What if you could go back in time to a simpler America, to one before bloated bureaucracies, before insane rules and regulations that were created to micromanage your every move and thought, to a time when a work ethic was prized and you were able to reap the fruits of your labor without being labeled a capitalistic pig? What would you give to enjoy safety and security in your home and your person, to not have to be so hyper-vigilant with your children that they can’t experience the thrill of childhood?
If you could make it happen… would you?
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Off The Grid Radio
Released: June 10, 2011
Brian: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome, as the announcer says, to Off the Grid Radio, here at offthegridnews.com. I’m Brian Brawdy, along, as always, with Mr. Bill Heid. Bill, given the shirt that you wore today, we’re either interviewing, and Jeramy’s not even looking at me, so I’m going, we’re either interviewing Jimmy Buffett from Margaritaville, or someone that’s almost as near and dear to you as Jimmy Buffett, we’re gonna be talking to some guys about Belize, one of your favorite places on the planet.
Bill: It is one of my favorite places, Brian, and I’ve got this shirt on, and it’s a traditional Mayan – festive, festive Mayan shirt, maybe it’s one of the shirts that you would wear to maybe an All Saints Day parade up in the St. Ignastius area or something, but, very bright—
Brian: It is!
Bill: — a little brighter colors, that I’m not… you’ve never accused me of wearing bright colors before, but…
Brian: No, but that’s, I would say that is the most electric and eclectic, at the same time, shirt I’ve ever seen you … it looks great! And you know, and given our not-to-distant trip to Mexico City is something that would work in the –
Bill: It would work there as well!
Brian: — and the pyramids we saw there also, so, very cool! Before we get to our guest today, we’re going to jump right in because they’re going to be with us for the full hour, any breaking news stuff? I thought of you instantly this morning where the people in different parts of Europe are going, “Ah, ah, ah, ah! It wasn’t the sprouts! It was beef!” for the E.coli outbreaks, so everyone that wanted to—
Bill: So today, so today it’s beef?
Brian: Today it’s beef.
Brian: Yeah, yeah.
Bill: It’s something different every day—
Brian: Tomorrow it’ll be Anthony Weiner. [laughter] Anthony Weiner, we blame you tomorrow for the outbreak of E.coli, we’ll figure out how to communicate it –
Bill: We’ll find somebody to blame –
Brian: Yeah. But let’s jump right in to today, a couple of people we’re very excited to be talking about, for a whole myriad of reasons, Bill, but first, Joel Nagel is the founder and managing partner of Nagel and Associates, a boutique law firm focused exclusively on international issues. Joel’s focus is on helping clients to select the right jurisdiction for a transaction and the best vehicle – big fan of this – the best vehicle to reduce taxation and to protect your hard-won assets. He has pioneered the licensing of international structures for foreign banks, mutual funds, hedge funds, and insurance companies. Along with Joel today, another guy I know, Bill, that you and I always enjoy the company and our listeners are going to enjoy as well, Michael Cobb is with us after enjoying a successful career in the computer industry. Mike Cobb decided to pursue more pioneering opportunities in the emerging real-estate markets of Central America. In 1996, Mike and his business partner formed a company, Exotic Caye International, to provide loans to North Americans purchasing real estate in Belize, Honduras (another cool place) and throughout the entire region. So ladies and gentlemen, say hello to Mr. Joel Nagel and Michael Cobb. Guys, how are you?
Joel: Great, thanks for having us here today.
Mike: Yeah, nice to be online with you guys.
Bill: Hey fellas, you know, I guess Joel especially, I met Joel in Panama, and Joel, after looking around – I’m like a lot of our listeners – that I was looking for a safe place, a “just in case” place, another place outside the U.S., for a lot of different reasons. Then I met Joel in Panama, and I think I explained my story and my life a little bit to Joel, and Joel, after we talked a little while, you said “You ought to check out Belize, as well as Panama.” And I think, Brian, what made me really interested in Belize is the language barrier, and I think, you know, guys we should talk about this, but—in Panama I was always, sort of a slave to somebody else, because no matter where I went, I didn’t speak Spanish. I bought the course and never took it, you know, like everyone does, the Rosetta Stone – everyone’s got a Rosetta Stone—
Brian: Wouldn’t it be great if we could just buy those things and almost like through osmosis, like you buy a book and you go, “I know the Constitution now!”
Bill: Yeah, you put it under your pillow and next thing, you know Spanish!
Brian: Yep, you know it!
Bill: But anyway, so I tested Belize and went to Belize and met Joel and Mike there, and they’re both wonderful people and really grew to love Belize. And so, guys do you want to start maybe, Joel telling a little bit of a background first about some of the reasons that, y’know, when we first talked, why is Belize such a good place for that “just in case” place or that other option, it’s a great vacation spot, y’know, what drew you there?
