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NEW LIFE COACHING
RICHARD WAGUESPACK, PH.D., LCSW
In these disruptive times, people from crime infested, communist South Africa are seeking help for successful relocation. Following centuries old patterns, many would like to relocate to enclaves where they might find a significant number of people with similar values, background and social standing. This article focuses on a comparison between New Zealand and the US to help insure successful planning.
If families or even larger groups from a given region want to move to the same proximity in a new country, they must also find ways to adapt and constructively assimilate into the new environments. It is necessary to consider one’s values, skills, cultural likes and dislikes, earning power, geographic contexts and much more, including ‘a sense’ of being “led” in one direction rather than another.
In today’s uncertain and fragile world, many relocated people will want launch their own business – either right away or in the near future. Others may be willing to be retained in steady work within a professional or corporate domain while others in the same family or close group will be focused on pursing self employment.
It is all but impossible for a white farmer or indeed any white person in South Africa to feel safe or firmly believe that remaining in the country is the best option, and especially not a viable option for young people under 40. However, denial and wishful thinking are strange bedfellows that can greatly undermine prospects of using time and resources at hand to plan for a better life for oneself and love ones in the future.
On a really good day, feelings of well being can prevail and draw a curtain over the nasty realities, both behind the curtain and out in the open. However, in a flash and individual or loved one could experience a serious attack resulting in loss of life or health. Living under the duress of such trauma will present serious setbacks for making an adjustment in a new place like the US or NZ.
Already, for many farmers, the psychological difficulties of processing major losses in property will be trauma enough. It is difficult to leave property matters behind when there are barriers to sell imperiled holdings at a fair price. Abandoning a land mortgage or commercial loan and not looking back may seem unbearable, but it is doable. Maybe something can be worked out if the bank has been authorized. executive power to negotiate the transfer of the property.
Mortgage issues are undoubtedly a major obstacle for many to plan in the best way. Do you have any suggestions for a farmer with a 3 million dollar farm, $500,000 in loans and $400,000 in liquid assets? Maybe someone would like to discuss this and related issues in Facebook Comments Section underneath this article
Consider, did any of the Zimbabwean farmers who recently recovered confiscated land have a mortgage. If so, what underlying legal processes pertained to enable them to recover their property. If yes or no, does this not set a precedent for international law that might perhaps be relevant when a rogue government, elected or not breaks its own constitution and international norms?
Since South Africa presents a very charged, politically divisive set of conditions, countries like the US might possibly intervene, but be hard pressed to undo the objectives of the communists. Overturning their hold on the social and political apparatus may require an unprecedented (unacceptable) level of violence that would be largely rejected on the world stage. However, I respect those who disagree with this assessment. There are certainly other ways to view the while farmer’s situation in South Africa.
It could be that when the dust settles, white farmers will only be required to give up a percentage of their land to the government. However, there are few indicators that the government officials possess this level of sophistication and have already violated basic conventions creating major barriers to form functional relationships with adversaries. What would convince them to take this approach after having taking an absolute position?
There has been no public announcement to suggest this is their intention or that they are even thinking about such accommodations, but even if it was, how would this work out? Do they have the magnanimity, honor, ability, bilateral trust, foresightedness and good will to carry out such a mission?
Returning to the mortgage issue, rather than banks likely losing out completely as the SA government moves to confiscate entire parcels, maybe they could advocate for no more than 8-12 percent of any holding be taken, thus leaving farmers and banks with enough assets to still make a go of the operations.
Of course there is big difference between a mortgage on land only and a commercial loan on the collective assets in a given farming operation. These matters can be complicated, messy. Resolving the future disposition of goods produced on a partitioned transfer of land would require many creative agreements that involving good will, trust and respect from both sides.
The bottom line as I see it, is if commercial means of production and the bulk of land is retained by white farmers, then former owners / banks that release the 8-12 percent parcels free and clear to new owners, will still possess the central operation. The new owners of divided parcel can participate in farming in a variety of ways. They can lease needed farm equipment from the former owner, now a neighbor or make agreements with the former owner to help cultivate and harvest the land with existing equipment. The two sides could then work out various cooperative arrangements to bring produce to market.
Can the current government take a step back and authorize some type of quasi principled formula as indicated? Why was such a proposal not considered earlier? Is there still hope for such adjustments. Surely it is not impossible. For those keen on remaining in South Africa, perhaps they could approach the government with a proposal for a pilot program to resemble what has been described.
