Live, Retire, Invest In The Dominican Republic, Malaysia, And Panama
As you survey the world map this morning, in search of opportunity, here are three places you should focus your attention:
- In the Caribbean: The Dominican Republic, perhaps the world’s most user-friendly expat haven, says our Editor Rebecca Tyre, just back from a scouting trip. “Yes, this is a touristy country,” Rebecca explains, “but that has its benefits. All that tourist infrastructure amounts to an extensive network of businesses and services that the expat can easily plug into. As an expat in the DR, you have many more choices for the kinds of amenities you might be looking for than you’ll typically find in other countries.”Furthermore, gaining full-time legal foreign residency is a straightforward proposition. You simply apply for provisional residency and then deposit the equivalent of US$15,000 in a Dominican bank. After one year, you are granted full residency.”The truth is, though, many expats don’t even bother going this legal route. Many stay on the island indefinitely as ‘tourists…“
- In Asia: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, city of contrasts. As Correspondent Wendy Justice explains, “Kuala Lumpur’s ultra-modern city center, with dozens of skyscrapers, overlooks Kampung Baru, a traditional Malay village and Kuala Lumpur’s oldest neighborhood, which has somehow managed to survive less than half a mile away.”Beneath the shadows of the Petronas Towers, the Public Bank skyscraper, and the towering Wisma Celcom, Muslim families raise vegetables, hold open house on their front lawns, and tend to chickens roaming freely on the quiet streets.”In Kampung Baru, there is little traffic. Villagers make their way home from the Saturday market carrying orange plastic bags filled with produce and whole chickens, children laughing and scampering around them.”People stop when they see me. Few foreigners ever make it to Kampung Baru.”Loudspeakers at a nearby mosque broadcast the afternoon prayers, sung so artfully that I pause to listen. A family approaches, the woman wearing her headscarf and traditional two-piece, long-sleeved gown, her husband at her side with his white, woven Muslim cap.”‘Good morning!’ they say, then ‘How are you?'”It is late afternoon, so I know that English is not their primary language. I am an outsider here, yet I am made to feel welcome.”It takes only a few minutes to leave this little village and return to the 21st century. The stainless steel Petronas Towers, visible from almost everywhere in Kuala Lumpur, serve as my landmark. They are 88 stories high (8 being a lucky number for the Chinese), connected to each other halfway up by a skybridge. They are beautiful to look at, gleaming during the day, illuminated at night, and startling in their height…“
- In the Americas: Panama. “Kathleen, I don’t get it,” wrote one reader regarding our position on this country. “Two days ago, you sent a message telling us nine reasons not to move to Panama, which sounded very negative. Now you send another message saying Panama is paradise. What is the truth?”Both things are true, I explained to this reader.As we discussed with attendees at our Live & Invest Overseas Conference earlier this month, Panama offers an abundance of opportunity right now. This is the best place in the world to retire, to start a business, to be tax-efficient, to invest in raw beachfront, and to have a grand adventure.Panama is 2009’s top retirement, offshore, tax, and investment haven. That is not to say it’s perfect. And that is not to say it’s for everyone.There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all retirement or investment haven.Panama checks a lot of boxes. In addition to its retirement, investment, tax, banking, and offshore advantages, this country also boasts two long coasts and many sand-fringed islands. In its interior, the climate is spring-like year-round. In the waters off its coasts, the fishing, diving, and snorkeling are among the world’s best.There are reasons Lief and I are in Panama right now, when, in truth, we could be anywhere in the world. Over the past few years, as we surveyed the global landscape in search of a place to indulge our entrepreneurial inclinations, we considered a dozen places. We concluded that nowhere else offers a comparable combination of advantages.On the other hand, we’re not blind to Panama’s downsides nor to the challenges and frustrations of living here.It’s a question of priorities. What’s important to you? What could you not live without?