More and More Are Fleeing The US, But Is That Really The Answer?

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I find the irony biting and yet timely that Diva is writing about people renouncing US citizenship on the weekend that we give thanks for those who sacrificed their lives in the cause of freedom.  I hope you appreciate it and I look forward to hearing your comments.  With that, I’ll turn things over to Diva:)

Why are so many people renouncing their citizenship and fleeing to other countries?   The U.S. Treasury reported a 221%  increase in expatriates in 2013 and that number is artificially low due to the complexity involved in the bureaucracy of expatriating.  In fact, the backlash of wealthier citizens  leaving U S shores to live abroad launched the introduction of a bill by Senators Chuck Schumer and Bob Casey that if passed will double the exit tax to 30%.

Some are  famous, like singer/songwriter, Denise Rich, Tina Turner, and Facebook Co-founder, Eduardo Saverin, who dodged $67 million in US taxes by renouncing his US citizenship before the Facebook IPO.

It isn’t a requirement for expatriates to publicly announce their reasons for leaving the U S, but some have come forward to say that the U S’s global income tax compliance and disclosure are too oppressive when it forces those living abroad to pay taxes both to the country where they reside and to the U S–double taxation at it’s most painful.  Many of them haven’t lived, or set foot in the US in decades and they’re finding that keeping their US citizenship is causing more problems than it’s solving.

Based upon the U.S. State Department, over 6 million Americans now work or study overseas and many end up staying because of love and/or lifestyle.

One surprising statistic is that The number of U.S. citizens between the ages of 25 to 34 living abroad has increased from 1% to 5.1% over the past few years.  Some are seeking higher education abroad, but there are no formal studies that would explain such a drastic shift.

(Ox’s note:  This is no surprise and is due, in large part, to the internet.  We’re living in a time where you can have an online business where your customers pay you in Dollars, but you’re able to live in a fishing village in Central or South America and live your life in Pesos and have an incredible lifestyle in the process.)

Another thing that isn’t being spoken of by government officials is the number of people fleeing the U.S. for reasons other than taxation.   Some have gone on record saying their decision to move abroad  was to  flee violent crime, while others have sited serious concerns over the erosion of freedom in the U.S.

A growing number of people, and Preppers are among them, have decided to flee ahead of the economic collapse they feel is coming.

(David’s note:  I believe it’s foolish to leave the US to avoid economic collapse.  When/if the US economy tanks, it’s going to take the rest of the world’s economy with it.  What’s not foolish, is to move from areas that are less resilient to areas that are more resilient–and this might equate to leaving the US for you.  Is it splitting hairs?  I don’t believe so.  If you believe that a US/global economic collapse is coming, the only places that aren’t going to be affected are those places that are resilient in terms of food, water, power/fuel, etc., places that produce something of extraordinary value,  or places that are already so backwards that they don’t have a functioning economy right now.)

Not everyone who moves abroad takes the drastic step of renouncing their U S citizenship.  Many simply relocate quietly and bite the bullet on the taxes and keep paying/filing with the IRS.

But Is Moving Abroad The Best Decision?

The “outsider” quotient should be carefully considered.  Places like Costa Rica are popular destinations for expats because of their warm reception towards Americans.  The lifestyle is laid back, the weather is incredible, and the cost of living is lower than in most places in the U S. Another benefit is that the Costa Rican government does not oppress its people and they are a Democratic Republic, which means there are fewer political adjustments that must be sorted out for Americans.

Even with all the positives just mentioned, the question remains. . . what happens in a global collapse?  Will Americans then be seen as a drain on a countries resources, even in a country like Costa Rica?  Will there be resentment over “Rich Americans”, and is it possible that Americans will become a target for those trying to survive a prolonged crisis?

Desperate times tend to change people’s perceptions when forced to scramble for food and water and critical goods.  This should be a consideration for anyone contemplating a move abroad.

It would be doubly difficult on an American who chooses a less friendly country to relocate to.  Lately, U S  politics haven’t been well received by once-friendly nations. This change in perception may have a  tendency to roll downhill, and can land on an American transplant who may or may not not agree with current U S government policy.

Can someone moving abroad expect to make a living abroad when many countries are experiencing soaring  unemployment rates?  Unless an individual has structured their employment to be independent of a specific location–for instance, starting an online business that provides sufficient cash flow to make a decent living–moving abroad may turn out to be a financially ruinous decision.  The exception to this is those who have retirement plans other than Social Security (it’s possible for Social Security Benefits to be forfeited when renouncing U S citizenship) or those who have personal wealth and thus are not dependent upon making a livelihood.

