5 Places to Move to if Trump Becomes President

Every election cycle, we hear about U.S. citizens who say that they will leave the country if a particular candidate becomes president. Their reasons and status may vary widely from election to election.

“In 2004 people moved to Boquete (Panama) because they disliked George Bush and had money, while in 2008 people moved to Boquete because they disliked Barack Obama and had no money,” said Phil McGuigan, who moved from the U.S. to Boquete, a popular expat community, albeit for non-political reasons.

It’s difficult to know which candidate would cause the largest overseas migration, although we can get some idea via a Google search of “Move abroad if [fill in the blank] is elected.” Here are the hits Google generated for each candidate:

  • Donald Trump: 316,000
  • Hilary Clinton: 292,000
  • Bernie Sanders: 241,000
  • Ted Cruz: 233,000

While the volatile Trump and controversial Clinton stir the strongest response, Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz are not that far behind.

While there is no credible data on how many Americans move overseas primarily for political reasons, the evidence suggests that an increasing number are moving abroad. Their motives probably differ.

According to the United Nations Secretariat, as of 1999, about 4.3 million U.S. citizens lived outside the U.S., while according to a more recent brochure published by the U.S. State Department, in May 2015, that number was 8.7 million.

Which location would be best for you if you didn’t like an electoral outcome? Here’s are five countries that offer a great quality of life at reasonable prices.

Panama

 
Susan Leggett/Alamy

Panama has several established, large expat communities, such as Boquete, with its famous springlike temperatures year-round, and beach town Coronado, which is about 90 minutes from Panama City.

Panama has experienced solid economic growth for more than a decade, and in many areas is not a third world country. It has a stable democracy, it’s easy to start a business in Panama, the U.S. dollar is the legal currency, and Panama City has emerged as a sophisticated, international trading hub that many compare to Miami. It also has world-class health care at generally less than half the cost of the US.

Panama has an attractive visa and discount program for retirees, for which it is easy to qualify. The country is welcoming.

Although Spanish is the official language of Panama, if you don’t speak Spanish, you can get by with English in daily life in many of the better-known areas. Also, Panama is close to the U.S., just 2 ½ hours from Miami and five hours from New York by plane. So if you want to visit friends and relatives, you can get to the U.S. quickly.

Belize

Belize City, Belize:  
Kevin Schafer/Corbis

If you want to move to a beautiful, laid-back, English-speaking country with British Common Law and a Caribbean vibe, Belize may be a good choice.

The best-known expat locations are San Pedro on Ambergris Caye, a world-famous tourist destination where the inhabitants drive around on golf carts; Placencia, an up-and-coming town with beautiful beaches; and the Cayo District, with it’s jungles, famous open-air market and lower cost of living.

Belize also has an attractive retirement program under which you can import household goods without paying an import fee.

One downside: If you’re looking for world-class shopping like there is in Panama, Belize is not for you. There’s not a single shopping mall in the country. Like Panama, Belize is very close to the U.S., a little more than two hours by plane to Miami.

Portugal

 
Rex Features  

If European charm with great weather and low prices is your style, you may want to consider the Algarve region, located on the southern edge of Portugal on the Atlantic Ocean.

While there are not yet a lot of Americans there, the Algarve has become a popular expat location for Brits, so you would have many English-speaking neighbors. The Algarve has charming, little villages, lots of golf courses, goodamenities and great food, particularly if you like fish, and wine.

Starting a business in Portugal or finding a job in Portugal would be difficult,although not impossible in certain circumstances. You are geographically close to Spain. Seville, is only 125 miles away, and you are little more than a two-hour flight from other European locations. According to Luis da Silva, in the Algarve, you can get by without speaking Portuguese. “I have English friends who have been in the Algarve for 22 years and don’t speak a word of Portuguese,” according to da Silva.

Nicaragua

 
Tan Yilmaz/Getty Images

While it doesn’t have a large expat population, Nicaragua is becoming an interesting choice for American and Canadian expats, and has a lot to offer at a low cost of living.

Although nominally a Socialist country, North American expats tell us that, by and large, the government stays out of their business, even to the extent that many expats reported that they had more daily freedom in Nicaragua than in the U.S. They also tell us that Nicaragua is safe. It has escaped its turbulent past when the country was a battleground between communist and pro-democracy forces.

Expat Mike Cobb said: “Reality is very different from the perception. Cobb said that “the United Nations Development Program in 2013 had rated Nicaragua as the second safest country in Latin America only after Chile.”

The better-known expat areas of Nicaragua include the colonial city of Granada, which was founded in 1524 on the shores of Lake Nicaragua, and the tourist, fishing and surfing town of San Juan del Sur on the Pacific Ocean. Nicaragua also has several large developments, including Gran Pacifica, which has over three miles of pristine private beachfront property, a nine-hole golf course, and the feel of small-town Americana in the 1950s.

