I heard Some News Today

All over the planet. People are on the move.

All over the planet. People are on the move.

I heard some news today about two families that came to our area of the DR and have since left. One of these families had been here for about a year and the other spent over three. Now people coming and going is nothing new to me and it does happen everywhere on this planet. Einstein once said nothing happens till something moves and he’s correct. However it wasn’t their reasons for leaving that I find interesting rather it was their reason for relocating.

While their reasons for leaving may have been very different both families had exactly the same reason for relocating out of their home nation in the first place. Both families wanted to exit their home nation in efforts to gain a higher sense of personal freedom.

Either way you look at it. The wealth along with the power wealth possesses is shifting from the west to the east. Isn't it prudent to at least have the pieces in place should you need to make a change.

Either way you look at it. The wealth along with the power wealth possesses is shifting from the west to the east. Isn’t it prudent to at least have the pieces in place should you need to make a change.

I remember asking each of them when we first met “freedom from what?” For many freedom is little more than a noun alongside a large selection of doughnuts from which to choose from. Since both families hailed from different nations I thought it would be interesting to compare answers. Different nation’s different lifestyles same reason for leaving Government intervention. Both families were looking for freedom in terms of less Government intervention.

Even though it’s been 37 years living or working in different countries besides my mother several people still keep asking me “when are you coming home?” I suppose they don’t get it when I answer them… I am home. Perhaps what they actually want to ask without even realizing it is more along the line of “when are you returning to your birth place?” After so many years I’ve finally come to grasp what is actually being asked… asked about in a roundabout way though.

Similar to how the universe tends to function it’s not so much black or white rather it’s the various shades of grey that make up the complete picture. At times living abroad has been great and other times left me asking questions. Questions like was this the right move or perhaps I should have reconsidered the whole plan.

Sure living abroad can be challenging at times but I can assure you at one time or another all of my readers found themselves asking similar questions… regardless if they’ve relocated or not. It’s normal as if we’re prewired to think in that fashion.

Some of the personal positives I’ve discovered by living in six different countries are as follows. As an expat you tend to be largely unplugged from the system. Personally I like that. Living in a foreign country provides a sense of adventure a different way of living which for me yielded a higher quality of life. I find as an expat you’re often treated better in foreign countries than you are in your own. Many nations value foreign money infused thereby assisting their economy. They understand that you’re not a burden rather you’re enhancing their GDP’s bottom line and unlike their own citizens in several of these countries you’re free to leave any time you choose to.

Freedom what freedom. Enjoy the fire works.

Freedom what freedom. Enjoy the fire works.

Governments often seem to treat their own as second class citizens yet they welcome foreigners with special incentives… incentives for choosing them over other competing nations. Take a quick look at your own nation. Notice who’s receiving the perks is it you or the incoming new arrivals? Tough to accept but put that aside for now and analyze is it true? Deep down inside you know it is. Perhaps Some Governments actually do realize that they need foreign investment and this is their way of showing it.

I suppose if I had to dovetail it into the one single thing I like most about living in a foreign country my answer would be I like the fact that basically you’re left alone. I like being left alone to do what I want to with my time with my properties in general with my life. No one’s hounding me for permits whether I want to cut a blade of grass or sell something from my garage. I like having a feeling of disconnection from Government intervention.

Some of you might think this sounds great. I’d like to reside in a place where I don’t feel someone’s constantly over my shoulder. I’d love to slow things down a bit and live more of a balanced higher quality life. Live cheaper eat better quality foods Etc. Etc. If any of this resonates then first plan it correctly secondly simply follow Nike’s slogan and “Just Do It!” Really it’s the only way you’re ever going to know if it is right or not.

Unfortunately for many then you’re reality… or what you think reality is kicks in and something like the following takes place. You’re all excited for the moment and a short time later your sense of what you label reality comes into the picture. Promptly one at a time you begin forgetting all the previously mentioned reasons for wanting a change and the various shades of grey and immediately resort back to the world of black and white. All or nothing starts to register in your brain and what so many seem to do is squirm right back into their same size comfort zone. Until the next time it comes up again.

Your subconscious is dangerous, but only when your conscience attitude towards it becomes hopelessly false. That's the time your doubts become your realities. Wayne Dyer

Your subconscious is dangerous, but only when your conscience attitude towards it becomes hopelessly false. That’s the time your doubts become your realities.
Wayne Dyer

What happens is you start second guessing yourself. Your subconscious says wait a minute you have too many obligations you can’t just pick up and leave. Family, job, kid’s friends you’ll start finding multiple reasons of why you can’t. For some this may currently be true but notice I mentioned currently.

