Unified Korea, Candy Hearts, and a Clean Energy State

This article was published in the Escape Artist Weekly Newsletter on February 09, 2018. If you would like to subscribe to the newsletter, please click here.

As the week wraps up and we anxiously anticipate the weekend, let’s reflect on all that we accomplished and those things still to come. Personally, I’m looking forward to the Olympic games commencing. For one, there have been some interesting attitudes and politics surrounding the games involving North and South Korea, who seem to continue to surprise the world with their unified behavior.

Coming up next week, we also have one of the world’s most romantic holidays: Valentine’s Day. Keep reading for a look at how this holiday is celebrated across the globe.

Also in this week’s round-up, find out what scientific breakthrough could change how we view fertility forever – and learn what to keep in mind when doing your taxes abroad.


North and South Korea United in Olympic Ceremony

During the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, North and South Korean leaders surprisingly showed signs of unification after years of anger and tension.

The lights, music, and performers must have put good feelings in the air when Kim Jong-un’s sister shook hands with South Korean President, Moon Jae-in, seeming genuinely happy with the interaction. United States Vice President, Mike Pence, sat just one row ahead of the interaction.

Soon after, North and South Korean athletes entered the stadium together, waving flags showing a unified Korea. This is the first time this has happened since 2007.

This a very exciting time for North and South Korea. I look forward to seeing how the unification holds up during the Olympic games and if this feeling will remain after the closing ceremonies.


Candy Hearts and Black Bean Noodles: Valentine’s Day Around the World

Next Wednesday is Valentine’s Day, a day of love, flowers, candy, and romance. Stores in the U.S. are filled with stuffed animals, chocolates, candy hearts, greeting cards, and typical Valentine’s Day necessities. Not every country celebrates Valentine’s Day this way, however. Below, I’ve gathered some information about how countries all over the world celebrate this special day.

France: It is believed that the Valentine’s Day card originated in France in 1415, when Charles, Duke of Orleans, sent love letters to his wife while imprisoned in the Tower of London.

An old tradition, later banned by the government, involves filling houses that faced each other with people and taking turns calling out to one another and pairing off. Men who were not satisfied would leave their match for another.

South Korea: Valentine’s Day is so popular for young couples in South Korea that variations of the holiday are celebrated monthly from February to April. On Valentine’s Day, women shower their partners with chocolate, candles, and flowers. On March 14th, on what is called White Day, the tables are turned and the men shower their partners with gifts. On Black Day, April 14th, those who don’t have anything to celebrate mourn their loneliness. The traditional means for such mourners involves eating a dish of black bean noodles.

Italy: An old holiday tradition in Italy was for young, single women to wake up early to spot their husband. It was believed that the first man the woman saw on Valentine’s Day was, or resembled, the man she was to marry within a year.

Brazil: Instead of celebrating Valentine’s Day in February, Brazilians enjoy Dia dos Namorados (Lover’s Day) on June 12th. This is where couples exchange flowers, cards, and gifts, as well as enjoy countrywide music festivals and performances.


What Indian State is Blowing Us Away with Clean Energy?

According to a report, Tamil Nadu, in the southern region of India, is becoming a world leader in wind power. It was predicted that by 2027, more than half of the state’s energy will be generated by zero emissions technologies, mostly solar and wind.

The state currently has a capacity to generate wind power of 7.85 gigawatts, which is already higher than other leaders like Denmark and Sweden. The report says that this number could double within the next decade. This means that 67% of Tamil Nadu’s energy capacity would be renewable energy.

These figures prove that with such a high population, higher than that of Australia, a country can still reduce its carbon emissions.


First Artificial Eggs Developed

This next story sounds like it comes from a science fiction movie, but I suppose the future is, in fact, upon us. A team of researchers at the University of Edinburgh have made a breakthrough for science and women facing fertility problems all around the world.
Led by Marie McLaughlin, the scientists developed the first mature human eggs in a lab. This achievement will be able to assure fertility in women who have undergone cancer treatment or are naturally infertile.

By developing follicles and growing them in hormones, McLaughlin and her team were able to produce several mature eggs.


How Do I File My Taxes While Abroad?

When moving abroad, it is important to understand what the new tax laws mean for your first year overseas. Even when you are abroad, if you are a U.S. citizen, you are still subject to reporting taxes on income made all over the world. It can be confusing when you are a resident of another country and still pay taxes back home.

Here are some of the things you need to consider when thinking about your taxes while abroad:

Qualification of Foreign Earned Income and Housing Exclusions

In the case that an expat can prove their tax home is outside of the U.S., which means they can pass the bona fide residence test of physical presence, they can exclude some of their income from overseas.