Perhaps they could pass legislation exempting those white farmers who participate and the program could grow, eventually offering the same opportunity for all white farmers and those who want to be on the receiving end. For those who think such a program to be unrealistic or too aggravating to consider, it seems reasons to move will be increasing in the future, rather than decreasing.
On a sober day, those with adequate resources, health and vitality must be mulling over the question: “What is the best place to move?” The answers may not obvious or easy to discern. Australia and New Zealand 1, 2 are obvious options; other possibilities like the United States 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6; Canada; Brazil; or Europe 1, 2, less apparent, but well worth considering given the limitations of the first two options.
In my view, the prospect of farming families who are able to EXTEND farming operations into ventures considered “non-farming” (i.e. local farms selling to restaurants) or partial farming (i.e. farming and tourism combinations 1, 2, 3), makes the US a formidable competitor indeed. There are a number of places where these kinds of setups could become very lucrative.
Conventional farming can be a good occupation in the US for carefully planned specialty farms, perhaps for aquaponics and other select venues, however, it can be perilous for those in the bottom 75% and yes, often really good for those in the top 25% 1. What is the remedy, as a business professor at my Alma Mater frequently remarked “prior planning prevents poor performance”. If you do not want to compete head on in conventional farming and want to operate a profitable small farm, visit restaurants and food stores in your targeted area and find out what their demands are how easy it would be to sell to them on a regular basis.
We live in times where families or portions of families may well wish to relocate to a better country. In the case of South African farms 1 and white farmers under constant siege and family members thinking about transition, each person will need to assess how he or she may best serve in a new country after thoroughly examining many inner and outer variables. This can be a most daunting task for those who plan on farming or other self employment.
Farmers and many other categories of people who value self employment as well a corporate opportunities will find both the US and New Zealand offer great possibilities. For those motivated to serve various sectors like education and healthcare, the potential in either country is similar, with each state in the US having significantly different pay scales as well as broad differences in cost of living.
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The prospects of a charming South African transplant successfully teaching in an American rural school (generally with fewer discipline problems than city schools) for a fairly decent salary is high. Probably the wages possible for teachers and other mid level professionals in the US are generally a little higher than New Zealand. However, there is a serious shortage of medical professionals in NZ and gaining admission for long term residency in this venue should be quite simple for most white South Africans and others.
The technology sectors of both the US and New Zealand are growing tremendously. This of course affects all other industries, including Agriculture (US 1 2/ NZ 1) in a positive way, but it also increases the demand for higher skills and the ability to learn more rapidly. Obviously, timely and economical access to the most effective high technology is almost surely going to be much better in the US than New Zealand in most categories as the future unfolds.
Opportunities for farming are now being changed by high technology and greater involvement of large corporations in both the US and NZ. In a real sense, some skilled and well placed people people in both countries stand to benefit. It is difficult to forecast how private owners of small farms with know how and capacity for expansion and major corporations will interact. We may see an era with more profit sharing projects and fewer ceilings on possibilities of making money in new and creative partnerships.
The U.S. has many of the same advantages as NZ on a much larger scale, though perhaps not as often pristine or natural as the NZ. For example, many rivers in the US have been damned for various projects (especially irrigation in the west) and this has upset some property owners and nature lovers over a number of decades. At the same time, such structures have also created some nice lakes in many areas that would otherwise be less attractive. Oklahoma alone has more than 200 lakes with over a million surface areas of water.
Fishing in Alaska may have some competitive advantages, but I would recommend speaking with an expert before spending time considering this option in any commercial fishing venue of the US. There are also opportunities for inland commercial fishing in select venues like Catfish farming that may be worth looking into.
A decade or more ago New Zealand basically cut out farm subsidies and boast an improvement in agricultural markets. They are in a very good position to offer exports and thus with improved technology, ports and shipping power have a large market considering the remote location. The environment is beautiful and pristine. However, there are many differences between a country of 3.1 million square miles (lower 48) and 312 million people (all states) and one of 103,500 square miles and less than 5 million people.
The United states continues to provide farm subsidies but these are not always guaranteed and can change. Not unrelated, many farmers, especially those in western states, like TX and OK are expanding into wind farming. Places that have good prospects for wind farming plus better than average aquifer situations are still quite available at reasonable prices. This is just one way to gain a new primary or supplemental income from the land. Others include selling off rocks sand and gravel, mining, hunting and various subleases and much more.
