8 questions with nomadic entrepreneur Andrew Henderson
The Nomad Capitalist founder has been travelling the globe and seeking out ways to maximise profits and reduce personal costs and taxes. Now he’s helping others do the same
The opportunities that our globalised world presents have long been apparent to intrepid coves such as Andrew Henderson, the founder of Nomad Capitalist, a firm which advises entrepreneurs on how to enter emerging markets.
The son of a flight attendant, Henderson inherited wanderlust from an early age, and his thirst for travel as well as business openings and financial returns has seen him become an expert on how to squeeze the most juice from new horizons.
Over the last 10 years he has travelled to between 15-20 countries a year, seeking out safe havens for investors and helping them to make their cash go further. In the process, he has managed to legally slash his global tax rate from 43 percent to 1 percent – not a bad life for a man in his 30s from the midwest US city of Cleveland.
1. Tell us a little about how Nomad Capitalist operates
We assist fluent entrepreneurs in optimising their financial situation and help them build their freedom so they can create wealth and enjoy their life.
I’m pretty much a general contractor for coordinating someone’s offshore plans. If someone needs to move their company or personal banking overseas; deal with their home country tax situation to get that cleaned up; or if they need a second passport or want to buy property: we coordinate the financial, citizenship, residency and investment stuff all into one.
2. How did you get into the business?
I was very internationally minded and I was encouraged to be so from an early age. When I was 19, I left university and started a business, which did pretty well so I leveraged that and started some other businesses. Eventually, I just said ‘hold on, I was the guy who said he was going to live overseas’, so I sold everything, upped sticks and started writing about the stuff that we are talking about here and it just turned into something. Now we have about 4 million people coming to our site to watch the videos and read the blog.
3. How can Nomad Capitalist help property investors and businesses?
I’ve travelled around and I’ve figured out a few areas where I like to invest for investment purposes. I also have some experience from buying properties around the world and have trustworthy contacts in other countries where perhaps I haven’t done business who I can refer [clients to].
TRANSPARENCY IS AN IMPORTANT THING, ESPECIALLY IN THE OFFSHORE WORLD WHERE PEOPLE ARE USING FAKE NAMES AND HIDING UNDER THEIR DESKS
Property is a very human thing but you can at least connect [your client] with people and, most importantly, make sure that works with the rest of their plan. There are also occasionally times where someone can become a resident or a citizen of a country for tax or freedom reasons by buying a property, in which case we rope that in. It’s trying to get it to all work together whilst minimising the steps.
4. Which emerging markets would you highlight as places to watch for property investment?
For property investors, and from purely returns point of view, Cambodia is a great place. It stands out to me as the least correlated market in that part of the world. It’s had no recession for more than 20 years and there’s a lot of growth. I also go there all the time and I see what’s happening and it’s very positive. Plus, the people are easy to deal with in a part of the world that is increasingly difficult for property investment (even compared with Singapore). Prices are also cheap so everyone can get in: there’s a lot of potential in the yield and growth.
5. What’s your take on investing in real estate elsewhere in Southeast Asia?
Vietnam’s a bit more difficult – even just to own an apartment – and I like ease of operation. Laos has a lot of potential but it’s extremely difficult and opaque. Thailand on the other hand is too developed and not my cup of tea. Myanmar is overrated, if you’re not Coca Cola. And I was in Mongolia recently too and was underwhelmed.
6. Any other countries on your radar?
Eastern Europe is also interesting although at a slower pace. I’m a big fan of Georgia where it is easy to transfer a title for around USD17 in about one day. That doesn’t mean the market’s as liquid or that it’s going to grow as fast but they are eager to help people.
7. How important is it to understand the culture when entering an emerging market?
It’s very important. I have always been very well served by looking at these cultural indicators. If you’re a real estate investor on anything but an institutional level, it’s important to have a good fit. If you go to a country, [which has an attitude of] ‘everything is not my problem’, that’s a culture that stems from the government. So that’s how the government is going to act when it comes to dealing with you and property.
8. Any other tips on living the ‘nomad’ lifestyle?
Transparency is an important thing, especially in the offshore world where people are using fake names and hiding under their desks. And if you’re looking to live this lifestyle then make sure you see how everything fits together. For example, if you want to get a Mexican residence permit and you want to buy a house in Mexico, maybe save yourself time by getting the real estate residence permit. Why create more work for yourself?
This article originally appeared in Issue No. 146 of PropertyGuru Property Report Magazine
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