Real Estate News for Investors Podcast Episode #151
As the presidential election draws near, more and more people are threatening to leave the country if the candidate they most despise wins. Is it just talk, or will there be some sort of post-election exodus to distant lands?
You may have seen the headlines that many voters are vowing to move to Canada if the election doesn’t go their way. Our northern neighbor is not only close, it also provides a healthy economy, good health care, and a predominantly English speaking country.
Evidence of voter interest in fleeing north can be found on Google Trends. It shows increased activity for the phrase “living in Canada” and “how to move to Canada”. In fact, the phrase “how to move to Canada” had a huge spike in activity back in February and March, when other republican candidates were dropping out of the race.
The threat to move to Canada as a result of a presidential election is not new. But a Canadian immigration website writes that “this time the proposition seems more serious”.
The “Canada Immigration Newsletter” says that: “people are moving from the ‘why’ to the ‘how’ with regard to Canadian immigration. But the website warns “it’s not just a case of loading up the car, driving north, and finding a job right away in a safe neighborhood.”
This website belongs to an attorney that can help people immigrate but just how easy is it to emigrate?
According to the New York Daily news, it’s not that easy. Reporter Gersh Kuntzman says he investigated the possibility of a move to Canada. But he says Canada only grants citizenship to about 8,500 Americans a year.
Kuntzman basically says that Canada doesn’t want too many American near its border, and that Canada has already built an immigration “wall,” so to speak.
According to his research, a prospective immigrant must fill out an official Canadian immigration qualification questionnaire. And he says one wrong answer could put keep you on the other side of that wall.
The first question: “What is your main reason to want to come to Canada?”
There are only five choices for an answer:
- “Find a permanent job in Canada.”
- “Join my family in Canada.”
- “Start or invest in a business.”
- “Work for myself as a farmer, sportsperson, or artist.”
- “Find a job as a caregiver.”
Kuntzman picked the fourth option for the part about the “artist”. But he says that lead to questions about net worth, and how much money he was willing to invest into the Canadian economy. He says he was told he didn’t meet the threshold and wasn’t eligible, so he changed a few answers.
Instead of wanting to work as an artist, he said he wanted to find a job. That resulted in a promising response about possible eligibility in a skilled trades program. But alas, his skills didn’t match the list of skills needed in Canada and he was again disqualified.
So what does work? The immigration lawyer suggests that you get a job offer “ahead of time”. You could also go to school in Canada. That would get you a three-year open work permit after you graduate and time to work on a Green Card. Or, you could marry a Canadian.
A few other considerations for those who head north temporarily — you may end up paying tax in both Canada and the United States. So long as you keep your U.S. Citizenship, you will owe federal income taxes. If you own a home or property in the U.S., you may also have to pay state taxes as well.
And it’s tough to fudge on your earnings. The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act or FATCA requires foreign banks to provide information to Uncle Sam on American depositors. And if you end up with a tax debt, look out, the IRS has the power to revoke your passport.
Of course, you have to be “seriously delinquent” on your tax debt to be at risk of having your passport revoked. And, the amount has to be in excess of $50,000.
Maybe you want to leave the U.S. for the next 4 years but don’t want to go North.
According to International Living, retiring abroad is easier and more affordable than ever before. They issued a report called “The World’s Best Places to Retire in 2016 and based their research on affordability, language, humidity, direct flights, medical services, healthy lifestyle options and ease of getting a visa.
The top destinations on their list was:
- Panama for its white sandy beaches
- Ecuador for it’s near perfect climate and inexpensive lifestyle
- Mexico for an all around great place to retire (isn’t that ironic?)
- Costa Rica for it’s healthy lifestyle and great climate.
- Malaysia – rich culture and tantalizing food
- Columbia healthcare and entertainment, fresh produce
- Nicaragua because you can live on $1200/mo including rent
- Spain for its Mediterranean climate, internet, and affordability
- Portugal for the same reason.
You may find yourself asking, “Yeah…but are these places safe?”
International Living says all of their writers live in these locations and none of them would be living where they do if they didn’t feel it was safe. In fact, many expats actually say they feel safer abroad than they did back home.
It’s important to remember that crime happens everywhere, so be aware.
With 10,000 baby boomers retiring every day in the U.S. for the next 15 years (3.6m every year), and 375,000 already receiving social security overseas in 2013, we think this trend will continue.
MarketWatch polled 389 expats from the U.S. and Canada now living in Belize, Nicaragua and Panama. 84% said they realized a lower cost of living and 74% got better weather. An impressive 61% says they’ve found more meaning in life and 85% say they’re happier.
On a lighter note about a potential exodus, the Los Angeles Times reports that Hustler publisher Larry Flynt is threatening to leave. The reason? He says he finds Trump offensive. 🙂