There are many more products and services being created in the US, though on scale, New Zealand has an impressive profile in production and trade as well as commitment to its own growth. However, in reality, Shopping for most items is cheaper or much cheaper in the US. Purchasing power is on average 17% better in the US than New Zealand (source). So, if average income is less in NZ and it is more expensive to live, that is an issue. Internet services are said to be sub-par in many places in New Zealand. Of course New Zealand is famous for great coffee, fish and chips and lamb and has fantastic scenery to view from the restaurant window and wide diversity of outdoor environments in a very small area.
Recent surveys show that less than half of the population of New Zealand consider themselves Christian and only 10-15 percent of the people attend services regularly. The numbers are much higher in the US, with a number of states reporting more than 50 percent of the population considers themselves very religious 1, 2.
One article mentioned that 40 percent of schools in New Zealand have some kind of religious instruction. Never-the-less, “A new report by Unicef contains a shocking statistic – New Zealand has by far the highest youth suicide rate in the developed world” (Source) 1.
Sources indicate that young Kiwis tend to be much more disrespectful to parents and authority than in similar western countries and also tend to quickly lose any religious conviction in adulthood. While the overall culture is known for a noticeable number of neighbors and neighborhoods sharing BBQ meals together on weekends, there is also a very mid range level of conformity, jealous of high achievers and not so friendly to those considered to be of lesser economic or social rank.
Crime rates varying tremendous in the US. Some cities have horrible crime and other cities and towns have relatively low crime. It is a reasonable task to identify a community in a suburban area with a low crime rate and easy access to medical care, shopping, scenery and recreational destinations. Many small towns in the US have very low crime rates, so low that many people do not bother to lock doors.
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New Zealand is quite small and very remote. If one wants to travel away from the Island often, it may be particularly time consuming and expensive. “In addition, some very rich people are buying up large amounts of land in very scenic areas and totally closing them off and not allowing the once sacred “right” for people to hike in these areas.” (Source). One can often find very good deals for travel within North America and beyond on airlines like Southwest.
The United States has many wonderful National, State and Municipal Parks and aside from a few islands, its land mass connects to almost all of North, Central and South America. Opportunities for exciting travel to very pristine waters and beautiful, interesting Islands in the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean are numerous. A very different set of experiences are available on the west (Pacific Coast) of US and Canada (British Columbia) and also Alaska.
Healthcare in New Zealand is probably adequate for most people at most stages of life, but the top end is probably not as good as what may be available in the US. People complain about the lack of availability of many kinds of surgery and other advanced care. The low income sector experiences many deficits in care. On the other hand, most people will find the cost of healthcare considerably cheaper in New Zealand. Compare Health Care Costs By Location.
Farmers seeking to relocate from South Africa to the US should consider the ranking for healthcare in Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma as well as New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee and Wisconsin.
The Scenery of New Zealand is quite beautiful and more consistently appealing at very high levels than most places in the US. However, there are some beautiful places in the US that are extremely nice and better than many areas in New Zealand. Careful relocation planning can open pathways to beautiful properties and surroundings in every US state.
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Real estate in the US has places in the market with some very good deals that are likely to be very good investments. This is also true for New Zealand, Rent is often high in New Zealand, but lower than the US that charges very high rent in desirable urban and suburban areas. However, very reasonable rent can be found in small US towns significantly outside a metro area. These conditions could be good for someone in a position to invest in income producing property in the US. There are incentives to own income producing property in both NZ and the US.
In the final analysis, it is possible South African farmers could leave behind property and address any legal issues from a distance. Moving away and keeping in touch with creditors and other agents does not necessarily indicate capitulation to the SA Parliament, it just indicates foresight given current conditions, attempting to live and make a living in SA may not be the most viable option anymore.
For many aware of the grim possibilities attached to “digging in and “fighting it out”, leaving with great losses is probably a better alternative. There are other options and many of them might ultimately play out into some wonderful scenarios and benefits, including much personal growth. The 20th and 21st century is filled with examples of people unjustly alienated from property and displaced far away from the land of their birth. However, many live on to testify that somehow, they managed to do quite well or even better than ever, or at least okay.
Keywords: Relocation, Panning US, NZ, SA
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Notice: If you are currently residing in South Africa, Send me your phone number and some idea of your availability and I will arrange call you back from my phone.
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