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Countries to live in to optimize your costs

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maikooo

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Hey guys,
if you have experience with living a digital nomad lifestyle, what countries have you lived in (or are you living in) and you can recommend to optimize the costs?
Criteria:
  • personal and business safety (no wars, no disease outbreaks, no mafia protection fees)
  • good infrastructure (roads, airports, healthcare, water/sewage, shops, restaurants)
  • favorable taxes
  • good and reliable internet access
  • manageable health insurance and social insurance fees
  • manageable government bureaucracy [registrations, setups, etc.]
  • easily accessible in regards to VISA, permits, etc. [EU passport]
  • manageable monthly overheads [rent, food, utilities]
  • favorable costs of entertainment
Has anybody experience with e-citizenship from Estonia? Were you able to set up a legal entity/company there without living there? Where do you pay health insurance, social insurance, and taxes?

Anyone with experience from Monte Negro? The Czech Republic? Malta? Bali? Thailand? California (non-US citizen)? The Bahamas?

Thanks
 

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MTF

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You won't be able to get it all. If the living costs are lower, it's often because the infrastructure isn't that great. It depends on what you like (what's the point of moving to the Bahamas if you hate island living?) and the type of business you want to run (for example, PayPal isn't available in some countries, Stripe is even worse). And if you don't have a profitable business yet, I wouldn't even think about cost optimization, unless you want to move for personal reasons anyway.
 

Patrick Jones

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This is a good reference for numbers: Nomad List

From my experience in Thailand:
  • personal and business safety: if you have a business with a store front, you have to bribe the cops
  • good infrastructure: Bangkok is very good, Chiang Mai is... entertaining
  • favorable taxes: can't say, never paid any there
  • good and reliable internet access: yup, mobile data is also dirt cheap
  • manageable health insurance and social insurance fees: If you're a digital nomad, you're not becoming a resident, i.e. no social security. I had a health insurance from my home country (Germany).
  • manageable government bureaucracy: The more you bribe, the faster it goes
  • easily accessible in regards to VISA, permits, etc.: Getting in is easy, staying is more difficult. Most DN go for a visa run every 3 months.
  • manageable monthly overheads: soooo cheap
  • favorable costs of entertainment: Depends on what you're into. An hour of good Thai massage (w/o happy ending) costs you around €5. An evening of watching Muay Thai is also quite affordable.
 

Liam Jose

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Kerala has an HDI of 0.784 which is equivalent to that of developed countries at the same time, the expenses are not even close to that of a developed country.
 

poseidn

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Medellin, Chiang Mai and Bali are the "in" ones for DN's atm.

I stayed in Thailand for a few months and i would recommend Phuket over Bangkok any day. Haven't been to Chiang Mai though, i like beaches too much.
 

RazorCut

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Al Berton

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Well, i lived in the Principality of Monaco for some years. No taxes, safest place in the world, very beautiful place. To stay there you have to work there for a local company or be already rich so you can afford to buy a property there; you can also set your business there and rent an apartment, but be aware that it's quite expensive ( a two bedroom apartment rent costs on average 6000-7000 USD per month).
 

Rabby

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Thailand is cheap and pretty easy to deal with. Sometimes they'll have a coop d'etat or something but it's not as bad as it sounds ;) It would be especially easy if you were just running a web site or something... digital nomad stuff, like you mentioned. If you are there on a visitor visa, the immigration people tell you to make a border run every 30 days and check back into the country (in other words, you can keep extending your stay by getting your passport stamped). Personally, I never needed to bribe anyone there. Just said please really nicely.
 
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maikooo

maikooo

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I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Dec 7, 2018
121
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70
You won't be able to get it all. If the living costs are lower, it's often because the infrastructure isn't that great. It depends on what you like (what's the point of moving to the Bahamas if you hate island living?) and the type of business you want to run (for example, PayPal isn't available in some countries, Stripe is even worse). And if you don't have a profitable business yet, I wouldn't even think about cost optimization, unless you want to move for personal reasons anyway.
Thanks, yeah, after a few days pondering (aided by great podcasts) I realized this was a stupid post/question. It's ying/yang in everything!
 
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maikooo

maikooo

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I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Dec 7, 2018
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This is a good reference for numbers: Nomad List

From my experience in Thailand:
  • personal and business safety: if you have a business with a store front, you have to bribe the cops
  • good infrastructure: Bangkok is very good, Chiang Mai is... entertaining
  • favorable taxes: can't say, never paid any there
  • good and reliable internet access: yup, mobile data is also dirt cheap
  • manageable health insurance and social insurance fees: If you're a digital nomad, you're not becoming a resident, i.e. no social security. I had a health insurance from my home country (Germany).
  • manageable government bureaucracy: The more you bribe, the faster it goes
  • easily accessible in regards to VISA, permits, etc.: Getting in is easy, staying is more difficult. Most DN go for a visa run every 3 months.
  • manageable monthly overheads: soooo cheap
  • favorable costs of entertainment: Depends on what you're into. An hour of good Thai massage (w/o happy ending) costs you around €5. An evening of watching Muay Thai is also quite affordable.
Thanks for a comprehensive summary. Thailand is on our list next European winter :)
 

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maikooo

maikooo

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Thanks all for the contributions!!
 

Arun Siva

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I would consider Brazil in terms of resident leniency. Also south india (predominantly kerala and west Tamil nadu are great) furthermore, poland.
 

Longinus

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Poland / Belgium
I would consider Brazil in terms of resident leniency. Also south india (predominantly kerala and west Tamil nadu are great) furthermore, poland.
Poland is nice, good food and infrastructure.
Hungary is nice too. And Belgrade, I think it's an upcoming "Budapest".
I really like Sarajevo which is cheap too, but the Winters are cold.

Bulgaria, Albania and Ukraine are on my to do list.
 

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