Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Best Place in the Americas to Base an International Business

Today I'd like to share with you this letter from Lief Simon of Live and Invest Overseas. It really gives a great perspective as to why Leif and I and many others believe Panama is the Best Place in the Americas to do business from. Here's what Lief has to say -

When looking around the world in search of a place to base your business, these are the factors to consider:
  1. Corporate tax rates
  2. Availability of qualified labor
  3. Import and export duties
  4. Infrastructure (including options for air and/or sea transportation, internal roads, and telecommunications)
Each of these factors will be more or less important depending on the business you want to operate.

Taking a very big-picture perspective, considering all these criteria, Panama comes out on top in Latin America. That's why we chose Panama, four years ago, as the place to base our Internet publishing business, and it's why many, many other businesses, including many very big international operations, are also choosing to settle in this country.

Infrastructure is of critical importance for any business, whether it's the Internet that moves your goods (as in our case) or, say, ships. As the Hub of the Americas, Panama boasts the best infrastructure in Central America and is close to being on par with the best of South America. Telecom cables connecting east and west, north and south run through and by Panama, allowing the country to plug into high-speed telecommunications. Local Internet companies continue to upgrade the available speeds they offer, and, for companies that need it, getting a dedicated trunk link isn't complicated or expensive.

Panama's Copa Airlines serves 59 destinations in the Americas and is expanding its routes regularly. Further, Copa is affiliated with Continental/United, so options for connecting around the world from Panama are good. This means that, if you're shipping goods by air or need to travel for consulting or other in-person business agendas, you have easy access from this base.

The downside is that Copa doesn't have a lot of competition, so fares for flights around the region aren't cheap. With no discount carrier like Ryan Air or Southwest to keep prices down, the hour flight from Panama to Medellin (a flight Kathleen and I have been taking often lately) costs about US$600 round-trip, including taxes and fuel surcharges. You can fly to the States (minimum 2 1/2;-hour flight) for less much of the time.

The other hub of activity in this country revolves around the Canal. Container ships come through by the thousands every year, meaning the options for receiving and sending sea freight are plenty.

If your business involves physical goods and you aren't selling to the local Panama market, then you could locate in Panama's duty free or free trade zone for added tax benefits. Many countries have these zones available to allow international businesses to operate without being taxed locally.

Panama doesn't tax people or corporations that don't earn money in Panama, but the free trade zone allows businesses to conduct activity in the country and then to ship the resulting goods back out without paying Panama income tax on the associated profits.

You could, for example, buy and import leather from Argentina and use it to manufacture gloves in Panama and pay no income tax in Panama on the profits from the sale of the finished goods to a wholesaler in the United long as you operate in Panama's duty-free zone.

If you run a business in Panama that sells to the local population, the corporate tax rate is 25%, which is an average rate on a global scale. However, again, the only way you'd incur this tax would be by operating and selling locally. Run a virtual business in Panama (base yourself here as a consultant, for example), and you'd have no local tax liability whatsoever as long as your clients are all outside this country.

Panama also offers a well educated, English speaking labor force if you need it. This is an important reason why many big international call centers are locating themselves in this country. Dell, for example, has more than 2,000 call center employees in Panama City, and several outsourcing call centers (centers that do work for small- to medium-sized businesses that don't have enough demand to run a call center of their own) have as many as 3,000 employees handling both English and Spanish inbound and outbound calls.

Want to learn more about what Lief and his wife Kathleen have to say about Panama? Check out their Panama Letter -

The Panama Letter, am information service from Live and Invest Overseas

Monday, December 26, 2011

Where are the Best Places to Live after Divorce?

Divorces can present a number of difficulties, and there are often financial issues that are associated with the proceedings. A couple usually has to sell their home in order to reach the settlement that is required by the courts. The best places to live after divorce include friends and families. They can offer the support that is needed as well as an economical place to live. This will help to cut the expenses that are faced during a troubling time. Rental properties are another consideration, and there are numerous houses and apartments that are available. These can usually be had in a matter of hours and are in a condition that is ready for a person to move in.

Finding a Place to Live

Thousands of couples go through divorce proceedings every year, and the first thing a person needs to do is find a place to live. Sometimes a person can continue to live at the residence they have shared with their spouse, and this is often the best option. However, the house will usually have to be sold, and this necessitates for both parties to move out. If a person is unable to continue living in their current residence, the first place they should look is with friends and or family. This is ideal for a number of reasons. Friends can provide the support that is needed during an emotionally troubling time. They are also usually willing to let their friends stay at their home for no charge.