Joel: Sure, Bill. Well thanks … Belize has been a place that’s been near and dear to my heart for twenty plus years now. I went down there in the early ‘90s to look at some of the new legislation that had been enacted regarding asset protection and trusts and things like that, which is what I do professionally, but when I got there, y’know, exactly like you said, we found a beautiful place, very nice people, English speaking, just a… it’s a very comfortable place to be. In fact, it’s the only English-speaking country in Central America because of their British heritage. The queen’s right on the money, so it’s, it’s just a comfortable place to be. And when you couple a place where you want to go from a tourist, retirement, vacation perspective with the jurisdiction that provides a lot of types of protection that you also mentioned—asset protection, estate planning benefits, ways to make sure that your hard-earned assets aren’t going to be attacked by creditors and things like that, well it just, it all adds up to a really super package. And that’s how I got involved in Belize, and I’m very happy to still be there on a very frequent basis.
Bill: And Mike, how about you? What got you started? Did you start with Joel, or what’s…
Mike: Yeah, that’s a good question, there. My involvement in Belize is Joel’s fault, I just want to say it that way. [laughter] I guess it was back in ’94, he had an asset protection trust he was setting up for a physician and whenever the physician couldn’t go, he’d called me up on a Tuesday and said, “Hey, Mike, want to go to Belize on Thursday?” and I’m like, “Yeah, absolutely! Where’s Belize?” [laughter] In fact, I think a lot of us remember Belize as British Honduras, because that’s what it was when I was in high school and college anyway, it was British Honduras, and so I went to Belize really for fun. But one of the things that was very interesting was that, y’know, I mean Belize is really open for business. And I know you’re wearing the Mayan colorful shirt but y’know, my analogy is that I show up in my khakis and Oxford shirt because, really Belize is open for business and one of the things that we discovered very quickly was that there is an incredible opportunity for serving consumers in Belize and that’s what we did. We saw some opportunities and we decided to start pursuing some of those opportunities, first on a part-time basis with Exotic Caye International and then later in a full-time basis. But for me the thing that was most intriguing – yeah, it’s a beautiful country, the beaches are gorgeous, the highland are spectacular … I mean they’ve got that cool tropical, cool weather pine forest, up in the highlands, which you just don’t even think you’d have pine forests and 70 degree temperatures in a country like Belize, but you do. But I mean all that’s beautiful, and well and good, and certainly is a strong drawing feature for the country, but for me, more than anything else, it was the entrepreneurial opportunities to serve consumers that really got me excited about the country and we’ve been working down there since, unofficially since 1995, and then officially since 1996.
Bill: So, a lot of the consumers that you work with, are they ex-pats or are they coming in, or are you talking about Belizean consumers?
Mike: At this point, we’ve really stayed on the ex-pat side and we up a mortgage company in ’95 to basically finance North American, U.S. and Canadians primarily, who were looking to buy real estate in Belize, which was our first marketplace, because a North American bank would never lend money on Belizean collateral, so if you were buying a condo, y’know, your bank up home probably wouldn’t lend you the money. And a bank in Belize wouldn’t typically lend a gringo money, so what was happening was, is all these developers were having to hold a lot of paper instead of being able to lay it off on a bank, which is traditionally what we’ve done in the U.S. And so there was a real opportunity to come in and serve the development community, which could have been Belizean, and in many cases was Belizean, but typically our customer was the North American purchaser who took the loan from us with us in our mortgage company so, it generally, I would say, that our business has been in serving North American consumers in Latin America.
Bill: Okay, so from your angle, guys – and I don’t know who wants to address this but—one of the questions that Brian and I get a lot, and we do deal with it, but why do people want to go to Belize? You mentioned some of the reasons, but I think you could both touch on a little bit, Joel on the jurisdictional reason, why is having a separate jurisdiction, because a lot of the folks that are listening to this, why is that such an important issue when you go decide to make a choice about maybe some other place to live. Why is it that you want to have a different jurisdiction outside our borders?
Brian: And Joel and Mike, before you answer that, we’re going to have to run to a quick commercial break. When we come back, we’ll have the full ten and I would love to hear that answer as well. Ladies and gentlemen, we’re here with Joel Nagel and Michael Cobb talking everything Belize. Come on back, right after this short break.[00:10:02 – 00:14:16)
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to Off the Grid Radio, as the announcer says, getting you ready to prepare for the worst. And today, Bill, a term that you brought up, we’re talking about “ex-pats,” and we’re just getting ready, you and I, to release a report here in just a little bit of time that goes into it in great detail, but today we were going to focus on one of your favorite places, Belize. And I love this, the website belizeisfun.com. It really is that with our guests, where Joel Nagel, and attorney, is going to talk to us about the investing aspect. Michael Cobb is going to spend a little bit of time in this next segment talking to us about the living part, how cool it is to be there. So there’s some legal benefits, there’s some adventure benefits, there’s some, almost like inborn, nomadic benefits to human beings as a whole, so we want to get to that saving a very special announcement for our final 15 minutes today.