Learning the language will be a prerequisite for anyone who expects to fit in to their adopted country.  Unlike the U S, most countries expect newcomers to adopt with their customs.  There aren’t public programs that cater to foreigners, nor public schools that offer bilingual education.  Either the language is learned or the transplant will be forever an outsider beyond the confines of an expat community.  This issue goes right back to the question of how outsiders may be treated in the event of a global crisis, whether that crisis is brought on by an economic collapse, or war, or grid-down, or a food shortage.  It isn’t realistic to expect to be treated  equally by locals when something as basic as speaking their language is not embraced.

Natural disasters have a higher mortality rate in many parts of the world than they do in the US and this should be carefully considered by anyone considering a move abroad.  In some countries, sub-standard building practices and centuries-old buildings do not offer a buffer from the effects of earthquakes, floods or hurricanes.  Infrastructure to provide safe drinking water, food and shelter in the aftermath of a natural disaster may be non-existent or  woefully inadequate.  For a Prepper, who is likely to have food and water storage, the situation may be partially mitigated, but the looting and unrest that may come on the heels of a natural disaster can present great personal risk.

Unrest is growing to powder keg levels as economies fold and saber rattling grows more alarming. Over the past few years, riots and demonstrations in  Spain, Argentina, Portugal, Ireland ,Venezuela, Greece, Barcelona,  and many other points across the globe were the result of  austerity measures and cuts to entitlements and retirement benefits.

It’s likely that the US will have to institute austerity measures in the near future–and it’d be nice not to be around if/when that happens–but a move abroad severs the ability to band together with family and friends if the need ever arises.

As we are seeing with the situation in Ukraine, politics can change on a dime and leave citizens floundering to stay out of harms way.  The U S is not impervious to the threat of war or political unrest, but again, there’s a lot to be said about the ability to join forces with family and friends should unrest grow to dangerous levels.

In some countries, freedom has flown the coop, if it ever really existed.  Moving to a country that stifles free speech could backfire on the newcomer who finds it difficult to remain mute to injustice. Freedom of religion is another concern that must be taken into consideration.

(Ox’s note:  Like firearms?  If so, your options overseas as a foreigner are limited in most countries and the process of becoming a citizen with full rights can be complicated and/or expensive.  To complicate matters more, I’ve got friends in various countries who have told me that it’s no problem to get a firearm, and that firearms ownership is generally accepted, that people buy ammo and go shooting, but it’s still technically illegal and pissing off the wrong person could cause you a world of grief.)

Leaving loved ones could pose the most difficult struggle with regards to moving abroad. Should a crisis happen, being separated from loved ones by a vast ocean or by thousands of miles is difficult to contemplate.  For many Preppers, this issue is the single biggest argument for staying within U S borders.

(Ox’s note:  For everyone who actually pulls the trigger, I’d guess that there are between 100 and 1000 who are considering it.  My wife and I seriously considered moving overseas…to Italy 9 years ago and to Chile, Costa Rica, or Panama a couple of years ago.  It was a gut/heart wrenching process to think of leaving our families and giving up on our country and that is why we ended up staying. I’m very interested in hearing your thoughts.)

So where do you stand on moving abroad?  Do you have friends or family members who have pulled the plug on the US…and if so, was the outcome worth such a drastic change in lifestyle?  Please sound off by commenting below!

Remember, roughly 10% of all sales through Memorial Day will go to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation and the Brothers In Arms Foundation for Marine Special Operations personnel.  Here are a few links, if you’re interested:

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God bless and stay safe,

David Morris and Survival Diva






  1. when the going gets tough – why run? Sure, the USA has PLENTY of issues and problems to work out, but throwing in the towel isn’t an appealing option for some citizens. Especially when your ancestors have been here since the 1640s – makes you a bit pissed off with thoughts of charelton heston’s words in your head ‘from my cold dead hands, you damn dirty apes’

    So many other countries just look at americans with envy, hatred, jealousy or worse. As tourists they just see us as $$$. As a foreigner in a foreign land, I’d be worried that I would be on several shitlists and more or less persona non grata. Better to take chances in my homeland and die fighting for it.

