Expat Checklist – Which Country Is Best?

Dominican Republic Map

Dominican Republic Map

Hi guys, Barry in DR here. I hope you have read the latest article on the Casey Research International Man blog entitled “A Blueprint for Internationalizing Yourself“. Done in a style very similar to those “Where To Retire” articles you see in International Living and other travel style magazines, this article attempts to systematically compare various countries using specific criteria. This is a great way to compare vastly different alternatives yet is flexible enough to allow you to decide which factors are most important to you. I was curious how the north coast of the Dominican Republic would fare in this type of comparison so I add in a column for that purpose.

As you all know, I am a staunch believer in the idea that, with the coming collapse of the dollar and euro and other currencies, we are all better off establishing a home base, either full time or part time, in a country and in an area that will weather the storm with a little less turmoil. For us that turned out to be the north coast of the Dominican Republic, and I think you will understand why when you look at the chart below. There are only so many countries that offer a true hedge against the collapse, and this area happens to be one of them.

I can sum up my belief with a single quote from the Casey Research article: “many are seeking permanent expatriation, or a “back door” destination, should a sudden move become necessary. In fact, after internationalizing your assets, establishing a back door is the next most important diversification strategy for most.” Hopefully this analysis will help you determine which countries might best fit your needs.

Beach Your Stress And Start Living. Your Family Will Love The Changes

Beach Your Stress And Start Living. Your Family Will Love The Changes

For the key factors and the assessment of the relative positions of various countries I relied on the analysis done by Casey Research in the International Man article which you should definitely read here.  I added the column related to the north coast of the Dominican Republic.  I focused on the north coast area near Cabrera because that is the area I am most familiar with, and in my opinion the best place to live in the Dominican Republic.  My ratings are base on my experience traveling here over the last dozen years and living here for about half that time.  I hope the chart helps in your search for your own escape path.  On the chart “A” is the most favorable while “E” is the worst.

CategoryFactorUSACosta RicaPanamaCayman IslandsUraguayDominican Republic
CategoryFactorUSACosta RicaPanamaCayman IslandsUraguayDominican Republic
MonetaryNo more expensive than current homeAAAAAA
Minimal dependency on importsCBCDBB
Minimal dependency on exportsCBBABB
As independent from collapse of rich countries as possibleECDCBB
Tax on new residents minimalAAAAAA
Freedom to create and run a businessABCCAA
Potential for economic collapseECCBAB
NecessitiesNo season that is cold enough to rely on heat for survivalDAAABA
Largely agrarian society, self sufficient for foodCBBEBA
Free of natural catastrophes, earthquakes, blizzards, hurricanes, etcCCCCAB
Residency obtainableBBBCAA
Ownership of property possibleAAAAAA
Availability of essential goodsAAAABA
Large selection of non essential goodsABAACB
Good emergency medical service nearbyACBAAA
Good major hospital within 4 hours driveACBAAA
SocialGovernment that is non invasiveECCAAA
Government corruptionEEEBAB
Traditional work ethic, minimal entitlement dependencyDCCAAA
Population accepting of newcomersDDDBAA
English language spokenACCACC
Concern for animals as proxy for level of humanityCDDCAB
ViolencePopulation of peaceful, considerate peopleECCBAA
Minimal crimeDDCAAA
Population largely contenty with government, society and their lot in lifeDCCBAA
Potential for significant inner city crime during economic downturnEDDBAB
Potential for terrorismEAAAAA
Potential for WarECCAAA
GRADED or EC-CB+A-A-

While you may choose a different rating for any of the criteria, and may choose to add some additional criteria of your own, you have to agree that some form of analysis like this is quite helpful in formulating your own survival plan.

For me, I would add a few more criteria that I think many of my readers might agree with.

First I would add “Accessibility”.  I think it is a big advantage to only be a couple hours out from Miami and other major cities in the US.  Compared to most of the other countries listed, the airline tickets to the Dominican Republic are also significantly less expensive and the flights by the major airlines are more frequent.

Next I would add “Variety”.  In a prior life I lived on Cayman and it does not take long to miss the variety of topography and regions that you find in larger places.  There is certainly enough geographical, activity and social variety in an island the size of the Dominican Republic, but you may find yourself with something like “cabin fever” if you settle on one of the smaller islands.

Outback Mini-Farm Everywhere you look it will astound your senses

Outback Mini-Farm Everywhere you look it will astound your senses

Hope this analysis helps a little.  Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.  For now its back out on one of the free Discovery Tours and then out in the back country to try to find a couple smaller farms up in the mountains for a few couples that have decide to call this place home.  Hope to see you on one of our free Discovery Tours soon. Barry in DR.

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