The first thing my research taught me was how many myths there are about emigrating. These misconceptions about the process of moving abroad are dangerous; if you believe them, they can discourage you from investigating the options for yourself and leave you trapped in a country that's gone over the edge of the cliff into fascism. Here are some of those poisonous emigration myths following by their antidote: the truth.
If things get really bad, you can always just pull your money out of the bank, buy a plane ticket and leave the next day.
Over the last 15 years, the U. S. federal government has made it much more difficult to leave America with more than the clothes on your back. Since 9/11, they made it much harder to leave at all.
It's already too late.
It's not. There are many restrictions already in place that make emigration more difficult, but right now, they are not enforced so tightly that they actually prevent you from leaving with your assets. It would not take more than a few days for it to become almost possible, but things are not there yet.
As it is with anything else, money gives you more options and makes things easier. If you're intent on living the good life in Australia or New Zealand, then you'll need assets in the mid-six figure range, but if you're willing to consider a broader range of options, there are many ways to move abroad with a minimum of cash. Some examples:
- teach English in China, Thailand, South Korea or eastern Europe;
You won't live like royalty, but you will have a roof over your head, plenty to eat, the ability to save a little if you're frugal, and the opportunity to travel and see more of the world.
- go as a "retiree;"
More and more Americans are retiring outside the U. S. because it can be so much less expensive. You can get a "retiree" visa to Costa Rica by demonstrating $600 per month in income from a pension, Social Security or investments. That's just one example; there are others.
- go as a volunteer;
- start a company;
Many "emerging economies" encourage investment by making it fairly easy for foreign entrepreneurs to start the equivalent of an American LLC. Start-up capital requirements can be as little as a few thousand dollars with costs for document preparation and filling fees a few thousand more. Your new company will be able to hire you as an employee so that you can obtain residency and health care for yourself and your dependents.