Mexico

 
Stockcam/Getty Images

If not for concerns about crime, Mexico would be an obvious choice for many Americans because of its many advantages:

  • Geographically, it’s next door to the U.S.
  • The cost of living is substantially less than in the U.S.
  • U.S.-quality healthcare is available in the major metropolitan areas and inexpensive. Many expats said that the healthcare they received in Mexico was equal to, and in many cases, superior to the healthcare they received in the U.S., and at low prices.
  • You can choose your weather by elevation and geography. Temperatures are in the mid-70s to 80’s year-round in the towns of Lake Chapala/Ajijic and San Miguel de Allende. They are warmer in famous tourist and expat locations like Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta and areas in the Yucatan Peninsula, including Cancun.

Expats advise taking some common-sense precautions to avoid crime. They say it’s best to stay out of remote and dangerous areas at night and to avoid any contact with drug-related activities.

Mexico is generally safe for American expats, with some areas much safer per capita than in the U.S. For example, the homicide rate in the state of Yucatan, which contains the colonial city of Merida, with over a million inhabitants, is about the same as Maine, half that of West Virginia, and only a quarter that of Washington, D.C. So, if Washington D.C. is driving you out of the U.S., you can live in Merida at a price that is substantially less.

You’ll also be safer and have access to better beaches.

Written by Chuck Bolotin of The Street

(Source: The Street)

Retiring Overseas to Save Money? Be Careful

© Tetra Images/Yuri Arcurs/Getty Images
© Tetra Images/Yuri Arcurs/Getty Images

According to the study Expats: Expectations & Reality, conducted by Best Places in the World to Retire, the most popular reason people move overseas is to achieve a lower cost of living. Is this a good reason upon which to base your choice or a bad one?

An evaluation of the responses in the study and of answers provided by more than 400 expats to questions such as “What are the best reasons to retire overseas?” and “What are the worst reasons to retire overseas?” yields this conclusion: It depends.

Why Moving Overseas for a Lower Cost of Living Can Be a Horrible Idea

There are two reasons you should not move overseas for a lower cost of living.

1. It may not be true. Of course, for almost everyone and in almost all circumstances, it would not be cheaper to live in places such as Paris, Monaco or Singapore, than in Boise, Idaho. However, somewhat surprisingly, it can also be more expensive to live in Cayo, Belize than in Boise. How can this be? Items that have to be imported to a country outside the U.S. tend to cost more overseas than in the U.S. If you live in Belize and insist on purchasing American brand Skippy peanut butter and California wine, these items will have to be imported to Belize, thereby making them more expensive than if you walked in to your local supermarket and purchased them in Boise.

2. If you move overseas solely in order to reduce your cost of living and don’t like anything else about where you moved, even if you do achieve a lower cost of living, the benefit you receive could be overwhelmed by the other things you don’t like. What are examples of other things you may not like? The list is virtually endless. We have seen complaints ranging from being frustrated by the lack of efficiency to not wanting to learn or experience anything new. Whether, for example, you would view a lack of efficiency as a bother or as a refreshing emphasis on life outside of work, or if you would view newness with curiosity or with suspicion is an issue of how you, personally, respond to the world.

Why Moving Overseas for a Lower Cost of Living Can Be a Great Idea

Here are the two main reasons moving overseas for a lower cost of living can be a great idea.

1. For many places overseas, it is, indeed, much less expensive. This is especially true in developing countries such as Panama, Belize, Nicaragua and Mexico. The extent to which you actually do lower your cost of living in these places depends almost entirely on how much you shift your mix of consumption toward locally produced goods and services. While it is true that the peanut butter and wine mentioned above will cost more overseas than they does in the U.S., other items can be very inexpensive. For example: you can pay $225,000 for a 2,150 square foot American quality home on a gorgeous beach in Pedasi, Panama, less than $13 total for a gardener for six hours in Mexico, $10 – 15 per week for fruits and vegetables for a couple in Belize, or $10 for a 90 minute massage in Nicaragua in the comfort of your own home!

2. A lower cost of living can make possible a better quality of life. Many of our respondents told us that, after being freed of the worry of not having enough money, as well as the time and effort required to make more and/or spend less, their life improved dramatically, including their physical health. Repeatedly, we received reports of weight lost and blood pressure lowered. On an emotional, psychological and spiritual level, for a very large quantity of our respondents, less concern about money also enabled all sorts of other benefits, including the ability to pursue a hobby, time and money to travel, a better social life, and better interpersonal relationships. (One woman couldn’t get over just how “less grumpy” her husband was.) In addition, a very large number of our respondents reported getting much more involved in helping others, which greatly increased their happiness, and made a lot of other people happier at the same time.

Written by Chuck Bolotin of TheStreet

(Source: MSN)

$8 Coffee! 10 Costliest Cities for Expats

The life of an expat can often seem glamorous with the appeal of living abroad in a different culture, but it has its downsides, too. Mainly, how much it can cost to live.

Consulting firm Mercer released the initial findings from its 21st annual cost-of-living survey, which compares data from 207 cities over five continents and is based on answers and exchange rates from March. The survey measures costs of more than 200 items in such categories as housing, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.