Bill: We do, we do, and Belize is really an off-the-grid place. It’s an off-the-grid place for a lot of reasons. There’s just, as Mike was saying before, not very many people have heard of Belize. People will say to me, “Where is Belize at?” It’s an extremely common question, wouldn’t you guys agree, Joel and Mike, isn’t that like one of the most common questions you get? “Where in the world…?” as you said, Mike, “Where’s that at?”
Mike: Yeah, absolutely, we get that frequently, although it’s, it’s very close, I mean it’s an hour and forty-five minute flight from Miami or Houston, you know, it’s in the Yucatan Peninsula, which is dominated by Mexico, but it’s right at the southern edge of the Yucatan Peninsula. It’s about 200 miles south of Cancun, if anybody still isn’t familiar where it is. Yeah, I think that once people find it and get there, they’re very happy they do. In fact, Belize has one of the highest rates of return tourism. I mean, people visit, and then come back and visit again, so I think that says a lot about the country.
Bill: There’s not a lot of people there, one thing that a lot of folks may like, if you don’t like crowds, you’re not going to find a crowd or maybe on the island at Ambergris Cay, there may be a crowd every once in a while at the beach, but for the most part you’re talking about a place that’s about the size of Massachusetts, with about 300,000 people, so it is the wide open spaces. If you get in the car and start driving, guys, you might not run into somebody for a while. I mean it’s like – you know what it’s like? It’s like a small, kind of like a small, the whole country is like a small town. Wouldn’t you kind of agree with that?
Mike: I certainly would. I mean it’s pretty much everywhere I go in the country, I see people I know and it is, the whole country is like a small town. That’s a great way to describe it.
Bill: Well, let’s talk a little bit, Joel, about the question that I sort of brought up prior to the break, and that’s the jurisdictional – we have a lot of people ask, “Okay, what are the reasons…?” and I know you can’t touch on all of them, and that would be a couple days seminar, but just, what are some of the touch points that people have when they go look for a place, as maybe their second place or “just in case” place, or whatever?
Joel: Well, I think that’s a really good question, y’know. I think that most of your listeners would probably agree that in the United States and many, most, if not all places in the United States, are… our court system for example, has really gone squirrely. Lawsuits are the national pastime, we have a very pro-plaintiff oriented legal system that can cause you to have to spend thousands or tens of thousands of dollars to defend yourself even if you haven’t done anything wrong. So Belize is one of the growing asset-protection jurisdictions that have really flipped that around, and it’s very protective, it’s very difficult for an outsider or plaintiff to try to attach assets, to go after your wealth there, regardless of the reason, so from my perspective, an asset-protection lawyer, it’s simply jurisdiction shopping. It’s finding the best jurisdiction that serves my clients. So even if you don’t want to go hang out on the beach and sit under a palm tree, even if you’re firmly entrenched here in the U.S., it’s a good place to consider having a portion of your wealth to protect you in the event of a calamity, lawsuits, or something along those lines.
Bill: Well, and again, when I went to Panama, to even have a conversation with opening up a bank account or something, I went to Panama, and you’ve got that language barrier again. So I went to a bank in Belize and there’s no language barrier. Mike, I mean, you want to touch on some of the stuff that, just lifestyle issues that you found so enjoyable, I found so enjoyable—you have a very good way of describing Belize.
Mike: Yeah, it, y’know, I’ve kind of broken it down to three general categories. There’s the fun side of Belize, there’s the opportunity side, and then, y’know, for something that you and I have talked about in the past but I think is absolutely growing, the momentum there is huge, and that is sort of the off the grid piece of it. So we’ve got fun, opportunity, and off the grid. I mean the fun side, y’know, Belize is fun. Let’s just say that. I mean it is absolutely an incredibly fun place. The beaches are great, it’s been known for decades as a fly-fishing destination, you can do a grand-slam in fly-fishing which is the tarp and the bone-fish and the permit all in the same day, which is pretty unusual and so it’s been a long sought-after fly fishing destination. The divers have been coming there. It’s the longest stretch of reef in the western hemisphere—you know, whales, manatees, dolphins, all that kind of stuff. But then when you get off the islands, I mean again, it’s a very small country, it’s 180 miles north to south, and about 60, 70 miles wide, and you get into things like the Mayan ruins, which are just absolutely spectacular. And then at one of my all-time favorite activities, in fact I would stick this in the top ten coolest things I have ever done in my life, is cave tubing. You hike through the jungle with an inner tube, you jump into a river, and you start floating down this river going through caves. And some of the caves are more than a mile long, so, and when everybody turns off their headlamps, you’re in pitch blackness. I mean it’s, I mean it is just incredible.
