By the early 7th century, the Western Roman Empire had been dead and gone for over a century.
A fractured Europe was engulfed in the Dark Ages. Forward progress halted, education stagnated, and new technological inventions were few and far between. Large scale trade was impossible due to constant warfare.
But 5,000 miles away, China was experiencing a Golden Age. The Tang Dynasty began minting hard currency— copper coins— which stabilized a monetary system which had been weakened by previous rulers’ overspending and currency debasement.
The Tang Dynasty also revived the Silk Road, as well as established an enormous fleet of ships capable of sailing as far as Persia. And the ensuing trade bonanza helped propel Chinese economic growth and prosperity for centuries.
But eventually things changed. By the 1400s, the political climate in China had changed. The kingdom turned insular, and they dismantled the powerful maritime fleet.
Europe, on the other hand, after nearly 1,000 years of the Dark Ages, was starting to experience a Renaissance, leading to the Age of Enlightenment.
China soon plunged into poverty, and Europe rose as the most advanced civilization in the world.
This pattern has persisted since ancient Mesopotamia: even when much of the world is in darkness and despair, there are always other places which are comparatively better off… or even booming.
This is why we focus so much on obtaining multiple residencies and citizenships. Having additional options give you exposure to countries which are on a completely different trajectory.
It also means that no single government controls you, or has the final say how you can live, work, invest, and raise a family.
Most importantly, having another residency abroad, or a second passport, ensures you always have a place to go if anything ever goes wrong in your homeland.
This may be controversial to think about, but if we’re being intellectually honest, history is full of examples of once great empires who thought they would never decline, and people who thought the stability and prosperity would last forever.
Having a second residency or citizenship is especially important if you happen to come from a country that is already experiencing difficult times.
For example, one of our team members, Andre, holds a South African passport.
South Africa is a beautiful country. Honestly, it’s mesmerizing. The Western Cape is so unique, with the imposing Table Mountain framing the South Atlantic.
It’s the only place in the world where, within a couple of hours’ drive, you can see Great White sharks, whales, penguins, and sea lions, followed by elephants, lions, and zebras.
And the nearby wine region in Stellenbosch is one of the best in the world.
Too bad the politicians have screwed it up so badly.
Crime, corruption, and economic turmoil are rampant in South Africa— conditions which have made the South African passport a rather poor travel document. Andre has to constantly apply for travel visas, and it’s not an easy process.
Andre says that every single time he applies for a visa to Europe, he’s forced to provide bank statements, proof of booked accommodation, and proof of employment, even for a two week stay. And then he’s often interrogated at the border.
But that is no longer the case, because Andre has a Plan B.
In June, Andre received a D7 remote worker visa from Portugal. And this makes him an official, legal resident of the country, entitling him to come and go from the entire European continent as he pleases.
Easy travel, however, was not Andre’s primary reason for securing a Plan B in Europe.
South Africa has deep societal rifts and is plagued by violence. Portugal, like any place, has its challenges. But it is comparatively much better off, especially given the trajectory of Andre’s life and his priorities.
So Andre decided to secure options now, so that he won’t be struggling with a last minute emergency Plan B if simmering problems in South Africa erupt.
And after consider other locations in Europe, Portugal’s safety appealed to Andre.
He thinks nothing of getting on a train in Lisbon at 11 PM. But back home in Cape Town, he won’t walk more than a block from home at night. There is a constant subconscious level of stress about crime in South Africa. He doesn’t feel any of that in Lisbon.
Portugal’s D7 visa if for people who want to live in Portugal, but won’t be taking a Portuguese job; it’s for people who earn their income from outside— hence the appeal to remote workers.
While the official financial requirements are lower, we’ve been informed by our legal contacts on the ground that to stand a decent chance of being approved, single applicants need to be earning a minimum of €2,000 per month, or be able to deposit around €12,500 into a Portuguese bank account.
(At the time of this writing in September 2022, one euro is the same as one US dollar.)
Favorable government programs typically become more restrictive as they become more popular. Which is why, as we wrote about recently, you shouldn’t procrastinate if you plan to take advantage of a good residency, citizenship, or tax program.
And it’s easy to see why Portugal has been so popular for expats.
It has a relatively easy naturalization process that allows residents to apply for citizenship after just five years.
It also offers a decade of low or no taxes to new movers.
Under the Nonhabitual Tax Regime, a new resident could become legally exempt from Portuguese taxation for ten years on most foreign (non-Portuguese) income, if they meet certain requirements.
Another plus is the relatively low cost of living, which we rate as “inexpensive” on our cost of living index. That means a family of four could live very comfortably in the Lisbon area for around €5,000 per month, and a single person for about half that.
That’s why Andrew plans to spend about seven months per year in Portugal under his D7 visa. He really enjoys it there.
Of course, Portugal might not be your cup of tea. The point is that securing second (or third, or fourth…) residencies and citizenships is an important way to make sure you are never stuck in the wrong place, at the wrong time.
And that allows you to focus on the important things in life, instead of being in a constant state of anxiety about what might go wrong in one particular location.
If you want to read more about Andre’s journey, members of Sovereign Confidential can do so here.
If you’d like access to this report, and our full library of past Alerts, Case Studies, Black Papers, and Monthly Letters, as well as contact information for service providers who can help you achieve any of your Plan B goals, join Sovereign Confidential today.