4 Ways Living Abroad Can Give You More Freedom

Via The Daily Bell

There’s a vast world outside of the U.S. waiting for you to discover it. You know that but aren’t sure about leaving what’s familiar to you.

There are many ways you can get around the overreaching laws and regulations, the political manipulation, and the social pressure. You can change your domestic lifestyle, work toward a freer life in the U.S.

But if you have the itch to go global, there are nearly 200 countries out there and a multitude of alternative routes leading to personal freedom.

1. Cheap Healthcare

When you leave the U.S., you don’t leave “first world” healthcare behind. The World Health Organization (WHO) ranks the U.S. healthcare system a lackluster 37th worldwide. Compare that to 22nd ranked Columbia, where copays average about $3 for people who possess a national ID card and monthly premiums range from $70 to $85.

There’s quality care in many countries. In 2016, Malaysia had more than 1 million medical tourists. Most doctors there speak English and were trained in institutions in the U.S., Australia, or the U.K. It also costs a fraction of the care in the U.S.

In India, healthcare facilities and hospitals in major cities attract hundreds of thousands of people per year.

Every major city in Mexico has at least one high-quality hospital and insurance costs around $350 to $450 dollars a year.

2. Lower Taxes

Depending on your work situation abroad, you can legally avoid some or all state and federal taxes.

Whether you are an employee of a foreign firm with a residence permit or are self-employed with a travel or business visa, you still need to file with the IRS.

But if you work and live abroad, you will be eligible for the U.S. Foreign Income Tax Exclusion, which, as of 2017, applies to incomes of up to $102,100. Even if you work online for a U.S. business or have U.S. based customers, you can still avoid paying taxes on the first $102,000 you earn. And then there is a housing exemption on top of that.

Depending on where you go, taxes may be very low or non-existent. Territories like the Caymans, Bahamas, and the Virgin Islands don’t tax, but might be too expensive for those who can’t afford to plop down hundreds of thousands of dollars in a bank account or on a property.

Costa Rica and Anguila, a lesser known British territory, are much more affordable, tax-free island destinations. None of these five beautiful destinations tax foreign-sourced income, so you can continue to work remotely and worry-free.

Georgia, Guatemala, and Paraguay are all low national-tax options (10% or less) and don’t tax foreign-sourced income. For those not averse to living in the often politically volatile Middle East, a slew of countries including Oman, the UAE, and Qatar, have no national income tax.

3. Lower Cost of Living and Transportation

As of 2018, the U.S. ranks 25th out of 115 countries in Cost of Living Index. That means at least 90 countries are cheaper to live in compared to the United States.

In the U.S. people spend a lot on their transportation–registration and inspection laws, excise taxes, car loan/insurance payments, and maintenance and gas expenses.

Plan your move abroad based on a city with cheap public transportation.

Purchasing prepaid subway, bus, and taxi cards frees you from the litany of arbitrary, revenue-hungry regulations, and saves thousands of dollars per year.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is one of the cheapest cities for transport. It’s close to Singapore, but without low cost of living. Panama City, Panama is another worth looking into.

And you get a bonus on top of the savings: no more petty, competitive urges to “keep up with the Joneses.” These distract you with temporary comforts while ensnaring you to liabilities dependent on future payments.

4. Perspective, and freedom from social pressure

Freedom isn’t all about shrewd financial maneuvering. It’s also about the mind. Six months, 12 months, two years or longer — how long you live abroad depends on how deep you want the experience to be. You will have the opportunity to step back and see your native country objectively.

U.S. citizens have less confidence in their government than ever before.

If you were to become used to a different kind of freedom in a foreign country, you could become a dual citizen of get a second passport.

Learning a new language and enjoying another culture is a fool-proof way to gain a wider perspective, increase your self-reliance, and meet interesting people.

Missing a U.S. election cycle or two could facilitate your independent, outsider perspective by sparing you exposure — especially in the heat of campaign seasons — to the shrill, divisive political conversation centered around the corrupt, two-party system.

Finally, pursuing your own happiness by living in another country entails something harsh but beneficial: Leaving a lot of familiar people behind. Unless you go with friends or have a partner, spouse and/or children, you will be on your own. Even as a team or family, expatriate life requires self-starting and perseverance because you no longer have the local community you always counted on at home.

If you go alone, you will be your own motivator, problem solver, and emotional stabilizer. You will have the chance to expand your people skills and build up your self-reliance.

