Why Move To Chile?
Why Chile? Besides having amazing scenery, and being home to Patagonia; Chile was ranked number seven in the world for economic freedom (four spots higher than the United States) by the Heritage Foundation. In addition, the "Best Countries for Business" list by Forbes, places Chile as the number one country in the world for personal freedom. Below are more details on why you should move to Chile!
Chile ranks number one in South America for economic freedom and places number seven in the world for economic freedom. This is four points higher than the United States. What makes Chile stand out is that over the past five years its economic freedom score has increased by 1.1 points on the Heritage Foundation's scale, while the United States has made a decline of 1.6 points on the scale. Chile’s world leadership in economic freedom has been built over many decades on the solid foundations of rule of law, limited government, regulatory efficiency, and open markets.
Chile places second in the world for protecting property rights. The great thing is, foreigners have the same property rights as a Chilean citizen. For the most part, Chileans respect other people's private property, and will usually not cross a fence, or go through a gate without prior permission.
Freedom from Corruption:
Chile is among South America's least corrupt countries. The country ranks in the top 25 least corrupt countries in the world above Uruguay, Austria, Bahamas, and the United Arab Emirates. The police don't stand for bribes of any kind and anyone trying will likely end up in jail.
Stable Monetary System:
Chile differs greatly from most of its South American neighbors in that it has the most open market in the southern hemisphere. It has little to no export tariffs and it actually has two forms of currency. It has the paper Chilean Peso (CLP) which is loosely connected to the U.S dollar and the UF (Unidad de Foment). The UF is not a paper currency, but rather a benchmark for valuation. Real estate, insurance premiums, and other large purchases are usually priced in UF. The UF is in no way pegged to the CLP (chilean peso), but it is considered inflation-proof. One UF is approximately $50 USD.
Many things in Chile are run by privatized companies rather than government funded services. For example, trash collection (in some cities) is operated by a privatized company. Chileans understand the important role that businesses and entrepreneurs have in creating jobs and generating wealth. The result is a high-quality domestic industrial base that provides high quality goods and services to the people in Chile.
The immigration policies are very "pro-Chile". They want people to come who will benefit the country. If you have no way to support yourself, no business ideas, and no assets of any sort, then you probably won't get residency in Chile. However, if you have periodic income, assets, a business plan, or anything that shows you can support yourself, then residency will likely be easy for you to get. For entrepreneurs, Chile has a program called "Startup Chile". This program offers $40,000 USD in equity free capital to entrepreneurs with business ideas or to new businesses that are less than three years old to move to/start up in Chile. Business Opportunity: Chile recently passed a law that made Chile the easiest and cheapest country in the world to form a corporation. It is free and can be done online in one day! Chileans are welcoming to new ideas, new businesses, new products, unique services, etc. With such a free market the possibilities are endless.
Ease of Pet Immigration:
Chileans love animals (especially dogs). The process to bring in your pet is straightforward and fairly easy. No long lists of required vaccines, no quarantines, and no extensive health exams. You basically need rabies vaccine, parasite treatment, and a simple health exam that takes 5 minutes.
Chile is the first country in South America to reach “first world” status. In case you were wondering, Chile has clean running water, good electricity, and all the comforts of a "first world" country. Santiago, Chile's capital, is considered the most internet connected city in Latin America, and the number one city to conduct business in Latin America. There are less "big box" stores, but you will be able to find whatever you may need at friendly independent stores. They are always beyond helpful and appreciate your business.
This is a common question when people consider moving to Chile. Most people will be relieved to know that Chile has top of the line, "first world" healthcare. A lot of the doctors are trained in the United States and Europe and speak English as well. A referral is not necessary to see a medical specialist. The healthcare in Chile is extremely cheap compared to that of the United States. Pharmacies (Farmacias) are easy to find, and in a major city they are practically on every corner. Many of them are open 24 hours a day. Ambulances and medical air evacuation is also available. Health insurance for foreigners is very affordable and relatively easy to get.
This is an important topic, because no one wants to take their family to a dangerous country. Chile is one of the safest countries in Latin America. Chile's police, the Carabineros, are well respected and one of the least corrupt police forces in the world. Compared to the United States, Chile has 20 times less total crime, one-third of marijuana usage, 90% less opiate drug usage, almost one-third of the murder rate, 50% less rape, and 27% less intentional violent crime. The murder rate per one million people is 33% less than the U.S. Chile’s fire-fighters, the Bomberos, are an efficient volunteer team that responds to fires in the surrounding area.
Privatized Social Security System:
Chile is the envy of the world with their sustainable, privatized social security system engineered by Milton Friedman. You are required to pay a certain percent into it, but once you do, it’s all your responsibility. You get to decide how you would like to manage it, where you want your risk profile at, and what you want your income/return goals to be. It’s all yours to manage in Chile!