Topping this year’s list of the priciest places to live are the following 10 Asian, European, and African cities, determined using New York City as the base city for comparison.

“Japanese cities have continued to drop in the ranking this year as a result of the Japanese yen weakening against the US dollar,” said Nathalie Constantin-Metral, a principal at Mercer who worked on compiling the survey ranking. “However, Chinese cities jumped in the ranking due to the strengthening of the Chinese yuan along with the high costs of expatriate consumer goods.”

Note: For each of the following cities, the apartment and house rental costs given are per month, and they are specified to be residences “of international standards, in an appropriate neighborhood.” Other prices given refer to purchases at medium-priced establishments.

10. N’DJAMENA, CHAD

  • Rent of a two bedroom apartment: n/a
  • Rent of a three bedroom unfurnished house: $2,252.12
  • One cup of coffee, including service: $2.60
  • Fast food hamburger meal*: $21.65

Ranked as the second costliest city in 2014, this year the capital city of Chad is number 10. For this city, there was no data available for the price of an international release cinema ticket, a fast food meal or a pair of jeans.

*In absence of comparable fast food meals in N’Djamena, the cost of a club sandwich and soda meal was included.

9. BERN, SWITZERLAND

  • Rent of a two bedroom apartment: $2,463.73
  • Rent of a three bedroom unfurnished house: n/a
  • One cup of coffee, including service: $4.82
  • Fast food hamburger meal: $13.93

Switzerland’s fourth most populous city is also the federal city, being home to the Swiss parliament and government. One seat at an international release movie in Bern costs $19.28.

8. SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA

  • Rent of a two bedroom apartment: $3,494.86
  • Rent of a three bedroom unfurnished house: $6,808.16
  • One cup of coffee, including service: $6.17
  • Fast food hamburger meal: $5.90

The capital and largest city in South Korea, Seoul, is the first of five Asian cities in this list. It ranked 14th place last year.

7. BEIJING

  • Rent of a two bedroom apartment: $3,576.54
  • Rent of a three bedroom unfurnished house: $5,283.52
  • One cup of coffee, including service: $7.32
  • Fast food hamburger meal: $4.71

The capital of the People’s Republic of China, Beijing is one of the most populous cities in the world and the center of most of the country’s largest state-owned companies. Beijing was number 11 in 2014.

6. SHANGHAI

  • Rent of a two bedroom apartment: $4,064.24
  • Rent of a three bedroom unfurnished house: $6,502.79
  • One cup of coffee, including service: $6.50
  • Fast food hamburger meal: $4.71

Shanghai has China’s highest urban population. One liter of soda costs just 81 cents, but that doesn’t offset those rents.

5. GENEVA

  • Rent of a two bedroom apartment: $3,749.15
  • Rent of a three bedroom unfurnished house: $6,212.88
  • One cup of coffee, including service: $4.82
  • Fast food hamburger meal: $13.93

Switzerland’s second most populous city bumped up from sixth priciest city in 2014’s ranking. Many international organizations have offices there, including the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

4. SINGAPORE

  • Rent of a two bedroom apartment: $3,246.75
  • Rent of a three bedroom unfurnished house: $6,936.25
  • One cup of coffee, including service: $4.35
  • Fast food hamburger meal: $6.20

Retaining its 2014 spot as the fourth priciest, Southeast Asia’s Singapore is the site of the fourth largest financial center and one of the globe’s top shipping ports.

3. ZURICH, SWITZERLAND

  • Rent of a two bedroom apartment: $3,963.39
  • Rent of a three bedroom unfurnished house: $5,891.52
  • One cup of coffee, including service: $6.96
  • Fast food hamburger meal: $13.93

Marking Switzerland’s third appearance in the costliest list for 2015, Zurich is a major financial center and the largest Swiss city. It ranked fifth last year.

2. HONG KONG

  • Rent of a two bedroom apartment: $6,576.26
  • Rent of a three bedroom unfurnished house: $11.863.06
  • One cup of coffee, including service: $7.80
  • Fast food hamburger meal: $4.75

This densely populated special administrative region on China’s southern coast is a trade hub and one of the world’s top financial centers. It will run expats $3.95 for a liter of pasteurized whole milk (above 2.5 percent milk fat) in the special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China.

1. LUANDA, ANGOLA

  • Rent of a two bedroom apartment: $6,800
  • Rent of a three bedroom unfurnished house: $15.800
  • One cup of coffee, including service: $4.76
  • Fast food hamburger meal*: $17.14

Topping out the list for the third year straight is Luanda, a relatively inexpensive place by some measures–the cost to see an international release film is $11.90, and one liter of soda is $1.99. However, what’s driving up the cost of living is the prices of imported goods—a pair of blue jeans runs $247.53—and the cost of living in safe conditions.

*In absence of comparable fast food meals in Luanda, the cost of a club sandwich and soda meal was included.

Written by Colleen Kane of CNBC

(Source: CNBC)