For most a move like this evolves in stages. Once again it’s not black and white. I’m here today and tomorrow I’m there. Although we’ve met several folks who’ve done exactly that the greater percentage does in in steps. Begin educating yourself and the ones you love now. Make your next vacation destination a place of relocation interest instead of just detoxing in a lounge chair for a week or two. Begin to list out what you’ll require for such a move what resources will be necessary. Start thinking out of the box for a bit and you’ll soon discover there’s several ways of producing income.

Figure out what it’s going to take for your plan “B” to become a reality. Just stop using the excuse of family as that should be the first and foremost reason for having a plan “B” in the first place. Even if you can’t walk away right at this moment start putting together your personal plan for when you can. Effort creates results.

For me living as an expat has been one of the best moves I ever made. That doesn’t mean it will be for everyone. Think shades of grey again. However many are really starting to finally wake up and realize there’s something wrong here. To them I say better late than never.For some it’s relocate to another country for others it’s stay and have a plan “B” but in the same country. Just so long as you’re planning that’s what the key factor is really all about. Everyone needs to have a plan “B” period. It’s only common sense.

Most of us already have several plan “B’s” without even realizing it. If the lineup is too long at your favorite restaurant how many times has it been mentioned let’s go with plan “B” and head on over to you second favorite place to eat. The first movie you wanted to see has been sold out for the 7 o’clock showing so often you’ll hear so what’s our plan “B”? Those that have one the night continues. Often to have a better time than the original plan offered. Think about it at one time or another it’s happened to all of us.

So if we take the time and think about possible backup plans for incidentals like a dinner out or a movie WHY is it that when it comes to the really important things… you know life’s potential game changers most of us tent to leave things till the last minute?

The plans that we should be assembling at this very moment are perhaps the most important ones of our lives. Don’t take them lightly or you may regret that for the rest of your life… heck it might even cost you your life. I think Janis Joplin said it best. For many “Freedom is just another word for nothing left to loose”.

If your idea of freedom stems more from the previous comment about comparing freedom to a large selection of donuts to choose from at least stay away from the ones containing multi colored sprinkles. People tend to look stupid with sprinkles all over their teeth while trying to open other people’s eyes. Until next time this is Barry in DR.

 

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Paul February 5, 2016 at 11:58 pm

Barry have you seen this:

It’s official. The IRS can now revoke your passport if you owe them US$50,000 or more.

The new law was tucked away in a new highway bill dubbed the FAST Act (Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act) that was signed by President Obama last week. What better way to get a contentious, potentially civil rights-violating bill passed than by wrapping it up inside a much bigger bill (the FAST Act is 1,300 pages) with a completely unrelated and far more positive agenda, thereby almost guaranteeing that no senator or congressman is actually going to read it.

In fact, this law was put forth before, in 2012, by the General Accounting Office. However, that time it was put out more openly. People became aware of what was being proposed, and the bill was shut down.

It’s worth remembering that this is how the U.S. government saddled the world with FATCA… by slipping it into legislation meant to create jobs.

If you’re an American who doesn’t travel internationally, maybe you’re thinking, initially, well, what’s the big deal? I pay my taxes, and I don’t really need a passport anyway…

You might also be thinking that US$50,000 is a lot of taxes to owe the IRS, so how far-reaching a situation could this be?

Unfortunately, what we’re talking about is way farther-reaching than may be immediately apparent. It’s not only taxes owed but also penalties and interest that are considered toward the US$50,000 threshold. In our current age, it’s not that uncommon or difficult to find yourself owing the IRS fines of more than US$50,000, perhaps, for example, for not filing forms you didn’t know you needed to file. The minimum fine for not filing your FBAR is US$10,000. However, if the IRS decides that you willfully failed to file your FBAR, the penalty jumps to US$100,000 or 50% of the account values, whichever is greater.

Inherit an offshore bank account from your great aunt in Italy that contains US$10,000 and fail to report that account. Boom! The IRS can fine you US$100,000… and now they can cancel your passport, too.

If you’re outside the country when the IRS revokes your passport, you’re screwed. You could be stuck in the country where you last landed. Or, maybe, as a colleague suggests, the IRS could wait until you’re mid-air on an international flight to revoke your passport. You land without a valid passport. Local immigration ushers you to a lounge where you wait in limbo until the airline can arrange to ship you back to the United States.

Note that the complications and restrictions associated with this new law are not limited to international travel. Another new piece of legislation, the Real ID Act, takes effect on Jan. 1, 2016, along with the new law giving the IRS power over your passport.

