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Safety, Stability, Easy Residency, And More…

01 Feb
Montevideo, Uruguay, port. The port of Montevideo is the main commercial port of Uruguay

Safety, Stability, Easy Residency, And More…

Can “boring” actually be good?

There’s an old Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times.”

Such “interesting times” are fascinating to historians but they’re not much fun to experience first-hand…. They’re times of war, drought, plagues, and famine.

It might also be a curse to live in an “interesting” country. The kinds of countries that make for interesting news stories in the mainstream media… well, they’re usually full of problems.

War in Ukraine. Lockdowns in China. Mass shootings in the United States… You see what I mean. The countries that make for “interesting” news stories aren’t necessarily the places where you’d want to spend time… or retire… or invest.

So, if a country doesn’t make the news much… if it flies under the radar… that can be a very good thing.

It means it doesn’t have many problems… it’s quietly going about its business… life there must be good.

It’s the kind of place I might take an interest in for residency or investment.

Perhaps the quintessential “boring” country—in this sense—is Uruguay. A small nation sandwiched between two South American goliaths (Argentina and Brazil), it doesn’t make world headlines much.

It’s “boring” for all the right reasons: democratic, middle-class, affluent. It’s full of rich, fertile farmland. Nothing “exciting”… like wars, or coups, or mass killings, or economic meltdown… is happening there.

Uruguay is the most democratic country in Latin America… and the wealthiest. A true safe haven.

Its pro-business and its populace of just 3.5 million is cultured and middle-class.

It’s been called the “Goldilocks of South America” because it gets things “just right.”

Uruguay reminds me in so many ways of the American Midwest. A farming powerhouse. Vast open spaces. Strong communities. Safe and stable.

Unlike the “Wild West” that you might find in many Latin American countries… where you can build a great life for yourself, and can make strong profits if you take the right risk… Uruguay offers an alternative.

A developed middle-class economy. High living standards (rather than a low cost of living) across the board.

Real estate transactions are done in U.S. dollars. So, that’s easy too.

You have at least three excellent lifestyle options here…

Cosmopolitan, European-style city living in the cultured capital, Montevideo—which is home to half the country’s population.

Or, enjoy upscale beach living. Punta del Este (Eastern Point), about a one-hour drive from the capital, is the most luxurious beach resort on the entire continent, often compared to Biarritz or Monaco.

Then, in the interior of the country, there’s quiet farmland life…

Unlike America’s Midwest (sorry, Midwesterners), temperatures in Uruguay also fit into the Goldilocks category. Winter temps typically don’t drop below 52 F, with summer in the 70s F.

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And there’s lots more that’s appealing about Uruguay for those looking to protect and grow their wealth outside home borders.

As I see it, there are at least five reasons why Uruguay should be on your radar right now.

#1: A Well-Managed Economy And Stable Politics

Sensible government—and a sensible approach to economics—goes back a long way in Uruguay.

Uruguayans are extremely proud of their democratic tradition which dates back to the start of the 20th century when the government at the time brought in labor protection laws and voting for women, as well as the beginnings of a welfare state to provide basic security for its people.

#2: Great Tax Benefits

Uruguay has jurisdictional taxation, which is a huge benefit for expats—because it means you’re not taxed on any income from outside the country.

There’s no capital gains tax. No inheritance tax. And property taxes are low. For example, the annual property tax (called Contribucion Inmobiliaria) for a two-bed apartment in Pocitos—a nice part of Montevideo, the capital, —will be around $1,500 per year.

And Uruguay’s stable politics—and broad consensus between the major parties—means you have a lot of certainty that the tax situation won’t change.

#3: Easy Residency

If you’re looking for residency in another country as a backup plan if things go bad at home… or simply to internationalize your life then it doesn’t get much more straightforward than Uruguay.

A key requirement is a clean criminal record. Other requirements are to supply your birth certificate and, if applicable, your marriage certificate. You also have to undergo a basic health check.

As for financial requirements, you need to show you have a means of supporting yourself without being a burden on the state… it’s not a figure set in stone—but for an individual, it’s around $1,500 a month. For a married couple, it’s around $2,000 a month, minimum.

You do have to spend some time in Uruguay to get your residency but once it’s granted, you’re under no obligation to live in the country.

#4: A Strong Investment Outlook

In Uruguay, turnkey farmland investments (the land is farmed and managed for you) are available to foreign investors just as they are to locals. There’s no restrictions on foreign ownership and no currency controls, unlike in some other Latin American locations.

Uruguay is also making strides as a destination for foreign investment beyond farmland thanks to its growing IT sector and considerable tax incentives for businesses looking to establish themselves here.

#5: A European Lifestyle In South America

If you’re looking to move somewhere, even as a backup plan… it’s not enough for it to have tax advantages and a simple residency process… it also has to be a place you’d actually want to spend time.

Uruguay is, in many respects, like a little piece of Europe in South America with high-quality, affordable health care, a good education system, and a low crime rate.

In Montevideo, you can enjoy a range of cultural events and experiences, and there’s a fantastic dining scene, with lots of international restaurants.

Even though you might only have to show income of $2,000 as a couple to get a visa, you would need an income around $3,500 to live in an up-and-coming neighborhood of Montevideo. That includes monthly rent of around $1,000.

The cost of healthcare is definitely something you will save on compared to the States—you can get a good health plan for two people from around $400.

Add to that, a solid financial system, impressive infrastructure, and a “non-intrusive” government and you can see why Uruguay is worth exploring… particularly for residency or investment.

Stay diversified,

Lief Simon Signature

Lief Simon

Editor, Offshore Living Letter