Bill: It’s an adventure. I’ve done it too, Mike. I can’t, I couldn’t agree with you more. It is one of the thrills that you can have in Belize, that’s probably hard to have too many other places.
Mike: Anywhere else, right. Y’know, so that’s fun. Belize is fun, and then the opportunities there. I mean obviously the tourism sector is huge, the real estate sector serving again, North American consumers, generally with products that they’re familiar and comfortable with. You touched on banking, it is easy to open a banking account. You don’t have to, y’know, you don’t have to stand in big long lines, you don’t have deal with forms in Spanish, you don’t have to go through all the bureaucratic rigmarole that the Spanish-language countries have with their civil law system. So banking is easy and convenient. Belize has also become known as a very good insurance destination. The insurance legislation there is very good, and so it’s become a new jurisdiction for insurance companies with some very unique and powerful products. And the last thing on my list of opportunities and this is one that is coming, is medical tourism. We’re seeing it in countries of, y’know, Panama, Costa Rica, we see it in India and Thailand, so around the world, and Belize is on the cutting edge of developing some phenomenal medical tourism legislation which will be unique in the world. And one of the things that some of your readers may have an interest in knowing, is that if the legislation is passed as presented, it would allow North American physicians to come and practice in Belize based on their U.S. or Canadian license on medical tourist who come to Belize to have procedures done and that’s unique almost in the world. So there’s a neat opportunity, entrepreneurial opportunity for physicians and alternative medical folks that want to be in that space. And Bill, the last that I just want to touch on because, I’m mean, y’know, this is near and dear to your heart, and mine as well, is sort of the off the grid opportunities in Belize. Y’know, it is a small country, it’s in, y’know the size of Massachusetts roughly, but with 300,000 people, and 100,000 of those folks living in Belize City, there are just vast areas of the country that are wide open. In fact, it’s interesting because, it is a farming country. They don’t do a lot of exports. They do some citrus and some other exports, but the Mennonites have been settling in Belize for half a century now, and there’s quite a large Mennonite community because it is 365 day growing season, it’s pretty predictable rainfall, the Mennonites have settled there and so for folks looking to be off the grid, Belize is a pretty good country to consider—the English language, the proximity to the U.S., it’s an hour and a half flight from Miami or Houston, and property prices are still fairly reasonable. They haven’t accelerated like they have in countries like Costa Rica or Panama. So, for folks looking for an off-the-grid solution, y’know, I think Belize holds a lot of promise and that’s certainly something we’re going to be looking at and presenting better and more detailed solutions for in the future.
Brian: Alright guys… we’re going to run to a quick commercial break. As soon as we come back for the rest of the hour, Joel Nagel, Michael Cobb, along with Mr. Bill Heid—we’re going to be kicking around the benefits, the myriad of benefits, that are Belize, right after this quick radio break.[00:24:16 – 00:28:30]
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to Off the Grid Radio. We’re here today with Mr. Joel Nagel, Michael Cobb, and Mr. Bill Heid. I thought I would mention again, Bill, the website, belizeisfun.com. Some great pictures in case anyone hasn’t seen a picture of Belize, a pretty cool, informative website that could give you a little bit of the idea of what we’re discussing today. But I know, because we have done a quick report earlier, about — I think the term was the “QRP”, Bill?
Bill: The QRP Program, yeah, the Qualified Retirement Program.
Brian: The Qualified Retirement Program—I can’t think of anybody better than Joel to kick that around with you. Joel?
Joel: Sure, I’ll be happy to talk about that. Y’know the legislation came out now almost ten years ago and it’s, in my opinion, one of the most flexible and easiest residency, retirement residencies to obtain anywhere in the world. In some jurisdictions you have to go and spend six months or a year non-stop before you can qualify for any kind of residency and then once you get it you have to, every year, normally at least six months in the country. Belize is very flexible. You only have to be over 45 years of age, you have to have at least $2,000 a month of retirement, investment, pension income. Just have to basically be able to show that you can support yourself and your system, and you have to spend a couple of weeks a year there in Belize. That’s it. You can spend more time, of course, if you’d like, but if you’re just looking to get a second residency—you know, a lot of people view residency almost like insurance. It’s something that they’d like to have, to get the equivalent of a Belize, to get the Belize equivalent of a U.S. green card that you have that you can go and live there, y’know, forever if you want to is something that is comforting to a lot of people. The program that I like a lot and I have a lot of my clients that go through the procedure to get the retirement residency there, particularly if they’re financially self-sufficient and independent, and I’m not sure what else I can tell you about it.
