Notes: Steps to Expatriation by Ron Yoder

Last weekend (Mar 30th) I took a trip down to a fabulous domicile in Fallbrook, CA to hear Ron Yoder talk about his expatriation to Uruguay. Having already authored an article published through The International Man in 2011, Ron agreed to present information about his transition to a foreign land to the San Diego Casey Phyle. This post records some brief notes that I took during the presentation.

Before making such a life-altering transition it’s good to expose your mind to some of the economic background that led Ron to his decision to expatriate:

Before moving it’s a good idea to visit, get a tour of the area, a handle on the people and culture, investigate living conditions, medical resources, etc. For example, Having gathered enough information to commit to a local a second trip might involve setting up a foreign bank account. UY has pretty strict financial secrecy, and is well off the radar of the US government. But take things in small steps: “It’s a cinch by the inch, but hard by the yard.” Eventually you may consider parking some IRA funds offshore or acquiring a 2nd passport (through ancestry, outright purchase, or by residency).

Step 1. Narrow down the list expatriation targets. Start with something like a Quality of Life Index (such as that put out by International Living). Ron himself looked at a list of the freest countries minus any in the OECD. UY was near the top of his list for 3 years in a row. Do some research on any countries that look interesting. For example, Ron was unable to find books and maps about UY, making it all the more attractive for his interest in remote and low-profile countries.

Step 2. Take a vactation to the countries of choice. Get a feel for the weather and living conditions. See if you like the food, customs, and culture.

Step 3. Follow the breadcrumbs. Make contacts with bloggers about the country, find out if they are credible. Build a bridge of contacts in the area, people that can help set you up with meetings: lawyer, bankers, investment brokers, real estate agent, etc. Whatever you’ll need during the transition. Get a SkypeIn account with a number local to the area, so that other residents won’t be put off. This especially goes for any business start-ups, as they need to present themselves with a local number.

Step 4. Find your Facilitator. It’s worth the expense, as they can help to smooth things out, and book effective meetings on the first trip, giving you more for your time there. Many facilitators are actually retired expats, and are quite willing to help out. You definitely want a bunch of meet+greets in every visit.

Step 5. Complete the move. Within the US, consider getting a ghost address in NV to avoid state income taxes. Lean on your facilitator and previous contacts to setup any needed accounts abroad and move in.

After the presentation, Ron addressed questions from the audience. I took notes about this part as they took my interest:

  • UY vs Chile: He can’t directly compare, as he doesn’t actually know about Chile. However, it seems they are more business friendly, and even have an international startup program.
  • New Residency + Passport after citizenship: Must live there over 186 days for each year. 5yrs for a single citizenship, 3yrs if married. The clock for citizenship starts at the time residency paperwork is filed. The waiting time has been made longer recently.
  • Quality of Life: They have better health care and much higher QoL. Far less hectic, and no Big Brother forcing scary stories through the media. Also, much closer to the food chain. Cost of living is about the same as the U.S. but you get a much better return on the money.
  • Bank Account: Can get a bank account as a non-resident. Book a round-trip flight for $1200, meet with a lawyer for $200, minimum deposit $500, and 2 night hotel $150. Ron recommends using the national UY Bank.
  • International Trust: maintenance fee $1k — $1.5k
  • Income: Not such a great idea to earn a living in UY. Much better to have income stream from a higher paying OECD country (France, Germany, Switzerland, US). Also Chile is better for technical jobs.
  • Diversification: Want to have 5 baskets, so that if 3 disappear you should still be fine with the remaining 2.

Ron also mentioned, that living trapped in the US, we are cultivated like cattle. Becoming an expat is one of the best things that you can do as a deprogramming exercise. You’ll learn more self-reliance and become personally empowered against the government’s controlling agenda.

In summary, Ron’s biggest message is: Don’t do it all at once. Don’t think about uprooting your life in a single step. Scout things out before committing, and do everything in small steps to make your transition as smooth as possible. Take the first step by outlining what you are looking for, write down you list of criteria!