Tropical Splendour

Posted on Thursday, November 19th, 2009 at 3:19 pm in

One of the world’s top financial investment advisers and newsletter editors, Martin Spring and his wife, Liz, have spent the past few weeks moving into what he says in his Afrodyn newsletter will be their new winter quarters in Northern Thailand — a condominium just across the river from where the equally famous investment commentator Marc Faber lives.

In his latest newsletter, Martin says that Faber reckons that one could live in charming Chiang Mai for just 20 per cent of the cost of Western Europe, and he didn’t think his estimate was way out.

Coincidentally, another investment commentator, Justice Little of the Outstanding Investments newsletter, has recently been advising people not just the semi-retired, — to buy the tropics.

According to Spring, the logic behind the idea is that nearly-free electronic communication, air-conditioning, disease control and global tourism have dismantled the historic practical and attitudinal barriers to living in the tropics.

The increasingly uncomfortable environment of the colder northern regions (high taxes, over-regulation, social breakdown) acts as an incentive to relocate to warmer countries where the cost of living is far lower, domestic help is abundant, traditional values continue to dominate social relationships, and the locals are usually much friendlier.

However, there’s more to this than a southwards flow of retirees from Europe, North America and in the future, I expect, Japan.

Justice Little is also reported as suggesting: Over the next 50 years that whole band-around-the-equator area, long neglected as a vacation spot, is going to become a hotbed of knowledge migration, capital migration, technology implementation, passport arbitrage, tax treaties….… you name it. Technology enables all this.

One of Australasia’s top property and resort developers, Timothy T Manning is said to be a great believer in the theory.

The Expat’s club in Chiang Mai, which is about to celebrate its first anniversary, already has around 250 members from North America, Europe and Japan. The first swallow of the Spring