Once again we welcome new subscribers. By way of introduction, our focus here at Four Flags Journal is more than just moving to a new country. We focus on being as self-dependent as we can from the system. diversifying our lives in order to reduce political and financial risk. Some of our articles are protected for subscribers only and the password will be in the newsletter. There will be more of these as time goes on. We also answer all emails as well as questions posted in comments.

We have so many inquiries from the Middle East and Asia. Our lawyers are reporting the same. Potential expats from those countries are required by all countries in the southern cone to have someone, preferably a relative, in the country of their choice, who will act as their sponsor. Some have asked us if we can provide a sponsor. We wish we could but it has to be someone you already know.  Otherwise you can’t qualify, even if your income and everything else is adequate, the sponsor is a necessity.

Also ABC Eye Witness News in the U.S. has reported that a huge number of U.S. passports will be expiring soon. If yours is among them, it could be a good idea to start the renewal process early—like NOW. If you get caught in a glut of passport renewals, it could take months to get your new passport.

Next, we are told by inquiring subscribers that they are not sure which passport to aim for since they are not sure where they want to establish their lives. This is a valid question since many of us come to one country in the area and, for one reason or another, end up in another. Here is something to think about.

One purpose of the second passport is to give you an option in case the passports in your own country are suspended. Although it’s hard to believe it could happen to us, a lot of other people through history have felt the same. A second passport has a number of benefits, among them is the fact that it gives you an option if that were to ever happen. You are, we hope, not locked in, in that case.

Our long-time subscribers will recall that our four flags theory aims at being a citizen of one country, banking in a different country outside the reach of your home country, your business structure in yet another country, and your residence in a fourth country. We remind you because, if we follow our diversification principle, living in the country where you hold citizenship might not be the goal you really want.

As many of you already know, we here at Four Flags Journal borrow from proven financial wisdom like that of “Uncle” Harry Schultz, who, as far as we know, was the originator of this principle, and even Doug Casey who states that the country of your citizenship tends to consider you a milk cow whereas a country where you are a valued guest will treat you accordingly—as a valued guest. So our readers might want to consider getting a passport from a country other than the one in which they want to live which, of course, means starting out in a different country and is a little more fooling around BUT . . . it all depends on your goals. Your goals may not be the same as ours—and that’s fine. We strongly suggest you get acquainted with this warning from Harry Schultz from 2007. http://www.bullnotbull.com/archive/harry-2-2007.html

Also if you have citizenship in any of the MERCOSUR countries, you do also have privileges in other MERCOSUR countries. For example, your editor crosses the Argentina/Uruguay border routinely with just an ID card from Argentina. I did it even when that ID was only a residency card. So this is something to think about.

Judging from the increase in inquiries about our part of the world, and the results of surveys in the U.S. wherein up to almost 50% of the people surveyed have said they had thought of leaving the U. S., we suggest that if you have plans to do so, that 2016 be the year that you fulfill as much of that plan as possible. We know that it is not always easy.

Plus certain groups are already being limited as far as having access to certain countries. Could it happen to you? We think it is possible.

We plan to give you more help in the coming months in ideas as to how to do this, but for now we suggest you decide if you want to ship possessions or sell them there and replace them here. If you do decide to sell them there, then you can begin now paring down. We say raise as much cash as you can from things that you don’t want or will not be moving.

If you do not have a passport, read Paragraph 3 of this newsletter again and get on with it first, even before beginning to pare down.

Many expats sell everything there and come with as many as five suitcases. You do have to pay extra for extra suitcases. Some even mail boxes. We do not suggest that for Argentina, but it could work elsewhere. This is by far the simple way. Some of us have pared down significantly, but we have items still waiting in our home country. Many of us almost live for visits from relatives and friends, partly because they can bring an extra suitcase of “stuff.” But quite a few expats ship just about everything. One needs to consider the cost on doing that.

As for clearing out possessions and selling anything of value, garage sales probably are not a good idea. EBay and Craig’s list can bring much better prices. But this all takes time so don’t wait, okay? Garage sales are okay for inexpensive items. For our part, we sold what we could and when we ran out of time, we called the Rescue Mission and gave it to them.

If you are thinking of bringing valuable jewelry to South America, it probably isn’t a good idea unless you enjoy letting it sit in a bank box. This is one of the minor (to us) disadvantages of living in a third world country. There are MANY benefits to living in a country that is not efficient (surprised?). But there are also inconveniences. We warned one expat when she and her husband arrived not to wear gold on the street because it was likely to be snatched. Sure enough she had a gold necklace snatched and then did not want to stay in Argentina after that. I said, “But I told you not to do that.” She said, “I know, but it was such a LITTLE chain.”

This is one of the sacrifices you will make and we are up front with you about it. Don’t plan to wear your diamonds in South America. If you are living in Buenos Aires and going to the opera and just get joy out of wearing them in the theater, that might be okay. But to us, it isn’t worth it.  And if you are reading this, are already a resident of South America, and disagree, please feel free to post in comments, okay?

If you feel so inclined, let us know about your progress in comments. You just might inspire someone else who is having a problem getting started.