Bill: Well, let’s cut through the chase a little bit too on it. I mean, I think if our listeners are looking for a place to go, for whatever reason, and they want to get out. We’re not talking about handing in your passport or anything like that at this point. We’re just saying you want a place to go other than the United States, and you want a place to live. Almost every other place is very difficult… I think what I hear you saying, Joel, and I know just from the research that I’ve done as well, from Point A to Point B to Belize, it’s probably the best thing… and also given it’s proximity, as you had mentioned earlier… going from not having a place to go off-shore, to having a place to go off-shore, from Point A to Point B, wouldn’t you rate Belize at the very top?
Joel: Absolutely. And as far as the ease to obtain the residency, there’s really only three points that I want to just briefly mention. First, one point I did mention with regard to your financial ability to support yourself, that’s minimum of $2000 dollars a month. You know, it doesn’t have to be a pension. You could show that you have a, let’s say a $400,000 stock portfolio—as long as you can show that it will generate $2000 a month, and that you’re not in need of going there to work, then you’ll be able to qualify. The second thing is that you have to be in reasonably good health. You can—I have had clients that have had health problems, y’know, maybe in the past they had a cancer or they had a heart attack or something like that—that’s no problem. But they really don’t want anybody that has any kind of y’know, debilitating disease where they’re going to have to, when they get there, they’re going to end up in the Belize medical system, at least from the get-go. So that’s the second thing, reasonably good health. Three, you can’t have any kind of criminal record, and when I say that, I’m not talking about that you’ve never had a speeding ticket or something like that, any kind of misdemeanor is relatively okay, but any felonies will pretty much automatically disqualify you, anything involving drugs or violence, guns, they’re very, y’know, it’s a very peaceful and quiet society, and that, those types of things scare them, so they’re not going to approve a residency for somebody that was convicted of a, let’s say committing a heinous handgun violation or something like that.
Bill: Well, that’s—
Mike: I might want to add something—
Bill: Yeah, Mike, you want to talk a little bit about that, what you, your view of the QRP is as well?
Mike: Yeah, yeah I do, and maybe I’ll just frame it in terms of Belize. I think that the technical aspects of the program, Joel explained very, very well and I think the one, maybe the most important thing that I could say is that transitioning to Belize, of all the countries out there, in Central America for sure and probably Latin America, it is the most culturally familiar. And having lived overseas now for nine year and have watched a lot of people move overseas, that cultural transition is a big one. Belize is by far the most culturally familiar—language being a big part of that. But a lot of the unspoken rules and ways we do things, because it was British colony and y’know, U.S. and Canada came out of the British colonial system as well, so that cultural familiarity is a huge happiness factor, a huge transition factor that Belize makes easy. And then, yeah, you get things like quality of life. I mean, the weather is great most of the year, it’s a very moderate climate depending on what part of the country. You can pick different kinds of climates. The food choices are great. A lot of the produce is grown organically, and if you shop right, you get organic produce and you don’t pay extra for, so you can have an incredible quality of life on less than what you’d pay in most North American cities. And just specifically on the QRP program, I think it was touched on, but I just want to reiterate it, that it’s, maybe it’s not the true intent of the program, but it certainly works. If you’re 45 or 46 or whatever, and you’re not really ready to retire, but you’re ready to have a second residency so that you have that insurance package. That’s what I call it, I call it “residency insurance.” I mean we always talk about asset protection, right? We want to protect our assets, our money, this, that, this, that, but quite honestly the most important asset we have is ourselves and our families. And this is true asset protection in that sense of “Hey look, we’ve got a place overseas that we can move to tomorrow, we have residency, and we can stay there forever.” I mean, and it’s very, very affordable to do that. And the really good thing is that if you pick it up as a second house, or a second condo, or a second home, call it whatever you’d like on that, you can actually bring in all of your household goods, and an automobile and a boat, tax-free. So if you end up deciding to buy a home or a condominium, you can furnish it, you can ship down all these goods, you can furnish it tax-free if you’re part of the QRP program and that can be a significant savings. It may be as much as 30 or 40 percent on electronics and cars, so the import duty is a huge, huge benefit for QRP participants.
Bill: And as you said, Mike, I think the other side too that I look at, just in my own experiences, it seems that not only the government in general, the government is very small by the way, you can go to Belize City and drive up in front of the Supreme Court building without a SWAT team jumping on you. I think there’s a guy with a gun or a stick at the door, but there’s not, it’s a small place with a small government, so there’s not a tremendous bureaucracy. There is some bureaucracy, there is some everywhere, but the people kind of want you to come there, and people aren’t, you’re not in a situation like you are in some places, where people actually do not want you there. You want to comment to that a little bit, Mike? Because I think really we’ve all tasted that a little bit as travelers. You can go to a place and get a sense, if the people want you there, they like you, if it’s secure and safe, and with Americans that are so sensitive to this kind of thing, red flags go up right away, and I have never had that many red flags go up in Belize personally.