Count on Family

Family members can provide one of the cheapest places to live after a divorce as well. There is always an extra room in the home, and this can save a person a number of expenses. Families can provide the supportive setting, and their homes are already furnished with all of the conveniences. This will provide a person with a place to stay while they decide what they are going to do. This is not a lasting option, but it can be the best place for a person to live until they get back on their feet and find the home or apartment that they want.

Renting makes for an Affordable Place to Live

Furnishing a home or apartment is an expensive proposition. It can also be difficult to purchase a new home or apartment while going through divorce proceedings. Rentals are an option, but they also require large amounts of capital to move in. For this reason, it is usually wisest for a person to stay with someone they know for the first months after their separation. This is also the most economical option and can provide a person the time to begin rebuilding.

The Best Place to Start Anew

Sometimes a divorce is the only way out of a really troubled relationship. One where you feel you need to really get away and start over. It's a nasty and unfortunate reality that sometimes the best place to live after divorce is far away where you can create a completely new life - new friends - new relationships all round. Because we truly live in a global village you may want to consider starting your new life overseas. There are many, many countries in this wonderful world that offer a peaceful and affordable lifestyle where you don't have to sacrifice any longer. Places that welcome educated foreigners. Perhaps a teaching job overseas to help you heal with loving admiration and appreciation from children or adults who crave knowledge and love to learn.

In summary, after a divorce, the best place to live is with friends or family. An extra room is always available at most people’s homes. They are also furnished and can offer everything that a person requires to meet their daily needs. Another benefit of living with friends or family is that they will be able to provide the support that a person may need while they are undergoing the trauma of a divorce.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Are Overseas Teaching Jobs a Safe Option for Americans?

With the United States job market in dire straits, many Americans are looking for work abroad. The popularity of overseas jobs for Americans is increasing as those with expensive degrees realize there are few jobs available in their chosen field. While the outlook for specialized careers in the US is bleak, many countries are turning to Americans to fill valuable and well-paying positions abroad.

Working Overseas

Those with teaching degrees often choose to take their knowledge overseas. There are many reasons they may make this decision. Often, a teaching position abroad pays far better than one at home and can be easier to find. For some, the main draw is travel. Living in a different country allows teachers to experience a new culture. Still others choose to teach abroad after years spent educating in under-funded and overpopulated American school districts. But is accepting teaching jobs overseas safe?

In the vast majority of cases, the answer is a resounding yes. Countries abroad statistically have a much lower crime rate than America. China, Korea and Taiwan are a few of the best places to live for overseas teachers and all have a statistically low violent crime rate compared to many major American cities. Teaching in these places is sometimes safer than teaching at home. It is important to fully evaluate the crime rates in a particular country before committing to a teaching job there.

Living Overseas

The opportunity to live overseas is something many people desire. Prepare in advance by learning some of the native language, traditions and customs in order to better acclimate to the country. Be sure to experience all the culture has to offer. Many teachers educating abroad are housed with local families which can offer invaluable understanding of and exposure to a new country.

Moving Overseas

The process of preparing to move abroad can seem daunting. It is important to research the proper documentation required for living and working in any new country. China, for example, requires a Z-visa before being eligible for employment. The necessary forms can be obtained from a Chinese consulate and are used to prove you have authorization to work in the country. A valid passport is also a must. Taiwan requires a Resident Visa to stay in the country for more than 60 days and a Taiwanese employer must submit a work permit for the employee to the government. Korea requires extensive documentation which includes a special Visa, work permit and in some cases a Certificate of Good Conduct. Knowing exactly what is required to live and work in a foreign country is a must for those hoping to live overseas.

Teaching overseas is a strategic career move for many educators who cannot find American work in their chosen field. It allows them to experience a new culture while remaining true to their profession. Information on overseas jobs is readily available for those who wish to do further research. Teaching abroad is generally a very safe alternative to teaching in America.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The World's Most Affordable Places To Retire

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From Argentina to Belize, from France to the Dominican Republic, from Panama to Thailand... complete and in-depth reports on the world's top retirement havens for 2011, including full details on residency, health care, taxes, and itemized monthly budgets.