Chile is often overloked. In fact, it was not even on my list of the worlfd's greatest retirement destinations, but from the way Simon Black raves about it, maybe it should be. Roberto
* Economics: Chile has an independent economy with a steady source of wealth as the world #1 copper exporter. There are also other thriving industries, such as wine, fish, and fruit, as well as an embryonic technology sector. Consequently, its peso has been one of the best performing currencies in the world.
* Politics: Did I mention they just elected a billionaire businessman to be their president? Chile is very business-friendly and understands what it takes to attract foreign investment, including tax incentives, free zones, and easy immigration policies. They are actively courting both SMEs and multinationals.
* Business: There is ample opportunity in Chile. I know CEOs from fields as diverse as IT to pharmaceuticals that have made a home here due to the substantial incentive packages, strong middle class market, and transparency; the rule of law is clear-- you know where you stand without guesswork or bribery.
* Social: Chileans are civilized, educated people who are much closer to European heritage than Latin American. Crime is very low, and squalid poverty is largely absent from the cityscape.
* Environmental: Chile is very clean country with clear skies, good water, and easy seasons. Due to the country's long, slender shape, there are numerous microclimates and regions, ranging from temperate to sub-arctic, coastal to mountainous.
* Legal: Chile is very much like Singapore and Hong Kong in that they want bright, talented people to move here. Consequently, they make it easy for bright, talented people to establish residency for themselves, their families, and their businesses.
* Infrastructure: Roads? Clean and modern. Mobile phones? Cost effective and dependable. Medical care? Great. Internet service? Fast and reliable. Schools? International quality. Building code? Effective and well-tested. International travel? Lan Chile flies from Santiago to numerous worldwide destinations.
Alas, since no place is perfect, here's the downside:
* English language prevalence is... adequate. But certainly not as pervasive as a place like Panama. You need to learn Spanish to be here.
* If you earn your income in US dollars, euro, or pounds, you're going to find Chile to be increasingly expensive as the years go on as its currency appreciates. Unlike countries such as Japan which depend on a weak currency for exports, Chile's wealth is tied to copper, irrespective of the peso's value.
* The real estate market in Chile is fragmented and illiquid. Chileans expect years to pass before their properties sell, and there is no national REMAX office with nationwide listings. If you want to buy property here, you have to find someone who is really, really sharp.
* Chile is in no way a police state, but the country does have gun control laws. If you want to live in a place surrounded by your personal arsenal, look elsewhere.
* While the air quality across the country is exceptional, Santiago can feel a bit polluted sometimes, especially when a smoggy haze obscures the surrounding mountains.
* Oh yeah... earthquakes. Two of the most substantial earthquakes in history occurred in Chile, including the one in February. Fortunately the buildings are well constructed. Earthquakes are not common in Chile, but I suppose it's like living in San Francisco-- you have to expect a big one at some point.