This tax rule only applies to earned income from employment, not from an investment.

Contributing to a U.S. Pension While Abroad

Many still contribute to their IRA while abroad, especially within the first year. This contribution to a U.S. pension is still tax deductible while living in a new country. Again, this only applies to earned income.

Deductibility of Moving ExpensesSome expats are eligible for tax deductions in cases of self-incurred moving expenses or excluding any income from employer reimbursements of moving expenses.

Other tax rules may apply when breaking residency with your former home state or retaining a U.S. accountant while abroad. Settling your taxes overseas can be confusing, especially if it’s your first year abroad. The experts at Escape Artist can help you with this.

If you would like assistance with filing your taxes this year, please contact me here and I will introduce you to the Escape Artist Tax Partners.


Thank you for reading this week’s round-up! If you’re interested in learning what it’s like to expatriate, don’t hesitate to ask Consumer Resource Guidesome questions. At Escape Artist, we aim to ensure that your travels abroad run as smoothly as they can.

If you are interested in helping us plan an Escape Artist conference, fill out our quick survey to tell us what you want to see!

Whether you are planning on living, working, retiring, or investing overseas, Escape Artist can help you every step of the way. Don’t forget to check out the eBook store for the 2018 Expat Tax Guide and our wonderful country guides!

For more information on what’s going on in the international scene, check out some of this week’s newest articles!

Oh and one last thing! I still have one more invitation left to attend one of the leading Asset Protection Conferences this Spring. If you would like to inquire about obtaining the invitation, please contact me here. This event is for accredited investors only.


Belize is quickly becoming a popular expat destination, thanks to the promise of a higher quality of life for a lower cost of living. If you’re seeking information on whether or not a relocation abroad would be a good idea, you’re probably seeing plenty of information out there that’s geared toward retirees. But, what about those who are still raising families? Some common questions you might have would include finding the best schools. How does the visa process work when you are bringing your whole family? Which are the safest areas for the kids to explore and make friends? While we can’t possibly answer every single question you might have, we can help with some of the basics.

Moving the Whole Family – Visas

Fortunately, if you are coming from North America, you will not need a…

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The new billionaires of cryptocurrency are searching for legal tax solutions to keep the IRS away from their recently acquired fortune, so they have started to look for new spots to settle in. One option that has attracted a large mass of crypto billionaires is Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is the tax haven for crypto investors because only here can you avoid capital gains tax on passive investments.

Keep in mind that U.S. citizens living abroad are…

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Portugal, at the western end of Europe, is one of the wildest and least explored countries of the old continent. It has seduced thousands of expatriates with the kindness of its people, extensive coastline and its cities full of breathtaking architecture. In recent years, Portugal’s economy is starting to reach its maximum potential as it has become out of the blue a haven for foreign investment.

Portugal has maintained positive economic growth during the last 3 years, which has been the product of an increase in domestic demand The fiscal deficit was reduced by 50% last year, from 4.4% to 2.5%, which is quite remarkable because of the environment of Political and economic uncertainty that permeates in the European Union.

The ‘Portuguese economic miracle’ has become a phenomenon in the social in the media. Such social success is not due to the economic recovery , nor to its effectiveness in reducing the deficit, but because of…

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Citizens of the United States, United Kingdom, European Union, or any of the 50 “friendly nations” who invest the minimum amount of twenty thousand dollars (US $20,000) personally or through a legal entity in the agricultural sector in Panama, or in the business of Aquaculture, may qualify for a Residency Visa. These investments must be made in the areas or projects that the Ministry of Agricultural Development considers a national interest at the time.

With a minimum investment of $20,000 to buy or invest in an approved reforestation project certified by the government, you can apply for a temporary residency for 2 years and then permanent residency. You can apply for a personal title through a corporation or foundation. Additional investments and proof of income will depend on your number of dependents.

For a list of “friendly” nations, see…

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Antigua and Barbuda are two islands that make up one country – known as the most beautiful nation in the world. Antigua is located just southeast of the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean Sea, between St. Kitts and Guadeloupe. It attracts high-earning expats for a life of luxury, which can be perfect for those looking to retire somewhere exotic.

Cost of Living

Antigua and Barbuda use the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC $), which equates to $0.37 USD. While you may feel that this exchange rate could work in your favor, don’t be surprised to find that…

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This article was published in the Escape Artist Weekly Newsletter on February 09, 2018. If you would like to subscribe to the newsletter, please click here.