Expats Build Community Groups
Spring has Sprung in South America
It appears that spring has arrived in beautiful Buenos Aires. We’ve had several almost uncomfortably warm days lately. A nice change from the cold. But it never gets all that cold in this part of Argentina. To our thinking, the weather here beats that of Florida. There is no “rainy season” here. Just several days of sunshine, then rain for a day or two, then more sunshine. I have heard Porteños (people who live in Buenos Aires) refer to the winter here as “brutal.” Hailing, in part, from Montana, as we do, I laugh! These people need to see 40 below to help them to define “brutal.”
HSBC Panama Bank Causes Concern
We are hearing reports from Panama about depositors having problems withdrawing money from their HSBC Panama bank accounts. The reported problems spring from clients who are requesting to withdraw by wire. We have not heard if anyone making withdrawals in person has had any problem. One publication reports that HSBC in Panama has been taken over by a Colombian bank and therein lies the problem. If this is the case, perhaps it will soon be resolved but so far it has continued for about eight months in one case. Plus it appears that HSBC has asked a number of embassies and other commercial clients to remove their accounts within 60 days.
This is one example of why FFJ strongly recommends that our readers diversify–plant financial flags–not only in different banks but in different banks in different countries! In fact, if we can avoid banks altogether–it would be a good idea. We understand that that is not possible for everyone. Yet it might be a worthy goal to reach a point in the future where we just keep enough money in the bank for, perhaps, six months of expenses and to run a business if you have one. But meanwhile, we diversify!
Along this line, if you are a U. S. citizen with an IRA or 401k retirement fund, you can buy assets other than stocks, both inside and outside the U.S. You can own precious metals and income-producing real estate. You can’t use the real estate for personal use but you can hold it as rental property. We mention this only if you are subject to a penalty and prefer to just maintain the IRA. Each of us must decide what is best, based on our own personal situation. But if you choose to maintain your retirement funds, we want to be sure that you know that you have options.
Finances Count—BIG TIME!
We currently present Catherine Austin Fitts. She is not the only financial authority that we watch by far. However, Catherine has a unique viewpoint from most and we hope that our subscribers will consider her approach carefully. With her special experience in how government works in Washington DC, through her former position as assistant Secretary of Housing, combined with her knowledge of the financial operations of corporations, she brings a very fresh viewpoint of economics, finance, and what we can do to make our own lives better, and that of our communities and families.
America and most of the world has been attacked by a real but well-hidden enemy. This attack has not been the traditional military war that most of us recognize. But it has been a more effective one. It was an economic attack. One reason it is more effective is that it took us a long time to figure it out for two reasons—our lack of education in world and economic history and our lack of education in economics. We suspect that that education glitch in the public schools just might have been calculated.
We cannot protect ourselves or resist the attack if we have no knowledge of the weapons used against us. In the case of finance, he who has the knowledge has the advantage. Consider this presentation and let us know what you think.
Citizenship and Passport in Argentina
We continue to hear reports of readers consulting attorneys in Argentina about citizenship who are being told they have to get permanent residency first (which takes three years) and then after two more years can apply for citizenship.
Why this story is so rampant from attorneys in Argentina is beyond me. Some expats believe it is deliberate scamming. Most lawyers charge about $1200 per year to assist in renewing residency and it certainly would provide them with an annual fee for more years than just telling you that you can apply for citizenship after living here full time for a single year. The reason you can apply after one year of residency is that it takes about a year for your citizenship to be approved. Just apply in that second year and, if you’re lucky, it will all be finished by the time you finish your second year.
We are not attorneys here at FFJ but we are the ones telling you the truth (and that is what we are here for). No matter which attorney tells you that you must have permanent residence first, regardless of his reason for saying it, he is wrong. Of course you have to qualify in other ways as well. You must have a certain level of income and must comply in a few other ways, but the presence rule is that you need to live in the country for two years. That could change any time so if you are interested it is good advice not to wait. But right now this is the law.
We don’t recommend Argentina as a country to invest in. In fact, we would advise against it. For our part we like the country but we understand the risks. And if you stick with Four Flags Journal, so will you. Also you don’t have to have a mammogram or any kind of shots here for citizenship. If you have children, there could be inoculations issues and you might need to address that creatively, like bringing records from outside showing everything is up to date. That is not set in stone, but it something to consider. But otherwise, there is nothing intrusive required in Argentina for residency or citizenship.
Home schooling is legal.
Our Web Site
We have installed software that greatly limits spam and so our comments option is available again. The day we received over 1,000 spam messages in comments we closed comments, but we think we have it under control now. So you can make comments again.
Foray Into Chile
We have delayed our time in Chile—briefly we hope–because we were notified that my paperwork connected with my citizenship is finally complete and will be delivered this week. Since it has taken four months already, we decided not to wait any longer. But now that things seem to be moving ahead, we decided to delay Chile just a little longer so that we can check this item off our list.
Chile is still on the agenda. We look forward to investigating this beautiful country once again and reporting to you what we find. Chile is probably the most progressive country in South America (Uruguay would be second on our list) and we think that, if you are in decision-making mode, Chile should be on your list of possibilities as well.
Incidentally, some of you will be delighted to know that Chile recently joined worldwide demonstrations against Monsanto, with protests in cities in various parts of the country.
Are you planning to visit Uruguay Soon? We recommend that you schedule your trip so as to meet with some of the expat groups there. Find out how people already living there feel about the country. You can learn things in a single meeting that just might be important in your own special situation but would take months to discover on your own.
We know of two groups currently meeting in Montevideo. One of those groups has met there weekly for about 8 years. You can find the time and location of their meetings at www.totaluruguay.com. In fact, you might want to join the forum on that web site.
The second meeting in Montevideo is Uruguay Information Exchange. The photo posted at beginning of this article was taken at one of their meetings. Attendees change, of course, from time to time. Information about this group is available at http://www.explore-uruguay.com/uruguay-info-exchange.html#.UiHjX3_NlA4
A great and active expat group also meets regularly in Atlantida, Uruguay. They are in the process of building a web site but at this writing we don’t know if it is finished but you can find out about these meetings from Katherine Hine at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Punta del Este we recommend that you check in with the Uruguay Phyle sponsored by Ron Yoder. In fact, Ron sent us the following information just for you:
The URUGUAY PHYLE meets monthly on the last Saturday of the month. The Uruguay Phyle was started by Ron Yoder in 2010 to provide “A forum for interesting, intelligent conversation on a wide variety of topics: economic, political, business opportunities, onshore and offshore investing, natural resource investing, surviving and thriving in Uruguay better by coming together in these gatherings than by trying to do it all on your own.” Ron also puts out THE URUGUAY PHYLE newsletter once a month in the off season. If interested in receiving the newsletter [5-6 issues a year] or in attending his UY PHYLE gatherings contact Ron at email@example.com for details.
There are other groups in Uruguay but these are the most active of which we are aware.
Expat Groups in Buenos Aires and Paraguay
If you intend to visit Paraguay, we recommend that you check in with www.totalparaguay.com and plan to meet with a group of expats there. You can find the times and location at their web site.
If you are interested in Buenos Aires, we do not know of any regular meetings here. Someone needs to come and start one! But you can go to one Argentina forum at www.BAExpats.org. You can often see activities posted there.
Hasta luego until next week . . . it’s always fun visiting with you.