The Real ID Act requires states to adhere to a minimum standard for state-issued IDs, as set out in the law. Residents from states that don’t meet the standard will no longer be able to use a driver’s license as valid ID to get through airport security. Four states currently don’t meet the requirements. These are Louisiana, New York, New Hampshire, and Minnesota. Louisiana, New York, and New Hampshire have received waivers for some date in 2016 later than Jan. 1.

However, if you’re living in Minnesota, heads up. Starting Jan. 1, 2016, you will need to use your passport to board a plane… not only a plane headed to a foreign country but any plane, even one with a domestic destination. Take care that you don’t find yourself on the outs with the IRS, or you could lose your passport and, with it, your ability to travel by air, period.

When I first wrote about FATCA five years ago, shortly after it was signed into law, some readers wrote to tell me that I was over-reacting… that FATCA wasn’t a big deal for the average person. I don’t mind people writing in with contrary opinions. What I mind is people in denial of reality.

FATCA was a big deal. I recognized that from the first time I read about it, and it has played out to be everything I feared it would be—an expensive stranglehold on the global banking industry and the most horrifyingly extraterritorial piece of legislation in the history of the United States, a bully’s hammer, forcing every banker in the world to play cop for the U.S. government.

On a practical level, FATCA has resulted in the closing of accounts, the closing of whole banks, and the dramatic increase in the cost of banking around the world. It has also led to a dramatic increase in the numbers of Americans choosing to give up their U.S. citizenship each year.

Now we have another similarly horrifying assault by the U.S. government, which has now given the IRS even more control over the activities of the U.S. population.

Please pay attention to this. The U.S. government now can limit your freedom of travel simply by filing a tax lien against you… whether you actually owe any taxes or not.

Let that sink in.

As an attorney friend put it in an email to me this morning, “This is scary stuff… like what happened in 1933-38 Germany in the run-up to World War II…”

This new law is great news for the industry I’m considered part of. The second citizenship business will now boom. It won’t be tax cheats racing to pursue every possible option for obtaining second passports but rather law-abiding citizens who don’t like the idea of the government having the ability to control and restrict their movements.

It’s not easy to get a second citizenship unless you were born with one or have enough cash to buy one. Total costs for an economic citizenship start at around US$200,000 right now for the least expensive option.

For those with European grandparents, you might be eligible for citizenship in Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, or Germany (though Germany doesn’t generally allow for dual citizenship).

The rest of us have to get our second citizenships the old-fashioned way… by earning them through residency. The best current options for this are Paraguay and the Dominican Republic, as these countries have the shortest residency requirements before you’re eligible for naturalization. It’s officially three years in both cases, though the DR has some fast-track options.

The next shortest timeline for citizenship-through-residency is five years. Many countries fall into this category, including Uruguay (though it’s only three years in Uruguay if you’re married), Panama, and Ireland (if you can get residency, which the Irish government has recently made more difficult to do). Portugal is a fairly easy place to get residency, but you must hold residency in the country for six years before you become eligible for citizenship.

Now is the time to get started pursuing whatever second citizenship options you might be eligible for.

I don’t count myself among the fear-mongers and I have no patience for drama. But I admit it. I’m worried. The FAST Act is a big, bad deal.

Copied from another over seas news posting, maybe others would like to see.
Paul

Gary February 15, 2016 at 11:15 pm

Hi Barry,

Very pertinent article. It really hit the spot. People should always keep their eyes on the big picture and the reasons that they showed interest in living in a foreign nation in the first place and then when you come across things that you don’t like in the prospective country weigh it against this big picture. We should always avoid black and white scenarios because most of the time they just don’t correspond to reality. Things never stay still. The only thing that is constant is change.

My process of discovery of the DR and the intent to move there is a long one, step by step. This has suited us very well. This way we have avoided the ecstasy-agony cycle where I believe many people fall victim to. In general it’s not a good idea to marry the one that you have an infatuation with. Better to let this phase pass by and get to know your significant other before you make a long commitment. The same with the very possible disruptive move to another country which may entail leaving your children, grandchildren and possibly ending your work or business. In my life so far I’ve made great decisions on the big issues like business and the wife I chose because I took the bull by the horn and took advantage of great opportunities. As they say timing is everything. I’m hoping that the decision to live or not live in the Dominican Republic will follow this fortunate course.

By the way Barry why did these two families leave the DR. Maybe let us know in future articles. I’m sure it will give us insight into life in Cabrera.

It’s great to see these articles coming in.

Gary

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