Mike: Yeah, y’know, and I’m not sure why that is. You bring up something very, very interesting that I’ll have to put my brain around and give it some real thought, because I don’t know that I’ve ever thought about that question before. My experience is the same as yours. In terms of the sort of “chip on their shoulder” types of things, it’s not there in Belize. They are extremely welcoming and maybe what it has to do with is the fact that, I mean it’s a very racially diverse country. I mean you’ve got the former Brits, you’ve got Mexicans, you’ve got Guatemalans, you’ve got black Garifunas, you’ve got North Americans, lots and lots of North Americans, and it’s a very colorblind society in the sense of everybody’s welcome. It’s a very welcoming society and probably historically, it has been as well. Yeah, it’s a good point, and I agree with your point, but as for sort of an analysis of it, I’ll have to get back to you, Bill.
Joel: Well, and I’ll just throw my two cents in. I think the reality is most of the people that are in any way intelligent has seen the way their country has developed because, as Mike said, it’s a very young country, right? It was founded back in 1981 as Belize, so it’s a young country and it’s gone through a lot of development. Thirty years ago it was just a quaint, little backwater fishing communities and some agriculture. And now all the development that’s occurred is largely then because of the North American retirees, investors, tourists. And I think most of the people appreciate that, I mean they appreciate it in a good way. I can remember visiting with one minister, and in his office it said, “We’re here for you, and because of you.” And I thought that’s a pretty refreshing thought, to have a sign like that coming from a regulator or politician. I don’t think you’d see that if you went to visit your local congressman in Washington, D.C. for example.
Brian: Joel, we’re going to run to a quick commercial break, but I can tell you we’re all sitting here kind of smiling and chuckling to each other. Yeah, I think you’re absolutely right. We probably wouldn’t run into that sentiment on Capitol Hill. Ladies and gentlemen, a quick commercial break and then a very special announcement. Come on back after the commercial. This is the final segment you are not going to want to miss.[00:39:23 – 00:43:40]
Ladies and gentlemen, as the announcer says, welcome back and boy do we have an idea today, Bill, for a better idea for off-the-grid living. But before we jump to that, and the final segment with our guests, we probably should thank the folks that came to see us a few weeks back in Dallas when we were there for the big survival convention, and the reason that I bring that up now is we had a lot of people say “We’d like to know where you and Bill are gonna be next.” So, then we went and had a little adventure, we want to come and see you and take in one of your seminars or at least just gives us a chance to hang out for awhile at the resort. So I thought of those people today and maybe you can just remind me toward the end here when we get ready to wrap it up with Joel and Mike about where we’re gonna be in Belize, and how folks are absolutely welcome and encouraged to come and hang out with us.
Bill: That would be great to have some of our listeners, our friends, our readers, to come and hang out with us. There’s a lot to talk about, things that we probably wouldn’t talk about in the continental USofA, things that we’ll smile about and chat about in other places.
Brian: Aren’t you always surprised, like given some of the conversations that you were enveloped in, in Dallas, how absolutely true that is?
Bill: Yeah, people would come up to me and start saying things, and I’d say “Don’t say that to me.” [laughter] You can’t say that here.
Brian: Yeah, you never know. Yeah, so to our listeners who are listening, and say “Oh wow, you know what?” This is going to be up in enough time for them to make a plan. I can’t imagine anyone that we wouldn’t be excited about seeing. So that said, why don’t we go ahead, we’ll bring back Joel Nagel and Mike Cobb. Don’t forget that you can check out belizeisfun.com, it most certainly is, and guys, in this final segment, if it’s cool with you, let’s kick around where and when we’re all going to be together next.
Joel: Well, we have a asset protection conference that’s coming up in a few, well I guess it’s in a few months, Bill. It’s the early part of August … August 2 – 5 … on Ambergris Cayes, Belize. It’s the main tourist island of Belize and we’ll all be staying at the Exotic Cayes beach resort and Mike, why don’t you add?
Mike: Well, it’s a great conference. We’ve got a super lineup of speakers, from asset protection, banking, insurance, real estate, lifestyle folks, QRP, I mean the whole range of things that Belize has to offer, there’s just a phenomenal lineup of speakers. And one of the things that we really try to do at our conferences, which is different than many, is we limit the number of folks to 40 so that over the period of four days, you really have time to spend with the presenters that you want to spend time with one on one. And that’s really a unique benefit to the attendees , that we pride ourselves in limiting our conferences to just 40 people. So, if there is an interest on the part of your readers and listeners, we need to get the word out quickly on that.
