There are innumerable reasons why wealthy people might choose to leave their country in favor of another. Family issues, personal preferences, regulations, safety, or business opportunities force people at all economic levels to emigrate, and the same is true of the rich. The difference between rich people and everyone else is that they are able to move and relocate much more often and as soon as conditions in their current location become unfavorable to increasing their wealth.
The wealthy have always moved to where they can make more money. The difference today is that there are increasingly more of them and their activities are much easier to track. As a country’s moral and ethical culture shifts, the political and economic frameworks shift to match. Most often, the wealthy are fleeing either corrupt politics or a society that would force them to contribute their fair share to their community. Instead, they choose to move (or at least relocate their assets) to countries that favor the wealthy and allow them to skirt the financial laws in their native home.
It would be nearly impossible for us to analyze the reasons of every millionaire every time they move. But we can look at trends and make educated guesses. Also, every country is different, so sometimes the same law or event in one country might have a different effect in another. Here is why millionaires are getting out of these 10 countries as fast as possible.
High costs of living, overcrowding, and new government regulations meant to combat high inflation all contribute to the exodus of millionaires from Japan. In fact, Tokyo has started paying people to leave the city to help revitalize dwindling rural areas. The metropolises of Japan are among the most expensive places to live in the world, so it would make sense that those with the means to leave would do so in order to make their money last longer.
Recent Japanese economic reforms have driven the value of the Yen down dramatically. Those who have money invested in the Japanese economy would want to leave to help preserve that wealth.
#9 South Africa
Ever since 2021, South Africa has experienced a significant destruction of wealth across all economic levels. Many millionaires actually dropped out of that exclusive level while others left the country. Yet, even though South Africa has a net loss of millionaires this year, it was still ranked the safest tax haven in the world by the Financial Secrecy Index in 2020.
In Mexico, the rich have been able to increase their wealth 117 times faster than everyone else in the country. A new government in Mexico, however, has begun to crack down on the wealthy and their ability to avoid paying taxes or break the law. A new proposed legislation equates tax fraud with organized crime, allowing the government to seize any assets involved with fraud. The government also passed a new law that would make significant tax fraud a national security threat.
Naturally, many millionaires who take advantage of tax loopholes, participate in tax fraud, or are afraid of future legislation, left the country for friendlier lands.
#7 South Korea
As one of the most successful economies in Asia, South Korea has seen an explosion of growth in just the last few decades. This has produced many millionaires who are eager to take their wealth to a place where the cost of living is lower. The number of millionaires leaving South Korea has less to do with any economic or political changes in the country, and more to do with people gaining the ability to leave with their wealth. In South Korea, it is easier for people to leave with their wealth than in other countries. Capital mobility is high in South Korea, so those who want to leave for a country they might like better can do so without much trouble.
#6 Hong Kong
When your country doesn’t exist according to some of the most powerful countries on Earth, it’s hard to feel like your investments are safe. The political tension between China, Hong Kong, and their relevant allies continues to be an economic strain on the country. As the Chinese government increases its control over the small nation, millionaires who are afraid of military conflict or more strict financial laws are fleeing the country. Many of them are leaving for the same reason millionaires are leaving mainland China, since the laws there are stricter and the economy more controlled. State surveillance and war are not what millionaires are looking for in their favorite seaside mansions.
Millionaires are primarily leaving Brazil due to economic and political uncertainty, and the unreliability of their investments within the country. An unpredictable political future has caused economic conflict and wild upheaval within the government. Corruption and crime still plague the Brazilian government, undermining confidence in any economic reform.
Brazil’s extreme income inequality has motivated the government to address the issue, further making conditions inhospitable for the greedy and wealthy. Those who have the means to leave are moving to the United States where the financial institutions are more stable and the political climate more reliable. At least the corruption in the U.S. is predictable.
Western countries, backed primarily by the United States, have imposed harsh economic and political sanctions on Russia following their invasion of Ukraine and other humanitarian offenses. Many of the richest people in Russia are oligarchs who have been specifically targeted by these sanctions and are not permitted to leave. Their assets are frozen and their international business is halted. Those who have flown under the radar are now fleeing before the sanctions get any worse or they draw the ire of U.S. foreign policy.
#3 United Kingdom
The main event driving millionaires from the United Kingdom’s shores is what is colloquially known as Brexit. This was when the UK voted narrowly to leave the European Union. One of the most important things to a growing millionaire is political and economic stability and predictability, and few things are as stable, powerful, or predictable as the European Union. Before Brexit, millionaires were actually coming to the UK. When the UK voted to leave, however, many of the existing laws were soon to expire and had to be rewritten. Things like travel, trade, and banking across the border soon became much more difficult and expensive.
The main considerations for millionaires leaving India include high taxes, complicated and convoluted laws around money transfers, foreign remittances, opening new businesses, and local corruption. Other factors the ultra-wealthy cite for leaving include safety, security, and the impacts of climate change. Most of the millionaires leaving India are headed to Australia where the laws are much more lenient for the wealthy. India has such a high population that it is actually able to replace the millionaires who leave leading to a net growth in millionaires every year.
For the last ten years, millionaires have been fleeing China in droves and the COVID-19 pandemic only served to exacerbate the situation. This isn’t surprising given China’s massive population, authoritarian government, and state-controlled capitalism. China has ongoing border disputes with most of its neighbors, political conflict with Hong Kong and Taiwan, and continuous economic and hegemonic positioning with the United States. All this combines into a very paranoid government and extremely strict laws regarding finance and wealth.
China is on track to experience its largest exodus of millionaires ever, this year. As pandemic travel restrictions relax, millionaires who have been eager to move to more lenient tax havens are fleeing in droves.
Where are all of these millionaires moving to? Primarily, millionaires are moving to Australia, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States. Large tax loopholes, loose financial regulation, and stable markets are what make all these countries attractive locations for the ultra-rich and obscenely wealthy.
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