True Patriots Can Protest their National Anthem

Not sure if I’m addicted to the news, but I’ll admit, Trump entertains me. Like every day it seems. It’s uncanny how often I ask “What could top this?
And then Trump does something worse. And again…and again…

Here’s just a few sports-related highlights over the past 48 hours:

Petulant Child-in-Chief

Just this morning, President Cheeto tweets his feelings got hurt when a NBA player wouldn’t be honoured to visit the White House.

Dictator-in-Chief

Just yesterday Trump actually got his latest rally crowd into a fervor, chanting “USA!! USA!! USA!!” He asked the crowd “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when someone disrespects our flag, get that son-of-a-bitch off the field! He’s fired!

Within seconds, the crowd is revved up, chanting, like the pissed off sheep that they are.

And what caused Trump’s panty-twist? Colin Kaepernick, a former SF 49er’s player took a knee last year during the national anthem, to protest how, even in 2017, the US still has a massive problem with racial injustice. Trump couldn’t disagree more.

Racist-in-Chief

If you’re confused that President Cheeto would get angry by a minority athlete raising awareness, it makes more sense when you remember Trump also defended the nazis parading in Charlottesville. Yeah, remember way back (just a few weeks), when Trump defended their group as having “some very fine people“?

 

Endless Entertainment

I can see how Trump supporters must view the media as constantly attacking him. I understand it. He supplies endless fodder for them. Maybe I am addicted to watching this train wreck.

Thankfully, I’m not on the railroad tracks, per se. We live in Canada. That said, we’re well affected by Cheeto’s escapades. But maybe I’ll dive into that in another post.

Cheers, -Jeff

 

 

 

 

Flowfold Wallets – Flexible Strength from Maine, USA

This is a review of a few wallets from a cool startup in Maine. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised as I was.

First, I got two quick disclaimers:

  1. I was sent these sample wallets, for my honest review.
  2. I’ve been travelling a lot to Maine lately.

Wait, what? Those 2 things aren’t related. But #2 has me writing this from the heart. When the mailman delivered a couple wallets and I saw they’re from Peaks Island, Maine, located just outside Portland, I was stoked. More on Maine later – for now, check out these four wallets.

 Four Wallets, Four Styles

I got four wallets from Flowfold. All of them give an early impression of lightweight strength.

The Minimalist: card sleeve for the bare essentials

The Traveler: standard tri-fold wallet, but super light. Thin but tough.

The Navigator: for your passport, 2 nation’s bills & a several cards. Keeping it light.

The Vanguard: standard bi-fold, my favourite for simple style and feel.

My 2 Cents on Each

You got some pictures and some thoughts. But nothing beats having your hands on these. So, let me give you some of my thoughts, based on hands-on experience.

When the brand manager offered to send a few wallets, I was open to the idea. When I saw their styles online, I was interested. And, when I got them in hand, then I was convinced. These wallets are, in few words, thin, tough, and very lightweight. But their mass doesn’t suggest weakness.

On the Minimalist, this wallet is for the quick grab-and-go, with the bare essentials. It is obviously for when you’re needing to keep on your just the minimum. Now, their website specifies “6-8 credit cards and a few bills.” Personally, I found 6 cards and one folded bill are the max I’d want to force in. And a good thing that it will still snugly hold in just 2-4 cards, without worry.

On the Traveler, this was a pleasant surprise. It held as much as a tri-fold can, but still felt only like a bi-fold in the back pocket. You know, when I was a young buck, I loved tri-fold wallets, how they held so much, -I was somebody special with a huge wallet! But now, as a much older guy, I don’t want to feel like I’m sitting on a small book. No worries- the Traveler delivers exceptionally there – it holds plenty, but the wallet itself hardly takes any space. Pictured above is the “black pearl” style.

On the Vanguard, this thing is thin – it’s almost like a minimalist in the hand. But it’s a bi-fold. I end up switching personal wallets and using this one for good.  Pictured above is the wallet in Heather Grey, which is my favourite style of all sampled.

On the Navigator, Now we’re talking to people with a passport to carry. You can just barely see my passport included in the above picture. The Navigator sleeves the passport on the right, while cards, bills are on the left. Note, there are two areas for bills, if you wish to different currencies separate. Overall, and I sound like a broken record, the wallet is deceivingly lightweight, but it has obvious strength. Definitely the biggest of all, tipping the scale at a whopping 31 grams or 1 ounce. Ha! – the sugar I put in coffee weighs more than this wallet.

Overall – for all these wallets, I keep on about how light they are. Naturally, after you put in all the cards, etc, your wallet will have some weight to it. But it is nice the wallet itself adds almost nothing. Most people choosing a heavy leather wallet only mean to double how much mass in in their back pocket all day.  When I’m driving, walking or riding a bike, I much prefer feeling only the necessities.

