seemed great. Too great, maybe. Maybe too good to be true, you know?
“So when I read about this event here in Houston this week, I thought to myself, this is my chance. I decided to come meet you and everyone from Live and Invest Overseas in person. To see for myself, you know… if you all are for real.”
I stood silently, smiling, waiting for the other shoe to drop…
“Then, Saturday afternoon, when you got up in front of the room and started talking, I knew. Listening to you, I knew. It’s all real. It’s everything you write about. It’s everything you say it is.
“I build websites for a living,” the conference attendee continued, “so I know how they can work. In today’s web world, it’s easy to create something from nothing. That was my fear. That’s why I’m here. And I’m so glad I came…”
“Now I understand,” began another conference-goer I spoke with this morning. “It’s all about options. This is a marketplace of options…”
“Kathleen, you probably won’t remember,” said one gentleman, “but my wife and I met you at your conference in Panama last year.”
“I’m delighted to see you again,” I replied, “but, if you don’t mind my asking, if you were at our recent event in Panama… what are you doing here in Houston now? Or did you change your mind about Panama?”
“No, no,” laughed the man as he looked over at his wife.
“Listen,” he continued, “Panama was great, and we accomplished so much.
“Look,” he said with a big smile as he pulled a card out from his wallet. “We were even able to get our residency visas while we were in Panama for your event. But we still have questions. Our experiences in Panama just primed the pump for us… so here we are, hungry for more…”
“Kathleen,” said another man with a purpose, “I’m here to learn everything I can about Belize. That’s where I’m going, and I want to know all there is to know about that country.”
“Here’s the guy you want to speak with,” I replied, leading the attendee across the room by his elbow. “This is Phil Hahn,” I continued, as we approached Phil. “Phil is our resident Belize expert-expat. Phil, this gentleman has some questions for you…”
“Kathleen, how can I access my Social Security income from another country?” (Via an ATM, I explained, is the easiest, most cost-efficient way anywhere in the world.)
“I’m interested in an agricultural investment. What would you suggest?” (Five productive land investments are represented here this week, from avocados in Panama to timber in Colombia and truffles in Spain.)
“How do I file my FBAR?” wondered one attendee…
“Do you think Ecuador will continue using the U.S. dollar?” asked another, “and is that a good thing or a bad thing for those of us with U.S. dollar-denominated retirement accounts?”
“What part of my investment income qualifies for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion?” inquired a third. (None is the answer. Only earned income qualifies.)
“Where is the most affordable place to retire well in Latin America?”…
“Which is more affordable—rural France or rural Italy?”…
“Would you recommend investing in an apartment on the coast of Spain right now? Prices are way, way down, but does it make sense to buy?” (We’d recommend the coast of Portugal over the coast of Spain… for reasons we’ve been discussing in detail)…
“What are my best health insurance options in Asia? In Europe?”…
“Best beach in Vietnam?”…
“Best jurisdiction for incorporating a business offshore?”…
“Is the cost of electricity much greater in Panama than in the United States?”…
“If I bought a home overseas using funds from my self-directed IRA, could I rent it from myself?”… (No!)
“Could I continue to use TurboTax to prepare my tax return when living overseas?”… (Yes!)
These and hundreds of other questions are being answered in full, live and in person, as part of this week’s 10th Annual Retire Overseas Conference taking place in the meeting rooms of Houston’s Downtown Hyatt Regency Hotel.
The crowd is just now returning from lunch. I’d better go join them all for this afternoon’s sessions.
More tomorrow, from the scene.