Bill: And let me throw something else in, because I think…I kind of always like to, y’know, what’s pragmatic? So I had this idea that I wanted to do some kind of residency, a little bit of “get off the grid” in a different country and all that kind of thing, but when we first came down to the… y’know I’ve been at a number of these, Brian, as you know… and when I first met Joel in Belize and when I first me Mike the first time, went through the conference and it all makes sense to me, right, I’m taking in all this very left-brain oriented stuff, I’m writing things down, and then I’m looking over at my wife, and she’s sort of staring off into space, and then guys, I have to tell you, and she had a chance to listen to Ann, and as someone that lives there, she really put Kim at ease because, listen, convincing your wife to go get a residency someplace is a different thing than convincing yourself. Men are going to make these analytical, linear decisions in many cases, but then you’ve got another issue. So I think Ann’s a big player. Is Ann going to be talking? Tell me Ann’s going to be there.
Joel: Ann will definitely be there. Ann will be talking. I mentioned folks talking about lifestyle, and she is really our premier lifestyle presenter, so you count on her being there, and she might even lead some folks off to Wine Divine for their winetasting and tapas evening or something like that.
Bill: Yeah, Wine Divine is awesome. As long as we’re talking about that, there’s other things, but touch on a few restaurants we go to. Generally we eat at Hidden Treasure. What, I mean, why Hidden Treasure? I mean it’s an unbelievable place. Is there a restaurant like that that you know of?
Joel: No, I mean, it’s unique. And we really try to find the unique experiences, because that’s one of the things you’ll get in Belize. You will just get a world of unique experiences. And they are that. They are experiences. I mean, yeah, it’s dining but, yeah, but when you’re sitting around a big raised palapa, a you know, thatched roof place with the torches going and, I mean the ambience is really exotic and special.
Mike: Bill, I think that goes back to what we were talking about before, about the progression and development of Belize over the last 20 years. When I first went to Belize, I mean you were lucky if you could get some stewed chicken, rice and beans or maybe fresh snapper at a restaurant. Now because the tourist island of Ambergris Caye has developed so much, the people that have come, literally from all over the world, you’ll find restaurants owned and operated by Europeans, by North Americans, by Belizeans, and there’s really a very interesting fusion when it comes to food and over a three or four day period we try to make the rounds to what we think are some of the nicest restaurants and they’re very happy to have us. They always take excellent care of our groups and people always rave about the food while they’re there.
Joel: Obviously seafood is always on the menu.
Bill: It’s always on the menu, and another little thing that I like, back to that small-town idea, one of the reasons why everybody listening, if you can afford to come, you should come. Because just to give you guys an idea, you guys remember when my son, Nick, came and so him and I were out fishing for some snapper and we caught some fish and we took it to one of the restaurants – I can’t remember which one, one of the nice ones – and they cooked up our fish for us, and I think they charged us like $5 to cook it up and add rice and beans and a couple of other things, so we went in and spent $10 and we had this huge meal, and we just took it into the back door and they just cooked it up for us, so I mean, try doing that anywhere in this country, because there would be so many inspectors and so many different rules and laws. It’s like, in a way, you’ve got the warmth, you’ve got so many things, it’s like going back 100 years in America in many ways. It’s kind of the way I try to tell people. It’s not devoid of technology, but the attitude toward things… and I know you guys, might drive you crazy to, but the very first time I saw a dog walking up the street, I said, “I love this place,” because there’s not fifty bureaucrats chasing the dog, and that just makes it…
Joel: Bill, let me just say that one of the reasons that I have chosen to live in Latin American these last nine years is the freedom. I mean, for me, leaving the United States was leaving the nanny state, and the freedoms that I enjoy living in Latin America and that you find in Belize, are unbelievably refreshing. They really are and in fact, it’s interesting, you know, people always think “south of the border, you know, what’s the crime like?” You know, my wife, two years ago—I have a six-year old and a ten-year old today, so they were four and eight at the time—my wife had the girls back up here in the States visiting the grandparents, whatever, and they were in Walmart, and my wife heard herself say, “Girls, stay close to me. We’re in the U.S. now.” I mean, wow… I mean what a weird juxtaposition of things, to hear yourself say. Yeah, we feel liberated, free, and safe and that’s one of the reasons that we stay in Latin America.
Bill: Yeah, and especially with Belize, I’ve always loved Belize from the security side. I think since Belize has been there, Joel and Mike, maybe you’ve got a better idea than I do, but I know you had a revolution, you had the Baymen fighting off the Spanish once or twice and then when they first formed the country, I think some Guatemalan tanks came up to the border, said “Hey, maybe we own some of Belize” and the British flew some Harriers in there, saying “no, you don’t own any of it,” and they went home—other than those incidents, has there been any civil craziness in that country?
Joel: Even in the ‘70s and the ‘80s when much of Central and Latin America had those types of issues and problems, I mean, Belize is a very centrist society, I mean you have right-wing parties and left-wing parties, but they’re really not that far apart. And when the government changes one to the other, there’s no revolution or threats of civil unrest. I mean it’s very democratic, their constitution is very much modeled after Canada’s constitution, and it’s a very peaceful place. I don’t have anything negative to say about it.
