Thursday, September 12, 2013

Relocating to Uruguay: Is it a Good Option?


Jose Garcia said...

Hello Ferfal,

From a security stand point, Uruguay is bordered by Brazil to the north and Argentina to the west. Both of these countries are huge compared to Uruguay. Does Uruguay have a good military/police should Brazil or Argentina want to encroach on it? Or to prevent the rift raft from those two countries running illicit activities (i.e. organized crime such as kidnappings) on rich targets living in Uruguay?

Thank you.

artigas said...


Good video overall, although your numbers are a bit out of date. You were right on the mark with regard to imported goods being 3 to 5 times (or more) of first world prices. You will also find that domestic prices here are also about 10-15% higher than Chile and 25-30% higher than the US and the quality of goods and services being much, much worse. It is not a cheap place to live, and if you do not have a close family network here to help you, you will end up paying even more.

Crime is also rapidly rising, due to both an epidemic in “paco" (cheap cocaine paste) and a apathetic police force emasculated by government policy which sees crime more as social justice and police as the real enemy. Just this year Montevideo passed Buenos Aires in its per capita murder and serious crime rate, so its not that much safer than Argentina.

Also, take into account that this is basically a socialist state with a sufocating bureaucracy which makes things very difficult to accomplish. To make matters worse, although the laws are as bad as in Argentina, Uruguayans bureaucrats can not generally be bribed as in Argentina, so you are in for a lot of frustration if you want to get anything done.

Uruguay is also one of the most highly taxed countries in the world. Although income tax is relatively low at 15%, there is a wealth tax, you can expect social security taxes to reach up to 80% of your salary (or your maid’s salary), sales tax is 22% , property taxes are higher than in the US and you even have to pay taxes on your own DIY projects in your own home!

Most jobs are either for the government or in family businesses, so do not expect to get a job (or open a business) here easily. Uruguay also has some of the strictest labour laws in the world and your maid, gardener or even the guy who “guards” your car on the street belong to a strong union for which you will end up paying the benefits.

We have been living here for over six years, and despite a recent economic boom in the agriculture sector, life just gets more difficult and expensive every year. Think carefully before choosing Uruguay, there are better choices out there in Latin America, including Chile, Costa Rica or Panama. Even Spain or Portugal are better value for your money at this point in time.

Don Williams said...

1) Re Spain and Portugal, One factor in favor of North America and South America is that their population densities are much lower than Europe and Asia.

You have to look at location and soil of course -- Australia's density is low but much of it is desert and 3 billion people are to the north across relatively short sea lanes.