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INTRO Hello from Canada, Goodbye Canada!

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Herren

Contributor
Sep 21, 2021
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Hey guys,

A little intro about myself. I haven't finished Millionaire Fast Lane, but I'm on my way.

I've lived and grown up in Canada my entire life. At 16 I dropped out of high school to travel, did 17 countries in 3 months solo. Every year since I've added another country or two and am now up to 33 countries (I actually ended up graduating before my friends who stayed in school, despite being a year behind). I visited some friends I had met online in their small town in southern Croatia and fell in-love with the country. For the last 6 years, I haven't done much travel outside of Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia, etc. It's the only place I care to be. Since I was 16 I've been working towards that goal of moving to Croatia. Unfortunately, in 2013 Croatia joined the EU and as such really tightened up their residence visa requirements. Being a guy that didn't finish College and didn't go to University, I figured I didn't stand a chance and the only way to make it work was to make boat loads of cash and buy my way in through Real Estate (only grants you temporary residency for 6 months out of the year), or Entrepreneurship (their requirements for this are absurd).

My issue here in Canada has always been motivation. I hate it here, and I've hated it here for as long as I can remember. This is probably crazy person talk to most, as half the world seemingly wants to live here. I get it, grass is greener, yada yada. It's hard to put the work in when you're self-employed when you hate the place you're in. I've always paid my bills, drive a nice new-ish truck and own my own house. I've never done without, but I'm not rolling in dough either. This is largely due to the absurd cost of living in this country, and also due to my lack of motivation to succeed in this country. By many people's definition, I have succeeded. I'm financially comfortable, have a truck, a house on some acreage and seemingly live a pretty nice life with month-long trips to Croatia every year. Not a bad life, but I'm not happy. I can't stand the people, the politics, the lack of culture and identity, and the left-leaning politics that in my opinion is absolutely crippling innovation and growth in this country. I'm tired of paying exorbitant amounts in taxes every year. Be it income tax, sales tax, carbon tax, property tax, etc. I need change.

When C0VlD hit, I knew this was my chance to start accumulating cash and getting this done once and for all. Now, it was around this time I was exploring other options in the Balkans that may prove easier. My goal was to get closer to my friends, and anywhere in the Balkans was good enough for me. I heard about Montenegro's easy path to residency through incorporation, and I immediately contacted some lawyers over there to clarify some things. It really is as easy as they make it sound - on paper. The reality is that once you're on the ground it's an ex-Yugoslav bureaucratic mess. Regardless, I got it done and am now a resident of Montenegro with my corporation there. The painstaking paperwork, dealing with incompetent government and bank officials, accountants and "lawyers", etc was well worth it. I think my experience was an isolated one, as other expats I speak with haven't had the issues I had. I took advantage of 8 years 0% corporate tax scheme by registering in the north of the country where no expat dares go. The problem is the police, banks, post office, notary, etc are not familiar with the residence application process there and they had some issues that ended up costing me thousands of Euros in flight changes, accommodation, rental cars, etc. Anyways...

I spent a couple months there this summer getting it all done and familiarizing myself with the local people, mentality, finding out what their buying power is, etc to see what businesses I could do. where I wanted to live, and so on. Even comparing to Croatia, Montenegro is missing a lot of services, and the way they do some things is so archaic it makes me laugh. But hey, if it works, why change it, right? I mean when I opened my three bank accounts, the teller pulled out a literal ledger and hand wrote my account details, name, address, etc.

I came back to Canada completely rejuvenated and ready to go. I'm putting my house up for sale in less than two weeks, and will take a sizable amount of cash with me to restart my life entirely. I'm going to be in a position where if I'm smart, I'll never have to worry about money again. I'm going to buy some land on the Adriatic Sea, build myself a modest home, and then decide if I want to flip it (labour costs are very cheap there), rent it out to tourists, or live in it myself. I've got a plethora of business ideas (mainly service based) that I'm itching to explore. I've never been this motivated in my life. It's an amazing feeling. There's so much potential in this tiny country that I can't wait to start making more friends, connections and money.

I would highly recommend Montenegro to anyone who's fed up with Western society and looking to relocate. 9% flat income tax, 0% Corporate Tax for 8 years if you register in the North, or 9% otherwise, extremely low cost of living ($1,000/mo is plenty), beautiful climate, up & coming nation trying to get into the EU (bad thing in my opinion, but not my country), easy access to the rest of Europe and the most important thing for me - a place where I can raise a family comfortably without too much government meddling in my affairs, and a generally sane, proud people that just let you live your life.

If anyone has any questions, feel free to post them here and I'd be happy to answer, or message me privately. I'm new here so bare with me as I figure out how to navigate the forums and respond to people in the proper format. I'll check the rules and whatnot and see if I can make another post similar to this one with more detail on Montenegro itself and the process.

Hvala puno!
 

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MJ DeMarco

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Damn, what an intro!

Congrats on such a bold move, such an exciting story.

Did you ever decide on a business?
How is the internet access in the north of Montenegro?
 

Herren

Contributor
Sep 21, 2021
25
42
17
Damn, what an intro!

Congrats on such a bold move, such an exciting story.

