The Truth Of Puerto Rico
Why I'm Leaving and Paying All Taxes
So, back in January I was seeing the buzz about crypto people moving to Puerto Rico because of the Act 22/60 decrees that basically enabled you to pay only 4% income tax and 0% capital gains. Sounds amazing!!
My wife is a Salsa and Latin Ballroom dancer that loves latin culture, Spanish, etc and we have been talking for years about going on an adventure. We figured, here is our excuse to try something new and see a new place!
I spent $24,000 to setup my Puerto Rico company and file everything through a legal team in PR. We sold everything we had (or gave it to neighbors) and got on a plane.
When we arrived the heat hit me like a brick right off the plane. There were no customs or anything which shocked me. We went to our Airbnb in Dorado which I booked for 6 weeks to find a house. Some of the requirements for the Act Decrees are, you have to buy a property within 2 years, donate $10,000 per year to a charity, live in PR 6 months of the year, do your banking through PR banks, get a Real ID etc.
Our Airbnb was grossly misadvertised. It was so bad. No hot water. Power went out for a day. It was promoted as a single family home all to yourself but the owners actually blocked out a part of the house for them to live in while renting out the rest. One night the owners little girl came into our side and my 8 year old woke up to a child staring at her in the middle of the night. The owners wife was TERRIBLE. There is more but overall, we were ripped off bad right from the start.
We found a house and left the Airbnb 3 weeks early. They made out like bandits.
We met some locals that gave us the low down on what to expect in PR it wasn’t a funny situation. Dont drive down the wrong street at night or you might get shot. Dont tint your windows too dark or you might get shot because people can’t see who you are. Even the police only make $25,000 a year and one of them delivered our furniture. He also gave us similar advice. Told us to get guns and where to register them etc. Before moving here we were told that the police were corrupt and if you got pulled over, if you were a Gringo they would create problems for you but to avoid it, hold a $100 bill out of your window and the cop would take it and leave you alone. Gringo tax. Well, I asked this cop and he said, NOOOOOOO, if you do that the cop will get backup and fuck you up. They dont make much money but they take great pride in their job and that is super insulting. I was actually relieved to hear that. However, there aren’t that many cops anyway…
Our first week in the new house, we heard loud pops all the time. We told ourselves they were car backfires. We found out later that we were half right. Friends over at our house one night explained the difference of the sounds as we all listened. Half were expected to be backfires because people do stuff to their cars to make them sound like gun shots. The others were actual automatic rifle fire followed by a few 9m handgun shots. So, yeah, we learned how to tell what was what. Now, we are used to it. Everyone we’ve asked said its all gangs and drug shootings but if you aren’t involved in any of that, you dont have to worry. Maybe not, as long as they are good shots…
Anyway, the first few months I suffered from Vertigo, which basically kept my head locked in a position in bed for the most part as I could barely walk. Meclizine cured me.
The one good thing about PR is that the pharmacies will sell you pretty much anything you want over the counter as long as its not a controlled substance.
Now, we get to the real situation. Infrastructure. The power company here was bought by a company called LUMA which is referred to as the Luma Mafia. Not only do they bill you whatever they want, but the power goes out daily and if its on, its sending voltage surges through everyones homes and in some cases causing house fires. It’s been like this since they took over. I had Solar installed which luckily I ordered as soon as we bought the house. I have everything important running on APC backups just in case. It’s bad. I wasn’t able to work at all as everything would flicker and reset sometimes 10 times in as many minutes, like a child playing with the power switch. It hasn’t gotten any better.
The banking here…Popular Bank and Oriental have more branch offices on the island than a MacDonalds. They are everywhere! However, everywhere you look, you see stories of how corrupt Popular is and frankly, I just dont trust my money in any of these banks here.
Finally, the traffic here is horrendous. I’ve never seen anything like it. Imagine a place where everyone is driving gocarts in a race against time. Now, replace the gocarts will cars and trucks. No traffic rules, no respect for the road or others on it and really nobody policing them. I saw my first death by accident here just last week. A box truck pancaked himself into a Semi truck and accordianed his cab with him hanging out of it. It was shocking and though this is super common around here, nobody has the sense to learn to drive more safely. There is actually a privately owned highway here that is no policed at all that everyone uses for racing. It’s insane.
In closing, I know this isn’t exactly a crypto post, but for any of you considering moving to Puerto Rico, I’d definitely visit a month or two first. You wont stay. Now, I may be more compelled to make it work if Biden had pushed capital gains to 48% which he wanted to, but its only gone up to 28% and while its all robbery in my opinion, living here made me realize that having money means nothing if you’re miserable in life to save some of it. I’m too old to live this way. I’ll chose safety, infrastructure and security from now on.