  2. Your absolutely right about Costa Rica.I saw the hand writing on the wall a few years ago and I went down there and bought 75 acres on the water which has all the fruits you could every want to eat. I just have to be there more often to get a good garden going like I have here in the states. I can sleep 31 family member is the bungalows and if things get that bad we will start moving that way. I’d be there now but have a 13 yr old going to school and I think he’s smarter then the teachers down there and don’t want to slow him down. Just in case the airlines stop running I purchased a boat that has a long range capability of 800 miles with just whats in the tanks. and that would get us from Fla. almost there without refueling. Everyone needs to start making some kind of plans as this country is in for a rocky ride and will never be like it used to be in the good ole days.

    • Survival Diva says:

      Years ago, I had looked in to Costa Rica seriously for the low cost of living, the people, and the incredible beauty, rather than for political reasons or concerns over an economic meltdown. In 1990 these weren’t the same issue then as they are today. What worried me was the squatter issue. The buzz in 1990 was that if someone took residence while the owner was away, it was impossible to get that squatter evicted. Do you know if it’s still a problem?
      Love your plan to boat there. It makes sense and many who live on the sound have made a boat their escape route should it ever become necessary.

      • Diva, The problem with squatters is not like it used to be. You buy the property with a corporation that a laywer sets up for you and doesn’t cost too much and I employ a caretaker to maintain the grounds (gardener) and he gets $2.00 an hour. If any one gets close to my land he’s there to greet them, with a machete on his belt. 🙂 The taxes on the land are about $600 a year. cheap!!!! Lots of English speaking people. Americans and Tico’s. If you ever went there you would not want to come back. The place is visual overload. The people are awesome and your blood pressure goes back into the green zone after a couple of days there. I’ve owned the land for roughly 4 years now and I’m still as excited as when I bought it. Kind of wish something bad would happen just so I have a reason to go.(just Kidding)

        • Survival Diva says:

          Thank you for the tips. Today in North Idaho, the temperature has plummeted to 50 degrees. Only days ago it was in the low 80’s. I can only dream about warm weather and sandy beaches–I have too many depending on this location being the SHTF getaway : ) It feels as if the time-lines are narrowing. It’s good you have your property!

  3. I, too, have considered the possibility of expatriating, but the basic problem I always run into is ‘where would I go?’ While things are getting progressively worse, any where I could go that would have any semblance to the culture I am used to (Euro/American) is either already further down the rabbit-hole than the US or trucking along right next to us.

    Ultimately, family is the real reason I won’t leave. I am one of 9 children and all of us live within about 20 minutes of each other with one outlier of about 3 hours. My kids grandparents, from both sides, are 10 minutes away. We have a vast network of friends and support from our church community and I don’t believe it would be an easy task to recreate that. Ultimately, that unless things get drastically worse, we’ll be staying.

  4. One thing you are overlooking is a country that speaks English, as a very large and diverse immigrant mix, is easily sustainable in food production, has 90% plus of their electricity from renewable sources (wind and hydro, both of which are reliable in this country), still has – relatively speaking – strong, ethical and conservative culture (contrary to some perceptions), has a strong positive gun/hunting culture and rational firearms polices for permanent residents and citizens (how about female rifle high school rifle competition clubs for example!). Does not allow GMO food to be grown, etc. I could go on. There is, of course, the negative aspects like in any place with humans but these are much less pronounced than in the U.S.

    The country: New Zealand. I have lived here since late 2010. A fantastic place. Has been a life enriching and rewarding experience, even if there were not the motivations for moving discussed in this article. If you are able to qualify to move over here you should seriously consider it. We are not rich, both my wife and I work in the same fields we were in in the states and have a similar lifestyle as far as the money/purchasing power aspects. All the other aspects are at least 90% positive.

    • Survival Diva says:


      You’re so right about the GMO issue–many countries have outlawed growing with GMO seed–wish the U.S. did. Everyone I’ve spoken to about New Zealand has nothing but good things to say about it.

  5. Hipockets says:

    My oldest daughter has lived in Mexico for 30 yrs. She loves it and says she’ll never
    move back here. Her 1st 10 yrs there,she made $7,000 or more a month.(travel,Hotel
    trade’). Things are harder now .She’s selling Real Estate. Most of her business is from
    U.S. and Canadians . My other Kids live in Canada. They were all born in the US,but
    all have a better life style where they live now. My Grandchildren all have new Homes
    and vehicles,and here I sit in the Good old U.S. struggling to even exist’

  6. My family has been in this country for over 300 years. This is my country and here I will stay. Leaving is not an option.