Perhaps the biggest potential benefit would be getting away from the influence of people who don’t value freedom the way you do. Sometimes your peers can hold you back. Taking off to a new country for a while can give you some breathing room without permanently severing ties.

Are you tired of the financial, political and social obstacles in your life? Living abroad may be the answer. It doesn’t have to be a “forever” commitment, it only takes months to prepare for, and the social and material benefits can serve you for the rest of your life.

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One of these i… Lost in translation Sun, 02/18/2018 - 19:21 Permalink

Newsflash, in some parts of the world they do not lock their doors, because everyone isn't an arse!

The very defintion of a proper civilised country means you do not have to resort to self defence.


Because decent people don't fuck with you, (unless of course you aren't able to live amongst them) because being decent means you just don't...

In reply to by Lost in translation

Keyser Scornd Mon, 02/19/2018 - 09:01 Permalink

I've lived as far away from the western world as I could for years... All I can say is that it works for me as I would never consider moving back, for any reason... For those that profess that they wouldn't feel safe living some place without having any firearms for personal protection, what if you lived in a place where you didn't need any weapons as you are not in any danger? The whole world is not as fucked up as the US... Think about it... 

In reply to by Scornd

OverTheHedge Keyser Mon, 02/19/2018 - 10:15 Permalink

I keep my door key in the door, so I know where to find it. I keep the car key in  the ignition, for the same reason.

If anyone steals anything around here, I just go to his house and ask for it back (there is only one light-fingered opportunist here, and that is only allegedly, as he has never stolen anything from me, or anyone that I know).

Being ex-pat means that you can ignore the local politics, because the locals are all nuts, and none of it matters. Food is better, lifestyle is better, everything is more civilized. Of course, there is the language.......

In reply to by Keyser

ImGumbydmmt SunRise Mon, 02/19/2018 - 05:50 Permalink

"Japan's broke!"

Ummm...You have note EVER been here, have you?

People ask me what's Japan Like?

I tell them, "

you know how dirty and grimy and unsafe Tijuanna feels when you go down there from the USA?

Well thats how the ENTIRE USA feels when you get back from Japan."



In reply to by SunRise

DoctorFix 44_shooter Mon, 02/19/2018 - 06:58 Permalink

Japan...  I lived there for over three years and never in my life ever felt threatened or in fear of anything.  only a completely paranoid moron would say what you just vomited out.  And it's when I moved back to the states and viewed all the filth and the typical callous assholes who infest this country that I was more than happy to leave again.

In reply to by 44_shooter

Lordflin DoctorFix Mon, 02/19/2018 - 09:24 Permalink

The gazelle always think they are safe when the lion is not actively seeking them.

I have no fear of my neighbors, although I don't always see eye to eye with them. It is the government the American arms himself against. I guess you must  be one of the lucky ones who live in peaceful coexistence with a benign government that has your back. I suppose you should be envied...

In reply to by DoctorFix

hibou-Owl One of these i… Mon, 02/19/2018 - 14:42 Permalink

Our  doorlock jammed several months ago, keys in all the vehicles, haven't locked the garage in six years. If something goes bad in the region the Gendarmes advise all the residents.

We had an elderly man go walkabout from the retirement home, and the Gendarmes personally come around to let people know to watch out for him.

If something goes missing, it's not stolen but neighbour borrowing it. It will come back.  See it's civilised community.

In reply to by One of these i…

One of these i… An Shrubbery Mon, 02/19/2018 - 01:31 Permalink

Yes, one glorious day in the IT business, in my mates workshop, we destroyed as much second hand gear as we could with a 12 guage.

Didn't notice the noise really, was too busy having fun.

Maybe we were shooting lighter loads? I admit I was quite surprised that when you shot a large CRT monitor, it knocked it off the table, but didn't break the front of the tube...

In reply to by An Shrubbery

August Lost in translation Sun, 02/18/2018 - 22:44 Permalink

>>>Only obstacle to my living abroad is no means of personal defense.

If you've got the money and the permit (easily obtained if you're a citizen with no background issues), good ol' New Zealand is not too bad re firearms:


They've got a full-auto G3 in stock for only USD1500 or so.  But the MP5 is about USD7000.

Unfortunately: self-defense is not considered a valid use for a firearm.  Also, it is not actually legal to fire a weapon in full auto mode. At least suppressors are cheap.....

In reply to by Lost in translation

DuckDog Lost in translation Mon, 02/19/2018 - 10:09 Permalink

I've invested about $40k in my firearms collection, it's my safety blank for when I'm old and the Gov had officially cracked down on all of us, but it won't stop me from considering leaving this country, I'll just hide the stuff... it won't go bad and I would never consider selling any of it.

