I grew up in the Panama Canal Zone (CZ) where my family lived for almost 25 years. It was a good life. Like most “gringos” living in the I did not bother to learn Spanish. My mother and brother spoke it very well. Instead, I was a fine high school Latin student.
When I got to West Point and realized what a poor engineering student I was compared to everyone else, I realized that I needed to find a subject that I could get “A”s into to balance out the “D”s. I took a double concentration in Spanish and Portuguese. I went to sleep one night and woke up the next day speaking Spanish and Portuguese.
I got my Latin Thing before that when I discovered Latin music and the Fania All Stars at the age of 16. I have never lost the Latin groove over all of the years. I am more familiar with Willie Colon then U2. In fact, one of my big regrets was making a decision to see Gato Barbieri over the Fania All Stars in Madison Square Garden in college. I did meet Celia Cruz though while living in Miami.
When it comes to taxes, may “Americanos” are finding their Latin thing. Many taxpayers have thought about living in Central America or Ecuador among places. The problem is that none of the places has any tax advantage. I have written a number of times about the benefits of PR residency. It is the only place where a taxpayer that becomes a PR resident can avoid U.S. taxation (and PR taxation). Of course, the “diablo” is in the details.
There are a few other things to consider – (1) FBAR reporting does not apply to your PR bank and investment accounts. (2) Form 8938 would not apply to your PR bank and investment accounts. (3) PR like Florida has an unlimited homestead exemption like Florida. What if former baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn had gone to the PR instead of Florida? He could have become the Commissioner of the winter pro league in the PR. The New York Times reported in the early 1990’s that Bowie Kuhn, the former Major League Baseball Commissioner, had sold his $1.2 million New Jersey home and within weeks had bought a similar estate in Florida to shield his assets before then filing for bankruptcy. He could have been El Rey del Beisbol!
It is one more reason why the PR may be the new Florida. When you generally compare the cost of living in the PR versus most places, the PR has a lower cost of living by a decent margin. The cost of housing or rents may be 50 percent lower than most places in the U.S.
Take a look at it! It may worth your while.
Also, before I go, don’t forget to count your blessings!