October 25, 2010
Okay, you're upset with the direction
America is headed and you've been thinking of moving to another
Perhaps you feel exhaustively cynical
about the political, economic, or social situation in the U.S. and
think it is beyond repair. You wouldn't be alone. Many
top economists and other trend forecasters are now openly
predicting that a total economic, environmental, and social collapse
may be imminent in America.
Americans, young professionals and baby boomers alike, are
increasingly saying that their main desire for moving out of America
is to seek "political asylum" of sorts.
In the past, this political discontent
was typically drawn along party lines - under Bush's 8 years the
exodus mainly consisted of bitter Democrats, while as recently as
March Rush Limbaugh declared, half-jokingly, that
he'd move to Costa Rica if "Obamacare" became law.
these days, more Americans have grown cynical of the system itself
and have given up on left-right politics.
Many believe that dropping out of the system as much as possible is
the best form of protest. And now, because many people can
telecommute through the Internet, it seems that living outside the
U.S. is more do-able than ever. Furthermore, the lower cost of
living in many other countries may actually increase the standard of
living for some people.
Surely, America will rebound from its eventual collapse, much like
Russia and Argentina have, but it might make for uncomfortable
sacrifices in America during the next decade. More Americans are
looking to "ride out the storm" elsewhere, while others desire to
become permanent nomads seeking foreign opportunity and adventure.
It should be noted that no country is perfect and you'll face
challenges no matter where you go.
You'll find that modernization and
rampant consumerism is expanding into almost every corner of the
world. Some view this as a good thing, as more American comforts can
be found, while others view it as a cultural blight to foreign
lands. Your expectations must be kept realistic in that you may not
find paradise, but your expat adventure may ultimately lead to a
more peaceful lifestyle.
The criteria for countries of safe haven include social stability,
economic opportunity, freedom of self-expression, relative
self-sufficiency, and an essential local community strength.
These critical components are the
foundation for living life with a greater sense of independence.
Here are our 5 best countries for Americans to escape the
Uruguay, whose official motto is "libertad o muerte
(liberty or death)," is located in South America, southwest
of Brazil and east of Argentina.
Uruguay borders on the Atlantic
Ocean and has developed infrastructure, a stable democracy,
European flair, and rich culture that draws many expats to
Uruguay is a constitutional
democracy with one of the most developed economies in South
America, possessing a high GDP per capita.
Between the years
2007 and 2009, Uruguay was the only country in the Americas
which didn't technically experience a recession, and now has
the lowest Income Inequality and highest Quality of Life in Latin America
(below image), second only to Canada in all the Americas.
Uruguay is rated as the least
corrupt country in Latin America with its political and
labour conditions being among the freest on the continent.
In 2010, Uruguay became the first nation in Latin America
to test hemp cultivation, while no drugs are illegal for
personal consumption. Located entirely in the
temperate zone, Uruguay provides an excellent climate for
Housing costs are much lower
than the United States, as well as health care and food.
Some consumer products such as
cars and electronics can cost more, as well as Internet
connection fees. Americans can buy real estate and own
businesses, and they have an automatic 90-day visa to
Americans only need to have a
proof-of-income of $500/month
to apply for residency.
Colonia del Sacramento
Costa Rica is a peaceful country in Central America,
often referred to as the "Switzerland" of the Latin America
due to its stable economy, political stability, and quality
Costa Rica, blessed with two
beautiful coast lines (Pacific and Caribbean), is roughly
the size of West Virginia and home to around 4 million
people. The Central Valley's eternal springlike climate is
said to be one of the best in the world allowing for a
year-round growing season.
Costa Rica is consistently voted
one of the "Happiest
and Greenest" countries in the world with about 95% of
its electric production coming from renewable sources.
AARP and others have ranked
it one of the
best foreign retirement locations, as it has all the
same modern conveniences found in America and is only a
5-hour flight from New York.
Besides the price of real estate, which is comparable to the
U.S., the cost of living is lower - especially property
taxes, health insurance, and fresh food.
Americans have an
automatic 90-day visa which can be renewed by leaving the
country for 3 days before re-entering. Non-residents can
own real estate and businesses, but are not allowed to work
without a work visa. Residency requirements vary based on
Current information is
New Zealand might be the most isolated fully
developed nation in the world.
It shares no borders, sits
relatively distant from any other nation, has no real
national enemies, has a safe democracy and a diverse
landscape with many remote places to hide away
Located in the South Pacific with beautiful beaches,
sunshine, friendly people, and stunning vistas, it has two
main islands and several smaller islands like Chatham Island
and the Cook Islands.
New Zealand ranks highly in
international comparisons on many topics, including
education, economic freedom, and lack of corruption.
Zealand now ranks among the
freest economies in the world with one of the least
corrupt governments ranked
#1 on the Global Peace Index in 2010 - second year in a
row. Its cities also consistently rank among the
world's most liveable.
The most commonly spoken
language is English.
The cost of living is somewhat comparable to the United
States. Americans have an automatic 90-day visa to enter and
explore the country.
Non-residents can apply for a
2-year work visa only in fields determined by
Iceland has a free market economy that has
historically been one of the wealthiest and most developed
nations in the world.
In 2007, it was ranked as the
most developed country in the world by the United Nations'
Human Development Index, and the fourth most productive
country per capita economy. In 2008, Iceland's economy was
devastated by the international bankers calling their
foreign debt due.
However, because of pride and
solidarity among the people, strong social services, a
nearly self-reliant energy sector, and a manageable
population (320,000), it is poised to recover once the
foreign debt issues are settled. Iceland has passed
legislation to establish the country as a "free
speech haven" to protect journalists and their sources.
This law is a huge deal as most
Western countries seem to be heading toward regulating the
Internet, and it has the potential to jump-start the
Icelandic economy in terms of offering censorship-free
servers and other services to journalists and internet
businesses. Iceland is also a peaceful country with no
Iceland will be working it's way back from financial
collapse, while the U.S. still appears headed for the cliff. Because of the shattered financial system, there are good
opportunities to live on less income in Iceland now than
during its peak, while all the signs seem poised for
Residency has traditionally been
difficult to get in Iceland and is
usually done through vital employment needs, but the new
push as a political safe-haven may open up the process a
Currently, American passports
have an automatic 90-day visa to visit Iceland.
Argentina has bounced back from its financial collapse
in 2002 when it defaulted on international debt causing
massive inflation and high unemployment.
The people said "Nunca Mas," the
government has since paid off its debt to the IMF, and
Argentina now has one of the
world's highest qualities of life.
Argentina is the second largest
country in South America and the 8th largest in the world. It is a fully-developed country with strong agricultural
production as the second-largest exporter of corn in the
world - not to mention good wines and beef too.
The capital of Buenos Aires is
known as the “Paris of Latin America” because it feels like
a European city with rich architecture and numerous sidewalk
cafes. If the arts and ambiance with a low cost of living
are your thing, then Argentina may be the best bang for your
The cost of living is reportedly much lower than the United
States for housing, food, travel, and health care. Americans have an automatic passport visa of 90 days to
Argentina as well.
Pensioners will need to prove a $700 per month income to
qualify for residency, while others can apply if they prove
a steady income of $900 per month.