Editor’s note: below we have reproduced this week’s Q Bytes newsletter, with Peter’s comments on investing and living overseas (in South America) covering Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador and more. There’s also an update on the elections on the island of Nevis that will be of interest to those seeking asset protection there. Remember if you would like to receive Q Bytes every week directly in your inbox, it’s absolutely free – sign up here.
I’m writing to you this week from the heart of South America (some people might be able to guess where that is!). One interesting observation is that people here are really beginning to talk about the decline in value of the dollar. Before, most Latin Americans had unshakable confidence in the dollar. On the ground here, this is changing. Draw your own conclusions. Anyway I thought would answer today some of the numerous questions received from readers, with a South American bias but also covering the recent elections in Nevis.
It seems that there’s still no shortage of readers from both North America and Europe who are interested in the idea of relocating themselves and/or their assets to Latin America, whether it’s the Qualified Retirement Persons program or banking in Belize, or investing in wineries in Chile and Argentina. And I think the region has lots of potential. The North Americans and Europeans are not the only interested parties however: lots of Chinese money is flowing in this direction too.
Here are some of the questions I’ve received, along with my answers…
LA ESTANCIA DE CAFAYETE AND COMMUNITY LIVING
“Peter, you wouldn’t happen to be visiting Doug Casey’s La Estancia de Cafayate in northern Argentina are you? If you are, I’d love to hear your take on it as an unbiased observer. The properties seem overpriced, as well as the Grace Hotel units….as for quality of life? Well, to each their own.”
Cafayete is not on my itinerary, no. I have great respect for Doug Casey and some of my friends have bought into the Estancia, but I’m just not particularly attracted to it. There are also a number of other comparable proposals out there, in Central and South America, at various stages of completion.
My view is strictly personal: I’m just not much of a ‘community living’ type of guy – I’m more of a lone wolf. I dislike politics of all kinds, whether it’s sitting round the barbecue complaining about Obama, or deciding which of your neighbours is going to be the new President of the condominium association.
I can certainly see the attraction of living with a group of like minds, and I enjoy attending events for example where you can get an intense dose of like minds and interesting discussions over a few days. But when you cannot get up in the morning and walk the dog without running into a few like minds, who will no doubt greet you with their opinions, well I think that would be a bit overwhelming for me and for my family.
You’ll certainly end up paying a substantial premium over local real estate prices for developments like these, but then again you will probably be getting a lot of services and facilities that are not available at any price in the local markets. Only you as an individual can decide if it’s worth it to you. And I would certainly go take a look if you’re interested. You don’t know until you go!
WHICH COUNTRIES IN SOUTH AMERICA?
“Peter, Want to wish you a safe and productive trip to South America as referenced in the below excerpt from your most recent e-newsletter. I am very interested in South America. Would like to ask if Ecuador, Chile, Peru or Uruguay are on your list of leads to investigate? And if so, do you personally have any preferences for any of these countries? ”
We monitor these countries all the time. I’m particularly interested in the latter two, Peru and Uruguay, as well as Paraguay and Brazil. Ecuador and Chile are fine as places to live but for me they don’t have so much to offer in terms of investing or quality of life.
Of all of South America – you asked for my personal preferences – I would choose Brazil to live in. It’s a vibrant country with a lot to offer, variety and a very high quality of life. It has a good immigration program for retired persons, though it certainly more expensive than neighboring countries.
For investments, I think Paraguay is very attractive at the moment. I’m working on a deal investing in agriculture there right now. Paraguay has a lot less bureaucracy than Brazil, but you certainly need to either be on the ground yourself or have a very reliable and trustworthy consultant working for you. Fortunately we have a good legal team there: both our friend Robert who can help with immigration matters, and several attorneys and diplomats who can facilitate investments.
Peru is very much on my radar, mainly for investing in resources like gold, silver and rare earth minerals. I will be stopping over in Peru later on this trip.
Finally, as for Uruguay, I love it – if you’re looking for something stable, choose Uruguay. My choice would be for living in Punta del Este. It’s also a good regional banking hub. There’s a great article on Uruguay, by an expat living there, coming up in the next Q Wealth Report.
NEVIS ELECTIONS IN DISPUTE
“Peter, I know you highly recommend Nevis as a jurisdiction for incorporation of LLCs and the like, and for asset protection trusts. Is your opinion affected by the recent controversy over the election results there?”
In a word, no. Most of the world probably never noticed, but the general election in Nevis earlier this month has been disputed by the opposition, something like the last Presidential election in Mexico. There are allegations of vote rigging and improprieties, which have not yet been resolved. Frankly, this has no affect whatsoever on the offshore sector, which is pretty much insulated from domestic politics. (For example, the new VAT does not apply to provision of offshore services.)
The important thing is that pretty much every politician in Nevis supports the offshore sector. It’s well established (created in 1984), well regulated, and has a great reputation, especially in America. St Kitts and Nevis is white-listed by the OECD too.
What I don’t recommend is banking in Nevis. It’s a great place to incorporate, but the banking is really limited, so take your Nevis entity and open an account elsewhere.
SWITZERLAND BANKING UPDATE
Finally, thank you to all the readers who replied to our piece on Swiss banking a couple of weeks ago. If anyone missed out and would still like an introduction to the Swiss bank we mentioned (for non-US citizens) don’t hesitate to contact our office by e-mail.