Me & Maine

Like I say above, I’ve been travelling to Maine a lot lately. For the first time in several years, I am over the 330+ day “outside the US” rule. Meaning, I spent more than 30 days within a 12-month period within the US – ruining tax exempt status. But I digress… back to why these wallets are cool.
In a few words, life and the people of Maine are sweet, simple and easy going. In fact, when you drive into Maine, the road sign says it best: “The Way Life Should Be.”

the way life should be

From their literature and site, you learn that Flowfold is based in Peaks Island, Maine. Where is Peaks Island, you ask? Peaks Island is a small but popular island reachable by ferry from downtown Portland. Knowing the Flowfold concept originated from Maine, it tells me that these wallets “are the way a wallet should be.” (yeah, a bit cheesy)

 

American Politics in the Gutter

If you live in the States (hell, anywhere), you’re all too aware of the train-wreck that is the U.S. White House.

In years past, to be “presidential” meant to be solemn, dignified and refined. Perhaps even elevated and formal. Perform like a statesman and an inspired leader. And as a leader of other refined and formal men and women under you.

The White House today is far from refined and formal.

Here’s a quote from today, from Anthony Scaramucci, Trump’s contentious pick as his Communications Director:

“I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock,”

This is literally an unsolicited, on-the-record statement, to a reporter, from the official White House Communications Director, regarding the Chief Strategist to the President of the United States of America.

And for Scaramucci, that’s just the tip (of the iceberg). He’s a true vulgarian.

Holy shit guys. I mean, really… how much farther does it need to go before you decide this is the perfect time to get away for a few years.

Need to know how? Join the Expat program, of Gone in One Year. And be gone, done with this train-wreck.

How Not To Pay Taxes (How to not pay Trump to golf)

Two things Americans don’t like:

  1. Paying taxes.
  2. Watching their President play so much golf.

Well, sadly, as an American you must pay taxes.
Correction: you must report that you have income.

The good news is, as an American, you only need to file. You don’t usually have to pay anything. And for most expats (people living abroad), you very likely won’t pay a dime to the US. But you still must file.

As an American living abroad, you file every year about your income, your bank accounts, any foreign loans (e.g. mortgage) …and your paid taxes. This is the pain in the ass part of living abroad.

For the good news when living abroad, your income is tax exempt. Yes, you read that right. When you file your taxes, you include filing a form 2555, or the “Foreign Earned Income Exclusion” form. It’s not a difficult form, but it’s a very important one. Very important to you, if you don’t like paying taxes.

Why Not Pay Taxes?

Why not pay taxes? Because it goes to Trump’s pocket. Want to know how you don’t pay Trump and his family for his golf trips? Read on.

You probably know this already (unless you only watch Fox News). But Trump plays a lot of golf. And he, all the security people, the whole entourage, guests, etc… pay to be there. Who pays for everyone? Taxpayers do. (That’s you.) Trump is President now, so he’s paid for by the people.

Where does the money go? Who owns each and every golf course and resort? Trump and his family.

Sorry if this is too much hand-holding. It is simple and straight-forward.

How to Stop Paying Trump to Golf?

Move abroad.

Enjoy more in life. Live in a new culture. Eat your favorite “foreign” food. Even learn a new language. Raise your kids in a fairer, smarter school system. All these benefits, if you can just get past the one step, the one mental hurdle – move abroad.

Once abroad, you’ll earn your income as always. And you’ll file and pay taxes there. You’ll also file taxes in the US, but you won’t pay anything.

The home country will make better use of your tax dollars (euros, yen, dinars). And your kids will be much better off for it. Think of how differently your children will see the world, if they experience it first-hand, rather than read only how others see the US in the news.

 

No Climate Pact? Time to Leave

Need a reason to leave the US?

Reason #101: Climate Change

“President” Trump today pulled the US out of the Paris climate accord.

It’s astonishing, even for Trump. Essentially every citizen, business and leader in the world (yes, including the USA) believes saving the planet is a good idea. Not Trump.

Sadly, Trump, the orange man-baby that he is, continues to appeal to his redneck base. The sad little man has become even more isolated, more unstable and more orange since leaving the G-7 summit last week. While in Europe, the real leaders pressed Trump hard for an answer about the US’s commitment to reversing climate change.  Unsurprisingly, Trump didn’t have the courage to give his answer then. He waited until back home. His answer: to join Syria, as the only country who doesn’t believe in the climate accord. There are 195 countries who are committed, with or without the US.

Trump Gives Another Reason to Leave, and Live Anywhere Else

Just about anywhere else you want to go, people shake their heads at Trump. He’s insanely naive, uneducated, allegedly unable to read, cowardly, and deeply dependent on praise. Yet, he continues to embarrass his fellow citizens, while the world continues to laugh at him. And while you continue to live there, people are essentially laughing at you. It’s time to make up your mind to act. Either stand up against him, or find a country that fits you and your family.

