It was for years a truth universally acknowledged that New York Jews retired to Florida. But in recent times, that dynamic has changed and more and more people have been eschewing the Sunshine State for another destination: Israel.
With sunny days and year-round temperatures of 75 degrees, Israel is a great place to be, according to Doug Goldstein, owner and director of Jerusalem-based Profile Investment Services and author of the soon-to-be-released book “The Expatriate Guide to Money and Taxes.” Add to that the fact that Israel is one of the most interesting places to invest in today, lauded by the likes of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, who’s Berkshire Hathaway made its first-ever investment outside the US in Israel.
Today, Israel’s vibrant and innovative technology sector—an area that receives solid government support—abounds with investment opportunities, Goldstein said.
“So much technology has been developed in Israel over the past years, and so many companies do their R&D work in Israel, that there are many great companies to invest in,” Goldstein says.
Israel is also a leader in green energy initiatives, an area that more and more people are interested in gaining exposure to, and investment opportunities in sectors like communications and healthcare are also plentiful.
Most importantly, “Israel is a country with a great business climate,” Goldstein said. “This is a nation that is very pro-business, and that’s an important consideration to take into account when looking at investment opportunities across the globe.”
Goldstein moved to Israel from the United States 20 years ago and specializes in helping expat Americans live a financially stable life in that country. Part of that means figuring out what the best local investment options might be, but it also means making sure that his clients fully understand all the implications of living abroad, not least how it’s going to affect their taxes.
“As much as I educate people about the issues of investing in foreign countries and currencies, I also spend a lot of my time on tax planning, and this is a huge part of what I do,” he said. “I work very closely with specialists in international tax planning, and now, with the U.S. government making a vigorous effort to collect tax dollars from expats, everyone who leaves the country is under the IRS’s microscope.”
Goldstein is a huge advocate for cross-border expertise; an area he feels is going to become increasingly important as more Americans choose to retire overseas. Professionals who are able to talk to their clients about all the different implications of taking up residence in another country, who are fluent in different tax regimes, and who have solid on-the-ground, local expertise to help clients build strong cross-border financial plans will become more and more the order of the day, he said.
“People need to very careful about the kinds of investments they’re making, since sometimes investing in the new country of residence can prove to be a U.S. tax nightmare,” he said. “I always say that if there’s a local opportunity that looks good then one should assume that there’s a parallel opportunity in the US, and I think that any advisor who wants to succeed in the next 10 years should be able to offer that kind of cross-border expertise to his clients.”