Cost of Living:
Even for people on a budget, Chile is an excellent place to live. The cost of living compared to the U.S is considerably cheaper. Compared to the United States, Chile's grocery prices are 98% lower, their rent prices are 154% lower, restaurant prices are 78% lower, and consumer prices are 62% lower. Internet is 46% cheaper and utilities are 45% cheaper.
Fresh Meat and Fish:
Since you’re never more than 3 hours away from the coast, there is always fresh fish and seafood. Chile's ocean has the Humboldt Current, which is home to some of the best fish in the world. At fish markets you can find fresh salmon, mackerel, conger eel, roballo, merluza, low mercury swordfish, tuna, grouper, rockfish, king crab, blue crab, stone crab, abalone, 10 species of clams, scallops, 5 species of mussels, oysters, keyhole limpets, sea squirt, squid, sea urchins, fresh picked seaweed, smelt, shrimp, octopus, flounder, and more. Beef in Chile is mostly or 100% grass-fed. Most of their beef comes from Argentina and Brazil, who don't grain feed their cattle, and if you’re in the south, then the beef is most likely from that area or Patagonia where they also only eat grass. Lamb is of extremely high quality and the lamb from Patagonia has been claimed to be the best in the world.
Fresh Fruit and Vegetables:
The fruit and vegetable markets in Chile are amazing. Most of it is grown locally. You won't find waxed fruit, or vegetables that have been chemically sprayed to death. You will find huge displays of heirloom potatoes of all different shapes and colors, heads of cabbage the size of a basketball, giant stalks of celery, and beets that are so dark purple they look black. We have found that the vegetables have so much flavor, that they almost don't require seasoning. Vegetables and fruits are fairly inexpensive compared to U.S prices.
Cheese and Wine:
Chile is known for its wine. In central Chile you will find rows and rows of vineyards. There is a law in place that does not allow high fructose corn syrup and other additives in Chilean wine. You can buy a good bottle of wine for as cheap as a few dollars. Another thing you will find readily available (especially in the south) in Chile is artisanal cheese. No fake slices of "cheese product" here (except in big box stores), only real, fresh, tasty wheels of homemade, artisanal cheese. Fresh wheels of cheese can be bought at most markets and stores. Also fresh butter can be found almost everywhere.
In 2012 a Chilean olive oil won the gold medal in the SOL d'Oro Competition. Unlike European olive oils, Chile does not mix their olive oil with other low quality oils. It’s only pure, fresh olive oil here. Good olive oil is easy to find in Chile. It can be found in health food stores, little food shops, and markets all around Chile.
Lack of poisonous animals and other obnoxious pests:
When most people think of South America, they think of jungles full of poison dart frogs, giant snakes, huge poisonous bugs, and other dangerous animals. Chile is an exception to that common thought. There is only one mildly poisonous snake, and the only really poisonous insects are brown recluse spiders and kissing bugs (usually only found in the far north). Snake bite incidents are almost non-existent, and spider and bug bites are fairly rare. Chile is free of fire ants, has very few mosquitos, and very few ticks. Chile is also free of malaria, yellow fever, and most other major diseases. Despite having lots of "wild" dogs, there isn't any rabies in Chile either.
Friendly People and Excellent Customer Service:
The people in Chile are just amazing. They will always go out of their way to help you out. If you can't find a store then there always seems to be a random person volunteering to escort you to the place. If a store doesn't have something you want, then go back in a week or two. Chances are they ordered it and will start keeping it in stock for you.
Since Chile is the longest country in the world, there are unlimited climates to choose from. The climates range from dry, true desert up north to 200 plus inches of rain a year down far south. To the east you have snow and tall mountains, and to the west you have different coastal climates.
Scenery, hiking, and other activities:
Besides having a diverse climate, Chile also has diverse scenery and terrain. Up north you have flat desert in between coastal desert and desert mountains. Northern Central Chile has amazing sand beaches with one spot being the best surfing spot in the world. As you go further south, you will find more and more vegetation, lots of rivers, lakes, and volcanoes. South Central Chile is home to the Valdivian Temperate Rain Forest, the largest temperate rain forest in the world. A little further south you will get into the famous Patagonia and Torres Del Paine National Park. All of this area is known for world class fly fishing. Between hiking, horseback riding, skiing, photography, fly fishing, hunting, surfing, beach combing, camping, and many other activities readily available, you will never get bored!
One reason Chile is an excellent choice is that it is in the southern hemisphere. 95% of the world’s pollution is created in the northern hemisphere. Air from the northern hemisphere virtually doesn't mix with the southern hemisphere. 85% of the world’s rainforests are in the southern hemisphere (Chile has the world’s largest temperate rain forest). Rain forests are natural pollution filters. 96% of storm related deaths are in the northern hemisphere. Life expectancy is higher in the southern hemisphere compared to the northern hemisphere. Fukushima and depleted uranium continue to be a problem in the northern hemisphere as well.