Trump Quits Climate Pact
Trump: “Don’t laugh at me!” — Too late.

Don’t Laugh – You Can Leave

I was just reading an article about a woman who is being jailed, for laughing. Crazy? Apparently, not if you laughed at the wrong person.

A lady laughed out loud at the confirmation hearing for Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The lady laughed right after a statement how Sessions “treating all Americans equally under the law is clear and well documented.” She just got sentenced to a year in jail. Read the original source article here.

protesters at jeff sessions confirmation
— No Laughing Allowed —

Oh, but don’t you worry — it couldn’t happen to you…right?

Please, if you tend to spontaneously giggle, you might weigh the added risk and decide to live abroad for a few years.

Bigly

The Fifth Box: The Moving Box. Exercise Your Rights

Here’s a popular quote among gun owners & 2nd Amendment activists:

There are four boxes to be used in the defense of liberty: soap, ballot, jury and ammo. Please use in that order.source

I just discovered this quote not 10 minutes ago. For me, it’s got a magical touch, rattling off four items, related only in being boxes. But the message is powerful. But then I asked where am I? Where is Expat Yourself’s place in that series? Answer: it isn’t.

My answer isn’t in these four boxes, so I’m adding the fifth box: the Moving Box.

time to pack

For me, my answer is choosing not to dig in and defend, but to pack up and push on. Perhaps to others, it’s the ‘easy way’ out, even unpatriotic. But it’s a choice I’ll defend to any who question it. What’s your choice?

 

Best Destination for a UK Expat

 

There are many reasons for wanting to up-sticks and leave the UK, better weather, a new job, a fresh start or perhaps economic uncertainty surrounding Brexit. Whatever it might be, your new home needs to be somewhere that makes your life better whether you’re going it alone or taking your family too. So, as experts in this area, we put our collective heads together and did the research using information from reputable intergovernmental organisations such as the UN, World Bank and OCED, to name a few, to give us the most accurate findings and help see which nations are indeed the best for those looking to make the move and become expats.

What we Did

In order to find the best list of destinations, we had to decide on a data set. This covered a variety of different variables and aspects that could affect the day-to-day living of the typical expatriate and to explore what can really lead to an improved quality of life.

We felt that a full assessment of popular nations around the world was the best way to go about this; so, we selected 18 countries from around the world, those you’d typically associate with UK expats such as: Spain, Australia and the USA, as well as other locations like Mexico, Brazil and India.

We looked at 11 different data sets in total for the 18 countries, including: GDP per capita, income tax levels, average net incomes, real wages, education ranking, property price to income ratio, crime and unemployment levels, healthcare efficiency, food costs and English proficiency, which measures the level of written and spoken English in each given country. These stats gave us strong indications on a wide range of factors that affect quality of life such as how much disposable income you’d have but also how good social provisions are abroad.

After gathering the data, we then got down into the nitty-gritty of analysing all the stats and seeing which countries stood out and in which areas they performed strongest. We took what we found and compared it against the UK to see what the similarities and differences are between our nation and those overseas, to ultimately find the ideal location for potential UK expats to relocate to, by showing in which areas particular countries would offer a better quality of life than what is experienced in the UK.

Finally, with a combination of these numbers and figures and our thorough research from sources including the OECD, United Nations, World Bank, Bloomberg and more, we ranked the data by the most favourable results to get an overall table. We found some rather interesting outcomes, which show just which country is ideal for prospective UK expats, based on the socioeconomic factors we examined.

What we Uncovered

Before we reveal which country hit the top spot, some of the wider notable information we discovered includes how:

The USA has the lowest property price to income ratio, making US real estate much more affordable than that of the UK, which has one the highest ratios.

India’s food is the cheapest, it has the lowest cost of food per head in the average weekly shop throughout the 18 other nations, which equates to £86.62* for a family of four, compared to £174.74 in the UK

Singapore has the most efficient healthcare and the best education, meaning less waiting times and higher grades than in UK schools

Norway has the highest GDP per capita and the highest level of English proficiency out of the countries which don’t list English as an official language, with 68% of the population able to effectively read, write and hold a conversation in English

Ireland overall shares the most similarities to the UK, with similar income, temperature, healthcare and education rankings

The Results

Overall, Singapore was found to be the best option for UK expats, with the lowest crime rankings and most efficient healthcare. In last place was India, with low income and high crime.

  1. Singapore
  2. Canada
  3. Australia
  4. United Arab Emirates
  5. USA
  6. Norway
  7. Ireland
  8. Germany
  9. New Zealand
  10. Japan
  11. France
  12. Spain
  13. Russia
  14. China
  15. Brazil
  16. South Africa
  17. India

Note from Jeff: This is a guest post from Jim Limerick of 1st Move International, an international removals company based in the UK. Jeff’s worked with 1st Move International in the past, and feels comfortable endorsing them.