Brian: And I would add, y’know when Joel leads off, you had me at “Hello” with the asset protection conference. But for me it’s the white beaches, it’s when you come down and hang out, your little bungalow…
Bill: That’s Joel! That’s his… Joel has to do that…
Brian: … oh please come … the asset protection coverage… you had me at “hello.” Well, and it did for me, being the other guy that isn’t terribly focused just on that, maybe Mike can kind of concur, but I dig the little bungalows, little hutch, 300 feet of pristine white sand beaches. We talked about the largest cave structure in, golly guys, at least in Central America, all kinds of cool things to do—the fishing, the snorkeling—it’s just, it’s a beautiful place to go and veg for a little while, get some great information during the day, take in the sunrise, take in the sunset, it’s a cool place to come and hang out, not withstanding Joel’s asset protection stuff…
Bill: And you’ll get all that, you get all the asset protection stuff…
Bill: …and there’s the best of all, of the professionals, Brian, you heard many of them speak. What Mike and I have been kicking around, and what I think you would really get a kick out of as well, Brian, is if there are some folks that would like to come down there and talk about starting and off-the-grid community, we’ve been playing with this, we’re going to go look at some land, we’re looking for like-minded people, so if you’d like to come to this conference, this asset protection conference and enjoy a little sun, a little camaraderie with some folks that might feel the same way you do about the world and have a very enjoyable time, this would be a great time for us to get a chance to chat, talk about some things, off the grid as it were, and maybe do some planning…
Brian: But not totally off the grid, not totally off the grid, you know. There’s high speed wireless Internet access, we’re not asking people to go cold turkey, come to Belize and leave everything behind. You’ll still have a chance to check your email, say hello to your friends, let them know what a blast you’re having. So it’s the best of both worlds when we get there at the Exotic Cayes resort, just it’s kind of a cool place.
Bill: So this is the first time we’ve ever said this, but come and hang out with us. Come and talk with us, and check out Belize, and if you want to do it, we’re going to give you a website to go to, we’re going to give you a little banner you can see on the radio page here, but we’re also going to let you call our office if you’d like to come, just to keep things understandable for us. If you’d like to come to Belize for this conference, call our office number at 815-259-4552 and just tell the operator that you’re interested in Belize and I’ll call you back personally, and talk to them about Belize, see what they want to talk about, see what they want to do, and then we’ll hook them up with Joel and Mike and get them enrolled in the conference. But I’d really like to get the chance to talk to you personally about Belize, and about whether you’d like to come or not. So I won’t be there to answer that phone, but I will call you back if you call. And, as I said, when we get there…
Brian: So, you gave the office number, right?
Bill: I gave the office number, Brian.
Brian: So it’s going to be August 2nd through the 5th. It’s a beautiful place. Look, it’s going to be warm and muggy in the States in the beginning week of August. It might be just as warm in Belize, but how cool would it be to be hanging out on the beach, getting some great information…
Bill: The breeze!
Brian: The breeze, do some snorkeling and everything else, it’s going to be a blast. I also want to mention that if you come to Off the Grid News, we’re going to have a banner up, right Jeramy? We’re going to have a banner, you click on that banner, it’ll give you all the information that Joel Nagel and Michael Cobb have been discussing with us today. Guys, unfortunately, we have to run, but I wanted to thank you. Also make mention of their website as well before we go, again Belizeisfun.com, and that’ll give you an idea of some of the cool pictures. Also, if you want to reach out to them in advance, you can get a hold of Joel – [email protected], and Mike at [email protected]. Bill , anything else before we let them go?
Bill: No. We’ll post those emails. If you’re looking for asset protection information, get a hold of Joel. If you’re looking for maybe, property opportunities, shoot Mike an email. These guys are trustable folks, friends of ours, and just people we enjoy hanging out with, so by all means, engage them in what they do best.
Brian: Guys, we’re looking forward to seeing you that first week in August. But as Mike said, Bill, only 40 people. I always hate to do that because it always sounds like a sales pitch, but they do fill up that quickly, so we hope our forty people are the first forty so we can all get to hang out, but the numbers are limited because they want everyone hanging out at this cool resort, you know what I mean? The space is limited so please take full advantage, and the fact that Bill had given you his phone number or that you now have the emails for Joel and Mike, take full advantage of it. Ladies and gentlemen, as always, thank you so very much for listening to Off the Grid Radio. Be sure to email us with your questions, your comments, your critiques, at [email protected]. Of course you can find us on Facebook – facebook.com/offthegridnews, the fastest growing page Bill, on Facebook, when it comes to all things off the grid. And also you can follow us on Twitter @offgridnews.com. Thank you so very much for hanging out with us here at Off the Grid News.