  7. Joseph Lee Morehouse says:

    Our government is screwed up – our country has problems – the rich has too much political power – there too many poor – too much crime – on and on and so forth.
    It home – you can be anything you want, just get off your butt and try- in this country you can achieve anything.
    My family is a melting pot we are what America is suppose to be , I have 6 generation of family served in our country military – 5 members have given there lives . I just can’t think of living my life any where else. This experiment of liberty , freedom , evolving government . I believe our country will one day fall but the ideals that our country was found on will live on as long there people that want to be free.
    Those that leave our country for what ever reason can’t escape the ideals that were instill in them as American – no matter where they go they will stand out .

  8. Karen S says:

    I agree. If America goes, it takes the rest of the world with it…but…I find myself dreaming of a world where I wouldn’t have to hear from a bunch of namby-pamby, low T, liberals crying and pointing their bony fingers and name-calling at everybody in the world.

  9. As has been stated, living the rural life is a lot different then living in a large city. My guess is as much as I dislike this government, I don’t know as I could find a better place outside of the U.S. U.S. rural life is a great way to live. I still have most of my rights, and if Martial Law is declared as I believe will happen, those living in rural areas far from large cities, will be far less affected. Let us pray for the next president to be someone like Dr. Ben Carson.

  10. I also believe that riding out a global financial crisis will be easier here in the U.S. In the U.S., the differences in various regions of our country would allow one to find an area that suits their various needs and desires. Living in a rural community is not the same as living in New York, or any other large city and the lifestyles can be very different. When it gets tough, I would rather live in a system where I know the system and I am a native. I have a friend who has a friend who spends much of his time in a foreign country. He is a businessman and the difference in work ethics, when he has to hire locals, is a real issue with him. If millions of my dollars were at stake, I might consider leaving the U.S., but those are not my circumstances. Several years ago I spoke to a native of Costa Rica who was living and working here permanently. Her education and business degrees were from Costa Rica. She described how a government bureaucrat made a decision affecting her on Monday, then suddenly changed his mind, for no valid reason, and when she asked him about it his answer was: “that was Monday, now it is Wednesday”. Yes, I know our government bureaucrats sometime act in the same manner, but we have more recourse here–at least at this point in time.

    Living a simple type life is appealing, but I can do the same thing here if I desire that lifestyle and pick the area carefully. Yes, it does take a long time to be accepted by the locals, but not all of them are so picky. It depends upon how involved one prefers to be.

    • Survival Diva says:


      “She described how a government bureaucrat made a decision affecting her on Monday, then suddenly changed his mind, for no valid reason, and when she asked him about it his answer was: “that was Monday, now it is Wednesday”.

      That’s not good.

      It’s true that things here in the US isn’t that severe or allowed to be up to one lone individual and their whims.

      • Survival Diva:
        No, that is not good. But I have no desire to live in Costa Rica or anywhere else except the U.S. Conditions would have to be very much worse then they are today before I would leave the U.S. I am an old active geezer and I am reluctant to compromise my lifestyle that I have spent most of my life putting in place. As I wrote before, I know the system here and unless everything falls apart (and it may) I am better able to protect myself and my wife here in the U.S. My advice to all is “Ignore what the politicians say and do” unless it DIRECTLY affects you.

  11. ED JEROME says:


  12. Knochen, 50 years ago I moved back to Arkansas where I was born, I moved as far from the delta as possible, into North West Arkansas to an isolated farm community and it took more than 10 years for us to no longer be strangers.

    David, Why worry about those to whom money is more important then Country, their leaving seems to improve the gene pool. Seeking a better life, is another thing, however, as bad as our Government has become, I cannot think of becoming anything other than “American”. I learned to love America when FDR was President, I will love it when I die.

