What a world we’re living in, right?
The biggest global pandemic in 100 years… continuing terrorist threats… war… threats of more war… coups… famine… mass gun violence…
Plus a litany of -flations… inflation, shrinkflation, and now skimpflation…
Along with global supply-chain issues and people deciding they don’t want or don’t need to work post-pandemic.
On the other hand…
What a world we live in.
White-sand beaches… crashing Pacific coasts… peaceful mountain villages… and bustling city streets…
Much of which is more affordable for Americans than it’s been in years thanks to a strong Greenback.
One of the greatest challenges of our current circumstances is keeping some perspective.
After having kept us hunkered down in one place for much of the last 18 months and longer, travel restrictions are easing…
Meaning it’s finally possible again to get our boots back on the ground in places that hold our interest…
And making it easier than it’s been in too long pull together or expand the pieces of your Plan B.
I don’t think I need to remind you further of all the reasons you need a backup plan.
The question we need to address, rather, is how and where to implement your best plan.
The where question comes up often and we put it to a handful of advisors who’ve become close friends, including our favorite legal eagle from Medellín, Colombia, Juan Darío Gutiérrez… our attorney on the ground in Lisbon, Portugal, João Figueira… and Belize property developer Phil Hahn…
We wanted to know what they’re thinking about the state of emergency our world seems to be living through.
What should we be doing, I wondered aloud when we all connected?
That is, how do we all position ourselves to survive and even thrive in the face of whatever lies ahead?
Here are highlights from the greatly appreciated roundtable that ensued…
Juan Darío: I believe the starting point is securing residency somewhere else. Having the ability to exit voluntarily is mainly determined by your ability to be welcomed somewhere else, meaning residency is the first priority for any Plan B.
Also critical is the ability to transfer money. An offshore bank account and the ability to transfer funds from wherever you are to wherever you want to be… that’s the second fundamental pillar of any Plan B.
João: I agree. A second residency and I’d add citizenship are very important nowadays. With a second citizenship in Europe, you can travel and thereby diversify your time and your money throughout the region.
Phil: We’re all worried about the state of the world right now, but I think we need to flip it all on its head. The world has changed in dramatic ways in recent decades, and I think for the good. It’s easier today to take advantage of global opportunities than it’s ever been. In our world today, you are limited only by your own imagination. You don’t have to stay where you were born or where you grew up. You can be wherever you want to be. You can manage your entire life from your phone.
We enjoy tremendous flexibility today…
Lief: Yes, these are challenging but also exciting times. In 1492, Columbus discovered a New World that became home to an empire that changed the world and the course of history. We’re living through change on this scale again right now, and this is presenting exciting opportunities.
I’d say that the first step to any Plan B is to pick a place you really love and then start a business there. I’ve created businesses all over the world in places where I wanted to spend time. Starting a business gives you an opportunity to meet people and to create your own reality. A business means an income, it can mean wealth, and it also translates into an interesting life.
Bottom line, for me, any Plan B should start with lifestyle. Don’t select your Plan B destination country based solely on where you think you can make the most money or pay the least in taxes. Begin this process by thinking about where you’d like to be… about what you’d like your life to look like.
Then make investments and start businesses in those places. Your goal should be multiple income streams in multiple currencies in places you look forward to visiting.
Next I asked:
“If the world spiraled out of control as the doomsayers suggest it could, where would you want to be? Where would you prefer to ride out the storm… and why?”
Juan Darío: I’ve thought about this question many times… wondering in a mystical way why I was born where I was born.
I come from a place with a difficult history. After having the opportunity to live abroad (Canada for a year, Paris for a year…) and after having traveled the world and seen how things work in so many places that are so different from my home country of Colombia, I’ve had a kind of eureka insight that has helped me to appreciate my country and to have enormous respect for Colombia.
When I was growing up, my country was a horrible place to be. Today it is transformed. Today it is legitimately one of the best places in the world to live.
So I choose Colombia. Colombia is where I’d want to be if things turned very bad on a global scale. I say this because I have a unique perspective on what the Colombian people have been able to accomplish over the past three decades.
I am where I’d want to be.
João: Like Juan Darío, I feel very fortunate because I happen to have been born in the country that for me is the best place to live. I say this after having had the chance, like Juan Darío, to travel the world and to live in other places.
I’d choose Portugal. Why?
Let’s start with the wine. That’s the first and main reason…
Seriously, Portugal is a small country that is right now generating 48% of the energy it needs through renewable methods. We have sunshine 10 months of the year. Everything grows well in Portugal. We have game for hunting and no shortage of good water.
Everything required for good living is found in Portugal… beginning, again, with the wine…
Phil: For me, community connections are critical. We are social creatures.
So I want to be in a place where I speak the local language or where enough of the locals speak my language so that I’m able to embed myself into the community.
Also important, I’d say, are a stable political environment and a rule of law that won’t impact your ability to pass on your legacy.
And I want to be in a place where I can live self-sufficiently.
For me, therefore, Belize is the answer. Here, at Carmelita, I’ve created a plan that works not only for the next 5 years but for the next 30 and 40.
In some parts of the world, it can feel like an end-of-days scenario is already beginning to play out. You need a long-term plan that both protects and provides for you and your family. I’ve got that in Belize…
Lief: I’m with Phil on that point. My ideal Plan B destination is a country that’s self-sufficient when it comes to energy, food, and water and has some manufacturing base. If every country becomes isolated, you want to be in a country that can produce all the necessities of living.
I’d also say that I want to be in a country where either everyone has a gun or no one has a gun.
I’ve got more than one Plan B in place… situations where I own property where my family and I could live self-sufficiently if we needed or wanted to… including in Panama and Belize…
Editor, Offshore Living Letter