As far as I'm concerned it's burnt fiat currency long gone now, water under the bridge...

In reply to by Lost in translation

Anonymous_Bene… Sun, 02/18/2018 - 18:54 Permalink

My wife's $180,000 in student loan debt and $10,000 in credit card debt provides a $190,000 incentive to relocate elsewhere. Sorry to those taxpayers who are left on the hook...lol.

Just sayin'.

roddy6667 Anonymous_Bene… Sun, 02/18/2018 - 20:30 Permalink

If you bail on the student loan, it will come out of your Social Security when you try to retire. Just sayin''.

I have a friend and co-worker my age (69) who was shown the door at work because of huge cutbacks. He cosigned on his son and daughter's college loans.His son owes $150,000 and can't keep up with the payments. His daughter makes token payments. He is in poor health, his artificial knees are failing and need replacement, but he must keep working. 

He went into all this because somebody years ago showed him that he would be a millionaire when he retired because of his 401K. He believed that he could just write a check to pay off all that college debt. About 2008 his portfolio lost half its value and now grows at less than 1%, less than inflation. His "advisor" still has him in an investment mix of 1/3 each of low risk, moderate risk, and aggressive risk, even though he is 69 years old. 

He is a dolt.  

In reply to by Anonymous_Bene…

Clark_Griswold… roddy6667 Sun, 02/18/2018 - 20:46 Permalink

"it will come out of your Social Security "

Dude, what Social Security!  Anyone below 50 can right that off.  To properly exit stage left, you've just got to walk off without the intention of ever coming back, period.  It means adapt and become a local, dual passports and stop being a slave to the US.

I know where I plan on going when the time is right.

In reply to by roddy6667

HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 Clark_Griswold… Mon, 02/19/2018 - 08:01 Permalink

Incorrect. Student loan debt cannot be discharged in a bankruptcy. As another commenter mentioned, the only way to discharge student loan debt is to be declared disabled (the original borrower).

I guess this is going to be an emerging story. Stupid for people to consign these massive student loans. Many will realize the folly of this judgement in error.

In reply to by Clark_Griswold…

whosyerdaddy roddy6667 Sun, 02/18/2018 - 22:06 Permalink

Please expand on the artificial knees failing. How long has he had them? As much details as you can provide. I've been invested in stocks for a long time mostly conservative stuff like utilities and do very well. I have little debt so if the market goes south I can ride it out and the utilities never lose that much comparatively. I was pressured to get knee replacements due to injury and refused using dietary program and supplements. My knees never hurt at rest though I do have to watch it. What do the Chinese do?

In reply to by roddy6667

roddy6667 whosyerdaddy Mon, 02/19/2018 - 00:40 Permalink

He has had his knees about 15 years, but he walked all the time at work inside a large distribution center. Other people use the phone or an electric cart, but he insisted on walking everywhere for everything. I kept telling him to cut back, but he never listened. They can't always do it a second time.

In China, people do not resort to replacements so soon. They cut back on walking, lose weight, things like that. A lot less people need them, maybe because obesity is rare. Major surgery like that costs about the same as the deductible on Medicare. The doctors can be trained in Europe, Japan, or the US. Other people go to South Korea (130 miles from me) for surgery,  especially cosmetic.


In reply to by whosyerdaddy

whosyerdaddy roddy6667 Mon, 02/19/2018 - 09:14 Permalink

Thanks for the response. Don't be too hard on your friend, he sounds driven you know Type-A. He probably walked everywhere to prevent the leg muscles from atrophying. As for disability you're right, I was contractually ordered by my company to apply for disability ( 12 inch zipper on my back ). I was turned down because as you say I could "work" at a lower paying job. That's OK but other back stories without the visual zippers were approved. Some crazy world medical Tower of Babel.

In reply to by roddy6667

richsob Anonymous_Bene… Mon, 02/19/2018 - 14:43 Permalink

$180,000 in student loan debt?!?!  For that amount she should have earned a degree that would let her earn enough money to pay it back like she agreed to in the first place.  But you're willing to fuck it off and stick the taxpayers with the bill?  Or she got a lousy degree that pays squat?  Or she took several years to get a degree that should have taken 4 years?  Jeez.  I paid all my student loans back at 7% interest over 10 years.  Why shouldn't she be doing the same thing?

In reply to by Anonymous_Bene…