  13. One thing that it seems many of the folks that are ‘living the great life in their new foreign location’ via social security checks seem to ignore is that if the dollar collapses, all the U.S. tourists that many of those countries rely on to support their economy will be staying home, so their economies will collapse too. Which means that any real estate those folks bought will drop in value too. If the U.S. economy collapses, it also means that sooner or later, all the billions of FOREIGN AID will also FINALLY HALT, leaving all those foreign countries standing on their own feet for a change. If social security is cut or eliminated their “it’s great to be able to live on $1500 to $2000 per month in my new location” statements will also go the way of the dinosaur.
    I looked into the living overseas possibility too because I despise all the excessive regulations and insanity exhibited by our govt. @ all levels. But the prices those expats were saying are such ‘real estate BARGAINS’ over there are higher than many areas of the U.S. Having utility bills of $100 a month for water, electricity, and phone/internet service (combined totals) sounds great but when you add in all the negatives, moving really sounds like a really last resort thing.
    I mean, if you hate living in the city, why would you want to move to a condo in a city that is even bigger than where you already live? And why hire a gardener if you love to garden? And the international living experts never mention the differences in gardening, or being self sufficient. It’s all about “you can buy fresh produce for only $8 for a big bag of fruits and vegetables.” And all about how cheap it is to go to movies, theater and such.
    Why patronize the ‘so called entertainment’ that has had such a communist inducing effect on the U.S.? And the inability to have firearms in so many overseas places is equal to the U.S. restricting them, so why go to all the trouble involved in tearing up your cultural roots just to say you live in a new environment half a world away?

    • Great points…also, if the Dollar collapses, Social Security checks will probably have some “issues”…especially for people trying to access them from overseas.

      There are some great opportunities overseas for people with the right life circumstances, but there isn’t a one-size fits all solution.

    • Self:
      You made some good points.

  14. The current government has declared military veterans, Evangelical Christians, people who store food, and any number of irrelevant factors ‘terrorists,’ subject to forever incarceration with no legal process. Being in any number of these innocuous (harmless) categories is a factor to be considered in your individual decision of whether to flee the place.

    Study what happened at the time of the Wiemar Republic, and look at the targets of a government that was fighting war (later multiple wars) and had no money to do it: They targeted people with money. Evangelical churches, and mega-churches, and tv-star preachers all have treasuries. So do universities. The postal service in this country has already had its pension fund stolen by government. Social Security has been raided over and over, and more to come. My point is: People with money, and businesses with money, are also at greater risk. And the fellow in the white has has already put through legislation that says the military can take food, farm equipment, vehicles and supplies from civilians at will.

    The ‘stranger’ factor mentioned in the article is ameliorated somewhat if you relocate to a country of your ancestry, if it will accept immigrants. Many, such as the Scandinavian countries, are overwhelmed by immigrants who are not of their culture and language and customs (not to mention class), and are no longer interested in resident foreigners.

    Do you have a business to relocate to a country? That is a huge factor in some places; it shortens the time to full citizenship.

  15. The question is do you expatriate from the Republic of the united States of America or do you expatriate from the foreign corporate entity, U.S., Inc., doing business as the United States!? Are you a state (i.e., Ohio, Indiana, California) national or a corporate U.S. Citizen under the 14th Amendment subject to corporate statutes and codes, the IRS, etc. Sovereigns have immunity from the corporate governance structure and stand in the Common Law, not the corporate regulations they create. Are you controlled by the corporate regulation of Coca Cola? P&G? Exxon?
    You can remove (expatriate) yourself from the corporate governance and remain an American inhabitant in the Republic, but if not done properly, they will send you to jail!! Remember, you are their “human collateral” and they do not want to loose you as an income source!
    Furthermore, learn why you are a co-debtor and co-beneficiary of the public trust and why you are only told you are the debtor!
    Long Live the Republic!!

    • Peoples Awareness Coalition seems to have a good track record of helping people expatriate to their home State, and will only help you file your paper work after you show you are not going to screw up and end up being a US citizen again.

  16. I’ve been living and studying in Ecuador for the last 15 months. When I first got here, a local family more or less adopted me. Probably because I’m a retired pastry chef and I was baking some stuff they’d never seen. Since then I’ve made friends in the business community and the expat community.

    Now to take care of that pesky paperwork.

  17. Knochen says:

    Right on all accounts, David. My experience is that even if you learn the language, look and dress as a native, it wouldn’t take long for a native to detect the stranger among them. From how you hold your fork to how you miss certain idioms of speech, your pronunciation, your mannerisms, or even how you walk will eventually betray you. While attending a German university I was well aware of this. Not thought of as being American, they still knew with the belief either I was from Holland or England. In a SHTF situation that could be as problematic as well. And with greater focus on their part I was sure I would be eventually ferreted out. So for all your reasons I see no advantage long term to denounce my citizenship and move abroad.

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