Did you ever decide on a business?
How is the internet access in the north of Montenegro?
The man himself! Thanks for the kind words - currently listening to the audible version of The Millionaire Fast Lane and really enjoying it. Can't wait to listen to your other stuff.

Internet access in the towns is pretty normal 25Mbps stuff - nothing fancy, but you can get some stuff done there. While my corporation is registered in the Northern part of Montenegro, I myself will not be living there. My plan is to take my useless Canadian monopoly money and run before Christmas this year. All depends on the house sale goes, but in this market I'm fairly optimistic!

I'll be spending 3-4 months living (renting for under $500/mo in the center of the city) in Podgorica, the capital city. It's perfectly located, only 30 mins to the seaside, or 30 mins to the mountains. Do you want to ski or swim today? The reason I chose Podgorica is due to ease of business. There I can meet with whoever I need to, see what business ventures I'd like to pursue, and go from there. It's the largest city in the country and unlike many coastal cities, it doesn't die off come October. Your only options for realistically running a profitable business 12 months of the year are Podgorica, or Bar (a coastal city). Both seem to stay alive all year-round. The good news is that in the summer, you can make absolutely killer money on the sea side.

I like to run lean-businesses. Rich Russians flock to the nation in the summer as they don't need a visa to travel there. They spend 1,000 euros per person, per day for boat cruises around the Bay of Kotor. I'm thinking of finding some local captains, pay them 500 euros a day to run some boats and do tours for 3-4 months a year. The advantage here is that I'm a web designer by trade and can kill it on the SEO front with english, tourism-related keywords that everyone is missing out on. I also don't have the upkeep and maintenance costs of owning my own boat. I tried to rent a Jet Ski this summer and for the life of me couldn't find nearly anything online for it. It's a "walk the beach and you'll see the old guy with the Jet Ski rental sign" kinda thing. Very archaic.

Another thing I noticed were the hundreds of older folks standing on the side of the coastal road all day, all night with little signs saying "room for rent" or "apartment for rent". It was actually quite sad. It's 35C outside and they're out there all day in the age of Airbnb trying to rent out a room to feed themselves. I'd love to approach these people and list their places online for them. They do nothing but collect a paycheck all summer long. I take a 30% commission for my services, and I've got another comfortable revenue stream in the summer that has very little hands-on requirements. Hire a cleaning lady for 15 euros a day to clean all the places and restock essentials and you're laughin'.

There's plenty of business opportunities in this country as it's more second world than first, and as such we can take businesses we're familiar with, with proven models here in the west and bring them there. Now, I don't want to go opening up a McDonalds or Tim Hortons there, as I don't think it would do well and I'm against the Americanization of these smaller countries, however things can and should be done to modernize these industries.

If anyone else reads this and is in Montenegro or planning it, I'd love to exchange ideas and am very interesting in collaborating on any projects we can come up with together.
 

MTF

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Very cool introduction and a very exciting plan you have here (I love your observations about possible business opportunities). I considered visiting Montenegro this September but in the end went elsewhere.

What about Croatia? Does your long-term plan involve moving there?
 

Herren

Contributor
Sep 21, 2021
25
42
17
Very cool introduction and a very exciting plan you have here (I love your observations about possible business opportunities). I considered visiting Montenegro this September but in the end went elsewhere.

What about Croatia? Does your long-term plan involve moving there?
Hey,

Thanks! Unfortunate you couldn't visit Montenegro this year, but there's always next!

You know, even when I went to Montenegro my goal was ultimately always Croatia and to use Montenegro as a stepping stone to Croatia. The main reason for that was friends, and while I'd love to be closer to them, I think a 3 hour drive is plenty close. I've changed my thinking after visiting Montenegro and I honestly believe it has nothing but upside, whereas Croatia is already overpriced. If you were to buy now in Croatia, I just don't see the returns from an appreciation perspective. You can make a killing with tourism rentals there, but that's about it. The government is going to have to step in at some point to cool that market down. Locals cannot buy anywhere near the coast anymore, and it's causing labour shortages. Their solution was to import third world migrants to do the work, which is going to prove to be a costly mistake.

I think Montenegro is poised for greatness and once this C0VlD situation is managed on a global scale, you'll see it become a leading tourist destination on the Adriatic. Why pay Croatia prices when you can have a similar experience further south for half the price? Croatia seems to forget the reason it became popular was for two reasons. One, Game of Thrones, and two, it's cheaper than Italy. The former is no longer filming, and the latter is no longer true.

I predict a good ole fashioned RE correction in Montenegro, but I'm not an expert. It's just the only logical thing I can see happening.
 

MTF

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I haven't been to Montenegro but I've been to Croatia.

I think that Croatia offers a more Western experience and (not sure about it) a more diverse experience with better and more beaches to choose from, bigger cities, better infrastructure, etc.

This (particularly the more westernized experience) always commands a premium unless you're into the post Soviet-style climate. I'm not and actually have a deep aversion to it. I'm from Poland which terribly suffered from it.

But I can definitely see Montenegro growing a lot. Albania will also grow extremely fast as people realize they can get a similar experience to Greece for a lower price. Based on my online research, there's a huge shortage of private villas with nice views and a backyard there. All I could find were hotels, old grandpa-style villas, or several villas right by each other without real privacy. I assume it's similar in Montenegro.
 

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